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Old 06-05-2008, 10:57 AM   #21
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If you figure mpg as mpg/per person, two or more people in an SUV that gets 17 mpg is more energy-efficient than one person in a smaller car that gets 30. Don't know what the mpg/per person is for a jet--anyone?

Moms and dads with young children have to use carseats/boosters until the kids are big--hard to maneuver in a small car--and cart around stuff for them and their friends. Also more "green" and cheaper to use an existing vehicle up to a point than to manufacture and pay for a new one.

(Why yes I do have an SUV that I don't intend to get rid of --also a small old car that gets 30 mpg that we use when only one of us going somewhere.... )
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:11 AM   #22
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If you figure mpg as mpg/per person, two or more people in an SUV that gets 17 mpg is more energy-efficient than one person in a smaller car that gets 30.
By extension, two or more people in a smaller car is more efficient still. And, if you regularily load balance across vehicle choices based on passenger volume, then you are very much in the minority... although I do applaud the effort!
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:13 AM   #23
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There has to be mid ground somewhere between the hauling capacity and comfort of an SUV (and the good ones are like magic carpets on the Interstates) and the fuel efficiency of a car. I can think of the old Highlander, some smaller minivans, and a bunch of station wagons such as the Mazda6 wagon when it was still available.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:24 AM   #24
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I have to pay close attention to the traffic around me on a daily basis. On my work commute, there is a total of about 6 miles I drive in town, the rest is divided between two interstates and a highway. In town, I notice there are a lot of vehicles with passengers. The number of people in a car always exceed the number of people in an SUV. Trucks are about 50/50. I have seen so few children strapped into a carseat in an SUV I can't even remember any. I have a tendency to look; if there's a young kid in the car they always look at me and I make it a point to look at them and wave. They get a huge kick out of it, the "cool motorcycle person" paid attention to them.

On the highways and interstates there is so rarely ever more than the driver in any given type of vehicle. On the way to work you rarely bring friends and family along with you, I guess.

I haven't seen anything that suggests someone picked an SUV for its usefulness. I haven't even seen anything that really suggests an SUV has any more usefulness than a car. Even at Home Depot I've seen more trucks, station wagons and old beaters with more stored in them than any given SUV.

They do have more leg room I guess, depending on which SUV you pick and which car you're comparing it to.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:35 AM   #25
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By extension, two or more people in a smaller car is more efficient still. And, if you regularily load balance across vehicle choices based on passenger volume, then you are very much in the minority... although I do applaud the effort!
And when we use our cars, we usually do have two people in our small old car--more than that is not particularly pleasant. The comfort level is terrible and probably three people would affect the mpg . But you rarely see more than one person in any car.

We're lucky that we can and do walk to everything (from hospital to library to schools to Starbucks) and a commuter train stops just three blocks from our home. Hmmm, bet those trains are real gas guzzlers too based only on mpg.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:45 PM   #26
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In my 4 cyl Accord, I am frequently alone. Plus, I drive about 18,000 miles a year so I get the fuel efficient one.

DW has a 6 mile commute each way to work. I actually pass her work down and back each day, but she reports later, often works later, and sometimes keeps weird hours, so the carpool idea wouldn't work. In addition, my Accord is the "errand runner" for most things.

The minivan is used when we go somewhere as a family (4 of us), vacations, if family and friends are in town, or if I need to haul something for the ever constant home improvements. DW fills up every 2 weeks, and I fill up every 7-8 days.

So far, the system works..........
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:54 PM   #27
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Hmmm, bet those trains are real gas guzzlers too based only on mpg.
I very much doubt it. For one thing, they don't have to stop and go like automobiles: once the train is in motion, momentum kicks in and it takes very little effort (i.e., energy) to keep it going, at least on the flat.

FWIW, some comparisons are available at strickland.ca - transportation energy efficiency (fuel consumption). I don't know how reliable the data is, but on the face of it trains are much more efficient, on a pax-mpg basis, than cars. Common sense, really.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:01 PM   #28
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I very much doubt it. For one thing, they don't have to stop and go like automobiles: once the train is in motion, momentum kicks in and it takes very little effort (i.e., energy) to keep it going, at least on the flat.

FWIW, some comparisons are available at strickland.ca - transportation energy efficiency (fuel consumption). I don't know how reliable the data is, but on the face of it trains are much more efficient, on a pax-mpg basis, than cars. Common sense, really.
If a car had the same rolling resisitance as a train, it might get 200 mpg..........
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:57 PM   #29
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...but on the face of it trains are much more efficient, on a pax-mpg basis, than cars. Common sense, really.
That is my point exactly--we need to look at mpg PER PASSENGER before calling something a gas hog.... I bet those so-called gas-guzzling jumbo jets referred to earlier in this thread get pretty good MPG per passenger too (edited to add I see they get 86 mpg per passenger in a 737-400 per the site Milton provided).

I don't really care what anyone drives, by the way--I wouldn't make a judgment on them. It sounds like the big 3 American automakers will be getting out of the big car business real soon.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:25 PM   #30
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Really soon!
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:53 PM   #31
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Real nice.

