How Can Pickups Break the 30 MPG Highway Rating?

Eco-mode II

By Tim Esterdahl

It seems like only yesterday when the average pickup truck barely got 10 mpg on the highway, was made of heavy steel body panels and was about as aerodynamic as a brick. Now pickups are lighter, more aerodynamic and highway fuel economy hovers near 30 mpg highway. The two-wheel-drive crew-cab mid-size Chevrolet Colorado powered by the turbo-diesel 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder actually gets 30 mpg highway.

The rapid pace of fuel-economy improvements had us wondering just how far manufacturers will be able to push the three-box design — hood, cab and bed — to achieve better fuel economy. Is surpassing the 30 mpg highway threshold possible? The short answer is yes. Here's how.

1. Continue to Push Improvements

Automakers can push through the current barrier by simply continuing to do what they've been doing with structural design, smarter multispeed transmissions and engine development.

The move to aluminum and high-strength, lighter steel has resulted in hundreds of pounds of weight savings for the Ford F-150 and Super Duty. With the continued advancements in both new and traditional materials, we think its possible to find more weight savings.

2015-ford-f-150-aluminum-body-shell II

Multispeed transmissions also help improve fuel-economy ratings. While pickups used to sport "three-on-the-tree" or "four-on-the-floor" transmissions, they're now getting eight-, nine- and 10-speed transmissions. Also, pickups may see improved fuel economy with the addition of an Eco mode, automatic stop-start or cylinder deactivation on big engines (already found in the 2017 Ram 2500/3500 and GM half tons). GM expects a 15 percent fuel-economy increase through the Dynamic Skip Fire ignition system it's developing.

Finally, truckmakers can improve gas engines to achieve better fuel economy. Toyota's use of the D4S and the Atkinson cycle for the mid-size Tacoma is one example, and the growth of smaller displacement single- and turbo-charged engines are other examples.

 

2. Diesel and/or Electric Hybrid

Hino diesel electric hybrid II

Another way for pickup truck makers to improve fuel economy is to develop a diesel-electric hybrid. On paper, this system seems to combine the best of both worlds by pairing the low-end grunt and fuel economy of a diesel engine with a hybrid system for either acceleration assist or full driving motivation. The challenge of this system is the extra weight both power sources bring to the chassis.

Then there's the cost of these two systems. Sure, we now live in a world with a nearly $100,000 Ford F-450 luxury truck, but automakers seem resistant to charging premium prices for low-volume powertrains. Instead, the big truckmakers emphasize luxurious interiors that customers can touch every moment they're sitting in their truck. Powertrain complexity, in terms of maintenance fees, could also be a limiting factor.

 

3. Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Pickups

The last real possibility for big improvements in pickup fuel economy is a hydrogen fuel-cell system such as the one Toyota is testing in its cars and Project Portal semitruck. This system combines the low-end torque found in an electric hybrid with a relatively cheap and renewable energy source — hydrogen.

The benefits of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are many, the most significant being zero emissions (the vehicle emits only water vapor out the tailpipe) and a refillable fuel source similar to gas. Once fuel-cell infrastructure is in place, range anxiety will all but disappear. Fuel-cell systems also are lighter than diesels, hybrids or big V-8s. Depending on the chassis, that weight savings could be put right back into payload capacity. Toyota already is testing a fuel-cell Tundra.

Project Portal II

Then there's the fuel economy of a fuel-cell vehicle. The 2017 Mirai, Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell sedan, is already on sale. Compare it to the similarly sized Toyota Camry, and the Mirai offers double the four-cylinder Camry's highway mpg: 67 mpg versus 33.

Of course, advances such as this carry a hefty price tag, so cost will be an issue. The 2018 Mirai has a starting price of more than $58,000, while gasoline, diesel or hybrid vehicles can be had for much less than that.

As hydrogen fuel-cell technology becomes more common, the price difference will likely shrink. Toyota has speculated that by 2025, a hydrogen fuel-cell car will cost the same as a hybrid or electric vehicle.

We're confident there are plenty of alternative powertrains to get us past the 30 mpg highway threshold. But the question is which one will achieve consumer acceptance? No doubt all the truckmakers want to offer their buyers better fuel economy, but which manufacturers will do it at a reasonable cost?

Manufacturer images

 

Hino diesel electric hybrid 2 II

 

Comments

All of the above-referenced ideas and improvements have been around for awhile.

They are slowly being phased in because the price of pump gasoline has been moderate for most of the last 25 years. Today's gas prices are a third less than in 2012-2013 in my area.

