By on October 4, 2013

Volkswagen Polo

While Americans are still asking whether it’s even wise to buy small turbocharged engines instead of larger naturally aspirated ones, we in Europe are slowly losing our ability to even choose a car without a turbocharged engine. Volkswagen has recently announced that it is going turbo only – but in our market, the transition is nearly complete. Except for base engines in Polo supermini and Up! city car, basically everything else has a turbo slapped on it – and it looks much the same with other VAG brands. Others are following closely – Ford eliminated most of its naturally aspirated engines, except for the base 1.6 in Focus and small engines in Fiesta. Renault is coming with new tiny turbo plants to replace small four cylinder NA motors – and is even introducing them to its low-cost brand Dacia. PSA, Fiat, Opel and others are heading this direction as well.

But, why is that? Is it that Europeans are more forward thinking, more interested in economy an environment than polar bear killing ‘murricans with their massive V6s and V8s? Is it the European driving style and road network, requiring smaller and lighter cars?

I think it is neither of these. And every time I hear or read Americans ranting about how the CAFE standards changed the vehicular landscape of the US of A, I imagine how European cars would have looked were it not for nosy European bureaucrats interfering with them.

Fiat_500A_Standard_Coupe_1939

It started decades ago with taxation. The government needed to find some way to tax the different car differently, so the rich guys with bigger, better and badder cars pay more than the average Joe (or average Hans or Luigi) with his Morris, Topolino or Käfer. They decided that the best way to assess the cars is based on their engine displacement – not horsepower, not weight or dimensions. I don’t want to go to great lengths about why the metric was chosen – but that’s how things panned out.

And since taxation (and eventually, insurance), made it very expensive to own a car with a big engine in most countries, the car makers designed most cars with small engines – not for the sake of efficiency, but just to evade high taxes. Of course, there were still people who could buy expensive cars with huge engines. But having, say, a three-liter, six cylinder car in Europe was always a sign of wealth and extravegance.

The simple fact that it was, and often still is, expensive to own a large-displacement car in Europe, is quite well known and illustrated by atrocities like Ferrari 208 with two-liter, eight cylinder engine offering a scant 155 horsepower (or about as much AMC Pacer of the time). But the secondary result was that by making the high displacement cars expensive to own, no one really cared that much for their economy. Large displacement engines were expected to be power monsters, bought by those who were willing to pay extra for performance. So, if you were to offer anything over two liters of displacement, you tuned it to be extra powerful, letting the owner know where his money went. Which, of course, meant that these engines became really thirsty – while average European 3.0 from 1980s or 1990s offered similar power to American 5.0 V8, it also required about as much gas… or even more, in some cases. There were exceptions, like BMWs ETA low-rpm, low-compression 2.5 litre six cylinder, but they never really caught on.

So, the average European buyer became used to the fact that large displacement automatically means high fuel consumption. As a long-time owner and driver of American cars, I have experienced countless encounters with people who were not willing or able to believe me that my car’s fuel consumption was what I told them it was. I was told that my 1988 Caprice ABSOLUTELY and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can get a fuel mileage better than 20 liters per 100 km (which is about 10mpg) – because a 2.0 car drinks 10l/100km (about 20mpg) and my engine is more than twice the size.

P1070808

Which means you can well bring a typical American car with a large displacement engine, which will out-perform most domestic offerings, while getting similar mileage and being much more powerful, but no one will ever buy it. Everyone wants small engines, and no one cares much about what happens with them in a few year’s time. And let’s not even talk about diesels and people willing to spend more than $100k on a luxury sedan, which will lose ¾ of its value in their four or five years of ownership, and then choose a diesel for it just to save a penny per mile.

But, nowadays, there’s worse thing than displacement-based taxation or insurance. Apparently, our planet is warming, or, to put it more precisely, the climate is changing rapidly. Which is hardly a disputable fact. And some say it is our fault. Which is a slightly more disputable fact, and it can be debated to which extent it is our responsibility. So, they decided that we should emit less CO2 from our cars. Which may be a good thing, even just for the reduced fuel consumption and thus less money spent for oil.

So, lots of governments tax cars by the amount of CO2 emitted from their tailpipe, and are fining automakers for exceeding the limits for average CO2 emissions. Which all sounds very nice and dandy, until you see one glorious, gaping hole in the whole scheme.

1000px-New_European_Driving_Cycle.svg

It is called the NEDC, or New European Driving Cycle. It is similar to American EPA tests, only much worse. You can look at the graph below, showing the speeds of the car during the test. And pay attention especially to the acceleration periods – like 41 second acceleration to accelerate t 70km/h, or 26 seconds to get up to 50km/h. Even a Trabant towing a trailer could do that. And no one would ever drive like that in the real life. Well, unless he is driving a Trabant with a trailer attached. And a brick under the accelerator.

Also, note that the car reaches a VMax of 120km/h during the test (the speed limit on European highways is usually 130) and stays there only for TEN SECONDS. This means two things.

Trabant601K

First, no car, ever, can match the NEDC figures in real life. And those are the figures you see not only in ads or brochures, but also in technical documentation. Which means really bad news for anyone with a company car – since you can only use the official fuel economy numbers when calculating fuel costs, the distorted figures will cost businesses money. One could live with that, if the effect was the same on all cars. If you could say ”well, this car gets 4,0 l/100km officially, so I can count on it getting 5,0 l/100km”, all would be quite fine. Only it isn’t.

It is common knowledge that large engines are less sensitive t driving style and load. With horsepower to spare, you can drive fast, with a heavily loaded car, or even tow stuff, and the effect on fuel economy will be relatively small. On the other hand, this also works the other way. Even if you feather the throttle and follow every hypermiling tip and trick, you’re never get a stellar numbers from your V6 or V8. Which means they will perform poorly on the NEDC test.

On the other hand, the turbo engines are perfect for hypermiling. Under low loads, a turbo four is just a little, efficient four cylinder engine, with wonderful mileage. But put it in the car, load it, be heavy on the gas, drive in a hurry – and your fuel economy will be in shambles. However, they perform wonderfully on the unrealistic NEDC test – which happens to be the scenario where they can achieve great mileage.

That doesn’t mean that downsized engines are bad. Something like Volkswagen’s 1.2 TSI/77kW, or Ford’s 1.0 Ecoboost may be a perfectly fine engine, as long as you choose it as an economy-minded power plant, and treat it as such. Those engines can really achieve outstanding mileage figures, but only if they are driven really gently. The effect is most pronounced in company cars – since fleet managers usually tend to buy cheap engines, the sales reps now end up with small engines, revving them to death on the highway, getting mileage on par with a V6 executive sedans, and killing the poor little things in the first 60 thousand miles.

And with NEDC being the basis for official CO2 figures, and CO2 being the biggest target of regulations lately, this problem is only going to increase. In order not to get fined, and to make their cars more attractive to buyers (via advertising great but unrealistic fuel economy figures), who are now burdened not only with displacement-based taxes and insurance rates, but also by CO2-based taxes, CO2 based congestion charges and other “green” levies, car makers will offer ever smaller, ever more complicated engines, shining in NEDC tests, but delivering real-world mileage figures that are increasingly out of touch with reality

2012-downsizing-is-upon-us-53043_2

I’m more than just a little afraid that in a few years time, naturally aspirated engines will become nearly extinct in Europe. And that anything over two liters will become an extravagance, like it was few decades ago, with power being coaxed from tiny little engines by equipping them with multiple turbochargers and other technical gadgetry. The new breed of turbo car will not be any more frugal, nor any more friendly to the polar bears, because they will be sold and taxed in the glowing light of the NEDC numbers, but ran and fueled in harsh reality of turbocharger operating in high boost.

And Europeans will still scoff at Americans for having their big, thirsty V6s, not caring even a tiny bit about the fact that Avalon V6, travelling on American roads in American pace, gets the real world mileage very similar to the Golf 1.2 TSI, or some other supermodern downsized turbo car about half the size, travelling on European roads, at a European pace.

 

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206 Comments on “How European Fuel Economy Testing Will Kill The Naturally Aspirated Engine...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Japanese car makers don’t think they need turbo-4′s either? The last turbo article here uncovered some misinformed auto enthusiasts. The blogsphere is what less than a year ahead of the public?

    Besides Europe has higher overall ocane in their gas which suits the turbo better.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      When I was in Europe two months ago, it was basically the same octane as here. They only listed the RON though. You had to do the RON-5 mental math to figure out what the RON-MON average should be.

      Perhaps the country you were in had higher octane ratings?

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      Octane levels in Europe are about the same as they are in the US, but the number advertised is different. In the US, we take the average of results from two types of octane test, the Research Octane Number (RON), and the Motoring Octane Number (MON), while Europe only displays the RON. Because these tests are conducted differently, the results are different, but in general, a multi-component gasoline will be 8-10 points lower on the MON scale than the RON scale. Thus, gasoline advertised in Europe as 95 RON has effectively the same knock resistance as US-advertised 90 – 91 octane gas.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’m not convinced. I know Mazda developed their new gas engines to be 14:1 compression ratio, but had to drop them to 13:1 in the US because of octane. If they are selling the same 13:1 engines there, then sure, I’ll accept that they have the same real-world octane. But if they get the 14:1 versions, then I have to conclude there is a real difference between our gasoline.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          redav and toplessFC3Sman – - –

          My understanding is that the truth may rest somewhere in between.
          While the octane calculation can show that 95 Euro is comparable to 91 US, my Euro friend-chemist tells me that Euro gas is more refined, more filtered, has a “tighter” molecular weight distribution, and provides an additive package comparable to Shell’s “Tier 1″, but in all the grades. So just “octane number” by itself may not be the whole story. And that may also explain why Euro gas is $8.50/gallon, and not 4.00/gallon!

          ————–

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            A couple decades ago there was a certain laxity by regulatory agencies checking to see if what was sold as “x” octane really was the right octane. I suspect that in plenty of places any such enthusiasm for enforcement has only gone down.

            There were similar issues in trying to find low sulfur diesel, especially when it first was required.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny ro

          Mazda explained it with an apology- american consumers don’t want to buy premium gas for an inexpensive car so they detuned the turbo. It was not because premium gas is unavailable stateside.

          I believe Japan has higher octane available more readily available than in US.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          Its not the gas.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating This is a good chart to see the comparison.

          The issues is American prefer to put 87 in everything. I know i do. If i have to put expensive fuel in a car I’ll switch to diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Japan has for ages had a similar taxation system to the described above. Only it was not just the engine capacity (anything above 2.0 is exponentially expensive), but on the car dimensions too – hence proliferation of 660 cc turbocharged Kei cars.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      Norm,
      Times have changed. The only questions
      are:
      1. what do you want the engine to do?
      2. And how well are you willing to
      engineer it?
      With variable valve timing, you can
      have your turbo-cake and eat too.
      I am waiting for turbo-compounding to
      raise it’s head. That will be a neat
      application in a cheap automotive
      engine.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      they probably don’t need turbos since they want to keep their reputation for reliability. Can you imagine the makers of the Northstar V8 to produce a reliable turbo-motor?

      In addition, most Honda/Toyota have pretty good real world mileage, why change to a real-world gas-guzzler?

      • 0 avatar
        Dubbed

        Actually it is pretty simple to imagine GM making a reliable turbo-motor.

        • 0 avatar
          sanmusa

          Of course! GM raped Saab for its turbocharging technology then kicked it to the curb. I don’t doubt GM can come up with reliable turbocharging.

          • 0 avatar
            HerrKaLeun

            It isn’t the lack of technology, knowledge and engineering I’m concerned about. But whatever the engineers at GM design, the accountnats/managers will make it cheaper.
            You know, a turbo always can operate with cheaper turbine alloys, cheaper bearings….

            In the 1960′s man flew to moon and came safely back… so we probably can manage building a turbo-motor that lasts 200K miles. But the accountants will change it to last to right after warranty period.

      • 0 avatar
        99GT4.6

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northstar_engine_series#Supercharged_LC3
        Close enough…

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Fun fact: a few years ago, I had a 1968 Ford Galaxie 500. When I looked to the user’s manual, I found out that my engine (390-2bbl) was the most powerful one to be able to run on regular European gas (95RON). Everything else, from 390-4bbl upwards, required 98RON gas. Which is the “premium” one in Europe, not available on every pump – the one VAG FSI engines required.

      So much for crappy American gasoline…

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        Back in 1968 American gasoline was probably the best in the world. They were using Tetraethyl Lead additive for octane enhancement. Back in the 60s also the US rated fuel octane by RON just as Europe does today but I’m not sure when the switch to (R+M)/2 was made, although it was probably in the 70s as TEL was phased out. In those days (so I’m told) it was common to be able to purchase 100 RON or higher fuel.