So that's how the ignore poster function works.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:21 PM   #32
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I haven't seen anything that suggests someone picked an SUV for its usefulness. I haven't even seen anything that really suggests an SUV has any more usefulness than a car. Even at Home Depot I've seen more trucks, station wagons and old beaters with more stored in them than any given SUV.
I take 5 or 6 long drives a year (>900 miles) in my Honda Pilot. (Fortunately I shouldn't have to do this anymore after 1 more drive next week.) My SUV is always pretty well loaded on the drive. It wouldn't be possible to get that stuff in a sedan. I could possibly get away with less stuff, but on this final trip I will have it fully packed.

For some school activities, parents drive up to 400 miles round trip. By using 3 seat vans and SUVs, we take at least one less vehicle than if we only had cars for 20 or so people plus equipment that simply would not fit in a sedan.

I live in the mountains. All wheel drive is quite important in the winter, so that's why I went with an SUV over a van. And driving up and down the mountain is very hard on 4 cyclinder trucks, so a 6 cylinder is really needed. My more fuel efficient CRV wasn't cutting it so I traded it in.

So now you've seen at least one person who has picked an SUV for its usefulness, and makes use of the inteneded features.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:24 PM   #33
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That is my point exactly--we need to look at mpg PER PASSENGER before calling something a gas hog....
I rarely consider someone driving a big SUV a gas hog if they are loaded down, or have a number of passengers, etc.
I do make that judgement (yes, I know, too quickly but I still tend to) when I see someone driving without a bunch of stuff or passengers.
Very funny the other day when I stopped in at Home Depot with my Prius.
I left with 10 8' 2"x4"s and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff. Started loading it into the hatch of the Prius. Lady with a Navigator comes out of the store with two potted plants. Smirks at me and takes off (I don't think she thought I could fit the 2"x4"s in the Prius
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:51 PM   #34
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We just lost the Oshawa truck plant. (GMC Sierras and Silverados)
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Old 06-05-2008, 05:30 PM   #35
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Neighbor traded in in 2 yr old dodge suv for a dodge small car. They rarely drove the SUV, unless family outing, 4 people on board.. Took a bath on trade in, now has bigger monthly payment and higher insurance cost. But it is very fuel efficient, especially since it is rarely driven. I asked him if he ran the numbers to see what is cost effective, his answer, no but I know I will save on gas. Oh, and he drives a 1/2 ton pickup truck to work, with tonneau cover (never hauls anything but himself) 60 miles round trip.

OTOH I just hauled home 2400 lb of of pavers in my 1999 suburban. Which I bought for cash in 2001. Max load capacity 2700 lb. Delivery charge would have been $75.- for 22 mile round trip. Heck, that is half a tank of gas, now @3.90/gal, have 45 gal tank.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:07 PM   #36
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If a car had the same rolling resisitance as a train, it might get 200 mpg..........
I spent a few years in the steel wheeled industry.
To give you a clue about rolling resistance of a steel wheeled vehicle: a 125000 lb light rail vehicle with 6 sets of steel wheels, 4 sets of wheels each powered via 250 HP AC electric motor (1000 HP total) through gear box and and 2 sets unpowered, 3 average size men cold push it on flat track. Stopping it is another matter. We needed a guy in the cab to apply brakes.

During football games we would have what we called crush loads. 290 bodies per car, 3 cars coupled to make train. Talk about up close and personal.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:07 PM   #37
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Oh, and he drives a 1/2 ton pickup truck to work, with tonneau cover (never hauls anything but himself) 60 miles round trip.
An ex-coworker still drives a big Chevy Dually diesel truck about 65 miles round trip to work every day. Just imagine feeding that thing about 4-1/2 gallons of $4.79 diesel everyday five days a week.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:08 PM   #38
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A very earth-minded friend recently sold her 33 MPG car to get a diesel jeep, planning to make her own biodiesel. But now she's finding that she can't get any vegetable oil (says all the restaurants have "contracted out" their used oil) for under $5 per gallon. The jeep gets 17 MPG.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:26 PM   #39
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A very earth-minded friend recently sold her 33 MPG car to get a diesel jeep, planning to make her own biodiesel........... jeep gets 17 MPG.
Must folks grossly underestimate the hassles and effort involved in biodiesel. Probably spend 1/3d of their fuel to get more. The stuff is heavy, messy, need good bit of plumbing. Even retired I would not mess with it. As they say: looks good in print.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:13 PM   #40
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Some of us do use the capabilities of a big truck. Today for example, we went over to FIL's house after a storm killed the power, carrying a 4500 watt generator for his refrigerator & freezer, a chain saw to clear some felled trees, a 5 hp shredder for the smaller branches, ramps to get the heavy things on & off the truck, a cooler filled with water bottles, (his water comes from a well) a new dehumidifier for his damp basement and an assortment of gasoline cans, extension cords and other tools.

No way would all of that stuff fit in a little truck that would have needed two trips.
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