Fitter, Healthier And More Mileage?

How much does the driver's weight affect gas mileage.This infographic created by Allstate and Cars.com is pretty interesting and self-explanatory. Holy nuts – 39 million gallons of fuel is consumed per year for every pound added to the combined vehicle/driver weight!

We would’ve shown the full infographic but it was obese so we trimmed it by 70%. [MNN]

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Thank You Toyota Prius: My Kids Now Think I’m A Hypermiling, Eco-Hipster.

Hybrid Driving Lessons Toyota PriusBefore I go any further, I want to point out that I’ve been called much worse than a hypermiling, eco-hipster. Even when it comes from my kids, the name doesn’t bother me. That’s because I know the problem is with the Prius. The car pushes me each time I drive it to improve my driving technique by informing me of my MPGs at the end of each trip. Stepping on the gas too firmly and I activate the gas engine; ease into motion and I can stay electric.

Another thing I know is that the name calling will not be limited to inside our car – it’s sure to come from outside too. The Prius is kind of a lightning rod vehicle that is viewed with the same, but bizarro, contempt as the Hummer. The South Park episode, Smug Alert, is a perfect example and pokes fun at self-righteous Prius/hybrid drivers. And as much as I tell people “I’m not one of them,” it’s still guilt by ownership.

So kids, keep working on new material. I’ve got thick skin. I promise not to embarrass you by holding up traffic but I am still more apt to drive like a retiree than a teen. By the way: calling me a “hipster” anything only encourages me.

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Ford’s Most Fuel Efficient Car Prefers Europe To US

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic TechnologyGizmag posted an article about the 2013 Ford Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology and it ain’t gonna play in the USA. We’ll still get the usual Fiesta and its respectable 40 mpgs highway while Europe will get the Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology and almost double our fuel efficiency by getting 70+ mpgs.

Why more mpgs in Europe vs US? The Ford Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology will be built in Europe and come standard with a diesel engine. Diesel engines are generally 33% more fuel efficient than their gasoline powered counterparts. Throw in the ECOnetic technologies (Auto-Start-Stop, Smart Regenerative Charging, Eco Mode and shift indicator light), and you can account for the remaining difference in fuel economy between the US and European versions of the Fiesta. And the cherry on top – the Fiesta ECO Tech will be Ford’s lowest CO2 emissions passenger car ever.

Unfortunately, we probably won’t see the Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology stateside anytime soon. It would take the car out of the affordable range if it were shipped to the US from Europe and Ford doesn’t want to spend the money to upgrade their factory in Mexico to build diesel vehicles. But if it helps Ford reconsider their decision and leads them to build the Fiesta with ECO Tech for the US market, I’d like to apologize for making fun of the Fiesta since the early 80’s. It was just too easy but I was wrong.

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I Want The Toyota Prius C

Toyota Prius C (City) CenterfoldFor friend* and family, I promise that if I do purchase the Toyota Prius C, I will not think I’m better than you by choosing to only hang out with other hybrid drivers. They probably don’t want me around much either.

The new Toyota Prius C could be the hybrid that people have been waiting for and it’s set to be released in spring 2012. Like the standard Prius, the Prius C still seats 5 passengers but has a lower MSRP of just under $19k. It’s designed for start-stop city driving and that’s why its EPA fuel economy rating for city driving, 53 MPG, exceeds what you’d receive on the highway (46 MPG). Combined, the Prius C will get 50 MPG powered by a smaller version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) that produces 99 hp versus the standard model’s 134 hp. You probably wouldn’t tow a boat with either model so bring on the small.

The combination of price, fuel efficiency and the fact that Toyota’s hybrid engines are now a mature technology make the Prius C a car to seriously consider if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. [Treehugger and LATimes.com]

*Friend is intentionally singular.

[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5D2qMEC0oU[/youtube]

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The US Is Getting Fatter And So Are Our Cars

SUV or Smart Car - Who'd You Rather?Since 1980, the innovations implemented in cars should’ve increased our fuel efficiency by 60%. So why did it actually only go up 15%? A study by MIT economist Christopher Knittel pinpointed the problem and it’s simple – we countered the gains in fuel efficiency by increasing the size and horsepower of our vehicles at an even higher rate. Mr. Knittel’s research paper, “Automobiles on Steroids” (PDF), outlines the results of his study.

According to the study, adjusted for inflation, gas prices fell by 30% between 1980 and 2004. During this period, sales of light trucks/SUV’s increased from 20% of all vehicles purchased to 51%. Manufacturers were building larger cars to meet the demand.

Mr. Knittel’s conclusion is that the best way to increase fuel efficiency is through the creation of a national gas tax. President Obama’s new CAFE standard that requires automakers to reach a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 will get us there but Mr. Knittel fears a “rebound effect” of the law where people would buy more fuel efficient cars and would then drive more. A gas tax would not only lead consumers to purchase more efficient vehicles but it would also encourage people to drive less.

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Why Would US Auto Dealers Object To Higher MPG Standards?

I have been struggling with this story for a couple of days now – Reuters posted an article, U.S. auto dealers fight Obama fuel rules, and I can’t figure out why auto dealers would be opposed. Maybe they didn’t like how President Obama was able to push these higher fuel standards, a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, on the industry in a way no politician has been able to in the past. Or maybe the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) truly believe that the new fuel standards are going to drive the cost of cars up too high for price sensitive car shoppers.

But that doesn’t seem accurate. Any possible car price increase is going to be immediately made up by consuming less fuel with more efficient vehicles. And according to a study by Maritz Research for Ford Motor Company, 42% of the people polled said that fuel economy was an “extremely important” factor in driving new car purchases.

Jubbling’s take: We really don’t care if the automakers or NADA are behind the objection to the new standards but we are sick of the foot dragging, politicizing and special interesting of every decision like this. We felt the same way about the clowns who were part of the whole “Light Bulb Freedom” thing. Sure the Big 3 really didn’t enjoy being held over a rail, nearly bankrupt and in need of bailout money when they agreed to these new standards because they’re used being the ones holding the cards in negotiations with the Dept. of Transportation about fuel efficiency targets. Not only is this no longer the case, but now they also get to deal with the EPA.

So who wouldn’t want to get more MPG’s out of their car? Nobody. So lets move forward with this golden opportunity to mandate higher MPG standards that will benefit future generations. It shouldn’t be a political issue because it’s really about common sense and unfortunately, common sense is not a deep-pocketed special interest group.

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