For the US: how best to reduce fossil fuel use?

jmsprovan

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someone needs to build a type of power station that is fuelled by nuclear explosions, use up some of the stockpile.
 

hajj

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So, no support for my red light idea?

It's not radical enough, what you want is flyovers and tunnels on all major junctions plus at least two lanes in each direction, that way only traffic that has to switch roads has to slow down. Roundabouts should only be used for smaller roads.
 

thedguy

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It's not radical enough, what you want is flyovers and tunnels on all major junctions plus at least two lanes in each direction, that way only traffic that has to switch roads has to slow down. Roundabouts should only be used for smaller roads.

We have that at an intersection near my house. Used to be a MASSIVE bottle neck, now the intersection is 2 right turns or a near constant green light going straight across. There are a few areas of LA that do this too that go over Alameda.
 

phuckingduck

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It's not radical enough, what you want is flyovers and tunnels on all major junctions plus at least two lanes in each direction, that way only traffic that has to switch roads has to slow down. Roundabouts should only be used for smaller roads.

Yeah, but overpasses and tunnels take a lot more effort to construct. So yes, ideally that would be great. Practically though...
 

hajj

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Runabouts are fine too, if they have two or more lanes, depending on how many lanes the roads leading into it have, so on single carriage ways you need at least two lanes in the roundabout. Important here is also that traffic moves into the inner lanes, if they do not intent to leave at the next exit, so people joining there can easily do that.
 

SirEdward

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So, no support for my red light idea?

I can help with my direct experience. Replacing red lights with roundabouts can be a great idea to reduce pollution and crashes, but they need to be well designed, well placed and well dimensioned. If you have a multi-lane road merging in a one-lane roundabout, for example, your traffic is going to get worse rather than better. The same is when a smaller street get to a roundabout on a heavily-trafficked major road: you can get stuck there forever waiting for a clear moment to merge. Still, they are pretty good with -car- traffic.

They have some serious problems with bicycles, pedestrians and generally everything on less than four wheels. Roundabouts are a living hell for bicycles, and if you implement bicylce lanes on the outer part of the roundabout, like they do in France, you only make it a nightmare for cars too, forcing vehicles to practically stop every time to avoid possible incoming bicycles and to look in two opposite directions, both while entering and while exiting the roundabout. On a small, sleepy road, this is not a big issue, but on a bigger, busier roundabout this can be unsustainable.

Pedestrians, on the other hand, have serious problems in getting on the other side of whichever road comes or leaves the roundabout. Pedestrian crossing too near the roundabout results in poor visibility both for the car and for the pedestrian (a pedestrian aware of the cars can avoid more accidents than the uberdriver itself driving well under the speed limit). Where I live, the municipality change many red lights (two two/three-lanes roads crossing) into roundabouts, effectively reducing severe crashes and speeding up the traffic, but then had to build up some new red lights pedestrian crossing to allow people to cross those large streets. In terms of time (car traffic) nothing has really changed, while in terms of fuel consumption you now have to slow down (and even stop) twice as much as before, even if for a shorter time, so things have probably got worse).
 
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freeferrarisdonotexist

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thevictor390

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Personally I always thought supercapacitors make the most sense logically, since there is no energy conversion.
 

narf

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thevictor390

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The same could have been said for batteries, years ago. We can only hope that one of these technologies improves enough over time as to become viable.
 

wooflepoof

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nuclear powered electrolysis machines that will provide us with sweet, sweet, hydrogen. mmmm
 

narf

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The same could have been said for batteries, years ago. We can only hope that one of these technologies improves enough over time as to become viable.

While that obviously is true, consider this: Lead-acid batteries can provide about 30Wh/kg, and those represent the lower end of battery technology. These supercapacitors provide about the same energy per mass, yet they represent the tip of current technology. Based on that I'd assume batteries will always be an order of magnitude better in terms of energy storage.
 

MacGuffin

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It would be interesting to have a comparison of how much fuel cars and trucks in different countries use up in average or rather: How many MPG's in average do drivers achieve in different countries?

I'm willing to bet some money, that the USA would lose almost all of its dependence on oil imports, if they'd have the same average in fuel consumption, as the EU.

It's not a revolutionary step but the one which would bring the most success in the shortest time with the least effort.

(And I'm fully aware that it's the last thing Americans want to hear :p)
 
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hajj

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Well there was some stupid chart about that in "An Inconvenient Truth" but that movie was so inaccurate that nobody would trust in it. ;)
 

SirEdward

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It would be interesting to have a comparison of how much fuel cars and trucks in different countries use up in average or rather: How many MPG's in average do drivers achieve in different countries?

I'm willing to bet some money, that the USA would lose almost all of its dependence on oil imports, if they'd have the same average in fuel consumption, as the EU.

Whether this would make the US indipendents from oil imports or not, It would be interesting indeed to know why the US are more willing to donate money to some middle-eastern sheik than to reduce fuel consumption to levels that are already possible elsewhere in the world.
 

MacGuffin

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Whether this would make the US indipendents from oil imports or not, It would be interesting indeed to know why the US are more willing to donate money to some middle-eastern sheik than to reduce fuel consumption to levels that are already possible elsewhere in the world.

That's right. But U.S. politics have been complaining about the dependance on oil imports and justifying some of their foreign actions with that argument -- fully ignoring the fact, that that dependance is completely home-made and could be solved very easily, if there was a will to do so.

