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Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/15/2011 6:28 PM

I have noticed from a list of cars in Road and Track, that most normal size cars can reach 120-130mph, excluding exotics and muscle cars. No one drives this fast on the highway unless they are trying to escape a police chase. So why do they make cars that can go that fast? While we complain about fuel efficiency, wouldn't lowering the top speed of cars to a reasonable speed of say 100mph, through the use of smaller engines and re-gearing get fuel consumption up into the 40's and 50's?

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#55
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 11:25 AM

I quite agree. It is also well known that most accidents and fatalities occur on back roads, not on motorways, autobahns, etc. Where accidents do occur on motorways, it is usually down to driver error, not the inability of the car/road/driver to handle the speed. You could argue that accidents due to driver error will occur no matter what, and you reach a point speedwise where if an accident occurs people are going to die. I haven't tried it, but I suspect there's not much difference between dying at 70mph and dying at 130mph. The purpose of motorways is to enable people to get places fast.

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#155
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 9:27 PM

Autobahn (fancy German name for highway recently found in general disrepair) much like ours.

General knowledge seems to have travelled in a parallel dimension in regards to the famous motorway. Most see it as the Val Halla of the paved way, however reality has a much more sobering description. If we (USians) hadn't built that thing in the 50's called the Interstate Highway System we would be able to say that the Autobahn is cool because it has no speed limit ahhhhhhh. Ok almost no speed limit ahhhhhhhh ok restricted areas and conditional areas established by traffic, weather, and some really nasty guy named Hans that hates cars and the people that drive them. But hey it's German and it's the best they can so give em a break. Uhhh

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#54

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 11:20 AM

We are pretty smug people here, evidently, as the consensus is that under no conditions are powereful fuel hungry vehicles acceptable.

Are houses over 2500 SF acceptable?

Transatlantic flights?

what about marble flooring?

What about filet mignon.

trout fishing?

My point is that class wars are usually not productive. Why do you feel strongly that cars should be more fuel efficient? Isn't it because governments (they are the only ones who can, although they are not my first choice) have failed to properly regulate the extraction and production of energy resources, and that that failure results in a very heavy toll, one in which the energy producers are exempt from the consequences of their actions. Namely, they are able to avoid the costs of properly and carefully producing energy without environmental impact. It is impossible, I know, to fully achieve that goal. But we can do a hell of a lot better than we are.

Blaming manufacturers for making any car that sells is pointless. They operate at the public's pleasure. If you (and I) want to reduce fuel consumption because the combustion of it produces unwanted results (both geopolitical and environmental), why are we letting the producers of it off scott free? Because it will make fuel cost more!

We can reduce demand, and that would be altruistic, not a particularly effective strategy for solving problems. We can enforce laws requiring fuel (including electricity) producers to follow the cycle for their product, and ensure that it is neutral impact. That is the only way to solve this problem. Until then, and after, you can spend your money any way you want, including a BMW 1 series M convertible, or a Prius.

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#60
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 12:07 PM

Profit hungry corporations together with government play up to the weaknesses of the public. They create the desire for high speed and reap the rewards. It's like someone on a hamburger diet, having a filet mignon for the first time. He can't afford it, but wants it. The same with cars. If you drive a Ferrari or a Porsche, you can never feel comfortable driving a lesser can again.

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#64
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 2:47 PM

"They create the desire for high speed and reap the rewards."

Does it make sense to blame others for the desires & choices we make as individuals? Isn't it the personal satisfaction we individually place on the value of the product or service that creates the demand and (with the affordability) determines the choice?

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#99
In reply to #54

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 9:55 PM

HOLD IT!! What's wrong with trout fishing?

And what's that got to do with fast cars?

Except for me. Every August. I spend a week in a place where "200 can get you a hat; but 300 will get you some respect." After said week I usuallly spent a couple of days trout fishing in a very slow boat.

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#101
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 10:08 PM

Yeah... I was going to ask about that trout fishing comment....

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#115
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 9:52 AM

nothing, it's just that it has more in common with high fashion than trout or fishing.

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#61

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 12:16 PM

I drove a pizza delivery vehicle back in the '70s that was governed. Almost got creamed when the engine stopped on me just as I was passing a car. Developed a phobia for "governed" vehicles after that.

