Desperate Solutions to Made-up Problems

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Desperation brings out the worst in people – including engineers. But then, you can’t really fault them. The government issues its fatwas – which aren’t suggestions – and it is the job of the engineers to figure out ways to comply with the fatwas.

Hence, the becoming commonplace use of turbochargers and direct injection. Neither make much sense except as measures to achieve compliance with federal fatwas, chiefly the one ululating that every new car must average at least 35.5 MPG and if not, its manufacturer will be caned in the public square.

Well, financially caned – via deliberately punitive “gas guzzler” taxes that are applied to the not-compliant cars. The taxes are passed directly to the buyer, who thus becomes less apt to buy – which renders it more difficult to justify making the car in the first place, particularly since its less-than-compliant MPG numbers weigh down the “fleet average” of the rest, risking more caning . . . er, fines.

So, turbos and direct injection.

Turbos used to be rare and used mainly to boost the power of diesel engines in heavy trucks and gas engines in high-performance cars. The additional parts could be justified because turbos were power adders, designed to make additional power in vehicles that were bought be people who wanted an extra dollop of horsepower.

Today, turbos are used to make up power lost to engine downsizing – which happened because of the first round of gas-mileage fatwas.

You may have noticed that, as a for-instance V6 engines – which were once very common in mid-sized family cars – have been disappearing just as  V8s – which used to be common in mid-sized family cars – also disappeared and for the same reason: Smaller engines use less fuel.

But it’s one thing to go down from a V8 to a V6 – and another to go down from a V6 to a four. Especially in a car that’s not larger than a compact-sized car.

Enter the turbo.

It boosts the output of what would otherwise be an underpowered engine that most buyers would find unacceptable. It brings the performance of a four up to the level of a V6.

It is basically compensatory technology. Uncle has decreed that you shall spend more for your next new car in order that it shall burn less gas.

How this is going to save you money is hard to divine.

Speaking of gas.

Direct gas injection (GDI) is another consequence of the fuel efficiency fatwas – and, like turbochargers – a compensatory technology. It increases both power output and mileage (about 5 percent, give or take) but not without cost – and other consequences.

In a GDI system, there is a hole bored into each cylinder, very much like a second spark plug hole. This is for the high-pressure direct injector. And it is very high pressure – operating at around 3,000 PSI.

But that isn’t the problem.

The problem is that because the fuel is sprayed directly into the cylinder, none washes over the intake valves (as it does in  port-fuel injection system) and so there is no solvent effect. Crud builds up on the back of the intake valves and – eventually – this crud causes serious problems, including  cylinder sealing problems as the valve no longer closes completely due to the build-up of the crud.

It takes a while – several years and tens of thousands of miles of driving – for the crud to build up to the point that it needs to be dealt with. Which often means taking apart the engine, to get at the valves, in order to de-crud them.

But the real problem is that turbo and GDI/crud issues tend to rear their head, Putin-style, somewhere south of 100,000 miles – after the warranty coverage has expired.

In both cases, the cost to fix can be high enough that it’s not worth fixing.

A cheap Chinese-made “remanufactured” turbo costs about $1,500 in parts and labor to replace. A more realistic bill is in the vicinity of $2,500-$3,000.

A top-end disassembly/cleaning/re-assembly will cost you about the same.

Contrast these expenses with the “fuel savings” Uncle ululates about to justify the fatwas that have led to such desperate measures as turbocharging pretty much everything and direct-injecting them, too.

You should know, incidentally, that the solution for the crud problem caused by GDI is to add a separate port fuel-injection circuit, to spray some gas on the backs of the valves, to keep them clean. This is in addition to the DI system. So now your new car will have two fuel injection systems. One (DI) for the sake of the fuel economy fatwa; the other (PFI) to remedy the problem caused by the DI system, which is only there because of the fatwa.

The only way this is going to change for the better is if Uncle gets out of the fatwa’ing business – at least insofar as fuel efficiency. Which he ought to. Why, after all, is it the government’s business whether your car averages 35 MPG or 25 MPG or 15 MPG? So long as you’re not being forced to buy the 15 MPG car, you are free to buy the 35 MPG car (or the 50 MPG car), which the car companies will build in accordance with demand.

