I am a road-test editor by trade. Testing fuel-efficiency is a key part of my job. It seems odd that the EPA, NHTSA and CARB have teamed up on TAR, but that the DOE and USDA have been left out.
The Oak Ridge National Labs work on this topic is crucial. The world’s largest automobile manufacturers are all turning to highly-efficient downsized, down-speeded small displacement forced-induction engines. They produce more power with less weight.
Modern forced induction small-displacement engines LOVE high-octane low-carbon fuel. The most cost-effective way to achieve high-octane is with ethanol.
I have begun fuel efficiency testing with E15 fuel. My first E10 vs E15 test with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco produced remarkable results:
Does the time it takes to loosen or tighten nuts and bolts make you a little crazy? If you’ve ever seen the classic Charlie Chaplin film, Modern Times … where Charlie works on an assembly line, tightening bolts all day, and eventually wigs out, you get the gist. If Charlie had today’s technology, he might have kept his sanity.
The 2016 BMW 330e is a plug-in hybrid without compromise.
It’s equipped with a 2.0-liter Twin Power turbocharged inline four, paired with a lithium-ion powered electric motor and mated to an eight speed automatic transmission. The combined hybrid system output is 248 horsepower and 310 pound feet of torque, which delivers a respectable 0-60 mile per hour time of 5.9 seconds.
I hailed an Uber when I was in Charlotte a while back. When the car arrived, I was surprised to see that it was a Dodge Caravan. The Uber driver explained that he bought his Caravan because Minivans are eligible for UberXL which can generate more revenue. He also wanted to provide the most comfortable and convenient ride for his customers.
Some Uber drivers will tell you that the Toyota Prius is the best car to use. But that’s largely because it’s so good on gas, not because it’s the best ride for their customers.
The Dodge Caravan and the new Chrysler Pacifica are Flex Fuel vehicles. They can run ethanol blends up to E85. Ethanol burns cleaner and is 100% domestic. Department of Energy (DOE) Research says an E30 blend – 30 percent ethanol – may deliver the optimal price/performance ratio.
Adding a front lip was one of the first aero modifications I made to my 1999 Honda Civic HX Coupe (a.k.a. SLAMBO). I used heavy duty agricultural plastic to get the job done, cutting down a sheet of bamboo root barrier. Bamboo root barrier comes in a variety of widths and weights. The lighter the weight, the easier it is to make the bends. You won’t find it locally, though, and it tends to be expensive. Most folks use lawn edging like this Five-inch wide Master Mark Plastic Landscape Edging. I’m not sure if this stuff is too heavy to make tight bends, but it looks similar to the material that Mighty Car Mods used in their recent D-I-Y Lip episode.