You say that almost everybody complains about fuel efficiency and you postulate that lowering the size of an engine will improve that. I noted that my gas mileage improved when I put a 350 into my old GTO, replacing the old 326. The conventional wisdom is "well, the engine isn't working as hard". So, on the basis of that observation, I challenge your statement that smaller engines will automatically be more fuel efficient. No doubt there are lots smarter people than me "out there" who can optimize load vs prime mover, and we will simply have to agree that it is a very complicated problem.

A problem which could actually be eliminated by simply eliminating the car entirely. Stick with me here...its not heresy...but rather good sense based on experience. My experience, when my licence was lifted, I learned that a car was NOT a right, but a very expensive privilege, and one that I could learn to live without.

Almost nobody actually "needs" a car at all. If you were to somehow prevent anybody from driving unless they could establish "need", there would be precious few cars on the road, and it would result in a very robust and workable public transit system.

Might yet happen if peak oil is a reality. But even then, it will require a serious change of attitude.

People almost never buy cars because they need them. A taxi is cheaper, a LOT greener, with no parking problems, and one taxi can take a dozen people to work in the morning one after another, they naturally car pool, and the drivers are rarely DUI or showing off to their girlfriends. If everybody was forced by circumstance to take taxi's instead of driving themselves, there would likely be a lot less deaths on the road.

(How many dead? How about twice the number per year as died in the twin towers, even now, after years of Ralph Nader's successful reduction of deaths and injuries to a quarter of what it was in the mid '60s. You don't think that is significant? Well, how about the savings on policing, savings on parking costs, and all the congestion related problems?)

Way I figure it, if it was just fuel savings I was after, I would simply buy a horse, walk or maybe take the new hydrogen-hybrid bus they are talking about.

Naahh...we all know that the best thing for the planet would be ten times increase in fuel costs, which would of course, pay for subsidies to those who could establish "need" like taxi and school bus drivers. Think you could run for office on that plank in your platform? Think you would win? I dunno, seems a little too Marxist for me. But your mileage may differ...grin!

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#67
In reply to #61

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 3:13 PM

While your response does have some GA elements, it also contains a few issues.

Eliminating cars would eliminate the freedom of choice most have to select an urban or rural home. Not going to happen.

A robust and workable public transport system that would be as time convenient and allow rural home choice would be economically impossible.

A taxi for the rural homeowner would not be much cheaper or greener, and the congestion in urban areas at peak times (start and end of work day) would be about the same (unless pooling increased - which is already possible now).

You have me on the parking, but then where would all the taxis (and drivers) be for the off peak hours?

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#78
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 4:48 PM

I live in a rural village, with no bus service within 30 kilometers. When I lost my licence, I took a taxi to work. Very expensive, so I found others who were willing to go "in on it" with me. Then we went in on a used mini-bus. (A 7 passenger savanna van actually) End result was that it cost us about a quarter of what it cost us to drive in separately. Other members of our little car pool simply kept their car for emergencies, joy riding, or other non-peak activities like movie and family nights. None of us got rid of our cars, but we have noted that they last a lot longer without the commute.

Freedom implies a right. (your words were "freedom of choice to select an urban or rural home") Clearly nothing about losing the privilege of driving impinged on that right. What you lose is cheap transport to work, and I proved to MY satisfaction that you don't even lose that.

Look at the stop and go during rush hour in YOUR town and note how many have one person in the car. Taxi's get rewarded for carrying multiple passengers. But that being said...there are other costs involved. They are scrambling to add lanes to the Queensway here, and every extra lane costs an ungodly amount of cold hard taxed cash. Taxis don't make one trip and stop..they go back for a second person. And then a third. That ONE taxi will use space that TWO or THREE cars would have used up. (not an intuitive leap I admit, I had to work it out on a piece of paper...) This results in remarkable and significant congestion reduction. (Better reductions when multiple passengers are figured in naturally).

But it does require a serious attitude adjustment. For one thing, start times for businesses may need to be staggered...many businesses cannot do that. Many do that now, so I know it can be done.

So how does taking a taxi to work instead of driving your own car save gas? Well, several reasons come to mind. For car pooling, the answer is obvious. For congestion reduction it is a little harder to pin point...but a quick trip instead of stop and go traffic has got to be beneficial. The reduction in required parking spaces has benefits...you can get rid of all that street parking for instance, freeing up two more of those expensive lanes right there. (You get a savings on taxes as well as reduced traffic congestion.). It would be easier to convert a fleet of taxi's to hybrids than to convert every single commuter's car to a hybrid. Taxi's have tight safety and emissions requirements to maintain their licences, and those tight regulations contribute to smog reduction and fuel efficiency. (or they can if our legislators desired it.) Because of their high mileage a fleet of taxi's can do things the average commuter cannot do...like swapping out batteries every couple of hours at a central charging point, enabling the use of electric vehicles. (a very solveable technolgical challenge you must admit.)

