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Transportation United States

America's Cars Are Suddenly Getting Faster and More Efficient (bloomberg.com) 483

Kyle Stock and David Ingold, writing for Bloomberg: Sometime in the next couple of months, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and its 808 horsepower will show up in dealership windows like some kind of tiny, red, tire-melting factory. Yes, 808 horsepower. There's no typo. Last year, U.S. drivers on the hunt for more than 600 horsepower had 18 models to choose from, including a Cadillac sedan that looks more swanky than angry. Meanwhile, even boring commuter sedans are posting power specifications that would have been unheard of during the Ford Administration. The horses in the auto industry are running free. We crunched four decades of data from the Environmental Protection Agency's emission tests and arrived at a simple conclusion: All of the cars these days are fast and furious -- even the trucks. If a 1976 driver were to somehow get his hands on a car from 2017, he'd be at grave risk of whiplash. Since those days, horsepower in the U.S. has almost doubled, with the median model climbing from 145 to 283 stallions. Not surprisingly, the entire U.S. fleet grew more game for a drag-race: The median time it took for a vehicle to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour was halved, from almost 14 seconds to seven.
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America's Cars Are Suddenly Getting Faster and More Efficient

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  • Essentially you can either use the same improvements to make the cars more efficient in terms of gas usage or you can make them have more total horsepower. Unfortunately, many of the people buying cars prefer the second, so this is what we end up with. The long-term results of this are going to be not at all good.
    • by jamesborr ( 876769 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:51AM (#54448449)
      The ultimate result of letting people make their own choices. Government control of choices is one way to counteract this -- i.e. make it illegal to make "bad" choices. Then the question is who gets to decide which choices are "bad" -- which is generally the government -- which is chosen by the people who would generally like to make there own choices...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The ultimate result of letting people make their own choices. Government control of choices is one way to counteract this -- i.e. make it illegal to make "bad" choices. Then the question is who gets to decide which choices are "bad" -- which is generally the government -- which is chosen by the people who would generally like to make there own choices...

        As long as we have a *functioning* democracy this really isn't a major issue. If something is deemed to be in the public good, then disallowing people to m

        • by jamesborr ( 876769 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:06AM (#54448583)
          Would agree in general, but the struggle is that a modern car that can accelerate more quickly then older cars are prevalent across the spectrum -- i.e. technology has made smaller cars/smaller engines much more performant. In addition, it is much harder to make the argument that a car next to you capable of accelerating faster then a typical car from the 70's is causing you direct harm, unlike second hand smoke.
          • Would agree in general, but the struggle is that a modern car that can accelerate more quickly then older cars are prevalent across the spectrum -- i.e. technology has made smaller cars/smaller engines much more performant. In addition, it is much harder to make the argument that a car next to you capable of accelerating faster then a typical car from the 70's is causing you direct harm, unlike second hand smoke.

            That and for a significant number of folks out there, a car is *more* than rote transportation

            • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @03:39PM (#54451075) Journal
              You can have a FUN car, just not on public streets. Our roads are no place for having fun, its for the function of transporting humans and cargo as safely as possible. Your days are numbered. In our lifetime it will become prohibitively expensive to human-drive a car. Your insurance premiums will be insanely high when you become the biggest risk on the road by far. If you want to have adventures driving, go to the track.
          • by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:27AM (#54448769)

            What USA do you live in? Between hopped up pickup trucks and luxury SUVs, the "cars" on the road around here are bigger than ever. And how many people do these private buses carry? Usually one.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by wizkid ( 13692 )

          As long as we have a *functioning* democracy this really isn't a major issue.

          I have some bad news for you. We are not a Democracy, we are a Republic. We have some very subtle but important differences. We have a Democratic Congress ( Which isn't very functional at this point ), but as a republic, the rights of the individual are protected by the Constitution (which is being ignored by our non-functional congress, courts and administrative branches).

          The only entities that have the power to change th

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        There is a third option between letting people do things which impose a cost on everyone else (e.g. like pollution), and forcing everybody to do the same thing. You can make people who want to do those things pay at least some of those costs.

        If you want to drive a 12 MPG Maybach, go ahead, but you then pay a mileage excise tax that goes to offset the costs. It's the same hedonic calculus -- how much do I want to pay for the performance? But with more realistic cost numbers.

        What do you do with those taxes?

