Gas, and fuel-efficient cars, is this true?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Steve_Tk, May 9, 2004.

  1. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    If I had to guess, someone has read "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
    In the book, he speaks of shale oil, and that these reserves could last 250+ years. However, the cost of extraction might not sit well with a lot of people. I don't recall him crunching these numbers.

    It's a great book, BTW. The basic synopsis is that things aren't nearly as bad as the "Sky is Falling" environmentalists would have you think. The premise that he puts out in the book, though, that most of the "who cares" people seem to miss, is that if the rich, industrialized countries don't lead the way, and continue to push the envelope, the 3rd world won't follow.

    We lead by our example, like it or not. Right now, our example is "excess is best," so that's the goal that everyone the world over seeks to emulate. Of course, it's not sustainable on a global scale.

    Todd
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Shale Oil is an energy sink too. Sure, the "reserves" are there, but it takes more oilto extract them than you get from them in the end. Negative net energy = not worth it.
     
  3. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    There are untapped oil reserves in this country that will remain untapped because the environmentalist lobby wants oil shortages, because that is the only way they will ever rid the world of their most hated nemesis, the internal combustion engine.

    Im no more likely to CAUSE an accident in my SUV than you are in your honda. How ever, if we should be unfortunate enough to meet up, all other things being equal, I have a better chance of walking away than you do, and that's absolutely fine with me. If you dont care about your family's safety, fine by me... Buy the honda. I on the other hand will be in the SUV...
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I’m sure that, given your wife is in the business, you are aware that this is statistically not true.

    You might also like to tone down the political rhetoric a bit Eric. Your obvious bias makes it a bit hard to concentrate on your valid points.
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    On the issue of collision avoidance, insurance statistics show you to be dead wrong. You have access to that info. Look it up.

    Phil- I think you're looking at it wrong, when you use the term energy sink. A battery is an "energy sink," too, according to your usage. But, a battery takes energy from where it is not useful to me, and moves it to where it is. In that regard, hydrogen extraction from water is no different. If I use a source that is not useful to me in the location it's at (e.g. a solar farm in the AZ desert), and use that to create raw H2 for use in fuel cells around the country, then I am ahead.

    Now, many of these solutions are currently not economical, given existing energy infrastructure, but given further advances, they may be.
     
  6. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I agree with Steve S above, regardless of what the "next" fuel source is, the goal right now should be expanding the hybrid market. It's already here, it works, and it cuts way down on pollution. If it took 15 years (maximum aggressive guesstimate) to move over to 90% hybrids for daily consumer use, that buys us a lot more time to see how far hydrogen/methane/solar/??? power can mature.

    I would like a very efficient, low emission fuel source like everyone else, but realistically a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (or 40% more effcient cars today >> 90% efficient vaporware tech.)

    Good thread here folks!
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    It is easily demonstrable that SUVs with their high center of gravity are much more accident prone than cars. They have a higher accident rate, and that when they do wreck, they are more likely to roll over. Statistically SUVs are more dangerous to the occupants than Honda Accords. You may like the feel of a "substantial vehicle" around you, but if you really think it's safer you are incorrect. If you hit a car you're likely to turn over and/or roll and the car is more likely to stay wheels down. Rolling is more dangerous to occupants than crumpling. Interesting article.More interesting information
     
  8. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    It's amazing how many people have been brainwashed in to thinking that SUVs are safer.
     
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Todd, thanks for saying in one sentence what it took me a day's worth of rambling to express in my previous post. [​IMG] Suffice to say that distribution and infrastructure is just an important consideration as efficiency of production.

    But some lack of efficiency cannot be overcome - at least not yet. Shale oil is like gold on Mars: Great stuff if you can get it. I don't believe it will be doing any of us any good any time soon.

    WRT SUVs, I was recently unfortunate enough to witness an accident in which an Expedition t-boned a Ford Focus at high speed at an intersection near my house. The driver of the Ford Focus walked away from the accident. The driver in the overturned SUV didn't.

    Granted, this is an anecdotal account and should be nothing to base any decisions on, but it sure had an impact on me during my commute to work. I looked up the safety numbers for myself, and I recommend others here do the same. What I witnessed turned out to be fairly common.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    And never will be, so long as you believe the second law of thermodynamics.
     