And this is only the beginning of my rant! I could go on and on about how a car is 20th century solution, a bus is a 19th century solution, and it is time we got out heads out of our butts and explored a 21st century solution. But my comments here are limited to what can we if we suddenly found the price of gas to be ten times what it is now. Or not available at all, like during WWII, when it was all diverted to military purposes? We be smart people, we would cope. This is how.

Taxi drivers during off hours? Well, what do they do now? Hang around the bus station? Go for lunch? Thats what I did when I drove a cab.

Well, enough of that stuff. Like you said, as long as there are people that look at a simple motor car as a second home, there is no limit to how much foolish cash they will dump into it. Its time to examine function before we fall in love with form.

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#81
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 5:31 PM

Thanks, I better understand your points as they apply to a forced but possible scenario. You are right on - all of these options are possible now, but it would take an extreme and immediate crisis to change most attitudes to embrace them.

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#90
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 8:24 PM

"You say that almost everybody complains about fuel efficiency and you postulate that lowering the size of an engine will improve that. I noted that my gas mileage improved when I put a 350 into my old GTO, replacing the old 326. The conventional wisdom is "well, the engine isn't working as hard". So, on the basis of that observation, I challenge your statement that smaller engines will automatically be more fuel efficient."

Been there myself. I had a 1985 Ford F150 that had the stock 5.8l emissions rated engine in it. I swapped that out with a 460 that I built specifically for heavy towing and efficiency. What I ended up with was about double the average fuel milage with double, or more, the rear wheel power as well.

If you want fuel efficiency get rid of the emissions crap. Thats as simple as I can say it.

The other option is that if you don't like the price of fuel then change the vehicle to work on something that is cheaper. Thats why my daily drivers are all set up for propane now.

If propane gets to pricey for me some day then I will switch to a different fuel I have been working on. Its basically used motor oil diluted and thinned out with 20% E85. So far every test I have done shows that any older model mechanicaly injected diesel engine can run normally on it plus it can be made for around 50 - 60 cents a gallon!

They can take my big safe heavy hauling high horespower 8500+ pound truck that seats 6 big guys cofortably away when I am dead and burried. Until then keep the runty little crap cars away from me. They dont fit my life, my climate, or my work.

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#72

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 4:11 PM

I think the future is beyound this speed the cars will go to 200mph on highways, as far as fuel efficiency is concerned we will have to look for alternative eco friendly and

renewable sources of fuel such as Fuel Cell Hybrids or Fuel cell powered cars.

We do need the things faster, better to control and more hightech highway traffic

control system so that we can travel faster and "save time"

After all time is what we have on the name of life. Although its an Eon we do not notice it but its all about time.

So we need faster cars and better fuels.

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#79
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 4:49 PM

Good answer. You said it way better than I did!

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#87

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 7:49 PM

Referring (a long way back) to Ronseto's original question, I would have to answer "yes"

Why?

· Because any car that will give you the acceleration and usability you really need is likely to do 130mph+ (unrestricted).

· Because in some countries you can actually do 130mph (traffic and roadworks permitting!)

· Because restricting speed is too 'Big-Brotherish' for my liking

My gripe is not with speed, but rather with efficiency. And by that I don't mean MPG, I mean the energy input and pollution output to do a specific job. I don't begrudge people who really need a 4x4 to haul logs or other stuff, or who want a real driver's car for exhilarating performance, or a van to transport kids, animals and chattels. I have a real issue with those that use 4x4s in an urban environment where it nis really out of context (for our American cousins, they are known in the UK as 'Chelsea Tractors' - ask if you need an explanation), and those that use gas-guzzlers as a fashion-statement. I also have an issue with those who like to 'parade' their green credentials whilst prancing about in their Prius's. (Have you ever seen a 5-seater Prius with more than one occupant?) when so many European and Asian cars can do the same at a fraction of the cost (Purchasing, disposal and environmental costs!)

The fact is, there are sportscars that will give stupendous performance and achieve 30-40mpg+ (look at Caterham), and muscle-cars that could do the same with a diesel engine (look at Jaguar, although the term 'muscle-car' does it no justice), and SUVs and Pickups and People Carriers, etc, etc.