So if price of gas is no longer driving the adoption of these great improvements, why do it? Pickups are already ridiculously expensive and these changes to the vehicles--and the supporting infrastructure--cannot be justified just because the technology is cool.

Am I missing something?

papajim, I'd imagine that it's the mandate to make them more efficient.

I see the article left out electric only (they included electric hybrid). Shame on them!

@ PUTC and TE:

" Toyota already is testing a fuel-cell Tundra"

Are you sure? I read the above referenced article and came across this:

"We’re not totally sure as to the origins of this unusual Tundra. It looks as though the entirety of the bed has been filled to the brim with fuel cell components and hydrogen tanks, causing us to doubt somewhat that this vehicle originated from Toyota. Our technology gurus concurred, suggesting that companies as diverse as Hyundai, Toyota, and Chevrolet have managed to fit fuel cell architecture in their respective vehicles’ engine bays and floorpans."


I do not really see the point here. For a PU owner, I still do not care nor do I watch my FE. I like to tow and haul. I use my car for FE. The truck is there when I need to do work.

-CT

Majority of half-ton trucks on the market today are basically glorified sedans with no ground clearance, basically pavement princesses.

It takes a leveling kit to not bottom out or drag the front bumper when you take these trucks out in the pastures on the farm.

papajim doesn't drive his old truck much and has never bought a new truck so he doesn't care about anything. His truck is 10 years old. Last full size before that was from the 1970s.

The majority of papajim's comments are against technology.

Reduce weight. narrower tires
Improve aerodynamics. smaller diameter wheels-no more 20"s.
Reduce capability-No dually unless it is a 1 ton diesel. For 1-ton trucks: use load range D instead of E. For 3/4-ton trucks, use load range C instead of D.
Shift/hide true cost-that Colorado diesels costs more to purchase, has a timing belt that needs changing at 10 years or 150,000 miles, uses fuel that cost more than gasoline, and requires diesel exhaust fluid. (not to mention how much slower the truck is)

Chevy already testing H2 whit the army ,, H2 and electric is the best of the two world

Pickups have the most to gain by fuel economy gains. Even a 1 mpg increases like 10-20%. Ask any owner of a trucking company and what they look for when buying trucks made to do work. Number one factor is fuel economy.

The MPG matters mostly for the CAFE standards. NOT what you (the North American Consumer) think/think you know, feel, or care about.

IF the big 3 minus 1 are going to continue to be DEPENDENT on the profits from the sales of full size trucks and not make and sell profitable smaller/mid sized cars then they MUST raise the mileage of their trucks to meet CAFE. For companies like Toy and Puegot who don't rely on profits from full size trucks to survive this is a much smaller almost non concern.

In effectively loosing the ability to sell large numbers of small and midsized cars at a profit instead of a loss the big 3 minus 1 are left with being forced to go to extraordinary measures to bump mileage in their desireable/profitable full size trucks/SUVs. This handicap also leaves them vulnerable to bad economic conditions, fuel price hikes and hurts their overall reputations as "car companies".

I touched on this in the "Future Trucks...." comments section, but i think we will see more advancement in active suspension travel, giving low ground clearance for high-speed highway driving, and high GC for low-speed and off-road.

FWD will become more common, accompanied by electric rear wheel assist. This will get rid of heavy driveline components and allow more truck bed options (under-bed storage or deeper beds, or under-bed battery storage).

Another key component will be vehicles communicating with each other, although this will affect cars more than trucks. It will take a while, but cross-communicating vehicles will eventually eliminate traffic gridlock and vehicle/vehicle accidents. In more rural areas, we will see benefits of smoother traffic flow with combined adaptive cruise control and cross-communications. This will lead to steadier driving speeds and less fuel consumption.

These semi-autonomous driving changes will be driven by the insurance industry. If your vehicle communicates with other vehicles, it will cost you an order of magnitude less for insurance versus what it would cost to insure an older-tech vehicle with no communication, no matter the technical skills of the driver. It will be profit-driven for both the insurance comoanies and the consumers, whether we like it or not.

If Trucker wasn't such a (nickname for kitty) he would debate me on the facts of this particular story instead of taking cheap shots.

@Clint

You sound confused about CAFE. It is based on the idea that America is running out of oil. A silly 1970s idea.

CAFE is no different from the ridiculous Obama-era Net Neutrality rules that got deep-sized today. CAFE can be either repealed by Congress, stiffed by the federal courts or simply by the Justice Department and the Executive Branch refusing to enforce it.