Decades of political indoctrination is hard to get out of the heads. Just look at this forum. You have people here from America talking about cars with people from all over the world. Yet not a single one of our American friends has yet grasped or recognized the potential of modern diesel engines and how much fun they can be, while at the same time being very economical and ecological. At least that's the impression I got from the discussions here.

Instead they fell for the hybrid hype, which is nothing more, than a placebo for ecologically worried minds. Doesn't matter, that a Prius actually hasn't got a better ecological assessment, than a Range Rover. It's the semblance of being good for the environment, that counts.

Ever asked yourself, why there isn't a diesel hybrid yet? Because the USA are currently the biggest and (besides Japan thanks to Toyota) only car market in the world, where people actually buy hybrids. And diesels simply don't sell over there, so diesel hybrids aren't offered.

Everyone's acting like battery-powered electric cars are the future -- when not even such simple issues as "How long does a battery actually last, how much does it cost to replace it, how much harm does it do to the environment to produce billions of them and where the hell is the electricity coming from, when there aren't enough power plants?" are answered.

When I look at the average lifetimes of accus for mobile phones or digital cameras, I can only think: "Oh dear..."
 
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thedguy

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U.S. car market lags behind Europe, Japan in 'green' fuel

According to Jato Dynamics, the United States car market is still significantly behind Europe and Japan in terms of reducing vehicle CO2 output.

The new study of the U.S. light vehicle market in the first quarter of 2010 reveals the market's average CO2 is 268.5 grams per kilometer. To reflect like-for-like comparison with car markets in other global regions, excluding pickup trucks, full-size vans and small commercial vehicles the figure falls to 255.6 grams per kilometer. The report listed Japan at 130.8 grams per kilometer and Europe's five biggest markets at an average of 140.3 grams per kilometer. All markets have improved marginally when compared with the full-year average in 2009; Japan is down 0.4 grams per kilometer, the U.S. is down 1.0 gram per kilometer and Europe has improved most significantly with a 4.3 grams per kilometer reduction year-to-date.

"It is still clear that American consumers need to undergo a fundamental rethink of their vehicle buying preferences, but the past period of economic upheaval is likely to have meant that other domestic issues have taken consumer's priority," said David Mitchell, president of JATO Americas. "The blame can't just lie with consumers, though; the OEM product offering in the U.S. still does little to promote alternatives to the large engine capacity gasoline vehicles which still dominate the market."

Although it doesn't seem like it to most American drivers, the cost of fuel here still remains comparatively low. This may be a major factor behind the slow change.

According to the report, 33.9 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. still fall within a 15 mpg to 20 mpg consumption bracket, compared with Europe where only 0.28 percent of vehicle sales in Europe fall with that bracket and only 0.63 percent of sales in Japan.

In Europe, average CO2 emissions have reduced most significantly thanks to the rising popularity of diesel, a fuel which has 48.9 percent of Europe's market share. Japan has a tiny diesel share of only 0.11 percent, but its highly congested roads make very small and economical gasoline cars a popular choice. Currently, the U.S. market is dominated by gasoline with a 81.9 percent market share, with only 1.7 percent being diesel, according to the report.

"An interesting point to note is that American consumers have been significantly more inclined to adopt hybrid technology than the Europeans," said Mitchell. Hybrids have 2.3 percent market share in the U.S., while in Europe it is still only 0.5 percent. Not surprisingly, Japan leads the way with 10.1 percent of market share going to hybrids, Mitchell said in a news release.

Variations in CO2-based taxation regimes that reward or penalize certain technologies could also be a factor. Japan's high-technology driven economy, for example, favors new technologies such as hybrid and electric vehicles. Additionally, European vehicle "scrappage" has gotten older, less efficient vehicles off the road and replaced them with low-polluting, fuel-efficient small cars--something that "Cash for Clunkers" aimed to accomplish.
There ya go.

Problem is purely our buying habits. I've been reading reviews of the Cadillac CTS wagon and every review practically says the same thing "this car is in every way superior to the SRX, but won't sell nearly as well." The 2 vehicles are damn near the same thing with 1 just being a lifted variant of the other.

If I'm forced to go family man car, I'll likely go to a wagon long before some SUV... by then the e36 323i touring should be pretty damn cheap :thumbsup:

Americans don't buy diesels because the places that are most interested in hybrids and best fuel mileage are hardest to get diesel. Several friends of mine drive TDI's and they can't just stop at any fuel station and get diesel. It also has the problem of having a higher buy in cost and people see the higher price of the fuel and don't do math and assume "it won't save me any money."

The current VW Golf TDI lineup in the US, because of the way VW options them, cost nearly $5k just to go diesel on a 2 door and $3k for a 4 door. They are only a few hundred less than a GTI. VW don't offer a low option Golf TDI here, you have to get it with most of the same equipment standard on a GTI.

The midwest is buying diesels massively these days... in their pickups. Those still don't exceed much over 20mpg IIRC though.
 
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MacGuffin

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And if you then consider, that the average speed limit in the USA is way lower, than in Europe (not to mention Germany), those CO2 numbers are even more ridiculous.

So there is the answer to the OP's opening question: Start with looking into the mirror and change your own behavior :)
 
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