Take away the fatwas and there would still be fuel-efficient cars, for the same reason that there would be performance cars and luxury cars. The problem isn’t a lack of fuel efficient cars. It is government fatwas that insist all cars be “efficient” – cost no object.

It’s not difficult to make a small, light car very fuel efficient. It is harder to make a large, powerful car fuel-efficient.

Or at least, it’s won’t be cheap – which kind of defeats the point.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. I live in Northern Michigan and there aren’t many roads where one can even drive 70 much less 90 or 95.
    Many roads and highways up here are in need of complete rebuild. Many roads I drive on are patch on patch…so bumpy I often drive on the shoulder. There is no end in sight. Some counties do not have the cash to fix bad roads and it appears other counties like Charlevoix don’t give a rat’s ass.
    One road out of my town, Central lake, was so bad you would have to slow down to 5MPH or risk damaging your vehicle, after several years of this, the county finally got some federal funding to rebuild that stretch.
    U.S. 31 south of Charlevoix is so bad you wouldn’t dare drive over 60 or 65 for fear of loosing total control. A federal highway yet it is just another road falling apart, being sacrificed for the wars and MIC.

    • Hi JohnZ, southern New Mexico also has some terrible federal highways, and they cant blame severe winter weather as being the cause unlike Michigan. Statism is a mental disorder writ large!

  2. Large and powerful vehicles are not necessarily “less efficient” if you want to actually go somewhere with more than two people. Let’s say you want to go cross-country with four to six adults or two adults and five kids all with luggage and/or camping gear, you need a big van or a suburban. Or you could drive three or four little cars to carry the same load the same distance (and use a lot more gas in total).

    Maybe we should start hollering that these mileage decrees are “discriminating” against Mexican families with 13 kids – LOL

    • Ditto somebody like me, who doesn’t work in town, and only goes to town every once in a while to go shopping and run errands. Stupid “Smart Car” ain’t gonna work too good for me, considering on an average trip I’ll get a 40 lb bag of dog food; 35 lb bag of cat food; groceries and supplies for my house and my mother’s; maybe some fence posts; pipes or lumber; hardware; etc. etc. I can fill up my Excursion or my F250 pretty good! No car, even a “big” one, is going to do it for me. And even if it would, I enjoy the comfort and safety of large vehicles. And in reality, even at 10MPG I use less gas than most who have cars that get 35MPG, ’cause my life revolves around my acreage and I drive maybe 3K miles a year.

  3. Another case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Or the engineers not knowing what the rule-makers will decree from on high.

    I agree that it should be the government’s business what the MPG rating of any vehicle is. The person buying the car knows he will spend more for fuel if the car gets 15 MPG than if the car gets 35 MPG. But the government overlords will insist upon a double whammy: If your vehicle gets low mileage, you will be subject to a Fuel Efficiency Tax. When you go to the gas pump, you will pay a Per-Gallon Tax for the fuel you buy. When you drive the vehicle, you will buy almost twice as much gas as the other motorist, meaning that you will purchase more gallons of fuel to drive the same number of miles.

    That amounts to being punished three times for the same “crime.” And I thought double jeopardy was illegal.

    But apparently, triple jeopardy is perfectly legal.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree that we are currently in an advanced state of diminishing returns concerning CAFE levels. However, without them, the market response to achieve the same level of fuel economy in cars we now enjoy would never have come as fast as it has without the government dictating it first. I, as a libertarian, struggle with the concept of market responses (& private property rights arguments) as a way of implementing policies to benefit environmental concerns.

    I agree that all of the technological advances for the purposes of achieving higher fuel economy will, or are, incurring higher costs. This is to also mean, and include, higher environmental impacts! Unfortunately, the government is focused on only the fuel economy, rather than the greater environmental picture. I mean, how much more impact is there in having to disposing of, and build new replacement car! (Even if that car gets 50+mpg like they want?) Over the long haul, say 25yrs, if one runs two (old-tech) cars at 20mpg, instead of 3 (hi-tech) cars at 50mpg, what is the greater *overall* environmental impact? My guess would be the two-car scenario. But the powers that be don’t think like this. I guess that’s why everyone on this blog says that they’ll keep their cars 20+years!… I bet you guys didn’t know you were closet environmentalists!

