Originally Posted by 95LHS
If we're going to get serious about weening ourselves off of foreign oil, then we've got to make a better attempt than this *coughethanolcough*
Ethanol is a pipe dream. We could never produce enough to actually make a difference.
Hydrogen is even more ridiculous, as it would cost trillions to produce the infrastructure for it, and it only moves the energy demand to the power plants, which also burn fossil fuels.
Hybrids are the obvious way to go, but the logical choice for the fuel-burning motor is diesel, and the ever-changing small diesel emissions laws make it impossible for automakers to complete a development run between rules changes.
BMW is probably our big break for the answer to massive fuel mileage and emissions improvements. Their new engines use an electromechanically actuated valvetrain that makes massive horsepower possible because of the near infinite adjustability of the mix and timing. But they haven't taken the tech to the logical end. Even an educated layman like me can see that the adjustability of the motor could be used to wring incredible mileage out of the motor as well as incredible performance. With an O2 sensor for each cylinder, the mix and timing could be optimized for the individual cylinder, and you could even shut down cylinders when they aren't needed. You could make a V8 motor that could outperform anything on the market today, right up to the most exotic supercars, then settle down to cruise on less fuel than a 3cyl Metro, on the same gas.
Combine it with hybrid drivetrains, and voila, 100mpg car.
Tell you what though, you want to make a much bigger difference? There are 50 trucks on this lot right now where I'm spending the night. Every single one, including mine, is idling so the drivers can run their heaters. Diesel generators are available that would allow us drivers to shut down our engines and use 1/20th the amount of fuel over our required ten-hour break, while still running bunk heaters, block heaters, lights, and several thousand watts of electrical power for TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, and yes, laptop computers. Imagine, several million trucks, idiling at least ten hours, at least five nights a week. Now, mandate all new trucks with sleepers to come equipped with generators. Mandate a program to install generators on all currently running fleet trucks. Institute a subsidy for owner/ops to install generators, damn sure they all want to save fuel, just a matter of whether they have the money to spend now to save money later.
Imagine how much fuel that would save, and how much pollution would NOT be pumped into the atmosphere.
Now go to your local truckstop and look at those stupid IdleAire systems that are supposed to provide heat/AC and electricity so you can shut down your motor. Hmm, $3.00 per hour. $30 per night. Or $20 worth of fuel to idle, and only and unenforceable anti-idle law to sway me. This is what our current administration thinks will solve the problem. Yeah, uh huh.