        Now that almost all our gas has been adulterated with ethanol and/or MTBE there’s probably a number of geographical areas with higher quality fuel than the US.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          E85 is 105 octane. Ethanol is a stupid thing to subsidize, but E85 is basically subsidized race fuel. Turbo cars can put out massive power on E85 if they are tuned to recognize and take advantage of it.

          Lead in gas was a massive, stupid mistake. It made generations of Americans retarded criminals.

          http://freakonomics.com/2007/07/09/lead-and-crime/

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/01/03/how-lead-caused-americas-violent-crime-epidemic/

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Those articles are not scientifically valid. Lead in vehicle fuel quickly precipitates, and unless you sprinkled a few pounds of roadside dust on every meal, does not find its way into humans. More environmentalist propaganda. Lead paint is another story.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Are you joking? Lead in vehicle exhaust gets easily inhaled. Lead paint is what is safe unless you eat it (maybe because you’ve inhaled too much lead from exhaust), demo and inhale it or it starts deteriorating. That putting lead in gas was a horrible public health mistake is not really disputed. Even the radical environmentalists at NASCAR dumped leaded race gas because of elevated lead levels in drivers’ and crews’ blood:

            http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15459620500471221#.UlESEEYo4iQ

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            LOL @ your lead argument. Lead has been absent in gas since the 1970s in the U.S. as it was phased out over the years. So even if we look back during the last 30 to 40 years, I don’t see any fewer retarded criminals now than there were back when leaded gas was in every American fuel tank.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            It’s not my lead argument, it is widely accepted as at least a partial explanation of why crime is so low.

            Homicide rates are at a 50 year low:

            http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-01-11/national/35438770_1_life-expectancy-homicide-rate-death-rate

            Don’t let media sensationalism or police/prison industrial complex lobbying fool you into thinking the crime rate is high in the US. It is at a historic low.

            And unleaded gas is one of the reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The scientific community isn’t ready to embrace the fact that crime rates started dropping dramatically, about 20 years after the “pill” and abortion became legal.

  • avatar

    I sort of gave up on Europe long time ago. I had an opportunity to emigrate to England, but even those people seemed a little off, what to say about the Continental part. You know, the biggest number of Chernobyil’s victims were not Ukrainians but little Germans, aborted by their histerial mothers who were afraid of birth defects. And that was before they went full crazy.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Europe won, displacement lost. It’s over. You want something over 3.0L you’re getting a truck or you better be rich. Hopefully these turbo engines are as reliable as people claim.

    Luckily our Windsors and 318s and 3800s and SBCs are hardy enough that they’ll be on the road for a long time.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Cry me a river. The small engine with turbo is STILL more efficient when driven gently. And most Americans drive pretty darned gently. Or sitting in traffic going nowhere. And it can still deliver the goods when it has to. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter how you generate the maximum hp, X hp costs y fuel, whether you make it with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, or 12 cylinders doesn’t make that much difference. But there is a BIG difference when you are only making a small percentage of maximum power. There is probably a happy medium – too small is certainly bad. 2.0L turbos seem to be the sweet spot. Efficient, plenty of power, very good economy no matter what.

    Real world – my current car is a BMW 328i wagon. 3.0L naturally aspirated inline 6, 230hp, 200 “torques”. My previous car was a Saab 9-3 SportCombi 2.0T 210hp, 220 “torques”. Both cars are the same size, weigh the same, are similarly aerodynamic, and are six-speed manuals. On paper, the BMW is faster. In the real world, most of the time the Saab would hand it it’s head on a platter. To get that 230hp, you need to wring it’s neck – max hp is at 7000rpm. The 200lb-ft is available across a wide range of rpm thanks to variable valve timing, but the Saab has a bit more, and across an even wider band. The Saab generally did about 10% better in fuel economy across the board, and more than that better around town. Now the six does have it’s rewards, it is certainly smoother, and it sounds a lot nicer – especially as I have the BMW Performance intake and exhaust fitted, but overall the Saab/GM turbo was the better powerplant. I really wish I could have the 2.0T in the BMW, would be nearly the perfect car. Other than I would prefer even more to have a 2.0TD instead.

    And of course if you want to go FASTER, getting more hp out of the BMW is a very expensive proposition. Call it $2000 to get 25hp by bringing it up to 330i spec with the variable intake manifold. Or for $5-600 you can chip the Saab and have 300hp.

    I give Europe a lot of credit for doing things correctly though. Here in the US, we have laws that force certain behavior onto the car makers. But there is nothing to force that behavior onto car BUYERS. At least in Europe, there are incentives to MAKE efficient cars, and more incentives to BUY efficient cars. If efficiency is being deemed to be a societal goal, then BOTH sides of the equation need to be addressed. The US has failed miserably at that.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Cry me a river.”

      That’s what we are doing.

      The Saab 9-3 auto had an EPA rating of 21, which is the same thing you got with the Lacrosse, CTS, or 3.9L Impala. All of which had engines that are a match for the turbo I4 under 4000RPM.

    • 0 avatar

      So true krhodes1. Simple truth, nothing exists in a void and the European push towards smaller engines was dictated by needs and not wants. There was no Texas anywhere in Europe, or the will to go occupy foreign lands in order to guarantee your hit. I agree that Europeans are more than a little obsessed with CO2 and that there might even be something fishy there, beyond the realm of a pure rational decision. Culture in the end is your answer, Europeans extended out into the world because they were aware that resources have limits. Centuries of war will teach you that. As an example, the meanness of French who live in the country is legendary, in spite of the fact that they live in what could be considered the most opulent country in terms of natural resources in Europe.

      As to taxation, it is much better to tax displacement than anything else. In Brazil the government used to tax hp. Bad idea. The limit was 127, so everything had around that number. From executive cars to more entry level cars everybody converged on that number. Nowadays the tax bracket is up to 1.0, from 1.1 to 1.6, from 1.7 to 2.0 and above that. 20 yrs ago, the first cars launched to conform to that new reality, well their 1.0 barely had 45 hp. Over time that figure is now at around 80hp and with the turbos will beat 100. Easy. The displacement tax in my mind is a fair indicator from the government that it wants fuel efficient engines. As long as the makers are free to compete and out-trump each other with each new engine, that’s fine.

      Finally, there’s simply no evidence that 1.0 engines are not long lasting. Empiric, yes, but I have a friend with a hard-driven, badly maintained 1.0 Fiat Uno. The engine has just reached 300.000 km. Other things in the car are a bit rough, but the engine is as healthy as when it was new. I used to think like the author until I started driving the 1.0 cars. From my experience and from talking with everybody from factory engineers to journalists I deeply respect for their knowledge, every one of them tell me to rev that motor. It’s made to rev. It’s tough, it lasts long and is intended to rev. Occasionally you hear some giving the contrarian view. From what I’ve learned, smaller engines will last as long as their bigger brothers.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        “So true krhodes1. Simple truth, nothing exists in a void and the European push towards smaller engines was dictated by needs and not wants.”

        Wait.. didn’t the article just say that the European Push towards smaller engines was dictated by arbitrary regulatory practices?

        • 0 avatar

          Yes Les. That’s exactly what the article said. It’s also exactly why the article is wrong. The existing legislator framework evolved in Europe due touched on in my comment. So yes, there’s no void, makers have to work within that framework that evolved over time, due to conditions prevalent in many European countries over long spans of time.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Marcelo
            I think many in America can’t fathom the impact that WWII had on the Euro countries.

            First up, if one looks at how and what countries drove after WWII based on the impact or devastation each of those countries had you can see a pattern.

            1. The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand were hardly impacted by WWII in comparison to Euro/Japan.

            These countries ended up driving large vehicles. Why? Because we had the money and resources to be able to regain our lives and continue much better than others.

            2. Scandanavian countries even though had some battle damage, weren’t as impacted particularly the Swedes. They had relatively large vehicles for a Euro country. They had more resources, ie money. Even to this day Switzerland has an affinity for large vehicles, as we all know the Swiss were neutral.

            3. Now we are looking at Germany, France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, etc. These countries were devastated with damage. Most money and resources had to be expended rebuilding homes, industry etc. Look at the size of the cars they had.

            The Germans built some larger vehicles, Why? To profit from the richer Europeans, and export.

            Also, the governments in Europe had to be the project managers for much of the rebuilding of industry, homes, etc. This is an important factor in why industry and much business appears to be ‘socialist’ as the Amercians call it.

            Several years after the war the Europeans set up the ECE, this was in 1952. This was designed to harmonise the construction and design of vehicles across borders. It had to be flexible enough to allow for the different stages of reconstruction and money across the Euro nations.

            The Japanese set up their own system which in some ways is similar to CAFE as it was using the vehicles width and length to determine engine size, etc. Look at the size of the average Japanese vehicle after WWII.

            In 1952 the average per capita GDP in France was less than 25% of what it was in the US.

            The Europeans soon realise that the US, Canada, Australia, NZ had relative wealth and they could export their vehicles.

            NA, Australia, NZ in the 50s and60s started putting in place harsher barriers to prevent and onslaught of cheap Euro and Japanese vehicles. The US came up with the Chicken Tax, DoT was fromed in 1967.

            Australia and NZ started ripping down its protectionist barriers in the 80s. An adopted the UNECE model in the 90s.

            The UNECE which evolved from the ECE system is used today, because it can allow for differences between countries. Not every country has the same requirement for it vehicle market. Affluence, infrastructure and environment all play a role in what a country wants.

            As I have stated, the US will have a better and larger vehicle manufacturing sector if it adopts the UNECE regulations.

            And it will still have pickups.

          • 0 avatar

            @Big Al,

            Yes the US was spared the worst of that wasn’t it? Brazil too BTW. It’s been said that from the material discarded from the construction of three buildings, another whole one can be built. That would be the norm for the Brazilian construction industry.

            What I do know is that Europeans are usually amazed at how wasteful Brazilians are. When they come and visit and see how we receive them, the quantities of food and drink served, the length of our showers, and if they go to work here, the wastefulness of Brazilian practices, they are amazed. At the same time Braizlians are amazed at the wastefulness of Americans. I have a friend who has a condo in Florida with central AC. He goes there 2 or 3 times a year. He can’t turn of the AC or the lights in his reception hall. He has offered to pay for the necessary equipment to change that to no avail. He’s horrified that his condo is air cooled year round when it’s largely empty, as is his entry hall flooded with lights day in and day out, when there’s nobody there to be benefited from it. That kind of thing, multiplied many times over….

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        “So true krhodes1. Simple truth, nothing exists in a void and the European push towards smaller engines was dictated by needs and not wants. There was no Texas anywhere in Europe, or the will to go occupy foreign lands in order to guarantee your hit. I agree that Europeans are more than a little obsessed with CO2 and that there might even be something fishy there, beyond the realm of a pure rational decision. Culture in the end is your answer, Europeans extended out into the world because they were aware that resources have limits. Centuries of war will teach you that. As an example, the meanness of French who live in the country is legendary, in spite of the fact that they live in what could be considered the most opulent country in terms of natural resources in Europe.”

        I’m not so sure about that. Europe – at least Britain – has the North Sea in lieu of Texas. The U.K. has been a net oil exporter for I don’t know how long. The price of fuel etc. are contrived, manipulated prices there.

        Also, talking about the US seizing foreign lands to get their ‘hit,’ then talking about Europeans in the context of centuries – and completely missing the irony there – is bizarre.

        • 0 avatar

          @CarnotCycle

          In the interest of being brief, what I wrote does come out as contradictory. Let me expand a bit in order to clarify. When I said Europe extended outwards due to limited resources, I was thinking of the gestation of the modern era. Portugal is a good example. A small, Atlantic seaboard, it has very limited natural resources and is blocked from getting more land by a much more powerful neighbor. Out to sea it went and founded the earliest of European world empires. That was an example of European expansionism dictated by needs.

          When I wrote that Europe doesn’t have the will to go out and use force to guarantee its needs, I’m thinking of the modern Europe. When Portugal equipped Vasco da Gama’s fleet in the early 16th century (IIRC), it was like the whole country was betting its future on that one excursion. Relatively, going to the moon was much cheaper and safer. Estimates vary, but Portugal lost between 5 and 10% of its population on that one excursion. It also guaranteed moneys to last it a century, but does a modern European country have that kind of iron determination? After the Suez affair Europe has been very timid of using its force overseas. Yes, it “uses” the US to that for them.

          As to the North Sea, I don’t really know when exploration there began. I’m guessing it was at least after the oil crises caused by OPEC. The fact that the the UK and Norway derive vast richness from that is unquestionable. That they choose to manipulate prices and etc. is obvious though Norway, due to its smaller population, has invested the money heavily into the population and its social welfare seems guaranteed. THe British? I have no idea what they’re doing with that money. I think very few are benefiting from that directly it would seem.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Excellent analysis. The correlation between Europe’s relatively timid behavior post-Suez is not immediately recognizable. During the Cold War one may argue Europe’s posturing depended heavily on NATO, but post 1991 Europe had more of a free hand and yet we haven’t heard from them much. In fact the only significant bit of foreign policy the continent has been engaged in since then was the 2011 Libyan Civil War. I’ve read analysis stating one of the reasons Europe has been so retrained was at least in part to do with Russian control of its natural gas supplies. Some argue European foreign policy has become complacent to Moscow. This may or may not be accurate but Europe has certainly become somewhat neutral in major policy decisions as you point out Marcelo.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Marcelo
            What about cork and port. The 2 go together!