        • If you want to drive a 12 MPG Maybach, go ahead, but you then pay a mileage excise tax that goes to offset the costs.

          There is already a gas guzzler tax you pay when you buy a car with low MPG.

      • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:19AM (#54448695)

        Then the question is who gets to decide which choices are "bad" -- which is generally the government -- which is chosen by the people who would generally like to make there own choices...

        Bad choices are those that hurt everyone for the gain of a few, and driving more fuel efficient vehicles is necessary for the long term success of the country in terms of keeping us out of expensive wars, having us destroy our own environment to pump more oil, reducing emissions and just to keep prices down to avoid gas becoming too expensive in a country where not being able to drive may lock you out of employment. When it comes to adding more HP to a car, and the public flocking to those horses rather than fuel efficient vehicles, then it may come time to make a law to stop it (or I'd advocate, make it expensive but not illegal). However, since even here in Texas those cars still represent the vast minority, maybe there's no need for someone to step in.

        The reality is that even here, with the highest speed limits in the US, a 180hp coupe can go fast enough to get jail time on an 85mph road, people are buying these purely for vanity reasons. A few teenage boys and overgrown teenage boys, including one guy in my neighborhood with the license plate "808HP" care but most people tend to make smarter choices.

        • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @11:09AM (#54449053) Journal

          The reality is that even here, with the highest speed limits in the US, a 180hp coupe can go fast enough to get jail time on an 85mph road, people are buying these purely for vanity reasons.

          It's not about max speed (unless they take it to the track), it's about acceleration.

        • ...people are buying these purely for vanity reasons. A few teenage boys and overgrown teenage boys, including one guy in my neighborhood with the license plate "808HP" care but most people tend to make smarter choices.

          I'm troubled by the characterization you're making. There do exist people who view a car as more than a way to get from A to B, and more than something to show off. They enjoy driving. Some people go to movies, or take vacations, etc. -- and others buy a nice car. Owning one does not make you

      • Government of the people by the people for the people will rarely prohibit things the people want. At best, you might hope for "behavior shaping" taxes, but the price of gasoline has been a sacred cow in the United States forever - the last market price drop from $4 per gallon back to $2 was an opportunity for new fuel taxes to help "shape" behavior toward more efficient vehicles without putting an active chill on the economy, but, instead, our legislators just let the prices fall and continue to tax us ot

      • If only there were some option other than "make it illegal" or "do nothing"...

        Some people get a large amount of utility out of vehicles that use a lot of fuel (e.g. people who need high towing capacity). An omniscient social planner would want to allow these people to pay for the environmental cost of their driving while discouraging others from using inefficient vehicles (and discourage unnecessary driving too). Is there anything that could accomplish these without mind control? Hmm, let's think about it.

        L

      • make it illegal to make "bad" choices

        Nonsense. Governments don't need to make things illegal to make them unpopular.

        Governments have, for years, used tax to influence consumer decisions for the greater good. That's why we have specific taxes on cigarettes, because the pack price does not encompass the community cost.

        This is also why Europeans see gas prices several times those in the US and their cars are much more efficient. Effectively they end up with a similar cost per mile, or at least one that isn't a

    • We can't have both ? Make it very efficient, all while allowing more headroom for power. That's how you use technology.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:03AM (#54448555)

        We do.

        A 4-cyl turbo engine today easily makes more HP than a carb V8 of the 70s. AND it does so while getting much higher MPG.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          A 4-cyl turbo engine today easily makes more HP than a carb V8 of the 70s.

          Yes and no. Many turbo cars have considerable turbo lag, and for things like passing someone as quickly as possible, the old muscle car can still hold an edge.

          • by LDAPMAN ( 930041 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:18AM (#54448693)

            Fortunately, turbo tech has improved as well. Modern designs have surprisingly little lag. The Ford EcoBoost designs are especially good.

          • Or, you could drive like Hans Stuck and just anticipate the lag and put your foot down a fraction of a second earlier to compensate.

          • A 4-cyl turbo engine today easily makes more HP than a carb V8 of the 70s.

            Yes and no. Many turbo cars have considerable turbo lag, and for things like passing someone as quickly as possible, the old muscle car can still hold an edge.

            The 2017 Ford GT, 6 cylinder 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 twin-turbo has over 600Hp and no noticeable turbo-lag, of course a Keith Black Hemi has 600 Hp out of the crate and sounds like a 426 Hemi. I do have a nostalgic spot in my heart for the 4 cylinder Offenhauser engines but they sound like a real engine, not a weed-wacker on amphetamines.

