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View Diary: Think Big: Transportation overhaul would save money, create jobs, cut pollution, burn less oil (167 comments)

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  •  Just a word of warning about the 60 mpg standard. (1+ / 0-)
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    Calamity Jean

    I do no think this is achievable without a substantial number of electric cars and extended range electric cars (such as the Volt).  It is possible to have a 60 mpg gas or diesel car, but it would have to be very light, probably less than 2000 pounds, and only carry 2 passengers.  The crash safety standards make it difficult to make very light cars, especially when there are still a lot of very heavy SUVs still on the road.

    The Volt is heavy and expensive because the batteries are heavy and expensive.  Hopefully the batteries will get less expensive as production of electric cars increases.  But they are unlikely to get much lighter in the near future because of the fundamental physics of batteries.  One possible way to reduce the weight of extended range EVs would be to use a turbine engine instead of a piston engine.  Turbines are lighter than piston engines of comparable power, and using them to charge a battery allows them to run at their most efficient speed, eliminating the problem that caused turbines to never make it as an automotive engine in the past.  A bonus would be that it is easier to make turbines that can run on many types of fuel.

    The oil will run out.  I think that $10 a gallon gas will show up within the lifetime of many people alive today.  One possible model for the future could be autonomous electric vehicles for short trips, combined with rail for longer trips.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 03:03:17 PM PDT

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