            I like a good port :-)

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        The displacement tax also has an undue effect on viability of push-rod engines, which need more displacement to make as much power as a smaller OHC setup, but get a lot of the give back having lower friction and roughly the same weight for the power produced. Not to mention they’re cheaper to make, and have fewer moving parts to break.

        I’m not a push-rod fanboy, but displacement taxes hand that tech an irrational disadvantage competing with OHC setups beyond objective engineering criteria for a given application.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      You do know that the current 328 has a 2.0L T right? Making 240HP as advertised I believe. So if that is what you want, buy the new one.

      By the way, I also have a 328 (Sedan) with a 3.0L IL6, and there is no way that the HP and Torque numbers BMW advertises are accurate. It is much faster in real world applications than it should be based on those numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Of course I am aware of the F31 and the N20 engine. But I have a 2yo e91 with an N52, and BMW won’t sell me a new one with the same configuration as my current in the US. Manual transmission, RWD. So I will keep my current car for a while. Besides, if I bought a new one it would be a diesel. And not necessarily for the TCO, I just prefer the way a modern diesel drives.

        Had I the choice of my current engine or a 2.0T in 2011, I would have chosen the 2.0T. The new BMW motor is even BETTER than the Saab/GM 2.0T, as it is more modern technology, so even more efficient while being more powerful. Though given the choice, I would have actually gone for the lower-horsepower version used in the 320i. It’s a station wagon, not a racecar. And I would still take the diesel over any of them.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Also, the straight line performance of the 328i is right inline with every other car in it’s weight and hp class. So every automaker must be lying about hp. It’s ~.5-1 second quicker to 60 than the Saab, which is easily explained by RWD having better off the line traction, and the gearing, offset by the Saab having a bit of turbo lag and better torque output. The BMW is as quick to 60 as a lot of higher hp FWD cars due to the traction issue, and the fact that the BMW has stickier tires than most of the V6 family sedans. Much stickier and wider in the case of sport package and M-sport cars. Also the current fashion for 18″+++ wagon wheels on cars hurts acceleration times too. No magic here.

        Don’t get me wrong, the N52 is a lovely motor. It is smooth as a newborn baby’s butt and sings like an angel right up to that 7K redline. Great fun on a twisty backroad or on a track. But the 2.0T is a better all-arounder by far for the day to day slog. Either the Saab motor or the new BMW one. In a 1-series Coupe, I would prefer the N52, but my daily driver station wagon is not a racecar. I have other toys in my toybox for that sort of thing. But ultimately I care enough about the driving experience that I chose the BMW over my second choice, which was a VW TDI wagon. Love the efficiency of the VW, but the drive is just too soggy for my taste.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @krhodes1 – You also have the option of driving a normally aspirated V6 “gently”. But a tiny 3 cylinder turbo will get worse MPG than a V6 when driven hard. People want X amount of acceleration, no matter what they’re driving. Unless we can force the public into leaving for work an hour early or taking their sweetass time getting home, it all equals the same or worse fuel consumption and emissions. Otherwise, it just amounts to legislating more moving part and complexity. Turbos are just a loophole, not a solution. Why not supercharge and get instant boost without all the revs? Blowers turn at about half the speed of turbos, with half the heat and less delicate parts too. Boosting is for sports cars where you expect all the extra complexity, worn parts and headaches. Not to mention premium fuel and higher maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And the V6 will get much worse mileage than the 3 cylinder turbo when driven gently. 95% of the time, a car is driven gently. You are either cruising down the interstate with the cruise control on at 70mph, or you are sitting in traffic. Do you live on a racetrack? I don’t.

        Also, don’t forget that turbos have a HUGE advantage at altitude – assuming you actually do live in Colorado as your handle suggests, I would think this would be important to you.

        Superchargers have a lot of parasitic drag to overcome, whereas turbos are effectively using waste heat that is chucked out the exhaust otherwise. I get that superchargers have no lag, but turbo lag is simply not a real issue with a well setup modern car. You learn to drive around it when it exists at all. Automatic transmissions are extremely effective in masking it anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You spend the least amount of time accelerating, but that still consumes most of your fuel. Most people live at lower altitudes, but there isn’t a real reason to favour turbos over blowers. Turbos require fast moving air even though there’s no parasitic loss per se. And you can also drive blown car gently. But there’s still turbo lag getting off the line, even if there’s none between shift, thanks to automatics. Otherwise, the turbo would be all spooled up at idle. There’s no FREE lunch either way, but in the end you can’t have it both ways. With a small turbo’d engine, you can’t have the power AND economy.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          The tiny 3 cylinder gas engine was designed to replace a V6, it was designed to replace a 2 litre 4 cylinder naturally aspirated engine.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            That’s great, but there’s still no point in it if it has to be turbo’d. When a 2.0 4 cylinder replaces a V6, do they need a turbo to keep up with traffic? Or is a NA 2.0 4 cylinder a perfect place to stop? Diminishing Returns and whatnot?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “But a tiny 3 cylinder turbo will get worse MPG than a V6 when driven hard.”

        The theory is that it won’t be driven hard most of the time. The extra power that is produced and the fuel that is needed to produce that power is only consumed only on occasion.

        If you drive a turbo at 10/10th’s all of the time, then yes, it won’t provide an advantage. But many driving situations aren’t like that.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It depends on what you consider, “driven hard”. Or what the driver considers. They could just be keeping up with traffic at full boost. And like I said, most of the fuel is consumed accelerating. The difference in fuel consumption between a idling V6 (or idling along) and a 3 cylinder is negligible. You can shut off 3 cylinders in V6 while cruising, but not on a 3 cylinder engine. Or you can shut them both off at idle. What matters is what happens while accelerating.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            As usual, very much off base. The cylinder count doesn’t mean much when it comes to consuming gas while idling. It’s the engine displacement that matters. A 2.5L 4-cyliner and a 2.5L V6 will consume virtually the same amount of gas while idling. Any difference will be negligible at best.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You’re right, but 2.5L V6s are not common. Nor are 4.0L V8s, but they did exist. But OK, to keep the conversation simple, I meant common or normal V6s in the 3.5 liter range and common 3 cylinder engines, if you can call them common.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DiM
        A supercharger? WTF?

        A supercharger requires power to drive. A turbo is using existing energy that is being wasted, its called inefficiency.

        There is currently work being done on electrically driven superchargers.

        You will find these in diesels over the next decade. The idea is to provide boosted air to the engine at speeds below the threshold of a turbo charger. At lower RPMs.

        This will give a diesel massive torque of idle up to the point where the turbo charger can take over and provide the boosted air.

        You will soon have diesels with 100kw per litre providing far superior FE as compared to a gas engine.

        Diesel it the best option for future energy. Gas is near its zenith.

        Like horses the gas engine will be relegated for recreational use……….by the rich.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          A turbo has no parasitic drag, but requires more RPM to push the blades than a blower. But it doesn’t matter how you force more air into the combustion chamber, the super compressed air now requires more fuel or you have ‘lean condition’. That’s more Premium fuel, to be exact. Bigger fuel pump. Bigger injectors… More power means more fuel. Sorry, there’s no way around it.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            What?

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            The biggest drag about Diesel is that diesel has a lower yield from a bbl of crude. Is the better efficiency gained at the engine enough to offset the lower yield per bbl? I have not looked that up. Next big drag is that diesel cost a lot more than gas per gallon..

            DenverMike’s description of the process is correct.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Golden2Husky
            I was questioning DiM’s response.

            He stated exactly what I stated. That a turbocharger doesn’t use additional energy.

            Also he stated what I had stated about supercharging until a turbo can provide boost.

            Also, you guys better read up on the schiochiometric point in an gas engine as compared to a diesel.

            If he wants to debate the physics of the operation of an engine rather than repeating arguments he could come up with some useful information.

            DiM is talking 8th grade stuff. He’s trying to sound intelligent.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Not all turbocharged engines require premium fuel. This should be completely obvious to anyone who understand that they can be tuned for 87 octane fuel. Just look around and you’ll see quite a few factory turbo cars that use 87 octane as required by manufacturers.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Right again, but as usual, you’re nit picking and avoiding the topic. 87 octane just means less turbo boost/efficiency. But I like when OEMs give you a ‘Premium’ switch on the dash so you can choose economy or power.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Well, the rabid gearheads at Consumer Reports would call you out.

      They recently ran a comparison of various small displacement turbocharged mid-sized sedans against the new Accord with the n/a “earth dreams” 4. As Vojta’s article predicts, the real-world mileage of the boosted engines failed to match their EPA ratings. Moreover, the Honda engine achieved better mileage and better performance than any of the boosted engines in comparable sized cars.

      The comparisons you talk about are with engine designs that are 15 years old and, in the case of the BMW at least, were certainly not optimized for fuel economy.

      The fact is that an engine is just an air pump. And, given that fuel burn is optimized in a very narrow air/fuel ratio, fuel consumption varies directly with air volume through the engine. You can get the same volume by spinning a large displacement engine slowly, spinning a small displacement engine rapidly or running the engine at more than atmospheric pressure. The advantage of the small displacement engine is at idle and possibly, reduced friction from a smaller number of cylinders. If you use a hybrid or some other stop/start mechanism, you can eliminate idling.

      That said, I agree with you that — complexity aside (which drives the cost of manufacture, service and reliability) today’s 2 liter 4 cylinder engines — properly boosted — supply just about all the power anyone needs in a passenger car. The best example is BMW’s on turbo 4, which provides better performance and better fuel economy than the old N54 3-liter six in your car and mine, even though it has a certain agricultural feel to it that the sixes lack.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I believe this is exactly what I said. HP X requires fuel Y, regardless of how you make that HP. By using a smaller engine, you gain by having less friction, and less weight. And a turbo recovers otherwise lost energy. As someone else pointed out, a turbo is effectively displacement on demand – if you use all the power, you are going to use a lot of gas. It always cracks me up when someone points out that the old boat anchor V6 Malibu (or a Corvette) can get almost 30 on the highway. Well, sure, because it has skyhigh gearing. But they also suck gas like it is going out of style if you get stuck in traffic. I would prefer something that is efficient in ALL regimes, even if it costs more. Also as I have said before, even if the TCO is the same, I would prefer to have the solution that uses less fuel while meeting my needs.

        I also think that automatic transmissions really game the testing system. Due to the low acceleration requirements, the automatics stay in a high gear and post phenomenal scores. In the real world, they kick down, the engine spins, and it all goes right out the window. Real world is that with a manual transmission, you can get the car in a high gear and leave it there. Which is where a turbo has a big advantage – all that boosted torque plays very well with this. You keep the engine speeds very low and the throttle openings larger, with the boost helping efficiency even more by recovering that otherwise wasted heat energy. That is a major difference between the Saab and the BMW – the in-gear performance was so much better in the Saab.

        In this as in so many things, Saab was 15 years ahead of their time.

      • 0 avatar
        andreroy55

        I agree with all that. I do want to add that a smaller, turbocharged engine will weigh less than a larger engine. And to accelerate at a given rate, less mass means less energy required.

        Also, less weight on the front wheels will probably mean better handling, too.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Not so much. A smaller boosted engine needs a stronger build than a normal, but bigger (displacement) engine. Then there’s extra hardware including brackets, intercooler and the turbo itself. Suppose you save 50 lbs, that’s not much to speak of in terms of less downforce to improve handling and MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “The small engine with turbo is STILL more efficient when driven gently.”

      Yes, but who does that?

      You say most Americans do, but the complaints from people about the EcoBoost not delivering “advertised” economy ala the EPA cycle suggest otherwise. Most people seem to drive rather harder than the Euro-spec 40 seconds to 70 *km/h*.

      (Also, a great big permanent pox on “societal goals” imposed from above. Europeans are, indeed, “ahead” of us on that – and have been since 1922 or so, with another Great Leap Forward in 1933. It suffered a little setback starting in 1989, but seems to have recovered a bit…

      Instead of using force to “make” people “choose” efficient cars, I have the novel idea that they should buy what they actually want.

      This is not Forward Thinking, of course, but it has the admirable feature of not requiring all this force in the guise of “societal goals”.

      Oddly, “society” never makes those choices, just politicians and bureaucrats. If “society” made those choices, there’d be no need for the *force*, would there?)