      • We can't have both ? Make it very efficient, all while allowing more headroom for power. That's how you use technology.

        Not at the same time. You can have horsepower or fuel efficiency but not both beyond a certain point. If you increase horsepower with a 100% efficient engine you necessarily are increasing fuel consumption. But engines aren't 100% efficient so once you reach the limits of current efficiency you have to make a trade off between horsepower or efficiency. You can increase one or the other but not both at the same time. The only way to increase both is to develop/use technology that is more efficient at t

      • We can't have both ? Make it very efficient, all while allowing more headroom for power. That's how you use technology.

        Two words for you: pumping losses.

        With gasoline engines, the larger the engine, the larger the pumping losses. There has been some work with what are really variable size engines (shutting off cylinders, etc.) but they haven't been very successful.

        It's because of this conflict that we now have turbo-charged engine: instead of making the engine larger, use a compressor to stuff in more air,

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      Essentially you can either use the same improvements to make the cars more efficient in terms of gas usage or you can make them have more total horsepower. Unfortunately, many of the people buying cars prefer the second, so this is what we end up with.

      Considering cars are also getting more efficient in terms of gas usage, it looks like car buyers are choosing a little bit of both. Moderation is usually the key to realistic change, whether it is when dieting and exercising or improving fleet performance and fuel efficiency.

    • by MouseR ( 3264 )

      Economics will take care of that. Hellcats are super expensive to own/operate. Moreso than a top of the line Tesla.

      Heck, just a Chevy Volt (of which I own a Gen2), over the course of the 8 year warrantee, you'll save about 25,000$ in gas alone for a 20,000km yearly usage.

      Those Hellcats are major guzzlers. And those tires aren't cheap.

      • Not sure you live in the states, because even assuming your electricity is free (nice trick that one), 20,000 * 8 = 160,000 km ~= 100,000 miles / 20mpg = 5,000 gallons of fuel, which means that your gas costs $5.00 / gallon -- which has never been true in the sates (think usually between $2.00 and $3.00 tops (although you use of km is probably indicative)). And given the U.S. is now moving to being an oil exporter again, is not likely to change anytime soon.
      • Those Hellcats are major guzzlers. And those tires aren't cheap.

        True though you must admit that anyone buying one doesn't give a rip about fuel economy. They buy them to go fast and impress other similarly minded people. Fuel economy doesn't even enter into the picture.

        • Those Hellcats are major guzzlers. And those tires aren't cheap.

          True though you must admit that anyone buying one doesn't give a rip about fuel economy. They buy them to go fast and impress other similarly minded people. Fuel economy doesn't even enter into the picture.

          Well, a corvette isn't cheap either and the tires for those aren't cheap.

          The thing is, not everyone is cheap. Some of us have disposable cash, and like to enjoy it. Why is that suddenly something wrong?

          Our whole lives are NOT about the

          • The thing is, not everyone is cheap. Some of us have disposable cash, and like to enjoy it. Why is that suddenly something wrong?

            Who said it was suddenly wrong? It's always been wasteful.

            Our whole lives are NOT about the greater good, if it is..then something very troubling has happened to culture in the US.

            Nobody ever claimed they were. But you also cannot credibly argue that you can safely utilize those 800HP on normal roads or that you aren't needlessly polluting. You might have the legal right to do it but don't pretend you aren't taking a big old shit on the environment.

            I'm not saying "fuck your neighbor" but geez, folks, life is short....no reason to shame someone that is enjoying the freedoms this country offers (or used to offer at least).

            Yes you are saying "fuck your neighbor" in a very real sense. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you aren't imposing consequences on others. If you buy a high horse

      • Please run the numbers for me. When I calculated the last time I was in the market. I could afford a lifetimes supply of gas for the vehicle for a similar class gas car for the difference in the price.

        With $25,000 you could drive...
        Say $3/gallon. You buy 8,333 gallons of gas. Assume 35 mile/gallon, you could drive 291,655 miles.

        • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:57AM (#54448953)

          Depends what you consider "similar class"
          Tesla claims they compete with Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series, etc. In those classes the Tesla is about the same price, so you can't buy "a lifetime supply of gas" with the difference as there really isn't a difference.

