Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mileage for Large Vehicles is Improved but Not Enough #Science

In discussion recently, Lotho contended the mileage for large vehicles is much improved and they're not typically the 10mpg eco-hating beasts they once were.  That's all true but the fact is the mileage still isn't good enough.  The Rockhouse is not case building and the article popped up in the normal flow of things so I read it.  I see value in the knowledge so here we go.

For every 100 miles driven, improving the fuel economy of a single Ford F-150 by five miles per gallon can theoretically achieve the same volumetric gasoline savings that would be accomplished by making a six-miles-per-gallon improvement to six Priuses, according to Baker Institute expert Gabriel Collins.

Credit: Rice University

Note:  unknown what kind of vehicle in the pic but it's not an F-150.

The general premise is the mileage for a Prius doesn't matter that much since few of them are on the road and they aren't collectively using that much resource.  However, there's an enormous number of F-150 / F-350 trucks on the road so any improvement in the fuel efficiency will inevitably have a large effect.  None of this refutes anything Lotho wrote and the more general problem is the total number of vehicles.

Larger trucks and SUVs with powerful, high-displacement engines are the low-hanging fruit for any policymaker seeking the most efficient path to reducing gasoline use and the associated emissions, according to an issue brief by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

This suggests capital investments focused on the larger vehicles Americans favor can most rapidly save the largest quantities of fuel and avoid more emissions at less cost, the brief proposes.

"Seeking Scalable, Cost-effective Reductions in Gasoline Demand and Tailpipe Emissions? Focus on Pickup Trucks, Not Priuses" was authored by Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs. The brief explores Environmental Protection Agency ratings versus "real-world fuel economy" and how more efficient pickup and SUV engines are affecting gasoline demand and growth. The brief also looks at how gasoline demand could be impacted as improved engine technologies cycle into a growing portion of the U.S. vehicle fleet and offers suggestions on policies that could accelerate this process.

Phys.org: Focus on pickup trucks, not Priuses, to reduce gasoline use, emissions

The interested student is invited to the article for the fullness of the technology but you see already the concept.  There is no criticism of any individual for owning a truck since getting rid of it would be pointless in the face of an industry-wide need to reduce consumption.

It may help to understand there's no one-size-fits-all for the F-150 since some are relatively civilized eco citizens.  However, others are kitted up with the bigger motors for that ballsy Mustang exhaust note and those ones are strictly Testorods insofar as it takes as much testosterone as gasoline to keep them fueled.  The Rockhouse would wipe the Testorods off the road tomorrow if that were possible.

Note:  someone is killed on a Texas highway roughly every three hours so there's ample reason beyond noise to get such vehicles off the road.  Unknown at what frequency Testorods are involved in fatal collisions but the Rockhouse has seen them driven multiple times and the drivers are not that good.

I'm an excellent, track-trained driver which taught me there are places for go-fasters and places for going with the traffic so no-one gets dead.

As at the top, there's no criticism since Lotho is correct and those basic F-150 pickup trucks are likely to be the ones which survive but the ones which are deliberately abusive of gasoline, emission, and noise standards more than likely will not.  The best thing Ford can do for itself is to dump that division and they're having trouble with it anyway.  There's evolution about and Ford needs to get some.


Anonymous said...

I would doubt Ford is going to do anything to hurt truck sales. It is their bread and butter.

Peas InOurThyme said...

I wouldn't be so sure as I've read of their misgivings regarding the large vehicles and possibly that means vehicles of the size of the Expedition and the like but there are troubles for them in that market. I didn't pursue it much so that's about all I've got just now.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to do so e more research the top selling vehicle in America is the F150. I am willing to bet Chevy trucks and Dodge trucks state not far behind.
America loves their trucks.
The Expedition is a very small niche market as most of America does not even dream of SUVs that start at $60k
But they will always be in the market as status symbols and they sell very well as 2-3 year old used vehicles

Peas InOurThyme said...

I'm using research directly from the article but I'm aware there are good guy F-150s which are likely as civilized for mileage, etc as they can get because the ones who buy those just want a good pickup truck. After that you have the cowboys who either buy them with hot motors or make them that way and those yahoos must be going through a lot of fuel since I hear them at it constantly. I have no idea of the percentage which go each way but my guess is most F-150s are the good guy ones and they're bought for business or farms but that's only a wild guess.

Anonymous said...

Hot rodders using trucks cars or boats make up a very small percentage of vehicles on the road. But seem like they are everywhere because of the look at me nature of the owners

Peas InOurThyme said...

Fair enough but there's still the general problem of they, as a collective study group, use an enormous amount of fuel so any improvement will be substantial relative to other types of vehicles which aren't well distributed such as EVs and hybrids, etc.

I don't believe it's possible or even desirable to get all of the pickup trucks off the road when there's only a billion or so reasons people need them, all of which are highly practical. However, I think there's strong likelihood many buy pickup trucks even when they could do famously with more compact vehicles because there's some association of machismo with the truck.