    • 0 avatar
      mik101

      Stopped reading at “torques”. *facepalm*

      You also fail to address the issue of increased friction from the number of cylinders, rings, and bearing surfaces from the increased number of cylinders, which generally comes along with displacement since the sweet spot for displacement per cyl is somewhere between 0.3 and 0.6L.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      “Cry me a river. The small engine with turbo is STILL more efficient when driven gently. And most Americans drive pretty darned gently.”

      That’s because Americans are used to relatively large-displacement engines in every class of vehicle, with tons of torque and power-bands wider than their own fat American asses that just require the gentlest stroke of the throttle and Woops! There we are, highway speeds.

      Nobody on this side of the pond is particularly happy with the emergence of highly-strung ‘European’ style engines that bend over and go, “Unt Mein Hauptman, I am deserving the spankings now. SPANKING! NOW!” every time you nose up onto the on-ramp.

      Well, except for the Hipsters.

      Damn.. dirty hipsters.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Which means you can well bring a typical American car with a large displacement engine”

    This is a stereotype. The majority of new cars sold in the US today are equipped with four-cylinder engines. The take rates of V6 versions of family sedans such as the Camry and Accord are typically only about 10%.

    But what the US doesn’t have are displacement taxes. Tax increases for engines larger than 2.0 liters are common abroad, but don’t exist in the US.

    For companies with a major presence in the US such as the domestics, Toyota and Honda, they all have enough scale to produce engines that are oriented toward the US market. This results in a wide variety of naturally aspirated US-spec engines that are larger than 2.0 liters.

    The EU rules do impact automakers such as Volkswagen, which doesn’t sell enough cars in the US to justify offering a unique US-oriented motor. But the others are willing to make cars that are designed specifically with Americans in mind.

    If there is any nation that does have enough buying power to influence the future of US design, it’s the Chinese. I would expect overtime to see more evidence of US-market cars that were styled primarily to serve the tastes of a Chinese audience, although that may not have much impact on the powertrains.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe Vojta was referring to older American BOF V8 cars, such as the older GM cars he’s imported previously as is so fond of, rather than a modern NAFTA-zone car.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Those old V8s can do OK gently wafting around as one would tend to do with an old collector car. But give one to one of those guys who is flogging a 2.0l repmobile around, and I suspect you would need smelling salts when the gas bill comes, especially if they spend any time in urban areas.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Actually, even a 2.4 liter fourbanger is regarded as a ‘large’ engine in Europe. So most ‘American’ cars (like the CamCords) still have big engines compared to what we are used to in the old world. 0-60 times of anything less than 10 seconds is considered OK for an average car.

  • avatar
    mrdeedle

    So this means that in America we will finally get small high tech engines that like to rev and have character and get rid of those low tech 4 and 6 cylinder engines with average economy (2.5 VW 5 cylinder anyone?). For years Europeans and Japanese have been getting great engines up to 2.0 liters of displacement that we could only dream of having here in America.

    The answer is lighter cars, smaller engines. The benefits while will be better handling, more responsive and fun to drive vehicles. The smaller engines have freer reving characteristics as well as higher revlines.

    Also, don’t forget it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast then a fast car slow.

    An Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 is slower than a Honda Accord V6 but I know which one I’d rather drive

    I still believe there is a place for large engines in muscle type cars but for anything else the trend to small high tech engines is overdue in America.

    Go ahead and read a review of the BMW 1 series 3 cylinder and see what I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > So this means that in America we will finally get small high tech engines that like to rev and have character and get rid of those low tech 4 and 6 cylinder engines with average economy (2.5 VW 5 cylinder anyone?). For years Europeans and Japanese have been getting great engines up to 2.0 liters of displacement that we could only dream of having here in America.

      Yeah, that used to be the case. “Revs are free”. Hence your classic Honda engine, small displacement, but with rpm headroom for short bursts of extra horsepower. The problem with that was that what made early 90′s Honda engines great… multivalves, variable valve timing… have made their way into all engines now, so you get all that and a turbo in the latest and greatest.

      The problem is with the NA and EU test cycles is that it’s the pot calling the kettle black, neither are doing what they are supposed to. Instead of regulating turbos as efficient engines and light trucks as cars, a truly enlightened method would be to simply regulate cars by the amount of horsepower that they produce. End of story. You get 160bhp for a compact, and 200 for a midsize, you can do it any way you want, but after that, the taxes go up. Of course, that will never happen…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        How about *no* regulation and let the markets decide?

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Madness!

          Next thing you know, people won’t expect the State to run everything for them or something…

          (Why “regulate” [tax, I assume] horsepower at all? Why not torque or size of powerband? Or some stupid complex formula involving all of them?

          Besides, we *already tax fuel*.

          That’s providing an “incentive” for lower consumption anyway, as is the native price of fuel.)

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @28-Cars-Later
          I agree. But you will still require some form of emission regs. Oh, the barriers and tariffs that impede vehicle selection globally.

          Let the world decide what they want and can afford to drive.

          May the best vehicle manufacturers win, fairly.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO

            RE:”Let the world decide what they want and can afford to drive.
            May the best vehicle manufacturers win, fairly.”

            You’re on a crusade for ending tariffs and other barriers when it comes to the US, but this European form of taxing engine displacement is exactly the type of “trade barrier” you speak of.

            And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous 10% EU tariff on import cars and insane 22.5% EU tariff on import trucks, but the EU tests totally favour small turbo engines that can stay completely off boost for the test cycles. They’re given about a whole minute to go 0-60 MPH!!! What a joke… By then, trucks, buses and fat people on Mopeds have gone around your A$$, giving you the finger as they pass…

            Let’s call it what it really is.

        • 0 avatar
          99GT4.6

          Agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      “For years Europeans and Japanese have been getting great engines up to 2.0 liters of displacement that we could only dream of having here in America.”

      What you mean We, pale-face?

  • avatar
    afflo

    Mr. Dobes:

    “Even if you feather the throttle and follow every hypermiling tip and trick, you’re never get a stellar numbers from your V6 or V8. Which means they will perform poorly on the NEDC test.

    On the other hand, the turbo engines are perfect for hypermiling. Under low loads, a turbo four is just a little, efficient four cylinder engine, with wonderful mileage. But put it in the car, load it, be heavy on the gas, drive in a hurry – and your fuel economy will be in shambles.”
    ————————————–
    Well, that makes sense, as compressing the air and adjusting the fuel to match is basically adding virtual displacement. With a Tubrocharger, you have a car that more or less increases displacement on demand.

    If you need me, I’ll be trying to think of reasons why I wouldn’t want that. If I can’t, I’ll just use the I-can’t-think-of-a-valid-reason excuse!

    “But the complexity!”

    Pretty soon we won’t be able to buy cars with carburetors or hand-cranked starters.

  • avatar
    imag

    Great post. I am an environmentalist, but the point about the test procedure producing results that are not applicable to the real world is well stated.

    I am fine with some government intervention, but a horrible test is a horrible test, and it should be changed. As an enthusiast, the real loss here is in the sound of four cylinder turbo motors, which is dismal. The new Corvette is a great example of high performance and reasonable MPG in daily driving, especially on the freeway.

    All that said, while driving around the other day, I was musing that it would be interesting to test how much horsepower drivers actually use. I’ll bet that if you studied black box results, the vast majority of folks never use more than half of the horsepower of their car. If they do, I sure never see it.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    [ I am standing, clapping vigorously & throwing bouquets of roses to Vojta Dobeš as I write this ]:

    Bravo!!! Muy, muy excellente! Bellísimo!!!

    Europe can shove its pepper grinder motors up its POOP SHOOT – and THUSLY!

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Interesting topic. I’ve always wondered why Mitsubishi’s 4B11 engine got such lousy fuel economy…I know AWD is part of it, but otherwise is it just a case of it being overboosted?

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    The problem with the regulations is that they only take into account the CO emissions coming out of the car, while they ignore the emissions caused by building the cars in the first place, and the problems of disposing them.

  • avatar
    kkop

    I guess it’s tempting to view Europe as a monolithic bloc of countries that all follow the same laws and regulations.

    At least in the case of automobile taxation, this is not true. For instance, taxation in the Netherlands is (and has been for a very long time) based on weight, not engine displacement.

    The turbo engines are much more an effect of the stricter Euro emission rules than they are of taxation.

  • avatar
    tedward

    You make some fantastic points, but I think arguments will arise based on our country’s geography. If you live in a flattish state and don’t have tons of traffic to deal with, then a large displacement engine is absolutely a valid choice (applies to turbo and NA motors equally). If, however, you live in a congested area, one with lots of altitude changes, or one where you go back and forth from twisty roads to highways then a turbo small displacement car can net you a mileage advantage without necessarily having a brutal, high-rev + steady state, duty cycle. I don’t have much of any experience on european roads, but I doubt the majority of driving is done on the Autobahn. In that case it may be that their regs. do match the majority of their conditions, just not (some of) ours.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The best possible turbo is called hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      In the city, I agree with you. On the highway, not so much – on a strictly highway trip a Prius will barely best a Corolla in fuel economy. In the mountains, really not so much. Ever driven a Prius in the Rockies? I have, it sucks like the vacuum of space once you use up the battery. But ultimately, you have to choose a car for YOUR particular driving environment, which means it is great we have a lot of choices out there.

  • avatar
    AdamVIP

    This is just like on Top Gear where they have the Prius gun it around a track and an M3 follow at the same speeds. The M3 used less gas.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The logic behind a turbo gas engine isn’t for the horsepower.

    I read a study done for Ford. This study compared the differences between turbo diesel, naturally aspirated gas and turbo gas.

    The aim was to find a happy medium. That is to provide an economical vehicle to the consumer.

    The study pointed out that manufacturing costs were cheaper for Ford to produce high torque at low rpm gas engines.

    The study also pointed out that diesel offered the best possible cost saving to the consumer (on average).

    Ford adopted the high torque gas option to be able to produce a cheap product. Not the cheapest overall product to buy and operate.

    I also read a BMW article from a decade or so ago. BMW stated they were trying to develop a gas engine with the characteristics of a turbo diesel, much the same as Ford has done and every other manufacturer. BMW were looking for 50% torque increase at low RPM and no more than 15-25%(?) power increase, why to maintain FE.

    Modern turbo gas engines aren’t like the turbo engines of old. Turbo engines of old are more or less looking for horsepower, sheer performance as against higher torque at lower RPM to gain FE.

    Here is a link on a large family sedan with a 2.0 litre Eco Boost. Read up on how it compares to the naturally aspirated engine. The overall performance between the 2 philosophies is similar, except the Eco Boost does provide superior FE.

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/207497/2013-ford-falcon-ecoboost-review/

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Saab got this 25 years ago, but nobody cared. The 9000 and 9-5 with the 2.0T and 2.3T engines were phenomenally efficient cars for the performance on offer, but all the average buyer would see was a “4-banger” for $40K. Sad.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        What’s the point of buying a small FWD turbo 4 at $40k, when a much better built FWD Camry V6 SE can be had for $30k?

        There should a notable positive comparison result for making things complicated (i.e. turbo) or expensive (i.e. $40k). There is none in this case.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          A 2013 Honda Accord V6 is fully capable of achieving 23 city/34 highway, driven in a way and at speeds that REFLECT THE WAY REAL PEOPLE DRIVE IN THE REAL WORLD.

          It does this while “according” the driver and its occupants large, safe comfortable accommodations – with nearly 280 bulletproof horsepower on tap – that puts European turbo’d motorized mailboxes to shame, and the Accord will have a useful, trouble free life that is at least double the Euro-turbo mailboxes.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          A 2013 Honda Accord V6 is fully capable of achieving 23 city/34 highway, driven in a way and at speeds that REFLECT THE WAY REAL PEOPLE DRIVE IN THE REAL WORLD.

          It does this while “according” the driver and its occupants large, safe comfortable accommodations – with nearly 280 bulletproof horsepower on tap – that puts European turbo’d motorized mailboxes to shame, and the Accord will have a useful, trouble e free life that is at least double the Euro-turbo mailboxes.

          • 0 avatar
            CelticPete

            Bull. A BMW 3 series has a quartermile time of 13.9. A Honda Accord V-6 14.1. There is no shaming going on..

            I prefer a large displacement NA engine as well. But if you want to talk power – turbos are hard to beat.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The 9th Gen Accord V6 owners have a beef with you DeadWeight.

            A Verano Turbo will see 35-36 mpg highway on 87 octane with 30 less horsepower.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @wsn

          Because a the Saab was a much nicer and far more interesting car than the Camry? One that there isn’t 50 of in every supermarket parking lot, and that has a ton of the nice little features and extra engineering that separate a premium car from the mass-market beige dreck? That IS the usual reason to spend more on a car after all.

          But if all that is lost on you, then enjoy your Camry and spend the extra $15K on golf lessons or hookers and blow. Whatever floats your boat.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedloh

      “The logic behind a turbo gas engine isn’t for the horsepower”

      Yes!

