Internal combustion engines have a lot of potential 'tweaks' that will significantly increase mileage

Internal combustion engines have a lot of potential 'tweaks' that will significantly increase mileage

In several prior posts it has been noted that for all the favorable PR given to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles, internal combustion engine systems and their associated drive-trains and designs could significantly achieve much better mileage than even that proposed for the new CAFE standards. An article today in the Wall Street Journal reviewed one of those technologies, direct-injection engines (highly pressurized fuel is injected into the combustion chamber of each cylinder which yields lower emissions, better performance, and greater fuel efficiency). The technique may increase fuel efficiency by as much as 20% (reality will probably be less, of course). Combined with aerodynamic design and the wider use of composites, such as in the design put forth by the Rocky Mountain Institute (though their design anticipated the use of hydrogen and fuel cells; see https://www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Transportation/T04-01_HypercarH2AutoTrans.pdf), a substantial increase in mileage is possible. While there is no question that the U.S. needs to wean itself from foreign oil from a security standpoint, even a concerted effort will take many years, if not at least a couple of decades. In the interim, reducing the fuel demand of the transportation sector by whatever means possible will greatly help move the U.S. toward that goal. The WSJ article can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189601997879691.html.