          Now if you decide to compare the Model S to a Civic or something, sure, you'll always come out cheaper with the Civic, but it's not really a good comparison.

          That said, Tesla's comparison isn't right either, but honestly, there simply ISN'T a comparison for the Model S, it's got worse interior quality than a $30,000 Kia, but it has more advanced driver assistance tech than a $100,000 luxury car. It also has the acceleration of a $1,000,000 supercar, and the cargo capacity of a large SUV, which obviously comes with worse handling than the supercar, and the cargo layout is far from optimized. It's actually really hard to place in a "class" at all. It really boils down to what you want in a car, it may be the best thing you've ever found, or a huge disappointment.

    • by DrYak ( 748999 )

      Essentially you can either use the same improvements to make the cars more efficient in terms of gas usage or you can make them have more total horsepower.

      And according to TFA is that cars are getting overall more efficient exactly because of that.
      All the time that the driver isn't spending with the foot stomping on the gaz pedal (which isn't the majority of a normal comute) is actually time during which the car has better efficiency than it's fore runners.

      Or, in other words : this efficiency vs. power has been made dynamic and varies according to driver's needs moment by moment.

      Technology is gotten that smarter that the driver thinks he's buying a more power

    • Wait, did you even read the article? Or even the headline??? We used the technology to make cars BOTH more efficient AND with greater horsepower.

    • Horsepower is a measure of its capability at producing power, it's not a measure of efficiency. Because a 808 HP engine does not run at 808 HP at all times.

      A 6000 HP engine from a diesel train can be 20% efficient, and a 2.5 HP engine in a two-stroke scooter can be 10% efficient. It depends on a lot more factors than their peak performance.

    • Baloney stuff like variable valve timing and direct injection increase power and fuel efficiency. Turbocharging does same thing for small displacement engines.
    • Um.... not really. The "improvements" used to make an 808 horsepower car have little to nothing to do with making a car more fuel efficient.

      Also, the long term results of a 15mpg fleet are no different than the long term results from a 45mpg fleet - sure, the fuel is consumed 3x as fast, but in the long term, it always runs out.

      Even if we pump up "automotive" efficiency to where it's 100% solar powered, the long term results of continued population growth are going to tank the planet regardless of how "gre

  • Hoon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:48AM (#54448417) Journal
    The idiots that hoon these things on normal roads provide one of the strongest possible arguments for a hard push for fully automated driving. Nobody (probably) wants a 4500 lb car rammed up their butt because someone wants to have fun. Take it to the track.
  • Newer cars likely weigh a lot more, because of all the safety & environmental regulations. Some part of the increase of HP is to accommodate all this extra weight.

    Not all, but some.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:58AM (#54448513) Homepage
      According to the summary, "The median time it took for a vehicle to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour was halved, from almost 14 seconds to seven," so in this case more HP does mean faster, or at least, means faster to reach cruising speed.

      I like the "more efficient" part. I'm driving a car that routinely gets over 40 miles per gallon. Back in the '70s I drove an old (60s vintage) Volkswagen Beetle that used to impress people with its great gas mileage: 26 miles per gallon. What I drive now is bigger, more comfortable, safer, faster, and in short better in every possible way, and still gets almost twice the mileage.

      • According to the summary, "The median time it took for a vehicle to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour was halved, from almost 14 seconds to seven," so in this case more HP does mean faster, or at least, means faster to reach cruising speed.

        More HP will get you to speed faster provided you do not exceed the traction limits of your tires. That's why simply putting a bigger engine in a car may not result in substantial performance gains unless attention is also paid to the tires and suspension and traction control systems.

        Back in the '70s I drove an old (60s vintage) Volkswagen Beetle that used to impress people with its great gas mileage: 26 miles per gallon.

        That's because you were comparing it mostly against cars that were designed without fuel economy as a consideration. I drove a '76 Impala many years ago which got something like 16mpg on a good day. The beetle was a complete

        • Engines have improved a lot in the last 40 years but they aren't going to get dramatically better. If you want to realize significant fuel efficiency gains you will have to go to something based on a different technology. Most likely that will be electric motors whether in the form of a hybrid or EV. No general purpose ICE can touch an electric motor for fuel economy at a given horsepower in most circumstances.

          People were saying that back in the 90s. Heck, they were saying that in the late 70s.