      I recently switched cars from a Volvo 850 turbo to a Volvo v40. One of the nicest things about the v40 is its “light pressure turbo” system. All the torque is available so early that it just makes day to day driving so much nicer while still getting good mileage on the highway. It’s not as powerful as my 850T was but I don’t really notice it much because I’m not slamming on the gas all the time.

      If fords Eco-Boost engines accomplish the same thing as my v40s engine does then I feel that they are heading in the right direction.
      Putting torque where its most usable is something that turbos seem adept at.

      Now if only my v40 had a 6 speed auto instead of a 4-speed……..

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Nedloh
        I’m sorry that didn’t type the way I wanted it to. The idea of a modern turbocharged engine isn’t for horsepower.

        They are mainly chasing low down torque.

        I do apologise.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    Our family car was a B5 Passat with a 1.8 Turbo for quite a few years. We chose it over the V6 for MPG. And it delivered. We could eke out about 34 mpg driven gently on the highway, but the other lead footed drivers in the household would net maybe 28 on the highway and 21 around town. The V6 never would have approached those numbers no matter how it was driven.

    I would have preferred a 2 liter NA 4 cylinder for simplicity’s sake and for weight savings and lived with slightly slower acceleration in some instances when carrying a load.

    I think the hybrid route is better than the turbo route since you can drive on electric in traffic using no gas at all, rather than idling. That’s one of the best featurs of our Prius C: at a traffic light, it uses no energy. Sitting still in a merge – nothing.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Vojta, obviously for the sake of argument it’s ok to say ‘Europe’ suggesting that regulations are somewhat uniform, but as you may know there are huge differences between countries resulting in vast price differences.

    Sadly, right here in the Netherlands the gubment absolutely hates cars that are not Citroen C1s. I won’t bore anyone with all the details but just one example:

    In Germany the last price of the E92 M3 was about 70K. Right here in the Netherlands…135K. Yes, almost double the price. Mind you the DKG equipped version was 12K cheaper(!) cause it was slightly more fuel efficient on paper.

  • avatar

    The new Mazda3 with the 2.5 engine has great MPG. 28/38 Proving that you can get excellent mileage with larger displacement.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Congratulations on a splendid and thought provoking article. May I offer a few observations as an outsider from the energy industry and also a former regulator?

    1. The CO2 issue is real in some regulators’ minds but fundamentally bogus in your context. This is not because controlling CO2 emissions overall is not crucial, but because motor vehicles are such a small contributor. There are many bigger fish to fry, and with luck a 50 year time window in which to fry them.

    2. Government regulation itself always contains flaws. Sometimes, these are ridiculous. Nevertheless, when there are shortcomings in the free market, it is all we have left.

    3. When ultimate survival is at stake, sometimes one sees very extreme government policies. I recall seeing data that quite recently the price of rice in Japan was six times as much as in Thailand. If the ships from foreign lands quit coming for a few years, the Japanese truly want to avoid a mass die off. An insurance policy, if you like.

    4. Continental Europe produces almost no petroleum. Their population has enormous engineering skills. In a worse case scenario, they want to be able to get by for a few years on petroleum just from the North Sea and Libya. This will always condition their regulatory climate.

    5. Except for the depths of the recent Great Recession, we have seen $100 oil for half of the past decade. Historically, high oil prices for this long are unusual. Oil booms are typically shorter. Fracking will put an end to this fairly soon. $70 (maybe less) will thence become the upper limit on crude oil prices. Fracking is essentially an industrial process not, as yet or in the foreseeable future, constrained by resource base considerations. So, its production cost will tend to dictate world oil prices.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Pch101
    I will learn you a little about the world outside of the US.

    1. There are many who view UNECE as European. Wrong. It is global.

    2. UNECE regulations were formulated to facilitate trade, not impede trade. Barriers and tariffs do that. These can be technical ie, CAFE, design regulations etc. Or they can be taxed based ie, chicken tax, import duties, etc.

    3. UNECE regulations don’t dictate the size of an engine a country will be able to use. Look at Australia we have V8s and many vehicles like the US with engine capacities over 3 litres, but yet we are UNECE compliant. Now, you are thinking to yourself, how can this be so? The Europeans are doing it differently?

    4. How the UNECE tends to work is if a Mazda 3 is sold in Australia it will be pretty much the same as a Mazda 3 in Singapore, UK, New Zealand, even Germany or France (LHD/RHD). Even an HSV Maloo ute can be sold in any UNECE country if made LHD or RHD. The only limiting factor is what the specific government has regulated for the style and size of vehicles they want to sell. But a LHD Maloo can be driven and sold in any UNECE compliant nation.

    5. Take France, diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline. In Australia gasoline is cheaper than diesel. So naturally the French will have a greater proportion of diesel. Also France has a higher rate of taxation on vehicles and fuel. This will make for a smaller vehicle market. This has nothing to do with the UNECE other than emission and design requirements which will be the same in both countries.

    So, before you start with your bull$hit understand how the world does actually work.

    As I’ve stated there are no reasons to fear UNECE regulations, it will be your government that I would fear. Because its your government that will decide how to manage UNECE regulations, not Australia or the Europeans, not anyone.

    Your live on fear. You thrive on the fact that you think something or someone always wanting to take out the US.

    Look at fact and reality, the US has developed the wrong vehicle regulations over the past 50 years or so, to protect the Big 3. When it went down the road of developing protectionist measure it could afford to do it. It represented a much larger slice of the global vehicle market. Now it doesn’t.

    Like I’ve state the US should look at what the rest are doing. This will improve your auto industry.

    It doesn’t mean you will live like Europeans.

    UNECE regulations were designed to suit many markets with just as many differing requirements. The US fits in, but the UAW/Big 3 don’t want to, not the populace.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BAFO – Can you go 1/2 a tread without bring up the Chicken Tax and UNECE regs? They are not the world’s standard and the CT does nothing that the 2.5% tariff on cars doesn’t do. Can you ever stop yourself from trolling? The UNECE may facilitate trade, but essentially block trade with the US. UNECE countries and its citizens lose out on American cars and trucks because of it. Everyone loses. All the viable cars and trucks of the world are currently sold in the US or have sold here. The US is about as wide open as a market can get.

      US DOT and EPA regs were developed for all the right reasons, plain and simple. The UNECE regs that followed afterwards had the same intentions, but were carefully crafted to block US cars and trucks. Insane EU tariffs do the rest. That’s fear. That’s protectionism at its finest.

      ON Topic: The European FE testing is stupid. Turbos are the allowed loophole, not the solution. The EU needs to focus on Emissions and Fuel Economy. Let the market and OEMs figure out the best way to achieve those goals. All that is gained is boosted engines that game the system, but it amounts to chasing one’s own tail. Turbos add tremendous complexity and are worse offenders when driven hard.

      You say you advocate giving people choices while UNECE regs and these EU test do nothing but kill “choices”.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “There are many who view UNECE as European. Wrong. It is global.”

      It is very clear from your comments that you have no idea whatsoever of what UN ECE actually does.

      UN ECE simply creates categories of items that are subject to standardization. The degree of standardization and each member nation’s approach to applying those standards to cars sold within their own borders can vary quite a bit.

      There are no true global standards. Cars designed for developing countries generally can’t be sold in first world countries because they won’t comply with their rules. Japan has its own approach to rules that doesn’t recognize approvals made by others, such as the Europeans.

      I don’t understand why you invest so much effort in this disinformation campaign of yours, but you truly don’t know what you’re talking about most of the time. Try doing some research before typing your half-page screeds, as they are currently riddled with half-truths and falsehoods.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Pch101
        Read up and learn.

        As I’ve stated to you in the past, provide links to support your opinion.

        If you have opinions they must have some factual basis that can be supported.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Al, if everything was as harmonized as you believe, then the EU and the ACEA wouldn’t be wrestling with the Japanese over Japan’s type approval process. (If you knew about Japan’s approach to type approval, then you’d know exactly what I’m talking about.)

          If it was harmonized as you believe, then it wouldn’t be possible to sell cars in Latin America that get zero stars on Latin NCAP, which can’t be sold in Europe.

          If there was as much harmony as you believe, then it would be possible to import cars into the UK from anywhere, but as it turns out, cars made for Africa, the Middle East and Latin America generally don’t qualify because they feel to meet safety standards.

          Your knowledge of this topic seems to come from a certain former editor of this website, and he was quite good at omitting facts that were inconvenient and at generally distorting how these things work in real life.

          Euro V comes out of the European parliament. Australia decided on its own to adopt the Euro V standard.

          CO2 emissions are another thing altogether. It’s clear from the Ram Diesel review thread that you didn’t understand the direct relationship between CO2 emissions and fuel economy until I explained it to you. Feel free to thank me later.

          Perhaps this guy can help you to start learning how little harmony that there is:

          __________

          Auto regs in Japan, the EU and the United States are far from being harmonized: Japan and the EU use type approval, but require each other’s cars to undergo more testing. The United States has its own self-certification system. The lack of harmonization makes it difficult to determine which market — if any — has regulations that are truly “unique.”

          http://www.autonews.com/article/20120914/OEM01/120919897/are-japans-auto-regs-nontariff-barriers

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think the title of this article is a little misleading.

    The European Union has a different idea on how to manage their vehicle fleet than say Australia or New Zealand or any country outside of the EU.

    As Pch101 and DiM helped me realise the UNECE regulations don’t mean European. Neither does the EuroV or VI or whatever mean it’s European.

    As I discussed earlier in Australia we are using the Euro form of emission controls (and are UNECE compliant) and yet we are managing to operate vehicles very similar to the US. That is larger capacity V8s and V6s along with 4s and turbo gas and diesel.

    All the Euro emission regulations require is vehicles of a certain weight can’t exceed certain levels of pollutants. This doesn’t mean turbo charging.

    Turbo charging is a way the manufacturers can meet the emission regulations.

    The requirements from the EU governments has more to do with the size of the engine capacity and vehicles than the UNECE.

    That is why the Japanese/Koreans can meet UNECE and not use turbocharging as much as the EU nations. I think this is likely to change.

    Due to their harsher regulatory environment the EU is encountering will continue to allow for EU always being ahead of the US with its outdated policies managing its auto sector.

    This will mean the US will continue to obtain EU technology. Clever move by the EU. Maybe the US should adopt their regulations so the US can develop the technology and export it to the EU.

    That would make good business sense.

    Adopting the UNECE will still allow for the production of full size pickups, don’t forget we are UNECE compliant and import US full size pickups.

    Allow for midsizer to be more competitive as well.

    We have large family sedans and wagons with V8s under the UNECE regulations, the US could also have them again in greater abundance.

    UNECE compliance by the US sounds quite attractive.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Australia is a Free Trade zone with the US. The EU is not and may never be. The EU’s 10% tariff on import cars and 22.5% on import trucks is ridiculous and aimed squarely at the US. Scared is right.

      Taxing by engine displacement is just another trade barrier. It makes no sense otherwise. Turbos just game the regulations and add needless complexity just to pass the EU tests. Real world driving makes turbos pollute more and get worse MPG than normally aspirated engines 2X the size.

      If the rest of the world adopts the EU’s stupid regulations, they’ll change the rules again.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DiM
        Again WTF?

        We are discussing vehicle design standards, not tariffs, taxes and Free Trade Agreements.

        Get with the flow, man :-)

        Trying to deflect an argument, again?

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I think it does.

      I’d like to just see the current standards maintained along side un ece as much as i hate us standards sometimes. This is what all the automakers are pushing for.

      The only huge difference is headlight pattern, side markers, and side retro reflectors. To be honest the side markers don’t do diddly squat. They used to work pretty well before they started integrating them into taillights and headlights. The retro reflectors don’t provide a purpose more than once in a blue moon.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      You are confusing traditional emissions (CO, NOx, HC), which are tested in bi-annual inspections, and governed by Euro x rules, with CO2 limits for manufacturers, CO2 based road taxes etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Vojta Dobeš
        We are using UNECE and EuroV currently in Australia. Look at the vehicles we are able to operate.

        As for the CO2, NOx, HC I’m not confusing anything. That is part of the Euro emissions system. The Euro system appears more integrated than the US system of CAFE which determines mpg. EPA which determines NOx, CO2, etc. But I might add this Euro emissions system isn’t just European, is a global standard, like other UNECE vehicle regulations.

        The Europeans have smaller vehicles, so on average they emit less NOx than the average American vehicle even though their limits in the US are more stringent. Why? The US runs on average larger engines and vehicles. The EU is running tighter CO2 limits which translate into FE or fuel burnt.

        Like the US the EU itself has regulated what’s occurring.

        What I’m stating is the US can make the change to UNECE and EuroV emissions and not have much of an impact on their auto industry, other than they have to become more competitive in light to heavy duty commercial vehicles

        I’m all for turbo technology. It appears Ford is as well and many other countries.