So I would re-phrase Ronseto's question:

"Do we really need vehicles that do less than 30mpg?"

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#88
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 8:20 PM

I don't think it would be a stretch to assume that ronseto's original point was referring to the fact that a large percentage of normal everyday cars have speedometers that reach 120 or 130. I don't think the point of this discussion was to find a reason to eliminate race cars from the face of the earth by government mandates, nor even that every single high performance street vehicle be banned.

I believe the debate he wanted to bring up was the fact that most every soccer mom, and everyday Joe has a car that can basically double the speed limit, when it really might not be necessary, and it may be a subject that's worth discussing, for reasons of saving some energy in the long run.

I could be wrong, but perhaps the discussion went off on a tangent, with this talk about rights and freedoms. I think it can be a valid topic of discussion, without getting peoples panties in a bind about our freedoms. There are less drastic, and more effective and more practical solutions than just talking about or against banning and restricting everything, everywhere.

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#93
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 9:12 PM

You wrote, "I believe the debate he wanted to bring up was the fact that most every soccer mom, and everyday Joe has a car that can basically double the speed limit, when it really might not be necessary..."

It's not just a simple matter of top speed. As it has been pointed out before, the attributes that allow a vehicle to mix it up on the street in a fashion that provides enough acceleration are the same attributes that allow a top speed in excess of 100 mph.

Acceleration is a product of torque and gearing.

Economy at cruise speed is a function of coefficient of drag and RPM at a range that the engine gets its best efficiency.

Pour the two ingredients into the same glass and the cocktail is the same for high speed as well as economic performance.

To get best economy at cruise you need a high gearing ratio to keep RPMs low. To accelerate crisply to keep up with traffic and merge into traffic requires torque and horse power.

When torque and horse power is applied with a high final gear ratio you automagically get a high final velocity from the vehicle.

The sweet spot seems to be 100+ mph for a car and possibly a truck when you factor in towing capacity (even with the higher drag).

Even a Toyota Prius will easily top 100 mph. Does that mean it is not economical? No, but I really doubt many Prius owners ever will test that limit.

The fallacy here is attempting to associate maximum speed of a vehicle and its economy. By limiting vehicle top speed you will not gain economy. In the end, driving a Prius sensibly will give you the same result as trying to artificially limit the top speed (and still driving sensibly). That puts the onus on the owner/operator of the vehicle to get the best economy out of their vehicle.

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#100
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 10:06 PM

Okay, never mind the speed. I'm sure what you say is correct. The point i was making is irregardless of speed or efficiency... whatever. All I was trying to point out is that I believe the original intent of the thread was that almost all the available cars that the average person can buy are built beyond what is necessary... be it speed, efficiency, power, etc.

Certain people have need of specific attributes for their vehicle, for various reasons. Some need extra fast, some need extra powerful, some need extra large. And there is no reason for them not to have what they need. But for the average person... the vast majority of people... they could get by splendidly with something that has efficiency as its major attribute, forgoing some of the other abilities of the vehicle. Everybody doesn't need everything. So perhaps the current "standard" does not need to be the norm. Super high efficiency is the exception, it seems, rather than the norm. Choices are relatively limited, to the point where the choice, for the most part, is already made for us. And in a way, we have little choice in the matter. I didn't say no choice. I said relatively little choice.

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#102
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 10:25 PM

That's true for everything! People buy more tractor than they need, more TV than they need, eat more than they need, even more Viagra than they need. That's just human nature and a matter of fact.

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#103
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 11:22 PM

I see where you're trying to go with this, but those aren't valid examples... except in a small way maybe for the viagara. There is no "need" per se, for a tv. Not the way there is need for transport. And neither too big a tv, nor too much viagara, is wasting our country's energy and contributing on our dependence on foreign powers, on the scale that having every Tom, Dick and Harry having too much car, does. Come on now, your logic is usually better than this. No need to grasp for straws.

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#105
In reply to #103

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 12:22 AM

We're way beyond what we need in an automobile, especially in our sunbelt cities. Little story here .....

20-some years ago when I worked for the disc drive company I made my first and only trips to Asia for business in Taipei. At the time most ordinary people got around that city on motorbikes and taxicabs. Not a lot of private cars or small trucks. Vivid in my mind was the sight of a family of 5, Dad, Mom and 3 kids on a motorbike that could not have had more than a 50cc engine. This and thousands of other motorbikes kept right up with traffic that moved mostly below 25 mph. Rain? Mom and Dad wore hats and the kids just hunker down against whoever they held on to.