America's auto makers have made enormous strides in FE since the 1970s. It's ridiculous for a silly idea like CAFE to upset an entire industry or to over-rule the wishes of American consumers.

[edit]

CAFE is no different from the ridiculous Obama-era Net Neutrality rules that got deep-sixed today. Not deep sized.

No matter how you spelled it, it's Make America Great Again!

At end of 320kmiles life for my '84 Mazda B2000 (2.0L carbureted, 5 speed manual) I calculated 29mpg. It had no power, but I did a ton of work with it. Motorcycles up to Lake Tahoe (7239' Hwy 80 summit elevation) in the bed: would have to drop it to 3rd gear just to keep it at 45mph and over the 7,239' summit. All kinds of work in ~30yr life. 3 motorcyles in it at one time in the 6'2.5" bed. Great daily driver too at 29mpg highway. ~14.5gallon tank so I wasn't going to gas station that often. NO stupid bed extender needed. Bed sidewall metal was thin, but helped make it light. Wow, I miss that truck. It was brick shape, and already was kind of hard to park with its non-power steering, compared to my '89 M3. Paid $6000 OTD. Got my money's worth! I hope all this engine technology eventually reduces the front end of these trucks. I've stopped holding my breath for the front ends to get reduced, but maybe with 2.0L turbo 4's and 260hp V6 ecodiesels, some manufacturer will get the bright idea to reduce the front end of a fullsize by 1 foot, and have a midsize. Must be rocket science, or complacency, or front crumple zone issues, or high hp engines in small size, that must all add up to this reality still being out in the future. Looking forward to Detroit auto show to see how far the needle has moved.

Must be rocket science, or complacency, or front crumple zone issues, or high hp engines in small size, that must all add up to this reality still being out in the future

@Angelo

You are the only one I hear complaining about this issue.

The companies that sell a lot of trucks would love to hear from you, however.

Your viewpoint is interesting and there's no doubt that reducing the footprint would interest some of the automakers.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy Requirements (CAFE) are a bureaucratic nightmare. Thousands of pages of regulations that end up meaning nothing like what is presented to voters. With any luck the whole thing will be abandoned and people can choose with their wallets according to their own priorities.

The best way for pickups to break the 30mpg would be a 4 cyl diesel compact pickup. As for fullsize its a waste of time. Theyre too heavy and horribly un-aerodynamic.

Only way to improve mpg is to make the dam trucks more aerodynamic,,hybrid electric with small motor would help even more,,if Workhorse can do it why not big 3 ?


http://workhorse.com/pickup/
3 cyl 4x4
POWER and RANGE
460 horsepower
0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds
All-Electric Range
80 miles
Hybrid Range
Unlimited (310 miles per tank)
FUEL ECONOMY
MPGe All Electric Miles
75
MPG with Range-Extender
28 highway, 32 city

Our 2016 Canyon CCLB with the Duramax gets over 30 mpg all day long. Towing 6k gets 18mpg in mountains. Hiway is 37 mpg. So we are already there at the 30 mpg truck. My uncles 1/2 ton eco diesel Ram gets 28 mpg hiway and 24 mpg average daily driving.

@papajim.
Yah sure the automakers would love to hear from me. Haha. I think I'll peddle over to Tesla plant one lunch and with a Bullhorn recite my wishes in their lobby. I wonder how long I'd be able to get through my speech before the police kick me to the street.
As I remember, your the x-dealership owner. Surely, you have the contacts with which to rally my wishes. I would really appreciate it. Give you a candy cane for your work. Haha.

Sean G.
Appreciate the feedback. It's a nice truck and they've come a long way since 1984, but if only they cut 6" from the engine compartment and put 3" in the rear crew section and 3" in the bed. The bed is 6.0" at the top and 6'2"at the bottom. I want those 3" in both areas.

oops 6'0" at top

"How Can Pickups Break the 30 MPG Highway Rating?"

Four ways:
• Smaller -- On the average, today's pickup trucks are much larger than they need to be. They can all serve the same purpose at 15% to 20% smaller than their current size.

• Lighter -- Most of today's pickup trucks are much heavier than they need to be. At one time, they barely weighed in at 3500# and now they're up to a full ton heavier.

• Turbos-- You don't need huge engines to get sufficient power for most tasks. 200-250 horses can easily handle a 5000# to 7500# load and that's all a half-ton truck should need to pull I've easily pulled 2500# with a 145hp I-4 that lacked any turbo power. Adding turbo to that same engine (with proper bottom-end work) could have easily doubled the horsepower and the pulling power of that vehicle and STILL given me an average fuel mileage over 30mpg when empty.