        But most importantly of all is I’m for more a more liberal and open auto industry. Not like the US and Europeans who are trying to protect their industry at the expense of the consumer.

        The US is worse at this than the EU countries.

        At least in Europe you can grey import vehicles from the US. But the US can’t even grey import an efficient global vehicle.

        In the end the Europeans have set themselves up to develop the technology that the US will need a little further down the track.

        The US can change this and become more competitive.

        This is why most of the turbo tech/diesel tech is carried out in the EU.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I find it amusing that you explain to Al that he doesn’t understand the topic, and that he “rebuts” that by typing more than 300 words that confirm that he doesn’t understand the topic.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Pch101
          Look at the title of this article.

          “How European Fuel Economy Testing Will Kill the Naturally Aspirated Engine”.

          We use this so called Euro system in Australia. Why then do we have a fleet of vehicles in Australia more aligned to the US ie large engine none turbo gas.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Al, it’s really a shame that I know more about your country than you do.

            Australia has its own unique fuel economy testing regime, which differs from the European cycles.

            The Europeans use their fuel economy cycles to tax vehicles based upon emissions/fuel economy, and to impose fleet averages that are similar to the US CAFE system.

            Euro V deals with tailpipe emissions that can be regulated with various emissions equipment, such as catalytic converters.

            It isn’t possible to regulate CO2 emissions with extra equipment — the only way to reduce CO2 emissions is to burn less fuel. The EU and US will both be pushing EVs and hybrids in order to reduce the fossil fuel usage. The EU will do this in the name of greenhouse gases while the US will emphasize reducing oil dependency, but it’s basically the same thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            You again make a personal attack.

            This indicate you have nothing.

            Good bye.

            P.S. What interest group are you supporting :-)

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    If you want to minimize fuel use for the worlds fleet through the mechanism of taxes, hire an engineer and ask him to list and sort the causes of fuel use- then tax accordingly starting at top of list with heaviest tax.

    Basically disaggregate air drag and mechanical friction and tax the appropriate driving factors such as total silouhette, drag coefficient, tire width, weight, and so on.

    This would probably lead to long low narrow slippery cars with small motors and narrow tires being taxed less. Sort of the opposite of an American SUV.

    Alternatively, tax the fuel heavily enough to discourage its use.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      An engineer asked to analyze fuel use would probably look at fuel use.

      The non engineers in Washington have ignored fuel use in favor of fuel rate for 40 years now. It doesn’t work any better now than it did then.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Since TTAC has been clearly avoiding the Big White Elephant in the Room because of its pronounced anti-GM bias, it is obvious that the C-7 Vette is going to turn most of these politically-driven equations on their head.

    It is a ferociously fast hotrod that very likely will get well above 30 mpg and possibly even touch 40 mpg in real world driving. The LS engines get insanely good gas mileage, and the new LT1 looks to shame all of the previous ones in that regard.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Technology! Oh the humanity! The horror, The horror.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I hate the displacement-based tax approach, it is stupid. You are not really taxing petrol use, you are taxing just one factor in petrol use.

    Before anyone calls me a euro-phobe, I’ll say the comparing euro to USA their gas tax is much better way of reducing petrol use. Petrol tax addresses just about all aspects of economy – makes people drive less, live closer to work, drive more carefully.

    As an engineer I hate the displacement approach because it reduces technical options. If you can make a 8 liter motor get good mileage, or if you want to drive a conversion van for vacation and walk to work not problem.

    The US also has some really really dumb ways of approaching fuel use:
    * regulating cars and “light trucks” but not the really big iron like f350′s.
    * regulating trucks and cars differently
    * basing CAFE on wheelbase and track etc in hideously complicated regulation

    Get rid of all this junk and add tax.

    BTW talking we several co-workers who came from Germany: they are amazed at how expensive used-cars are here, and they are amazed at how long cars last. Statistically US drives cars many more miles.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The F-350 CAFE exempt but it’s at the lower end of commercial heavy dutys and not really for normal transportation or commuting. You can use it any way you want, but it does get taxed many other ways.

      The CAFE “footprint” is complicated and wrong on many levels. The EU’s ‘weight’ tax is simpler, but no better. At least the footprint tax/schedule doesn’t compromise crash safety, especially rollover protection.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        Thats a half truth. CAFE doesn’t apply but the EPA now has standards that heavy duty vehicles, and medium duty passenger vehicles ( f350 ) must improve fuel economy and reduce co2.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Onus
          The next Super Duty pickups will have new diesels.

          I think from 2014MY the engines will have to meet more stringent emissions requirements.

          HDs of > 8 500lbs will have to meet this.

          HDs are bracketed with heavy trucks concerning emissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      The problem is the US infrastructure is built around the use of cars.

      Europe can tax the crap out of fuel as they can force people into very nice public transportation. We don’t even have public transportation in most parts of this country. If you want to really anger poor people then yes raising the gas tax is the right choice.

      You don’t want to live in most us cities at least around here. Marred with decades of white flight and little upkeep by the poor that were left.

      I am all for living closer to work though.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “BTW talking we several co-workers who came from Germany: they are amazed at how expensive used-cars are here, and they are amazed at how long cars last.”

    Well there is an obvious answer to their amazement: Fewer VWs are sold in the US than Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      OM617

      There is another obvious answer: Cars in Germany are subject to thorough safety inspections every two years. Many of the ‘long lasting’ cars in the U.S. would fail the tests in Germany, require expensive repairs and would likely go to the crusher. You don’t see cars with corrosion or with obvious mechanical defects as you do in North America

      These rigorous tests, along with the high cost of car ownership in Germany shrink the demand for used cars. (pushing demand down, and therefore prices down) Since you have to be more affluent to drive a car in Europe, there are less people seeking the old, used stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        That is certainly one factor. Another is that despite Pch101 going on about how the average German makes less than the average American, Germany is a VERY prosperous country. The sort of lower middle-class working person who is financially stressed in America is MUCH better off in Germany, and far more financially secure. They can afford new cars, and they buy new cars. Germany does not have all the Wallstreeters and Dot.com millionaires skewing the averages on the high side, but they don’t have legions of people making minimum wage at McWalmart either. Thus they buy a lot of new, relatively expensive cars per capita.

        It’s not so much that you have to be affluent to drive a car in Europe, it is that a higher percentage of Europeans live in places where you don’t necessarily NEED a car, or they only need one car per family. Just like living in more urban areas in the US that have decent public transportation. Get out to more rural areas and most everyone has a car, just like here. Rural Swedes are not dependent on public transportation, though they still have far more options than in the US – they are just willing to pay for those options. They have made a societal choice to make driving more expensive, and to subsidize alternative transportation. We made a different societal choice here in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @krhodes1
          I think you have that spot on.

          I have family in France and visit them often. In the more rural areas vehicle ownership isn’t that much different than Australia or the US.

          But my cousins in Paris it is a different story. One literally can’t own a vehicle because there is no parking at all, and he lives 100m from the Metro. Manhatten has better parking than Paris.

          The other lives on the outskirts and own one car. He travels with his wife to work into Paris everyday by train the RER. So his car is used for shopping and weekends only.

          Australia uses the so called Euro system for vehicles, and yet we have vehicles that use US V8s and large V6s.

          The fact is in Australia we have infrastructure like the US design for more individual vehicle ownership and larger vehicles.

          Also, the US/Australia/Canada don’t have ancient cities and towns to drive around.

          There’s another blogger named DenverMike who thinks that Spain has a large fullsize pickup market. Has he never tried traversing a Euro nation? But, he claims to have been there over 36 times.

          The fact is to survive in Europe you need a small vehicle. Large vehicle ownership doesn’t make you a better nation.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes BAFO we get it. All of Europe is one big Medieval village where even bicycle travel gets you stuck in gridlock. Truth is, huge American cars and pickup have been a popular in Europe for decades, as niche vehicles go. And that’s a huge market where niche vehicles can survive/thrive. And where were you for this story just days ago?:

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/confessions-of-a-conversion-van-driver/#postcomments

            Actually, Euro delivery vans can be had longer than base US pickups, even if narrower. So call it a luxury for Europeans to own American trucks. Some would call them exotic, but whatever. There are rich Europeans, aren’t there? But which do you think gets more attention anywhere in Europe: A black Ford Raptor or neon green Lamborghini ‘Lardo?

            But US full-size pickups can be useful work trucks if not sporty utility. Perhaps it’s something Europeans aren’t used to, but I think they’ll adapt just fine. I mean, everywhere there’s mid-size/global pickup getting put to any kind of use or sports activity, US full-size trucks can be put to good use also.

            The full-size vans that fill the void between small pickups and big van cutoffs/flatbeds, could see a small drop in sales though.

            If you’re right, I don’t see what you’re so afraid of. The term “Europhobe” gets thrown around here quite often, but you’re introducing “Ameriphobe”, which describes you perfectly.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Thus they buy a lot of new, relatively expensive cars per capita.”

          They **lease** a lot of expensive cars, due to their tax treatment. Employees get cars through their employers as a sort of tax dodge — by signing car leases, they can reduce their taxable incomes.

          In effect, the tax system provides an indirect subsidy to the auto industry, and the policy in Germany tends to favor Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen AG.

          http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-10/in-germany-the-company-car-is-a-porsche

        • 0 avatar
          OM617

          True krhodes1, especially on the last point. Munich may be the extreme example, being the wealthiest city in Germany, but it is obvious from the cars you see in the inner city how much of a privilege it is to drive within. BMWs, Benz, and audis and such (usually in black) seem to make up a majority of the cars on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “it is obvious from the cars you see in the inner city how much of a privilege it is to drive within.”

            As I noted above, those cars are usually leased, and are subsidized by tax breaks. Without the tax system supporting the leases, they would be driving cheaper cars.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Those cars are “relatively” less expensive than here, because they are usually MUCH lower spec than here. PCH correctly points out that cars are more expensive across the board, but ultimately an Audi, BMW or MB in Germany is no different than a mid-high spec Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler here.

            If a company car was not part of the compensation plan, then more than likely the worker would just be paid more. They get taxed on the value of the company car too, so while it is not a wash, it is not as big of a bonus as PCH likes to make it seem. It is a subsidy, but so are many of the policies towards cars in the US. Ultra cheap gas taxes, free parking most places, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “They get taxed on the value of the company car too, so while it is not a wash, it is not as big of a bonus as PCH likes to make it seem.”

            In Germany, the lease payments reduce taxable income. The taxes paid on the car are lower than the income taxes that would otherwise have been paid, plus the 19% VAT that would be required for a car purchase.

            The lease is a much better deal, and that’s by design. It allows consumers to feel posh and it provides stable business for the industry, particularly the luxury car brands that benefit most from the regular turnover that comes from the leasing programs. The US has nothing comparable to this that is available to so many people.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Many older used cars also find their way from Germany to lands further east.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Remember people the EPA no regulates co2 emissions on cars as a pollutant which they they never did before until, California and states like mine pushed the EPA too. ENJOY! Were heading in the same direction.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The biggest impact of CO2 regulation equates to better FE.

      This is why these turbo engines whether gas or diesel will dominate the auto industry soon.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Fuel economy standards are just another way of saying “limited vehicle choice”.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @DocOlds
        It’s very rare that I agree with you, but you are 100% correct.

        That’s why the US has such a limited choice of vehicles, considering it’s market size. Just look at the baby Merc diesel and example of restrictive regulations.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          A bigger reason is our ludicrous approval regime. Every combination of engine, body, transmission, etc must be approved separately, which means is it unprofitable to offer a wide choice. If a 3-series sedan can be had with the 3.0T six, why can’t the nearly identical 3-series wagon? What societal goal is being met by keeping that combination out? Or a 3-series wagon with RWD and a stickshift? It’s SO expensive to get the combinations approved that only the most popular ever are, with rare exceptions.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @krhodes1
            That’s why I keep on talking about UNECE regulations. If a vehicle type has approval in another UNECE complaint (compliant is the important word here) nation, it can cross borders. The receiving nation doesn’t need to test the vehicle, someone else has paid the expense to do it.

            It’s compatibility of standards, like lots in aviation. Aviation has global standards. The motor industry should go down the same path. I’m referring to the US in particular. But the UAW and Big 3 don’t want to.

            Saves a lot of money and bull$hit.

            The consumer will be the winner.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In the US and Canada, manufacturers perform their own tests. There is no mandatory government screening “type approval” process as is used elsewhere in the world.

            The US system is described as “voluntary compliance,” meaning that the rules are laid out and producers are expected to follow them, with just some of them spot checked after the fact. If you recall the recent blowup over the Ford CMAX mileage figures, you would have noted that the figures came from Ford, and that they didn’t test the CMAX in coming up with those figures.