  11. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    Sorry Drew, I just don't agree. Brainwashing has zero to do with it. Yes SUVs are more prone to rolling. i've already admitted that... That doesn't mean you are any more likely to BE in an accident than anybody else on the road if you drive within the vehicle parameters. ANY vehicle will roll if you drive it in a manner it wasn't designed to be driven. The only accidents I can think of that were CAUSED by the vehicle itself are those relating to defective tires and high speed treadloss. RARE!

    Lets face it, the vast majority of accidents are caused BECAUSE people drive the vehicle in an unsafe manner/don't follow the rules of the road. I've never heard of a case where a car just spontaneously rolled over despite the fact it was being driven in a safe manner. SUVs SHOULD NOT be driven like sports cars. SPORTS CARS SHOULD NOT BE DRIVEN LIKE SPORTS CARS. I don't drive that way and neither does my wife. So all we have to do is worry about being hit by one of you... Actually, let me rephrase that... All we have to be worried about is being hit by one of you while you're driving a Tractor-Trailer, School Bus, or Fire Truck. And as far as that goes, Ill take bigger over smaller ANY day. As far as the brakes go, I would put my 13.5 inch ML brakes up against any other car's... Never REALLY had to use them, but its nice to know they're there.

    Personally, I think the safest car on the road is the Mercedes Benz S600 Sedan, which outweighs my ML by about 250 pounds... It has a lower center of gravity, thus less likely to roll. Like my car, it also gets about 3 feet to the gallon. It also starts at around 110K. Other than that, both cars are very similar... They are TANKS. Ive seen both, post-high speed accident, and trust me, THESE ARE THE CARS YOU WANT TO BE SITTING IN WHEN THE $HIT HITS THE FAN. Why did I pick the ML??? 1. We needed an SUV. We have a kid and a dog, and routinely need the hauling space for the various projects my wife involves me in... 2. They have GREAT safety ratings even when compared to cars 3. I've actually witnessed one get hit at high speed (50 MPH) from the side by a Crown Vic. (not a small car in itself- more on this later). The Vic front end was DESTROYED. GONE. The ML had a small dent on the lower rear door (where a young child happened to be sitting) and the rear wheel was slightly caved in. The ML may have been totaled for all I know, but I know the occupants probably didn't care at that point. The door was still functional, opened fine, and there was ZERO intrusion into the passenger compartment. The occupants of the ML had no injuries. They were shaken, but not stirred. The Driver of the vic had non-life threatening head and face injuries, requiring an ambulance trip. I told my wife about this incident (we were looking at another brand) and she said "we ought to think about getting that instead..." It stretched our budget, but it was worth it.

    For comparison I've also witnessed a Toyota corolla (sp?) T-bone one of those giant U-Haul type ambulances at 50 MPH... Very similar accidents really. Except they had VERY different results... I was on the 11 o'clock news explaining what a HORRENDOUS crash it was and I had to give depositions in the subsequent wrongful death lawsuits. The ambulance was undamaged, however, the cardiac arrest patient in the back did die because the crew could not leave the scene and they had to wait for another rig to transport him. The Toyota's driver was a quad. She was lucky. When I ran up to the car, I could tell she was alive, but I didn't have much hope she would remain that way. I could hear a baby crying in the wreckage, but couldn't see it. The passenger compartment was COMPLETELY caved in and wrapped around the occupants. Gasoline was leaking all over the road, but didn't ignite... i've since learned that car crashes RARELY involve fire, even when the fuel lines are compromised. I didn't even find out what make and model the car was until the deposition because at the time it was unrecognizable. The front end completely intruded into the passager compartment and the impact was so great that when the car BOUNCED off the R.A. it traveled 30 feet in reverse and wrapped around a telephone poll (keep in mind, the R.A. Didn't BUDGE... Didn't MOVE, and had only a scuff mark where she hit it... She might as well have hit a brick wall). Her 8 year old daughter was crushed and killed. Her infant was saved because it was in a car seat, However it took over an hour for them to cut it out of the car... Would the occupants of the Toyota been LESS injured if they were in a bigger vehicle? Beats me... But I know it couldn't have been any worse. What I do know, and what I testified to is, if she hadn't been going 50 in a 35 she might have seen that BIG ASSED ambulance with its lights and sirens creeping through the middle of the intersection... LIKE ALL THE REST OF US DID... I also know the fact that the Toyota "got good mileage" no longer mattered to her.