• Electrics -- Electric vehicles offer massive horsepower and torque capabilities that make even diesels look sick. Not only that, but they get four times the range on the same cost of "fuel", with the only limitation at the moment being the capacity of the batteries. With a Tesla 100kWh battery (just used as an example) a pickup truck in in-town service could easily achieve 300 miles with a light load (service truck for plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, etc.) and probably 200 miles or more with a 5000# - 7500# trailer. A 1-ton version would probably manage 150 miles pulling a 10000# trailer which is still far more than the typical in-town tow with such a load.

• Aerodynamics -- Being smaller will automatically improve aerodynamics by simply not having to push as much air in front of it. However, streamlining the nose and adding more curve to let air flow around the body instead of just shoving it around would improve the Coefficient of Drag, which on pickups is terrible right now. Hey, we've now seen a prototype Class 8 truck with a lower CoD than a Bugatti Veyron! If a Class 8 can do it, certainly a pickup can!

be a GMT 31XX

Keep in mind that pickup trucks are only about 16% of the automotive market in the US, less than half that of the CUV market at 36%. https://www.statista.com/statistics/276506/change-in-us-car-demand-by-vehicle-type/

Smaller, more aerodynamic and more economical trucks could really eat into that CUV market.

I do not really see the point here. For a PU owner, I still do not care nor do I watch my FE. I like to tow and haul. I use my car for FE. The truck is there when I need to do work.
---- Posted by: crunchtime

How much have those trucks cost you in fuel over the years you have owned them? What if you could save 50% or more in fuel costs alone? And keep that towing and hauling power?

Sean G.
Appreciate the feedback. It's a nice truck and they've come a long way since 1984, but if only they cut 6" from the engine compartment and put 3" in the rear crew section and 3" in the bed. The bed is 6.0" at the top and 6'2"at the bottom. I want those 3" in both areas.


Posted by: Angelo Pietroforte | Dec 14, 2017 8:32:36 PM

Yes, more room would be nice, although the bed has more room than the short bed full size that so many people buy( and never use). I agree, they have come a long way, and my point was the 30 mpg truck( average) is already available, and since it gets hi thirties hiway, a half ton diesel 4 cylinder, should obtain 30 mpg straight hiway. The Canyon wieghs 5000 lbs, so not much lighter than a half ton. The 2.8L Dmax puts out 369 ft/lbs , same as the V8, so more than enough power to use in the 1/2 ton.
The new Ford Ranger will also be in the 30 mpg category with a diesel, can't wait to see them here in Canada.

M.A.G.A.

Morons Are Governing America

Dodge will break the 30 MPG mark. I say they get 31 in the New Ram. But 30 MPG is nothing. Tesla’s New Truck is going to Gobble up the Competition with their Truck and it’s going to be a Heavy Duty Pickup. Look for a 400+ Mile Range and a 0-60 in 3 secs or Under. Chevy, Dodge, and Ram better have something under their sleeve by 2021 Or they’re Toast.

Turbos on gas engines only get better mpg on benchmarks. On real use they only get slightly better mileages, and they have higher maintenance costs.

It is much easier for the manufacturers to take inches off the front of pickups and use a composite of materials to make trucks lighter. This is more acceptable to most truck buyers as long as the cab and bed are not reduced in size. The DOE standards are the main reason why truck manufacturers are looking for ways to increase fuel economy.

@Clint-"IF the big 3 minus 1 are going to continue to be DEPENDENT on the profits from the sales of full size trucks and not make and sell profitable smaller/mid sized cars then they MUST raise the mileage of their trucks to meet CAFE. For companies like Toy and Puegot who don't rely on profits from full size trucks to survive this is a much smaller almost non concern."

Clint, agree this is exactly why the Big 3 are pushing more efficiency. Both Toyota and Nissan don't need this as much as the Big 3 since they are not as dependent on truck sales. FCA is the most vulnerable especially since they no longer have compact and midsize cars except Fiat which doesn't sell enough to effect their fleet averages. For the Big 3 it is better to sell less cars and more trucks and suvs so any way they can increase the efficiency of trucks means they can produce the higher profit trucks and suvs without the pressure to make more cars which have a lower profit margin. I doubt that there will be any major changes to the DOE anytime soon and the manufacturers cannot afford to wait to see if these regulations are changed.