    • Part of the reason you can’t balance the market forces with the need to protect the environment. Is because there is no need to protect the environment. If cars were polluting and causing problems then the market would call for cleaner cars. The other is with your math. Cars 20 yrs ago got great fuel economy, that is 1997, a 1997 civic could easily get upper 30’s or 40mpg. My 1994 Integra GSR got 38 on the highway. My 1990 mustang would average 26mpg with plenty of fast driving. What is the real world performance of an ecoboost that costs $40k?

      In many cases regulation is more of a problem than a fix. Take my mustang as an example. When I removed the stock exhaust and put 3.73 rear gears, in place of the 2.73 from ford, my mpg went up a lot. I’m certain that ford put the quiet exhaust and tall gears in so they could pass some stupid test that is not market driven.

        • The computer report on my 5.0L V8 ’12 Mustang with 3.73 rear end is showing 21.2 mpg at the moment. Very interstate biased miles though. All in all it gets about the same as my ’97 4.6L with 3.55 gears, but it’s a bigger heavier car with almost double the hp.

      • its really interesting, I looked at 1997 civic vs 2015 civic, MPG is the same. I wonder has there been ANY increase in MPG in real world driving in the last 20 years? Is it ALL fluff and fake test figures?

        My 1996 f150 gets the same as my old 86 chevy which gets the same as FIL 2005 f150

        • Hi Todd,

          I think it’s gotten worse.

          I have an old muscle car – ’76 Pontiac Trans-Am. It has a carbureted 455 (7.4 liter) V8 and no computer. It averages about 14 MPG.

          A new Challenger with a V8 doesn’t do much better, notwithstanding computer-controlled port fuel injection and transmissions with multiple overdrive gearing.

          So… why?

          My car – which was considered heavy in its day – weighs about 3,700 lbs. It is light compared with the Challenger, which weighs 4,200 pounds… and is also afflicted with those god-awful gnomesayin’ 19-inch “rims” which greatly increase rolling resistance….

      • Todd: Curious about your comment regarding rear end gear ratio. I thought the lower the ratio, the lower the engine rpms and higher mileage. Therefore, the 2.73 gears should provide better mileage than the 3.73. Am I missing something, or did you mis-type? I ask this because I am looking at new F-150’s. The 3.5L (I’m guessing direct inject) base model typically has 3.73 gears. But the 5.0 V-8, which I prefer, can be ordered with 3.31 gears. Thanks.

        • Tom,
          No that is right. With 2.73 the rpm was so low that at 55-60 you would have to down shift at the slightest hill or give much more throttle in order to keep the same speed. I want to say about 900-1000 rpm. With the 3.73 the rpm was more in the power band, about 1600-1800 rpm. You could accelerate in 5th gear. I’d say with all the new Over drive transmissions I’d go as low of a gear as you can. If you can get the 3.73 go that route. You will have taller tires than my mustang did which works to make that ratio lower numerically.

          I think they used the 2.73 because like you said, lower rpm, less fuel. This worked great on paper and in static testing. Throw in some small hills and it goes out the window.

    • Tom,

      Your premise is flawed. You’re assuming that a certain level of gasoline usage will “destroy the environment”, while a lesser amount will “save” it. Even if we were to accept the premise that using gasoline is harmful, driving cars that get say 35MPG vs. cars that get 25MPG is not going to “save the world”, it’s just going to slow down the “ruining” of it slightly.

      And as others have mentioned, in the real world, these government fartwars aren’t really upping real-world mileage very much. They’re making the cars heavier and harder/more expensive to maintain, and rendering them obsolete/economically unfeasible to drive much sooner, while really not getting any better mileage than the vehicles of 10, 2- or even 30 or 40 years ago of comparable weight. In fact, in many cases, the newer cars get worse mileage, than say a simple Datsun of the late 70’s.