            We don’t get many wagons because hardly anyone wants them. No point in providing much supply where there is virtually no demand — it makes more sense to offer combinations that people want to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @PCH101

            And yet every time a manufacturer is queried as to why a certain combination of engine/transmission/body is not sold here, the answer is always “too expensive to certify”? So which is it? If they self-certify then they can just say that it meets the regs and they are golden – no added costs involved.

            BMW already sells a significant number of cars BTO – if it was as easy as you think it is, surely they would allow custom orders of combinations they don’t ordinarily bring over? better than losing a sale, I would think. If I could get a RWD 328d wagon, BMW would already have a $50K order on the books from me at least. I can buy a RWD 328d sedan here already, why not allow me to order a wagon if self-certification is so cheap and easy? For that matter, I can get a RWD, stickshift 328i sedan, but not a wagon. Or a 320i sedan, but not a wagon – only difference with that one is the software!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “If they self-certify then they can just say that it meets the regs and they are golden – no added costs involved.”

            Obviously, they have to follow the rules. But they don’t need to have a government regulator to approve the design in advance.

            The US has tougher crash test standards than in Europe. There are also more equipment rules, such as mandatory airbags. If the European market car hasn’t been engineered with US requirements in mind, then it will be difficult to retrofit.

            The solution to that is to design cars that have the potential to be sold in both markets. I don’t see a persuasive argument for lowering US crash test standards for the sake of the Germans.

            “BMW already sells a significant number of cars BTO – if it was as easy as you think it is, surely they would allow custom orders of combinations they don’t ordinarily bring over? better than losing a sale, I would think.”

            I know that you love this built-to-order model used in Europe, but you’re faling to notice the correlation between the prevalence of that business model and higher prices.

            One reason that cars are cheaper in the US is that most of them are built on spec. With all of that inventory in the system, there is pressure to keep it moving, which lowers prices. That forces the producers to place more emphasis on volume, and somewhat less on margins.

            The downside to having lower prices is having fewer choices, but the choices that we do get are generally better and are almost always cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Maybe CO2 emissions regulations for light motor vehicles will spread AND become a genuine constraint (as opposed to being set so high as not to affect the marketplace). Maybe they won’t. If they do, the simple truth is that in the beginning it would represent just another non-tariff trade barrier. Meaningful control of overall global CO2 emissions any time soon is quite impossible by regulating light vehicles in first world countries. There are so many bigger fish to fry.

      The numbers tell the truth. CO2 emissions from light vehicles in first world countries amount to around 6% of overall CO2 emissions worldwide from all sources. So, what if regulation cuts this 6% down by 10 or 20%. What has been accomplished and at what cost? The CO2 reduction almost gets lost in the rounding.

      Most of these data come from a recent IEA report on CO2 emissions.

  • avatar
    radcardude

    My concern about turbo charged engines is the long term reliability. Any time you add complexity and forced induction it will add more stress to an engine and reduce durability and reliability. Any real world comments on this aspect ?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Are you serious? Many go over 300,000 miles.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2006/12/18/saab-offering-free-car-to-members-of-the-million-mile-club/

    • 0 avatar
      Nedloh

      From my experience turbo charged engines can last just as long as normally aspirated engines BUT they are much more sensitive to routine maintenance. If you don’t baby them a little they can cause head aches.

      Now I have only had long term experience with turboed Volvos so…..can’t really say how other brands boosted systems fair.

      The system is more complex indeed. The only maintenance issue I have had that I wouldn’t have had if my cars were not turbo’d is that on my first Volvo the oil cooler lines leaked where they went into the radiator due to the O-rings wearing out. Was an easy fix. A more expensive problem is when those lines start to sweat oil and need to be replaced.

      Not sure if this counts as a turbo problem however. I am under the impression that only the turbo models have oil lines going into the radiator while the non-turbo ones only have the transmission cooling lines.

      Anyway I wouldn’t be concerned with reliability too much as long as your willing to follow a maintenance schedule. I would think modern turbo systems would be even less picky than the ones I have had. I have never had an engine fail, I can tell you that.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        Simple logic.

        The NA engine is missing a WHOLE BUNCH of high tech, lubrication dependent parts. Simply NOT THERE. Cannot fail.

        Pointing to long running turbos means nothing. Whatever success they have is despite the turbo, not because of it. Build a somewhat larger NA engine to the same level of quality standards and it will last longer yet. And cost less.

    • 0 avatar
      Larry P2

      I have an 05 GT Cruiser, that came from the factory with the “hot” SRT-4 motor. It has been updated with the MOPAR Stage 2 kit, as well as an upgraded Garrett T-3 turbo, so it is putting out around 300 horsepower (stock they were around 240). It has 100,000 miles on it, and other than the upgraded turbo and hi-po parts, slotted cross-drilled rotors, ceramic brake pads and upgraded aftermarket performance struts and sway bars, the entire repair history of this car is to replace two water hoses that went to the intercooler.

      It is frequently hooned.

      Other than regular oil changes using premium synthetics, that’s it.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The historical reason many European countries based car taxes on engine displacement was to keep out American cars – mainly Fords and Chevrolets that had 3+ liter engines going back to the Model T days. European car makers could not compete on price with “tax-free” American cars, hence displacement taxes were a protectionist policy and had nothing to do with the lack of native oil reserves, since 1920s era European cars did not get significantly better gas mileage than a Ford Model T or A. European fuel economy and emission standards and testing procedures favor turbos, but the hoped for emission reductions are unlikely to be as large as hoped due to shorter vehicle lives (i.e. how many 7-10 year old turbo cars will end up scrapped when they blow?), and rebound effects (i.e. driving more because the fuel economy is so good).

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    It was an interesting discussion until the “us” or should I say the “US versus them” tariff apologists signed on. Displacement taxes will keep USA built vehicles out of their countries but the majority of traditional USA vehicles have a negligible market base in the EU. The funny thing is that most of the current crop of “Detroit” cars are EU based platforms. Anyone care to point out any USA designed and engineered cars in Ford’s USA portfolio? Even their SUV’s are becoming EU based like the Escape. We will see “globalization” of the automotive industry in NA whether or not the apologists accept it. Pickups and muscle cars are the last bastions of USA automotive domination and regulations can keep the barbarians at bay for only so long.
    Ford getting nailed for its “importation” of the Transit Connect will ultimately turn out to be a case of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke. Do you pull out or stick something bigger into the hole?
    PSC101 and Mikey both seem to favour sticking something bigger into the hole. That is after all, the manly thing to do.

    Who gets screwed with that approach?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Lou_BC
      I have coined a term for the US auto industry/market, I call it the “Galapagos Effect”. Charles Darwin had it correct.

      The US system of barriers and tariffs has created vehicles that will not survive to well externally from the US continent ie, full size pickup, MDTs, HDTs, huge SUVs, muscle cars, etc.

      Don’t get me wrong I love the full size pickups and have drove them around. But like the horse and cart, something will replace them.

      The global market for US commercials is marginal. Australia and a few other countries can use them. But they are now being displaced with Euro/Asian trucks.

      Large capacity muscle cars outside of NA are only for the enthusiast, except Australia/NZ. The Australian market is supposed to be the fairest and most competitive in the world. Look at Holden and Ford large sedans and even our V8 utes. People want diesel utes.

      The US is slowly adopting the global vehicles, just look at the van market.

      Even the new midsizers are far more capable than a 1/2 ton pickup from the 90s and they return over 30mpg.

      The NA market is very distorted, like a bubble in the real estate market and will burst eventually. The people who want protectionism and subsidies will soon realise that the US doesn’t have the money available to support these types of vehicles.

      This article highlights the future and the Europeans have read it better than the US. They already have designed and developed engines whether diesel or gas that will be used in future NA vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – Europe would be a perfect market of American cars and trucks. They’re designed/built to US’ harsh environments and rigorous duty cycles. Really, their drivetrains/electronics are overbuilt for the EU’s mild climates and short commute. But there’s too many EU trade barriers (this article covers one of them) and ridiculous/outrageous tariffs which it doesn’t. You bet they’re scared. Terrified. EU OEMs are struggling as it is. Forget about dropping EU tariffs. Never happening.

        Your claim of (up to) “30 MPG” for global pickups needs to give real examples. You’re talking trucks that are crude, cab/chassis strippers with 2wd and single cabs. Sure they can carry a lot, but their capacity ratings system (or lack thereof) is nowhere near comparable to international SAE guidelines. Global pickups are no different that the mid-size trucks we reject every day. Equipped differently, but the same deal. We have something call “choices”.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @DiM
          The US, Euro Region, Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ, etc, in effect most OECD economies don’t have a harsh environment for motor vehicles.

          Our fuel quality, our infrastructure, our maintenance standards, etc is better.

          Countries like India, Pakistan, most African, Sth American, Central American, Asian nations all have a much harsher environment for motor vehicle.

          The US would have one of the ‘plushest’ places for a car to live.

          You are so unknowledgeable. I suppose a dirt driveway is hell for you.

          You are so dumba$$ at times with your comments and logic its actually entertaining.

          You and Pch101 should sit down and have beers and talk all night and put the conversation on Youtube. You’ll get many hits.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – Euro cars are the crappiest on Earth because they have it so easy. If our fuel and maintenance is worse, that makes US autos harder to break. Duty cycles in the US are horrible on cars.

            Whatever the reason, US autos would thrive in the EU, both physically and from a sales perspective. This is why the EU has virtually banned US autos with a ridiculous 10% tariff on cars and insane 22.5% tariff on trucks. You’re a rocket scientist, but can’t figure than one out???

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @krhodes1 – Calm down and take another Xanax. Not every US auto is gas $ucking and not every European wan’t a tiny little crap box. Japanese cars are deeply entrenched in the US, but they were in the right place at the right time. It couldn’t happen again and it may never happen in Europe. I’m not talking about US autos taking over Europe, but there’s a huge opportunity, but engine size regulations and tariffs kind of stand in the way. And they’re in place for very good a reason, don’t ya think???

            Europeans do buy global pickups and full-size pickups aren’t much bigger. Full-size vans are a good alternative to full-size pickups, but one can’t necessarily replace the other, in all instances or tasks. Why limit Euro consumers? And trucks are versatile for work or play. Never mind style, but does a luxury van market exist? What about a specialty van like the Raptor?

            Maybe there’s only a limited niche market for US autos in Europe, but what are you (and they) so afraid of?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Whatever the reason, US autos would thrive in the EU, both physically and from a sales perspective.”

            That’s almost as nutty as Al’s broken-record insistence that Americans would all be craving Chinese midsize diesel pickups if it wasn’t for the evil American guv’mint.

            Europeans have little interest in American cars and trucks. The perception is that they are junk.

            All of the domestic automakers already have operations in Europe. If there was that much demand for American cars, they would have already been serving it. The Europeans use compact vans in place of pickups, and they seem to be fairly content with that option.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Pch101 – I said in a “niche” capacity, US autos would thrive in the EU, similar to how German cars do in the US, and other niche markets. These stupid EU fuel test would work against US autos, like they’re designed to do. There’s not much other reason for them. To slow down the possible importation of US autos. As if the ridiculous and insane EU import tariffs don’t do enough.

            We have “little interest” in German autos, but a little can mean A LOT…

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @DenverMike

          Can I have some of whatever drugs you are on? Europeans have no interest in “American” cars and trucks. Toyota already sells the most “American” of American cars there – the Camry. Something like a whole 6-8000 of them a year (call it 1/5th of the number of FIAT 500s that get sold here). If Europeans were clamoring for big, cheap, allegedly reliable, fuel sucking cars, don’t you think a car that is always in the top 3 best sellers in the US would sell well there too? They even sell Camrys with engines suited to Europe and they can’t give the things away. Chrysler sells the 300, 200, and the vans there, in minute quantities. GM sells Cadillacs and Corvettes, again in minute quantities.

          As for pickups, for many of the uses that people buy pickups, a European style low-floor van is a better working vehicle. More efficient, easier to get things in and out of, protects the goods from theft and weather. Trucks as some sort of deformed giant sedan is a non-starter in a place where gas is 2-3x as expensive, and parking is difficult.

          Finally, for the most part, any European who wants an American vehicle can just fly over here, buy one, and ship it home. They pay the taxes, do what ever needs doing to get it road worthy, and off they go. As PCH loves to point out, everything in America is cheap, we are like one big Costco. They could probably get a basic pickup on the road for less than an equivalent Euro-van. But nobody does. Why is that, do you suppose? Could it be that the vehicles sold there are more suited to the local conditions?

          European vehicles sell well here, but “American” vehicles don’t sell anywhere else. Especially note that the Ford Fusion is virtually identical to the Ford Modeo, and is a top seller in its segment on both sides of the pond. Funny how that works.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Is it really that much easier to ‘grey-market import’ a car from America to Europe than vice-versa?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Toyota already sells the most ‘American’ of American cars there – the Camry.”