Basic transportation. Too much so for Americans. But that's really all you need in a city where it doesn't snow much. One of my friends there told me that 10 people died every day Taipei in motorbike accidents. Life isn't that cheap and living standards so low for Americans to accept that level of risk. At least not yet.

BTW that little motorbike probably got more than 60 mpg.

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#109
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 9:26 AM

The dependence on foreign powers for energy is a geopolitical decision made mostly by our government and the State Department, not the whims of the general public.

It is an illusion to believe that energy is not a carefully controlled commodity in any state by its government.

As for my original point, we, as a culture supersize everything (including ourselves). If you don't approve of the examples I cited, pick your own. There is no shortage.

People buy cars based on emotion first and rationalize their decision with "selective" facts. This is no different than the way we purchase other items. Bigger is perceived to be better and in some ways there is truth to that (there is an example of selective facts), but that does not always hold true.

This bigger is better is simply anchored in our culture.

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#116
In reply to #109

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 10:14 AM

Our dependence on foreign oil is due to the price of oil. If the government raised taxes, or forced through legislation more stringent regulation of extraction and combustion, we would use less. It would cost more. What they spent those taxes on would be either to fund additional tax loopholes, to fund energy efficiency technology research, to clean up the environment, repair our crumbling transportation infrastructure, etc, ad nauseum. They all make oil cost more, and we would use less. Therein lies the rub. No one wants to pay more, hence cheap oil, big consumption, happy Americans.

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#117
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 11:34 AM

Well, sounds good, but history seems to show that a significant amount of new revenue is siphoned off to expand government.

However, the private sector is already hurting economically. What good does it serve to funnel money out of the private sector and give it to the government so that its leaders can redistribute those funds to their own pet projects and individuals?

I disagree about why we are dependent on foreign oil. It is not that simple and there is a lot of politics behind it.

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#145
In reply to #109

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 4:54 PM

100% agreed. You can tell me what you think I need, but don't tell me what I want. Of course unless I am affecting another one's freedom or life.

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#134
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:17 PM

Sorry, I went "off track" a bit with the safety/regulation issue. Ronseto's original issue was with speed vs. gas mileage. I would not be for any restrictions in that case.

Exiting the public safety issue, if it was proven to save lives I could accept an electronic speed limiter as long as all other performance was not restricted. Heck we put in rev limiters to save engines, why not speed limiters to save lives?

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#107
In reply to #88

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 8:45 AM

Perhaps he could have phrased it differently if he wanted a different answer. As it is, Renseto wanted to know why cars were so over powered and gas guzzling, and the answer is "because we want 'em that way!".

Whats the alternative? Legislation to lower the engine sizes and emissions. Result...a discussion on freedoms.

I see no tangent.

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#108
In reply to #107

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 9:14 AM

Hm. Well, I agree that you correctly answered the "why". But the question was "Do we need them?", not "Why do we have them?"

As a non-related side-note... this is just a personal observation, and nothing derogatory intended, but... having read your comment, it makes me realize that I almost never see a Canadian discuss issues of "freedoms". In retrospect, it seems that we Americans are normally the ones that get all hot and bothered in those discussions. I wonder if I'm applying some sort of stereotype to Canadians, as being much more satisfied with their government. I grew up on the border, so I've had a lot of contact with your country.

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#150
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 7:35 PM

It seems to be forgotten by most people that the United States was founded upon a constitution which demanded individual freedom whereas the Canadian Consitution owes its content to the desire for Good Order and Government. The US constitution has been emulated and discussed and considered by every other nation on earth. I don't know of any people or nation which ridicules it...quite the opposite in fact. Even those who profess dislike towards the US usually admire the US constitution, their concern normally being those actions which violate the spirit of the constitution. (and who could complain about that!) The Canadian constitution was more complicated in that it rehashed the British North American Act and built upon a solid foundation using among others the United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights and Freedoms as a model. Neither countries constitution is the same as their "Bill of Rights", and in fact, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms actually bears little resemblance to the American Bill of Rights beyond its name.