      If you think internal combustion engines are harmful to the environment, then don’t drive at all- because if burning gasoline is destroying the environment, what difference does it make whether we destroy it in 50 years at 35MPG or 75 years at 45MPG?

    • People have been demanding more fuel efficiency since the beginning. As to environmental protection the damage was done when the government squished property owners in favor of polluters early on in the 20th century or even late 19th. The government courts stated that those defending the commons or their own property had to prove harm. It took until the 1960s to be able to do that to the level the courts had to accept. Had a property rights view been taken pollution would have been nipped in the bud. There would not have been a problem for Nixon to create the EPA to solve.

      Even the EPA itself creates disasters so it has work to do. (see their mining disaster where they polluted a river a year or so ago and the warning that came from retired expert before they went ahead)

  5. “The problem isn’t a lack of fuel efficient cars. It is government fatwas that insist all cars be “efficient” – cost no object.”
    This reminds me of comments about Volvo on another thread a while back. In marketing there is something called the ‘Unique Selling Proposition.’ Something that differentiates ‘your’ product from the rest of them. Volvo’s USP was safety. The Uncle came along and mandated all cars be ‘safe,’ thereby destroying Volvo’s USP.

  6. You can bet that the current crop of automotive engines will not last much beyond 100,000 miles. Of course, they will meet mileage and emission standards, but for how long?

    • I’ll say this. A properly designed turbo setup is smooth and at the same time insane. My acura, 1994 gsr. Has a full 3″ exhaust off the turbo, its a good turbo, and I have the Vtec set to about 4000 rpm which is where the boost really hits. Even in the lower Rpm the car still breathes great and I think it might run better than when it was NA. it certainly doesn’t feel laggy. When the boost/vtec hits, it just burns the tires in first and second, doesn’t hook up until you’re in 3rd and 80mph. For normal driving, there is no reason it wouldn’t last a long, long time.

      Another really important note. While the integra makes 265whp, and is so much faster. it is no where near as fun as my old fox body with 200 hp. That thing was fun, it’s something that is missing from all these new cars. You put 700 hp in them to try and make it fun but then people get hurt.

        • Eric, IF a car engine was designed to be a turbo engine as diesel equipment is so that boost could be in a useful range, say 2/3rd of a diesel or close to 20 pounds and the engine was tiny and used a simple TBI system, the car wasn’t packed with air bags and steel reinforcement and other weight adding bs, then a car could be cheaply built…..and not cheaply made and we’d have long lasting cars that could get never seen before mileage, be comfortable and handle well with tiny emissions. D’oh there I go again, but now Im awake….never mind.

  7. The reality is that most of us can do with much less engine and that is probably what we will end up with. Right now everyone wants to try and maintain a certain level of performance. Soon they will just write a built in limit. Cars of a certain size can only have X level of hp. HP is direct relation to fuel burned so if your camry is limited to 100 hp it can only burn so much fuel.

    I have an Acura TL and I doubt that on most days I use more than 75hp, in fact a few times I drove with a scanner plugged it I never peaked 50hp, that was driving the highway and driving “normal” It is kind of silly that all new cars are basically hot rods.

    Just look at the mustangs at cars and coffee. :/

    Correcting interest rates on cars to something that makes sense would be a good start, limiting loan terms to 3-4 years. It would force us to buy more reasonable cars.

    • With you, Todd…

      Especially since – at least in my neck – very few people seem to ever use the power/capability their cars have.

      Family cars with engines pushing 300 hp… that can do 140 MPH… driven like ’84 K-Cars with 80 hp and top speeds around 100…

      • Exactly. Now I’m not saying this should be law. Just that ever car doesn’t need to be a super car.

        my car is a 2000, makes 220hp and I don’t think I’ve ever ran it full throttle. Partly because I hear horror stories of the transmissions blowing up, but also because it seems too fast.

        I don’t know what the V-tec costs on these cars but I have to assume you could save a fair bit of money making it a “normal” engine optimized to run in the typical rpm range.
        That doesn’t sell in our 0-60 time spec based purchasing world.