            That would probably be news to Toyota. (Toyota’s European offering in that segment is the Avensis.)

            “Especially note that the Ford Fusion is virtually identical to the Ford Modeo, and is a top seller in its segment on both sides of the pond.”

            As of now, the Mondeo and Fusion are not the same car. The next Mondeo will be, but it has not yet been launched in Europe. The current Mondeo dates back to 2007, and is not related to the Fusion.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Is it really that much easier to ‘grey-market import’ a car from America to Europe than vice-versa?”

            Back in the 80′s, the Detroit automakers and Daimler lobbied Washington to make it difficult to import grey market cars into the US. (The D-mark was weak at the time, and there were all kinds of used specialty imports flooding the market.) They imposed a 25-year rule that made it virtually impossible to do one-off imports.

            It’s easier in the other direction, because US safety and emissions standards generally exceed those of the EU. Modifications are required, though, and they aren’t necessarily cheap to make.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @PCH101

            My bad, I see that the Camry is no longer sold there – it certainly was in the past.

            How easy or difficult it is to bring in an American car varies by country of course. But it is very doable. My understanding from European car nut friends is that most of Scandinavia is particularly easy.

            At least we agree on something here! Europeans have very minimal interest in American cars despite plenty of access to them.

            I would disagree that our emissions and safety regs are any tougher these days, they are just different.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I would disagree that our emissions and safety regs are any tougher these days, they are just different.”

            If you compare them directly with each other, you’ll see that the US crash tests are more stringent (tougher testing, at higher speeds) and that the permitted emissions levels are lower.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @krhodes1 – It’s expensive to run a full-size ‘anything’ in the US too. And it’s about as expensive to run anything mid-size. But trucks don’t rack up the miles that compact cars do. Why do you think that is? Full-size pickups are a perfect fit for millions of Americans regardless of MPG.. Could be also for million of Europeans if given 1/2 a chance with reasonable tariffs and whatnot. When it does happen, all of you naysayers need to line up to kiss my A$$. Ram is already gearing up to build trucks in Italy with diesel ready to go.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            It’s getting expensive to run anything in the US, save motorcycles and hybrid cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            You might think your crash testing is harsher, but the US has one of the worst fatality rates amongst OECD economies.

            At least 60-80% higher than a Western Euro countries and Australia/NZ.

            And other countries drive equivalent distances. If they don’t most vehicles in countries that drive less distance have more passengers per vehicle.

            Face it, the US system isn’t any better just different to protect it industry. It’s funny the odd country out (US) in your mind is always picked on.

            Sort of little child syndrome you have.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “At least 60-80% higher than a Western Euro countries and Australia/NZ.”

            According to IRTAD, fatalities per billion km:

            US:6.8
            Austria:6.8
            France:7.0
            NZ:7.1
            Belgium:8.5

            Are you capable of getting anything right? Correcting your errors is becoming tedious.

            In any case, there are numerous factors that contribute to fatality rates. Building cars with inferior crash test standards isn’t going to do anything to reduce the fatality rate.

            I don’t “think” that the crash test standards are among the harshest. I know that they are, because it’s possible to compare them to each other. You should try doing that yourself sometime.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            Here’s an interesting link from the World Health Organisation. The map of the globe is unreal, it highlights different colours for different figures.

            It shows a 13.9 figure for the US.

            Hmmm, I suppose the WHO is a socialist organisation.

            But, again you are thinking to yourself……………..how can this be another piece of data showing that I’m disillusioned by the reality of facts.

            Are you at the point of thinking, maybe I’m wrong?

            You’re a funny person Pch101. You should maybe get into comedy. I would think an interview by Jeremy Clarkson would reveal how little you do really know.

            Were’s your link? I the data cut and pasted because its skewed to your argument? ;)

            Anyway read and weep.

            http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/road-traffic-accidents/by-country/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s good that you’ve made an effort to learn about this. Unfortunately, you consistently do a poor job of understanding what it is that you do read.

            The WHO compares fatalities based upon population. That’s fine for determining how many trauma centers are needed for a given population, but that doesn’t tell you much about traffic safety.

            The metric to use for traffic safety assessments is fatalities per mile or kilometers traveled, as I cited. Americans drive more than other people, hence the higher rates per population. IRTAD takes that into account, whereas the WHO data does not.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101
            I was waiting for the excuses:-)

            When data is skewed against your arguments, you often, like a child come up with excuses.

            But, there is a flaw in your argument.

            What about Canada? Australia? Scandanavian countries?

            What about the passenger numbers per vehicle in countries with lower vehicle ownership? Passenger loads are larger.

            Pch101 grow up.

            There are many factors that come into play when an accident occurs, and data collecting for statistics. The fact remains the US does have a more than double fatality rate than OECD UNECE nations.

            But the differences are that large with the US against comparable economies there is more to the problem than the US having poorer vehicle design.

            The design difference the US have are for protectionist purposes. UNECE regs are not any more unsafe, as can be shown by data.

            This is what started the debate, by your comment inferring that the US has better vehicle safety design. It doesn’t as I’ve shown.

            The US has poor driver training, management of driving rules/regulation, even some infrastructure.

            There are many factors that give the US those horrific almost third world fatality rates.

            You have to realise the US isn’t the best at everything. I’ve been trying to drum this into you for a while now.

            The US is a great nation, but this greatness is mainly driven by its diversity and people.

            Not its protectionist insular motor industry. Wake up.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Al, I can appreciate that you’d like to be knowledgable. But you’re not.

            You’re proof of the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You read stuff, misinterpret it, and then don’t even realize that you’ve only demonstrated how little it is that you do know.

            What I’m saying isn’t controversial. Vehicle fatalities are most likely to occur among those who spend time riding in vehicles. People who drive more are more likely to be in crashes than those who drive less. Even you should be able to figure that out.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Pch101, I had a similar discussion with Big Al regarding traffic safety while you were on hiatus.

            You’re fighting the good fight in your easy-to-understand, no-nonsense way, but I’m beginning to think it’s a hopeless case.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m beginning to think it’s a hopeless case.”

            Beginning?

            Of course, it’s hopeless — his area of expertise is anti-Americanism, not automobiles. Anyone who is familiar with this stuff knows that he often has no idea of what he’s talking about.

            However, this sort of disinformation does need to be corrected for the sake of any other readers who are gullible enough to believe him. The disadvantage of the internet is that there are few editors to provide fact checking. Al makes enough errors to keep a full-time fact checker busy.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Pch101: “Beginning?”

            Well, I was trying to be the optimist…

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @geeber
            Oddly enough you and Pch101 have only provided opinion, not fact.

            There is a difference.

            In your opinion this is so?

            Give me a link showing that the US is better off with it’s current design regs over UNECE regs. Impartial information.

            You haven’t, the only information we have are from organisations like the WHO, which is based in the US.

            Impartiality, try it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Al, if you spent as much time reading legitimate sources as you did typing, then perhaps you wouldn’t make the errors that you do.

            The safety issue is one of what traffic safety researchers refer to “exposure.” The more time that you spend in traffic, the more likely you will be killed in traffic.

            “fatality rates based on VMT are the best measure of exposure risk for motor vehicle crashes”

            http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/motorcycles/20070130.cfm

            “Vehicle kilometres travelled (vkt) are the best available measure of exposure, with which to transform fatalities into a rate.”

            http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2010/files/is_039.pdf

            “The reason fatality rates and fatal accident rates are a more accurate measure of highway safety trends is because they are based on the concept of “exposure.” A motorist who drives 50,000 miles a year has 10 times the accident exposure risk than a driver who logs 5,000 miles in a year. Fatality rates measure the risk of being killed in an accident based on the number of miles traveled, or exposure.”

            http://www.motorists.org/other/crash-data

            I’ve done my part. I’m sure that you’ll come away from this having learned nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      “Anyone care to point out any USA designed and engineered cars in Ford’s USA portfolio?”

      Mustang. What do I win?

  • avatar
    George B

    I’m glad turbocharged engines are available as an option, but what about power loss vs. ambient temperature? There are large sections of the US that have significantly higher ambient temperatures than Europe. I expect vehicles selling in volumes >200k/year to continue to use normally aspirated engines in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      they don’t sell turbo charged engines in central and South America? As long as there is inflow over the intercooler there is no difference compared to normally asspirated. 87 octane is required in GM ‘s 1.4T.

      CleanMPG and a few others have been known to suck hot air off the exhaust manifold area as hot air is less dance than cool air. Less O2 means less fuel.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    I think its worth mentioning displacement taxation also has an undue effect on viability of push-rod engines, which need more displacement to make as much power as a smaller OHC setup, but get a lot of the give back having lower friction and roughly the same weight for the power produced. Not to mention they’re cheaper to make, and have fewer moving parts to break.

    I’m not a push-rod fanboy, but displacement taxes hand that tech an irrational disadvantage competing with OHC setups beyond objective engineering criteria for a given application.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @CarnotCycle
      Why did Cummins with the new ISV 5 litre V8 diesel go the twin cam, 4 valve option?

      A Cummins diesel isn’t the highest reving engine around.

      Even my 3.2 diesel is twin cam, quad valve, it runs out of puff at 4 000rpm.

      It comes down to efficiency. A quad valve engine is more efficient than a 2 valve pushrod engine.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    No kidding Carnot.. The Chevy pushrod engine is basically the best engine in the world and uses a displacement on demand system to get quite good gas mileage.

    Honest to god you can make almost any car better by sticking an LT1 engine in it..They make so much power throughout the rev range – they are so reliable – and they get pretty good gas mileage to boot.

    The HEMI is pretty good too -its some of the best stuff of america – the smooth power of the v-8. Works great with a automatic too – which is what americans love.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @CelticPete – you unintentionally summed it up “its some of the best stuff of America”.

      You don’t see too many push rod V8′s or any pushrod engine anywhere but the USA. The only mpg advantage gained is usually due to cylinder deactivation. It is a cheap set up to add to a pushrod OHV engine. It can be done to OHC engines but is much more expensive.

      I read a good article on OHC versus OHV engines. The fellow in conversations with another expert came up with three criteria that had to be met for a pushrod engine to have an advantage over OHC. All three criteria had to be present simultaneously:
      1. large displacement. Over 5 litres seemed to be their estimate.
      2. Aggressive cam lift.
      3. Low RPM – below 7,000 rpm.
      That is why we see these engines in North America but not much anywhere else.

      But then again, do we see any stock OHV factory vehicles with aggressive cams?

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        As it was explained to me, Pushrod engines are cheaper to build and easier to repair/maintain than OHC systems, as well as making the engine overall smaller. The OHC only gives benefits in that it allows you to more easily build engines with very very high rev-limits, since most Americans don’t really care for high-revving engines that need a good ‘spank me daddy, harder-harder’ to hit their stride the Pushrod OHV design is the best way to go in the American market.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Les – you have pointed out an interesting paradox of overhead cam engines. North American iron does not rev very high. About the only current NA V8 that as a redline above 7,000 is the Boss 302.

          Variable valve timing is supposedly easier to engineer with overhead cams. 4 valve heads are also supposed to be easier to do with overhead cams.

          The argument that OHV makes for a smaller engine is true but is not neccessary considering our preference for larger vehicles. a “small” V8 is completely unneccessary in a pickup truck.

          A lower deck height is in favour of pushrods.

          Harley Davidson epitomized long stroke low revving overhead cam engines.
          The funny thing is……… even “the Motor Company” has gone to overhead cam, shorter stroke engines for performance. The V-Rod line has the hottest engines and are closer to traditional Japanese bikes.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            Pushrod engines would have an easier time of meeting Euro pedestrian safety engine-clearance regs oddly enough.

            I just take the march towards OHC as an example of ‘chasing the shinies’ overcoming common sense. A Pushrod is the better option in almost every possible practical way, but people want engines that rev ‘OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAND’ because that’s what Rally and Formula 1 drivers drive because those motorsports have displacement limits so pushing the rev limiter to the stratosphere is the only way to get the maximum power you can in your class.. and all the armchair enthusiasts want sports cars/sports bikes that Sound like they have ‘race pedigree’. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            My bad, I just re-read my post-

            “Harley Davidson epitomized long stroke low revving overhead cam engines.”

            I meant “overhead valve” NOT “overhead cam” engines.

            All of the bikers must of missed that oversight since they are all busy stunting and beating up Orientals in SUV’s or complaining about unfair press.LOL

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            THey beat Orientals?

            Don’t they have vacuum cleaners?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Les
    Are they trolling comments?

    Or are you really dumb?

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Neither.

      I’m just plugged into the Zeitgeist of the American Motorist. :D

      Heh, but seriously, Average Americans don’t care how high an engine revs they just want it to have lots of torque early in the rev-range… even if they don’t know what Torque is. ;)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Les – funny and sort of true.


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