    • by jamesborr ( 876769 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:00AM (#54448529)
      When speaking of sedans, I would actually argue they weigh less (heck, even the latest F150 was built out of aluminum, and weighs significantly less then F150's of yore) and their engine displacements are significantly smaller then cars from the 60's/70's. Heck, a 2.0 liter engine (fairly common nowadays) is easily able to pump out 250HP/250 lb-ft of torque, even if that HP measurement takes into account all of the additional loads/devices on the engine -- which equates to a 122 cubic inch engine. Can you imagine a American muscle car from the late 60's bragging about it's 122 cubic inch engine.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Newer cars are made from lighter materials, and computer aided design has allowed for much stronger designs with less weight.

      '69 Mustang is 1400 kg. 2017 Mustang is 1650 kg. But it's also physically wider and longer and there are real back seats because it's no longer a pony car.

    • Newer cars likely weigh a lot more, because of all the safety & environmental regulations.

      Actually *NOT*, according to TFA.
      The opposite is actually observed : newer material used nowadays means cars are lighter.

      Steel got replaced by aluminum and modern fibers.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Yeah they save 700lbs by using aluminium instead of steel, but then they go and add about 1000 lbs of crap you don't need like heated cupwarmers, 56 airbags and and a shitload pointless tech that keeps phoning home and basically means you can drive like a clueless distracted retard and the car will just sort it out for you.

    • Newer cars likely weigh a lot more, because of all the safety & environmental regulations.

      Big engines/drivetrains weigh more, but designers cram plastic in everywhere they can to save weight/cost. Also, thinner sheet metal crumples more easily to absorb crash impact.
    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      Actually if you read the article (hard, I know) the weight of cars has gone DOWN significantly, not up.

      Reducing weight gives significant efficiency advantages along with making cars faster on a per-HP basis.

      Yes, the safety equipment has added weight, but that's been more than counterbalanced by multiple innovations in construction and material use in modern cars.

  • "Halo" cars (Score:4, Informative)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:50AM (#54448435)
    The purpose of these is the same as it's ever been. Dude gets dragged inside the dealership by his wife to fantasize about the muscle car, but still leaves with a minivan or a 4-cylinder commuter car plus a 5-7 year loan.

    On the other hand, there are just as many of us who geek out on mileage (often just because we hate to blow money on transportation) so there's still hope for the planet.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      I think the wife would object to the handling of a mini-van more than I would. She doesn't want to drive it any more than I do.

  • What's the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:52AM (#54448459) Homepage

    I never understood this fascination with having stuff you can't use to its fullest extent.

    It's like spending thousands of dollars on a water cooled over clocked triple GPU computer so you can check your email and play minesweeper.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      I never understood this fascination with having stuff you can't use to its fullest extent.

      The Challenger SRT Demon is certainly an example of a car you would never enjoy to its fullest extent outside of a dedicated track, but most of the horsepower improvement causing increased fleet performance metrics are able to be fully utilized. There is a significant difference between the daily performance of a car with a 7s 0-60 vs an 8s 0-60. For people who enjoy driving instead of just getting to their destination, this increase in performance is generally fully appreciated.

      Considering I'm about to buy

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I never understood this fascination with having stuff you can't use to its fullest extent.

      Some of us live out in the countryside, where there's next to no traffic and stretches you can see everything and not endanger anyone but yourself (and perhaps a squirrel). Others live near a track.

      Extravaganza has always appealed to people. Even in the heyday of horses, who needed an arab sprinter?

    • by c ( 8461 )

      I never understood this fascination with having stuff you can't use to its fullest extent.

      You, sir, have obviously never tried to haul a trunk load of concrete in a Hyundai Accent. I expect with 808hp, the Dodge Challenger will be the workhorse of the American contractor.

      </sarcasm>

      Yeah, I don't get it either. On the other hand, it's far less aggravating that people who call their SUV "my truck"...

    • I never understood this fascination with having stuff you can't use to its fullest extent.

      Same reason people buy ludicrously expensive Rolex watches. To show off. It's conspicuous consumption in most cases. Muscle cars however do have one quasi-practical aspect depending on your perspective. They are good at straight line acceleration which is really the only kind of fun thing you can do on normal roads. Basically they do a burnout between stoplights.