    I have no problem with you driving a smaller vehicle... HAVE AT IT! But leave my vehicel choices alone! don't start pushing for government mandates that cars get X miles to the gallon, because I KNOW the way car manufacturers reach those mandates is by lightening and downsizing. I WANT THE CHOICE. You make yours, Ill make mine, and god willing we'll all be happy with the decision we make free from the other's interference.

    Philip- I don't think there are any roadblocks to safely tapping America's considerable oil reserves now, without the tapping process harming the environment. Let's face it, that is not where the environmental harm comes from. It comes in the USE of that oil in automobiles, which many people don't want to see. I understand that... I grew up in Southern California... I KNOW SMOG. I also know its a HELL of a lot better than it was in the 70's and Im told by my parents that smog levels in the 70's were a VAST improvement over the 50's and 60's. In my opinion, cars are clean enough NOW. For some, cars will NEVER be clean enough until they stop running all together.

    What we have is three different debates involving energy policy. #1 is "Oil pollutes." This is the argument that latently drives all the other debates on the subject of energy. Fine. I agree, Better MPG does nothing to change that fact and better MPG is what started this thread. In fact better MPG is the LAST thing people who care about smog want to see, because better MPG tends to increase pollution (The higher the avg. MPG, the cheaper the gas; The cheaper the gas, the more we drive; The more we drive, the more we pollute.) Thus, to stop pollution, the internal combustion engine has to be scrapped. Unfortunately, the internal combustion engine still pollutes less than any of the *feasible* alternatives. #2 is "we need to conserve oil because we're running out." No... We're not. There is plenty out there. The only shortages we have are false ones designed to drive up prices. OPEC has never said "oops, the well ran dry." What they say is "we feel like pumping LESS this year than last year... PAY US!" The offered solution to this is, "lets sink billions of dollars into designing something which runs on a different commodity than oil." Again, WHY? We have the better solution to the problem, a free market solution to the problem, which is "lets get back in the game ourselves, so that we're not DEPENDANT on an artificially set price." We could be one of the most significant members of OPEC if we took the cuffs off domestic drilling. There are companies chomping at the bit to tap ANWAR... They don't want tax money, or tax breaks. They don't want handouts. They just want to be allowed to tap one of america's (otherwise useless) natural resources so that the U.S. economy can profit from it. Why don't we let them??? See #1. #3 is "all the oil is in the middle east- If we didn't need it we could withdraw from the region." No... We couldn't. The fact is, oil and natural gas is going to heat homes, power generators and run furnaces throughout the world for generations into the future. Its cheap, reliable, safe, the infrastructure already exists and compared to other things we've come up with, its relatively clean, and getting cleaner. Further, other countries are NOT going to be able to afford to make the switch to the new fangled energy source. We might. But our own energy stability has never been our greatest concern. We get most of our oil and gas from latin america, not the middle east. Our biggest concern with regards to middle east energy is that all those european countries (you remember Europe right? They were the one's who were gracious enough to host the last two World Wars...) who rely on mideast energy much more than we do, have a tendency to get REAL COLD in the winter... Which means a STABLE middle east is a key to geo-political stability throughout the world for as long as we are all here.

    There is no magic wand that will make oil & gas irrelevant.
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I don’t disagree with any of this, and it is possible that the general statistical data would not apply in your particular case, given that the data includes many who no doubt do drive their SUVs like sports cars.

    Even so, the fact remains that evasive maneuvers are far more difficult and fraught with peril in an SUV than a sports car (or Accord). Of course I don’t have (and likely no one has) data that can weigh the added safety of being in an accident in a SUV with the increased ability to avoid an accident safely in other, more agile cars.

    In your particular case, you may well be safer in a SUV. But this is demonstrably not true for the driving population taken as a whole.

    As you indicated in your post to Drew, I have no problem with your driving a fuel-inefficient vehicle, although I would be more pleased, if our legislators removed the ‘truck’ tag from them and applied ‘gas guzzler’ penalties.