      • eric, where do you get your turbo prices? I’m not arguing, since I don’t know what an automotive turbo costs.
        I do know I can get one for a 3406 Cat engine for a bit over $700 including shipping and tax. Brand new, 1 yr unlimited mileage, up to 600hp, no core. Fits 1980-2013 .
        I can get the same deal for a bit over $400 good for 450hp.

        It makes no difference what this engine powers either.

        Reckon last year’s model will fit this year’s car? If those little turbos cost 3-5 times that, somebody is gouging

        • >Fits 1980 to 2010″ -That’s why they’re cheaper for big trucks. Trucks have to make economic sense.

          Cars, on the other hand…. more like “Fits last Monday to this Thursday, and there are three different models, depending on whether you have Tree-hugger Gas-sipper SE edition; the Meth VR2 or the Multi-mode negative-emissions flatulence recycler, only available in CA, OR and Camelot”

          Or how about them Ford diesel pick’em-ups from about ’06 and up? Forget the price of the turbo itself….you have to take the freaking cab OFF to replace it!

          This is the kind of insanity they can get away with selling to the average dolt who knows nothing (nor cares) about what makes the car go. They hear “state of the art” and “advanced technology” and “Wrings 450HP out of a model-airplane motor” and instead of thinking “That’s gonna be expensive to fix, and not very durable”, they think “Oh, goodie! Progress!” We’re so advanced! Things are so much better today than in the Stone Age or the 60’s”…..

      • Doing 80 down I 20 Saturday and a new Dodge gas pickup passed me doing 90-95. I’m thinking the guy must not be familiar with the area and seconds later a DPS pulls out of the favorite hidey hole on the RR ROW and runs the guy down, both still moving when I passed them. All the traffic was cooking that day. I’d been doing 86 and had slowed down when I realized it but other traffic had been passing me at that speed. My point is the guy wasn’t a danger to anything but his fuel bill. Never let it be said the guvnah’s highway men weren’t exacting their toll on the serfs

    • Part of the problem is that Uncle built this giant network of smooth-paved high-speed roads with our money. “Build it, and they will come”. Like most other things, “they” created the problem, and now “they” are trying to solve the problem they created by [what else?] controling our behavior and limiting our choices and interfering with the [no-longer]free-market.

      If Uncle had never abrogated to itself the privilege of having this, and we just had a network of property-owner maintained/community-maintained/privately-owned roads, as we would have in a Libertarian world, we wouldn’t have this problem, as most roads would be rather “rustic”, and 10HP would probably be sufficient to travel them, if so one wanted.

      Being able to drive everywhere at 80MPH is strictly a product of these modern wealth-confiscating empires.

      I mean, I like cars; and I’ve made my living for more than half of my life in endeavors related to vehicles in one capacity or another, but quite frankly, it’d be just as good, or better; just as interesting, or more so, if 95% of our roads were dirt or gravel, and we had a plethora of vehicles with which to traverse them, from lawn-mower-engine-powered carts, to powerful 4×4’s.

      The idea that we should be able to float around without feeling any bumps, while traveling at speeds that the vast majority of people who have ever lived upon the earth have never even experienced, while sitting in luxury with our asses six inches off of the ground, is truly something that we have grown too accustomed to, and take for granted. But let us remember, it is truly a creation of the warfare-welfare state.

        • Maybe, 8- but then again, more things would be done on a local level- as used to be the case- so we wouldn’t need so much freight.

          And look how it used to be in the 1800’s and early 1900’s- It worked pretty good with just railroads and horses and buggies. Today it’d be a lot faster/easier/cheaper.

          Ya know, this is a perfect example of what keeps many from being Libertarian. They don’t want to give up the conveniences that we’ve come to take for granted, but hwich have come at grave cost through the auspices of the state.

          I mean, you get in a discussion with someone about taxes and eminent domain and all, and without fail, the first thing they say is “You use the roads, dontcha? What would we do without roads?! Blah blah blah…”….

          Of course, we would have roads in a Libertarian society, but they probably would not be the kind we’re used to.