    • there's bits and pieces of road way everywhere the cops don't watch. I talked to a guy recently who rented a Mazarti for his birthday and had it up to top speed. The gearheads keep track of blind spots in the cops radar and share the info. Now, I suppose that's ridiculously dangerous for us non-gear heads if we happen to be on the road with them, but it is what it is.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Oddly enough, I've managed to haul ass better on American highways with a performance sedan then I could manage in Germany on the Autobahn. Get on a nice long stretch of road and you can be breaking personal speed records without even realizing it.

      Even in town, it's very helpful to have "excess" power getting in and out of traffic and avoiding dangerous situations.

      A cabal of IT geeks should understand the problems inherent in under-spec'ing your equipment. Peak use requirements may be infrequent but are oft

  • If highway traffic were anywhere near letting you go at a decent speed.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @09:56AM (#54448489) Homepage Journal
    Or is it actually a gallon per mile rating? I suppose it's news that any 800+ horsepower car can be made street legal. Too bad for your 85 grand they can't make it look less... Dodge-y.
  •   Did a Daily Mail (UK) headline editor suddenly
    get hired by Slashdot?

       

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:01AM (#54448541)

    People with that kind of money usually buy German cars.

    • by burni2 ( 1643061 )

      Because german cars were tested on the german Autobahn,
      people know that they allow actually reaching the max speed ;)

  • Traffic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:04AM (#54448559)
    On my commute I see a lot of wasted horsepower as we do our 7 mph traffic crawl across 4 lanes of interstate.
  • by Script Cat ( 832717 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:06AM (#54448579)

    You notice these cars are not Fuel Hogs. They are actually using the energy that used to dump into the squishy torque converter. The cars are actually streamlined unlike the box cars of the 80's. They are burning less energy by running a larger percentage of recirculated exhaust gases through the engine when at idle and power is not needed. This doesn't even take into account electric flywheel assist and stop start technology where the vehicles engine is shut off at lights. When the power goes to the road you go quicker. I'd wager the cars are lighter too aluminum engine blocks are the norm now.

    But go on about how we're all bad and how we should all drive the Trabant.

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:06AM (#54448581) Homepage Journal
    The Challenger is a lot of things, but unless you're comparing it to an aircraft carrier I don't think "tiny" is a good adjective for it. Part of why it needs an 808 HP engine is because it weighs ~400 pounds more than the Ford Mustang that it competes against in the same class.
  • are the last throw of a death spiral.
    10 years from now ICE vehicles will be in the minority and incur heavy tax penalties. Electric Transmision will be the norm.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Yeah I strongly suspect you're right.
      I'll bet the government cant wait for an excuse to increase taxes on us all, and no doubt so will the insurance companies.

      I also think exactly the same thing will happen to even electric cars that don't have self-driving capability. The peecee morons will win and the common perception will become that humans are simply incapable of driving a car on the road safely, regardless of the fact that its already been happening for 100 years.

      As a classic car owner and car nut mys

  • Not sure but yes fuel injection is one, but the computerization of the whole shebang helped a lot too. It can meter the fuel, change the valve parameters and generally eke out maximum HP for very little fuel usage.
  • Using 1976 is skewed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:21AM (#54448717)

    Very bad choice using 1976 as the comparison date. For a better clue tou need to go back before 1971.

    1976 was at the end of a notorious low-point in power thanks to the US auto manufacturers responding to new emissions regulations and the 1973 oil crisis:

    Example of just Corvettes:
    1969: least powerful (base): 300HP Most powerful (LS7) 460HP

    1975: least powerful (base): 165Hp Most powerful (L82) 205HP

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For cars manufactured prior to 1972, you have to adjust for the gross (bhp) versus net horsepower disparity. That alone can create a 20% difference.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Even allowing for the 20% difference, the older car still has 75 more HP. When all you've got is 165, another 75 is VERY noticeable.

  • by burni2 ( 1643061 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @10:34AM (#54448807)

    808 hp in a country with 70-75-80(-85) mph speed limits,

    What will happen with american built high power cars when - perhaps even by committing a crime - being pushed to the max speed? (breaking apart?)

    Because its no such big deal to put much power into a car, the problem of aerodynamic lifting forces come into play interacting with shock absorbers.

    The space between the street and your cars under-floor at high speed can make out the difference between driving and flying,
    because more distance to the road = more air being pushed under the car = lifting your car off the ground.

    So a bump on the road can send you flying, and I don't think american highways are designed for speed like the german "Autobahn".