    I agree with your final comment.
     
  13. Kevin G.

    Kevin G. Second Unit

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    I work in the collision industry, I work on these vehicles every day. Statistically, I couldnt tell you the first thing about whether you're more likely to cause an accident. I will let those that do the counting rely on that information. Here is the problem exactly: Thanks Drew...
    Everyone FEELS safer therefore they travel at a higher rate of speed, the accidents are worse, the damage and fatalaties climb...
    No secret formula, no physics, no bu**s**t, simple.
    People don't care about anyone other than themselves, I hate to dissapoint those that think they do. I watch the stupidity and selfish acts on the roads every day. It happens because they either are running late or just plain aren't paying attention, [rant] or GOD forbid, somone take away their right to talk on the phone, while eating a cheeseburger, with their face in the rearview doing their makeup, between reading articles in the morning paper. [/rant] It's all about them, don't s**t yourselves folks.
     
  14. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    Surely you realize that most of our unicorn reserves come from South America (plus winter-time augmentation from Valhalla), and because of them wacko Peta-types, we can't even touch the unicorns in the U.S....I mean first you'd have to convince the unicorn ranchers and their lobbyists that it was a good idea, let alone replace the current gas stations and hook them up to those evil, tortuous tear-extractors on every corner just to supply your precious unicorn-tear-guzzling SUV.

    I swear...no matter what the issue is, you crazy unicorn-exploiter types are always sticking it to the unicorns: unicorn meat is better than beef; overpopulation of unicorns destroys the rainforest; unicorn season should be year round; and now we have the same old argument rearing its ugly head: unicorn tears hold the key to supplying the cars with power. I'm sorry...I'm just not buying it.
     
  15. Erik.Ha

    Erik.Ha Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I have to agree that there is no proof that larger cars = safer. You're looking at one perspective only, what happens when you get in an accident.

    You're looking at:

    1) IF you get in an accident A BIGGER CAR IS SAFER (I don't necessarily think this is true, but it could be true)

    And ignoring:

    2) Your LIKELIHOOD of getting in an accident in a less manuverable vehicle, with a higher center of gravity, and more mass (which = more momentum, harder to stop) is being ignored in your calculation.


    Even ignoring handling concerns, check the stopping distance difference between a light car and a heavier one.

    I would assume the negligible benefit given by the increased friction of the heavier car's tires against the road is offset by the HIGHLY increased momentum of the heavy vehicle. It's a matter of physics.

    I'll take my Grand Prix GTP's superior handling and low center of gravity, and definitely better stopping distance, and improve my chances of dodging/avoiding an accident, to having a bigger vehicle with more momentum and lesser agility. And I think I almost felt safer in my little Beretta than I do now - (despite the traction control & 4-wheel disc brakes).


    I dodged a large road tie lying across the road with one hand, in the dark, going about 45, in my Beretta (although a guy in a Cavalier had hit it before I got there, so I must have had better reaction time). There's NO WAY I could have avoided it in a big ol Expedition-sized SUV (and I drove plenty of big vehicles when I worked at an auto auction - I'm familiar).

    Analogy: Does the bigger fighter win because he can absorb more damage, or is it sometimes the more agile one that can dodge the blows the bigger one absorbs?




    As far as the hybrids go, I read a magazine article in one of the car magazines that tested a hybrid Civic vs a standard Civic in a cross-country drive. In some conditions a hybrid is barely better (and very rarely, sometimes worse) than a standard car. It seems like the hybrids are best for city driving (and maybe flat highway driving?). As we all know, EPA Gas mileage ratings are quite outdated. Has this changed over the years? They ran the calculations, and the extra cost of the hybrid (plus the tax break), and the better gas mileage, still worked out to only breaking even at near 100,000 miles.
     
  17. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Vehicles don't flip vehicles, drivers flip vehicles.

    To add to all the grossly out of context statistics throw around here...
    Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Top 10 vehicle models responsible for rollover deaths
    #4 on the list --> Corvette
    #5 on the list --> Camaro
     
  18. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    CR 2003
     
  19. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    >>Top 10 vehicle models responsible for rollover deaths
     
  20. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    The rest were either trucks of SUVs. You are missing the point though [​IMG]
     

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