I am hardly a constituional lawyer, but I have always admired the writings of Payne and Washington. His farewell address is startling, and should be required reading for citizens of any nation. Canadians don't think individuals are more important than the group...witness the riot in Vancover a couple of days ago. The riots were universally proclaimed as "un Canadian", and in fact, the next day, thousands of citizens came out with brooms and shovels and cleaned up the broken glass. Think this happens anywhere else in the world?

As a Canadian, I walk the line between individual rights and individual responsibililty, and firmly believe that with any authority comes responsibility. This simple truth seems to be overlooked too often.

I hope that the moderators don't consider this statement to be "too political". But I admit that most of it is certainly "off topic", and so I must mark it that way. But I hope that it does answer your question.

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#153
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 8:53 PM

Think this happens anywhere else in the world?
Of course. China, Japan, etc., etc. Even in the US, we pitch in and clean things up, even to the extent of spending millions in other countries to do so.
China takes this (group over individual) to extremes, with sick people wearing masks so they do not give colds to others.

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#157
In reply to #108

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 11:33 PM

I had answered the question of whether we actually need cars, let alone cars that can go 120 MPH in post #78.

:)

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#144
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 4:48 PM

Ga and Amen on that!

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#110
In reply to #88

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 10:43 AM

Thank you. This discussion got off track somehow. I am not talking about limiting a person's freedom. Certainly there will always be a place for cars and trucks of every size for every purpose. Probably I should not have used the word "limit" as it immediately conjures up a vision of big government controlling our lives. Let me re-phrase with: "Do vehicles, used for day-to-day driving need to go over 100mph?". A smaller engine has to be coupled to a lighter body, smaller wheels and a transmission that will compliment performance within certain bands of the spectrum.

Some use the argument that big cars are safer than small, light cars. This is true generally, but it is not always 100% the case. I've owned cars ranging in size from bugs to Cadillac to a big SUV. There had been several occasions when driving a small car kept me from being involved in a wreck. The maneuverability of the small car enabled me, along with driving skill to avoid a wreck. If it were a SUV, my only options would be to brake or try to maneuver, risking roll-over. I started driving small cars and eventually graduated to larger, more powerful vehicles. After having owned about 30 vehicles of different sizes and shapes, I feel more secure driving a light, nimble and maneuverable vehicle.

I have to relate a story that happened to me many years ago. I was driving on a highway in New York City. It had just started to snow and the roadway was starting to get slippery. All of a sudden, brake lights started to light up in front of me. I was driving a VW and slowed down. A car was barreling down on me from the rear. I could see in my mirror that he was out of control and was going to plow into me. In an instant, my foot went from the brake to the accelerator and I went into the adjacent lane, bypassing the accident and avoiding being involved. The guy I was following would end up suing the guy who was behind me. I remember the car I was following was a Porsche with MD plates. My reactions were automatic as they should be in such a situation. If I was driving a big car, the Porsche would probably suffer major damage and I would also have damage, front and rear.

Sorry about the lengthy discourse.

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#111
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 11:40 AM

Ronseto -- I've had experiences similar to yours and in the one that could have killed me had I not been able to maneuver away I was driving an early 50's VW. That too made me a small car fan for life.

I'm an engineer; that is my life. Engineering is mostly about efficiency. So I favor efficient ways of doing things.

Small cars are more efficient means of transporting typical small groups or individuals who are willing to pay a bit extra for protection from their surroundings and avoid the need to expend large amounts of time and/or physical energy to travel or haul goods. In our personal lives these needs reach a point of diminishing returns which tends to get trumped by our egos and economic prosperity.

Do you have control over your ego? If not the automobile companies are most happy to be there for you.

Ed Weldon

An afterthought here: Though not exactly a shining example of practical everyday transport the following small car should be a fairly efficient producer of ego gratification to its owner........Get to know John Bolster's Bloody Mary:

http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/features/octane_features/247345/john_bolsters_bloody_mary.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-cjh_EnY0A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHC7_vV6zDU

http://oddsoracle.blogspot.com/2009/09/ill-have-bloody-mary.html

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#104

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/17/2011 11:42 PM

Darn - This topic was starting to get interesting when sundog posted the pic of his doorslammer. Now you guys are getting serious again.

About 130mph SUV's. Don't try that if there is a noticeable crosswind. Well maybe the high end German ones have the handling technology to be OK there. But not the rest. Sundog's 55 Chevy is a very special case. And I'm thinking he has worked a lot on getting it to handle in the 1/4 mile traps. Not to mention the driver skill needed there.