GM has just filed a patent for a compression hybrid engine that will produce more power and efficiency. Below is the link to that article

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/12/1604358gmcompressionhybrid/#postcomments

Proving once again this website is controlled by liberal media.

@Jeff S: Great find on the GM patent article. In the article they make mention of removal of the camshaft and replacing it with electro hydraulic lifters. (camless engine technology)
I have been following this technology for years and it looks like GM may be the first mass production manufacturer to apply it. It is just the technology needed to combat the claimed clean enviromental impact of all electric cars. Electric cars are cool but that electricity has to come from somewhere and coal electric generation plants isn't exactly environmentally friendly. Camless technology, when implemented, will revolutionize the internal combustion engine.

Interesting patent.
https://itstillruns.com/1986-mazda-b2000-specifications-7653772.html. 2788lbs is quite light. Mine was 1984, and suspect weight was pretty much 2788 because it has same 2.0L 5sp as this link. Great little truck. My neighbor still driving his. He's not mechanically inclined, but if it breaks down, even real bad, I'll offer to take off his hands. Need to ask him about smogging it. I was going round and round with mine near EOL.

As I remember, your the x-dealership owner. Surely, you have the contacts with which to rally my wishes. I would really appreciate it. Give you a candy cane for your work. Haha.
Posted by: Angelo Pietroforte | Dec 14, 2017

@Angelo

I'm neither as bad or as good as my critics and friends let on. The dealership was sold last year and was owned not by me but by some relatives. I have also worked at other dealerships.

Re: the automakers. They CRAVE customer feedback of all kinds. They spend a bloody fortune trying to get input from disinterested parties such as yourself. Don't be shy. I don't always agree with your perspectives but you express yourself effectively. I'm convinced that you should write to at least a half dozen industry folks (check their websites) and you'll get replies.

@ GMSRGREAT--Thanks. I thought it was an interesting article and wanted to share it.

Find a way to power trucks using liberal snugness and you will have an endless supply of fuel.

Enough with the fuel economy virtue-signaling. The only people who care about arbitrary mpg numbers and crackpot fuels like hydrogen are government shills and eco-fascists who only want you to ride the bus and be dependent on government with no liberty. I don't want a $60,000 truck that gets 30mpg. I want a 20k truck with a pushrod V8 that gets 15. Why? My truck, my choice. The world is not running out of oil just because the same government shills who claim it is are also the ones making it more difficult to extract and enact higher taxes on it.

@BD

Agree.

Go to Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock and take a look at the list of donors.

Sprinkled amongst the names of ordinary American citizens who contributed are the names of kings and princes from various OPEC nations who gave hundreds of millions of dollars.

It isn't just Democrats either. Those same OPEC big shots have the cell phone after-hours numbers of your favorite Republican congressman too.

ditto for the Corn State foolishness, where American citizens in every state are forced to support the few states that have a corn-alcohol racket that requires the blending of ethanol with gasoline for the purpose of "reducing America's dependence" on foreign oil, and promoting "clean" energy.

Yeah, right.

"Turbos on gas engines only get better mpg on benchmarks. On real use they only get slightly better mileages, and they have higher maintenance costs." ---- Posted by: Robert

That depends on how you drive 'em. Like the old 4-barrel carbs, you get better economy if you stay out o' them turbos. Try running 65 on the freeway instead of 85 and see how much gas you save.

"Electric cars are cool but that electricity has to come from somewhere and coal electric generation plants isn't exactly environmentally friendly. Camless technology, when implemented, will revolutionize the internal combustion engine."
---- Posted by: GMSRGREAT


While true as far as it goes, you overlook that AT ITS WORST, a 5000# EV car puts out half as much emissions as a Fiat 500 with the base engine, while providing 4x as much power. Why? Because the EV gets up to 4x the relative fuel economy and the smoke stack at the coal plant is 'scrubbed.'

Moreover, coal generation is now below 30% of all power generation in the States, with natural gas generation pretty much taking over (at 35%+) and is notably cleaner than coal. A map of the US shows that the average emissions across the country for the US would have EVs coming out far, far lower than ICEVs even with moving said emissions to power plants. And the more solar and wind move in (the fastest growing power generation sources in the country) those emissions keep getting lower. So your complaint about electric is essentially invalid.

Yes, this new technology for a 'camless engine' looks interesting. But how reliable will it be? How much power will it really offer? And how much fuel savings will it actually achieve?