    Just saying:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @11:00AM (#54448983) Journal
    Great. Muscle cars are back, and they're high-tech. Meanwhile, we haven't been educatiing, training, or testing drivers properly for at least 20 or 30 years, which means we have an entire generation on the roads who really aren't competent, which has sparked an entire legion of idiots who claim that 'humans aren't capable of operating a motor vehicle competently, therefore we need to ban them from driving and have self-driving cars instead!' which of course is nonsensical bullshit. So we'll have under-educated, under-trained, inadequately-tested drivers behind the wheel of vehicles as powerful as a goddamned Formula-1 racecar, who will wrap it around trees and telephone poles and kill more people, which will just strengthen the strawman argument in favor of taking away everyones' driving privilege and making us risk our lives riding in shitty so-called 'self driving cars' that are not anywhere NEAR up to the task.

    Bull-fucking-SHIT.

    What we REALLY need is reforms in driver education and trianing (read as: fund highschool driver-ed and driver-training programs again!) and reforms in how the DMV tests new drivers.

    Oh and while we're at it: Educate and train new drivers to recognize and properly, safely deal with cyclists on public roads. There should never ever again be an excuse of "I didn't see him" when someone hits a cyclist.
    • Oh and while we're at it: Educate and train new drivers to recognize and properly, safely deal with cyclists on public roads. There should never ever again be an excuse of "I didn't see him" when someone hits a cyclist.

      Maybe, if that education and training goes both ways. Where I live, cyclists regularly swerve in and out of lanes, cut across multiple lanes of traffic without warning, run red lights, and generally act like self-entitled asses. I've more than once had to lock up my brakes to avoid hitting one of these idiots. You can't allocate all liability for accidents to auto drivers when the cyclists are flaunting the rules of the road.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @11:02AM (#54449005)

    America's Cars Are Suddenly Getting Faster and More Efficient

    With a title that notes cars getting "faster" and "more efficient", it would be nice if the, fairly long, summary actually mentioned both things rather than just the faster part -- especially as the latter is more important. Seriously, I can only go so fast so quickly, but efficiency helps out all the time.

    As for "suddenly," the only time comparison in TFS is between 1976 and 2017:

    If a 1976 driver were to somehow get his hands on a car from 2017, he'd be at grave risk of whiplash.

    We, apparently, have different definitions of the word "suddenly".

  • Ugh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Friday May 19, 2017 @11:24AM (#54449117)
    To everyone thinking people are suddenly going to be blasting around in the Dodge Demon, it's quite obviously a car designed to be capable of fast drag strip times while also being street legal. And yes, I'm sure some dunce will wrap one around a telephone pole, but they are not going to be hugely prolific cars.

    And as someone who is involved in both drag racing and oval dirt track racing, I prefer a car with good mileage, only modest power, and very good handling for a daily driver.

    There ARE pretty high performance cars that get mileage I never even believed would be possibly, usually to displacement on demand technologies where cylinders are literally shut off when not needed. This was tried many many years ago with little success, but now they have the ability to actually collapse the lifters and keep the cylinder sealed so pumping losses drop to a minimum and you can realize the full benefit.

    And as for the "squishy" torque converter, that was solved years ago with a lock-up converter. The converter only acts as a converter during necessary transitional states. The rest of the time, a clutch inside it locks up and turns it into a direct drive mechanism, removing most of the fluid losses inside.

    One of the big gains to thermodynamic efficiency can be had with compression ratio increases, which has been seen. Historically, due to only crude control over the combustion process (carburetor, mechanical/vacuum based ignition timing curves), an increase in compression ratio pretty much necessitated increased fuel octane. Now this isn't as true, given the much more precise control over combustion with direct cylinder injection and individual coil per spark plug . So compression ratio can be increased with advanced control to prevent getting into knock, then detonation, the pre-ignition, then ultimate failure.

    EGR is good for efficiency in some cases, but is a horsepower killer. Racing engines intentionally keep the exhaust valve and intake valve open simultaneously (known as overlap) to pull fresh air and fuel through the cylinder on every cycle to "scavenge" out and clean all combustion products out from the previousl cycle. The downside is that some raw fuel is discharged out the exhaust.


    Bottom line is we have cars now with horsepower ranges from a 4 cylinder that would have been tough at times with an 8 cylinder engine and getting 2x or 3x the mileage (sometimes even more!). We are on the right track. High performance cars have been ingrained in auto industry DNA for a long time.

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