          Funny, too- I knew this old man in his 90’s who used to be a truck driver back in the ’30s and ’40s. He’d tell me what it was like. No interstates then. Along the route from NY to FL many places were not even paved. It was slower…but the trucks got through, and even though the volume of freight was muc less, as was the capacity of the trucks, it wasn’t really expensive either. The Northeast was the major manufacturing center for the country, and their products got distributed all over, and the prices were not outrageous…. Today, any potential savings that could be had through efficiency, are probably more than neutralized by road taxes, permits, cost of the heavier equipment, DOT/OSHA BS, etc.

        • It’s only speculation, but there would probably be better maintained private interstate highways that compete for freight and long range travel and then more basic local roads.

        • Oooopps! You guys are right. They “abrogate” the constitution….but in the context in which I was speaking, “arrogate” is correct.

          Thanks!

    • I disagree with your premise Todd. Much of the roads in the U.S. are in hilly areas. Southern Missouri has more than its share of slow pokes driving 5-10+ mph below the speed limit, and you can get stuck behind them for quite a few miles due to nearly constant hills and curves. You will get a few short straight stretches here and there, but oftentimes there will be an on-coming car preventing the passing of the clover. Once you do get a chance to pass him; you have to do it quickly before the small straight stretch runs out or another oncoming car appears. The additional power is a necessity unless you are one of those clovers holding up traffic.

      • Haha! Same exact thing where I live Brian. And I get frustrated when I get stuck behind a slowpoke….but ya know, maybe the fault is ours. Why do we need to drive so fast? Why can’t we just saunter along and enjoy the ride?

        Seeing as now they’ve been widening a lot of the main roads and installing passing lanes and such, it really makes me think “Where will it end?”. More infrastructure; more taxes; more powerful cars; -all for what?

        Why do we feel that we have the right to shame the clover into going faster? This is one of the problems with communal/collective schemes- be it education or healthcare or roads- it pretty much forces everyone into a common “agreed upon by the majority” ethic, with no room for those who care to deviate, even though they have also been compelled to pay for it and use it, etc. Everything ends up getting mandated into a “do it our way or else” ethic. Usually we are the ones who are most victimized by those schemes, but in this case, it seems like we may be more the aggressors. We should keep that in mind next time we get trapped behind Clover. The problem is not really us, nor the clovers, but the fact that we are all herded into these communal systems. Let us of all people not be the ones to fight for some superiority or privilege, like the commies do.

        • I recall when RRs went to every town no matter the size. Towns and cities now are replete with abandoned tracks with very few sidings left.

          In the 80’s the wife felt a need for crossties. How many does a girl need? Long story short, by far the largest honeydo I and anyone I know got suckered into eventually morphed into taking out sidings and selling everything except for a few hundred ties. Brian can attests to the last of them
          I think it shortened my life. On the second location the first day the temperature was 116. We quit a few hours early after all of us suffered heat prostration.

          Funny getting too hot was my fault. I walked into the house and the wife nearly had a cow screaming at me to look in a mirror. I honestly thought people who turned dark purple didn’t survive but I was wrong and kept going out every day till it was done. That was back,if you’ll recall, when we were suffering “global cooling”.

          • Darn, 8! Sounds like ya got ya a smart one! Not many things more useful than old RR ties (and old telephone poles!)

            My neighbor works for the ‘lectric co., so can be a good source of poles. I’ve used them for fencing. Thinking of building a pole-style house out of ’em!

            Ya turned purple? Like an eggplant? In Italian, eggplant is “Moulignon”[“Mool-linn-yahn”] but you don’t sound like no “Moolie” [Ya haven’t been smoking them Newports and drinking grape Koolaid have ya?]

        • I disagree Nunzio. The speed limit has already been dumbed down for the purpose of revenue extraction/highway robbery. It is the clovers who are trying to force everyone else to go slower yet. If going slow is your thing, then join the Amish, ride a bike, or walk. Life is already too short for the rest of us.

          • I do agree with ya there, Brian. But aren’t we basically advocating the same thing “they” are, only in reverse, by demanding that they maintain some kind of minimum speed, just like how they regulate us by demanding that we stay under a maximum speed?

