The Weight Loss Of Vehicles

6 06 2013

Dale BertramCorporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE was put into effect in 1975 and Congress has been tweaking it for 38 years, so it constantly improves the average fuel economy for all cars and trucks sold in the United States. Currently the “defined” standard is 30.2 miles per gallon for passenger vehicles and 24.1 miles per gallon for light trucks. When vehicles fall below 30.2 mpg or 24.1 mpg the manufacturer is penalized $5.50 for every 0.1 miles per gallon below the standard.

Have you ever heard of the “Gas Guzzler Tax?” Passenger cars that get less than 22.5 miles per gallon have this tax levied on them. It is not applicable for SUVs, trucks or vans, however. With all these penalties, manufacturers are working hard to not only make engines that are fuels sippers but make vehicles that are lighter in weight.

By 2016, the new standard will be a combined 35.5 miles per gallon and by 2025 the government standard is 54.5 miles per gallon! This has manufacturers scurrying to build a lighter vehicle because the lighter the vehicle, the more fuel efficient it is. Those of us in the United States, on average, prefer our vehicles on the roomy side as opposed to small. Manufacturers need the light weight of aluminum but the cost for manufacturers to change their assembly lines to work with aluminum and alloys is costly!

General Motors Ventures has invested in a Rhode-Island based company called NanoSteel Corporation. They make a strong steel sheet that can take shape while withstanding the standard stamping process and yet is twenty percent lighter than the usual cold-rolled grade steel. It does not require heat to shape it and the assembly line doesn’t have to be retrofitted.

High-end vehicles have been using aluminum successfully but this new steel is wonderful news for manufacturers and auto repair shops alike! How are the vehicles doing? The 2014 Cadillac CTS weighs 250 pounds, or 7 percent less than the 2013 model. Jaguar Land Rover Sport is 800 pounds lighter or 17 percent less than the 2013 model. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee that replaces the Liberty is 200 pounds lighter but 5.1 inches longer.

Lighter cars will not lower safety standards but they will brake, accelerate and handle better. Parts made from lighter high-strength steel can be 39 percent lighter! It is also $2.75 less per pound than aluminum and $7 per pound less than carbon fiber.

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Fairway Auto Repair

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