Monday, March 26, 2012

High MPG in the News

Win $1 Billion

Republicans have created a bill that will provide a $1 billion reward to the first automaker that can sell 60,000 cars that get 100 MPG --  using regular gasoline. No MPGe here.

The (Marketing?) Value of 4 MPGe

The Ford Focus Electric was rated at 110 MPGe (see *note below), making it the "King" of electric vehicles because it beat the Nissan Leaf by 4 MPGe.  If we look at how many "gallon equivalents" are being saved per 100 miles, that works out to:
Ford Focus:  100/110 MPGe = .91 gallon equivalents
Nissan Leaf:  100/106 MPGe = .94 gallon equivalents
That's right:  The Focus saves the equivalent of .03 gallons of gas every 100 miles compared to the Leaf.  For these comparisons of efficient vehicles, "miles per anything" is a marketing gimmick.

*Note: And, as we've noted before, MPGe is a poor metric.  Besides having the wrong number on top (thereby perpetuating the bad math done with MPG), it has a highly uninformative number on the bottom:  An energy unit that is equivalent (hence, e) to a gallon of gas.  But this energy unit could come from regular gas, natural gas, electricity made from hydro, electricity made from nuclear, or electricity made from coal, all with different implications for GHG emissions.  And the electricity could cost 22 cents per kwh in Connecticut or 6 cents per kwh in North Carolina.  

Crossovers Help Drop US Oil Consumption

From  NPR: 

"The price of gasoline keeps rising for Americans, but it's not because of rising demand from consumers.Since the first Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, the U.S. has struggled to quench a growing appetite for oil and gasoline. Now, that trend is changing.

"When you look at the U.S. oil market, you see that there's actually no growth," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He says gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and has fallen each year since, even though the economy has begun to recover.

"The U.S. has already reached what we can call 'peak demand.' Because of increased efficiency, because of biofuels, we're not going to see growth in our oil consumption," Yergin says.

One of the reasons for the change? People are buying car-based "crossover utilities" instead of truck-based SUVs.  

Rebecca Lindland, director of research for IHS Automotive, says 27 percent of the new vehicles sold in 2011 were smaller, lighter, car-based versions of the SUV, called "crossovers." 

"Those tend to get significantly better fuel economy than our traditional truck-based SUVs that used to account for 20 percent of all the vehicles we bought," she says.

Now, those big SUVs are less than 5 percent of sales, and the average fuel efficiency of the crossovers is 20 to 30 percent higher than the old SUVs." 

This is where the national gas savings are available:  Exchanging a 16 MPG SUV for a 25 MPG Crossover.