            I mean, they shouldn’t molest us for breaking their arbitrary “speed limit” when we’re not harming anybody….but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

      • Brian, we truckers see it in a unique perspective. We also see the efficiency side of it too. Probably if you were snake bit and the shipment of snake juice was bogged down in Tennessee and you’re in Texas it could affect your outlook.

        It’s common for me to take a load to far west texas or OK and haul a load back the same day. When my dad made a run with his employer to someplace like Odessa in the early 30s most of the run was on dirt or sand and took at least 2 long days if there were no problems. That 170 mile trip was quite a journey. It showed up later in life as I never saw a better driver in sand. When we moved to the farm our driveway was that sand turnrow with no bottom. The only people you could depend on getting to the house without 4WD were my dad and I.

      • Brian I don’t think we really disagree at all. I was just saying that for most people, most of the time, you use far less HP than you realize. My old truck has about 200hp and does a fine job, I don’t need a 650hp super charged engine. If that is what you want then you can buy one. My point was that ALL new cars are turning into sports cars because we buy based on paper stats with artificially low interest rates making cost irrelevant. People are complaining the new civic has only 220hp. You could take thousands of bucks off the price by giving it a normal engine.

        • I wonder if these HP ratings are even real though?

          Kinda like riding lawnmower HP ratings. The numbers keep going up- but when you compare a modern 22HP mower to say a 1970 12HP mower (like I recently sold to my neighbor(, that old Cub will literally run circles around the modern 22HP piece-O-crap, and cut much thicker grass without missing a beat.- with only 12HP.

          Seems 12 1970 horses were a lot more powerful (even with nearly half a century of wear) than 22 21st-century horses.

            • Very true! Like with the mowers too- the old Cub has a mechanical connection from the motor to the tranny, and a REAL tranny…whereas the nwere mowers have a sloppy belt and some sissy little “tranny” that weighs a quarter of what the one in the Cub weighs……

  8. “but the turbo push is so odd”

    The EPA autocrats aren’t saying cars have to be built with turbos. They’re giving a target, and the turbos are one of the ways manufacturers are trying to meet that target.

    It’s entirely possible that the folks who decided on the arbitrary CAFE numbers don’t know what a turbo is, what a tradeoff is, or worse, don’t care because they hate internal combustion engines and want to make them go away.

    Or they’re trying to push through an incredibly harmful and inefficient stealth tax increase.

    Or all of the above.

  9. The whole push to smaller turbo engines really smacks of willing self-deception by the EPA. Unless I’m mistaken, these engines are going to give marginal gains, at best, and then only when driven in a very specific way which is not the way people drive in the real world – staying off boost as much as possible. That, plus the added cost and complexity, seems bizarre to me. It’s a paper gain only. If the EPA is really interested in better mileage, this doesn’t seem like the best way to do it. Direct injection, I get (even if I don’t like the side effects) as a fuel efficiency measure, but the turbo push is so odd. I’d rather have a small NA engine if I want pure efficiency, and a turbo if I want performance. I suppose a lot of this is due to people wanting both and getting neither.

    • This is true, John. A big engine working easily under a fraction of it’s capacity, is way more efficient (AND durable!) than a little engine working under heavy load, at or above it’s capacity.

      My old Town Car (bone stock with the 4.6 V-8) would get 23MPGs without even trying. I know many people with small cars with 4 cyl.s who get the same mileage; and people with 6cyl.s in vehicles that weigh about the same or less than the Town Car, who can barely get 15MPG on their best day.

      My V-10 Excursion gets better MPG’s than my V-8 F250, even though the Exc. weighs more and is geared lower….and it’s a lot more fun to drive.

    • These Turbod cars are designed to pass an EPA test, not to achieve real world mileage. Kind of similar to the way the VW diesel cars were designed to pass the emissions test but in reality they emitted many times more “pollutants.” I am not making a value judgement on the VW situation. I believe that the diesel and gasoline emissions standards started becoming ridiculous around 1995 or so. It will be a matter of time before the government will require that the cars emit x% of “pollution” in the “real world” conditions rather than the tests, once they realize that the tests are themselves subject to rigging.

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