@BD--Manufacturers offering crew cabs in pickups had a huge impact on the price and regulations because more families bought pickups instead of cars and vans. Pickups for years got around the most stringent fuel and pollution standards because their sales volume was low enough that they did not get the attention of regulators. When more trucks offered crew cabs and premium trim packages that were only offered on cars more people started buying trucks. Trucks in the past were more basic and for the most part those who bought them needed them for work. Years ago it was considered taboo for most to drive a truck, now it is considered an all around vehicle serving as a family hauler, weekend Home Depot and all around vehicle to pick things up that most cars cannot. A crew cab pickup is like a swiss knife is to a regular knife, multi functional.

Like I just said on another post.
Truck makers: Stop charging me thousands of dollars to save me 1 or 2 miles per gallon.
And Washington: This is for you too.

@RoadWhale--It will take many many years before electric vehicles become more of a main stay. Batteries will have to get less expensive, smaller, lighter, longer range, and quicker charging. Also to provide the infrastructure to charge electric cars will take time and a lot of money. Manufacturers are looking at getting more efficiencies out of ICE because ICE will be around for the foreseeable future. GM's new patent is to meet the upcoming and foreseeable regulations. I believe you will see more hybrid power trains.

As for sources of energy the one source not mentioned is methane gas which is a natural byproduct of landfills and sewer plants. The State of Kentucky gives incentives to electric utilities to use methane gas. Many of the landfills in Kentucky have electric generating plants that use the methane gas and the generated electricity goes into the power grid. The Toyota plant in Georgetown, KY uses methane along with solar and traditional electric sources.

Just to limit the discussion of alternate sources of energy to just solar and wind is shortsighted. There is also nuclear power which is much safer than it was in the past and is a clean energy source. The US produces more uranium than any other country in the World and most of the uranium is exported There is also geothermal and hydro-electric. Also more natural gas is being produced and less cost. Not all alternate sources work everywhere. Much harder to generate solar power in the Northern USA especially in the Winter than in the Southwest.

I don't see coal going away anytime soon although we are using less coal than we have in the past.

@Jeff S:

First off, I didn't limit the energy discussion to just solar and wind, I only stated that they were the fastest growing forms of electrical generation. I do agree with the rest of your energy statement outside of the fact that more coal plants are being closed than opened and many of them are being converted to natural gas. Nuclear has its own issues but there are at least two concepts out there that could change how nuclear is used and I see the potential to put so-called nuclear waste to work in one of those types--the pebble bed reactor--by reworking the fuel rods into pellets and mixing them with pellets of absorbant material that would prevent the mass from approaching anywhere close to critical stage.

This would mean less reactive mass exposed and less needed on site to provide sufficient power for a more typical boiler. There would also be the potential to use these "pebbles" with a collector to directly power a much smaller "reactor" that would serve as a battery to power almost any kind of electric need. Such tiny pebbles--mere grams in weight--have kept the two Voyager space probes operating for over 40 years. Imagine if your car or truck could be powered by one of these. Pretty much a lifetime power source and if designed right, almost impenetrable under any conceivable circumstance. Not saying we should do it, but we could and not have very much of a risk of radiation leakage.

Roadwhale.
Wow interesting Uranium powering cars. Impenetrable I hope, and autonomous too. Because a head on collision between two mini nuclear reactors at 100mph doesn't sound too good to me.
I'm betting a uranium powered car is going to be a ways off with all the other tech competing for a cars engine bay.

Are we crazy - giving $7,500 in tax credits or - leaving it in the new tax bill - our tax dollars - to buyers of electric cars???
Check out where Tesla is. How many schemes are bouncing around in the lobbyists heads right now?
If a consumer wants to try a product - let them spend their own damn money on it, not mine.

anybody remember the oil embargo of the 1970's where the Japanese called their engines a "lean burn system" all it was was a hotter, more powerful ignition system giving the spark plugs a hotter spark.
Also the different formulation of gasoline today makes the gasoline less concentrated where O2 is added to the gasoline of today.
If you could go back in time and use the gasoline of the 1970's in your 2017 truck you would get 30 MPG

@Angelo Pietroforte--It would not be feasible to have nuclear powered vehicles, but the expanded use of nuclear power plants is

@RoadWhale--Agree, coal is being phased out over time and many coal plants are being converted over to natural gas. There are many older coal plants that will be phased out over time. RoadWhale I worked for years in the energy business and I once did research on alternate sources of energy. The USA has an abundance of sources of energy and that is after you exclude oil and gas which we are discovering new ways of extracting which a few years ago would not have been feasible.



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