Personally I think the future will see a lot more of us slowing down primarily for economic reasons.

I suppose all the new american cars have the ability to carry functional speed limiters in their computer software. We may even see the day when those computer functions are tied to location of the vehicle as determined by GPS, biometric id of the driver and the presence of passengers and intoxicants in the car.

Me? My little Toyota pickup in the picture over on the left once got up to 100 (by the speedometer) on I5. I didn't hold it there any longer than it took to get a reading. I figure any vehicle that I sleep in doesn't need to be able to go much over 75.

I have a 27T roadster project in the "barn" that might be good for a lot more. Fortunately it won't need to have a computer to make it run. And I doubt that the only sleeping I ever do in it would be a sleep I wouldn't wake up from. But after I get tired of making it go fast I think it has potential for pretty high mileage with a different engine.(light weight, good streamlining, lots of flexibility in rear axle ratios.)

Ed Weldon

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#114
In reply to #104

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/18/2011 3:02 PM

Times change - I used to have a factory El Camino you could set the cruise control at 130, topped out around 145. Tickets were not cheap, but no one tried to paint me as some menace to society either.

I remember Time-DC trucking out of Denver tried experimenting with the 'Get to speed quickly and throttle back approach' in a full size diesel. Brought in an experimental Kenworth with a 600 horse V-12. Saved a lot when half of your routes are over the mountains, but couldn't keep drivers in it once they found out that climbing a mountain at 60mph fully loaded meant you could do 133 on the flats.

Now getting back to some previously mentioned details I wanted to get straight, fuel economy on a straight flat ought to be just a factor of sustaining fuel needed to hold speed. The major factors there should be wind resistance and gross weight, though I imagine tire selection factors in but a smaller term.

But (just guessing) I would imagine gross weight would be the determining factor and wind resistance doesn't come into play until say 50mph and greater?

Then having optimized for the flat, you have to start making the compromises Detroit and others are faced with: how fast do you need to climb hills, how fast do you need to get to speed, what is the A/C load that will span Phoenix to Portland, does it pull/haul loads?

As a buyer we frequently have to choose the most extreme conditions we will drive to when substantial economies would be available if once a month I could rent a truck and trailer to move horses around. I coulda been driving a fuel sipper 29 days out of 30 instead of a 20mpg truck every day.

I personally enjoy the resurgence of kit cars every time fuel prices increase. But that does leave one hoping to be nimble enough to stay out from under the fore-mentioned SUV.

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#119

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 3:47 PM

This issue really got my attention. Long ago in Arizona we did a traffic control study (funded by GM ) We studied traffic patterns and often the interesting pigeon crap patterns on light poles (that's another study.) We found that by initializing a "delayed left turn arrow until all opposing traffic had passed" policy would save fuel, restore the rights of the many, be much safer, cost very little. Seemed to be a home run. The politicians disagreed although they had no reason other than the public was too stupid to follow the logic, I stood up and said the public elected you sir how stupid do you think they are now. I was escorted out of the meeting. The Governor was not reelected, I moved to Hawaii and the state instigated the lagging left arrow policy. It seems that the public understood what the problem really was and acted accordingly. How hard is it to stop on red and go on green.

We need to bring this to the attention of our beloved Government again, unless they are too busy taking photos of their parts. Just think of this the next time you are sitting in a line of 100 cars while one car turns left first. Do the math based on Idle time in gear and A/C on. Note: 1.2 mpg/minute avg. is the base line number.

If you choose not to follow the facts then lead the herd, to the truth. Some Arab Sheik said that, probably an Aramco employee.

thanks Sundog

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#121
In reply to #119

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 7:38 PM

Some of the busier intersections here have been using the delayed left turn signal instead of the left turn first. I did not know they were more efficient though.

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#124
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 9:41 PM

Bob

Think of the time of the folks sitting still as negative mileage (which it actually is.) Cars are less fuel efficient at idle for two reasons. They don't acquire any miles and they run slightly richer to create a smoother idle. With the A/C on and other electrical loads ( lights, 1000w entertainment systems, condenser fans, engine cooling fans, etc.) the engine becomes a stationary generator.

Thanks for your comment. You actually hit on something that few are aware of. Think of this 50 cars on a busy st. idling away, each cars mileage degrades by the above mentioned formula. Now increase that wasted fuel every 5 min. for 24 hours It is a quantitative reality and a large volume of fuel.

Thanks Sundog

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#163
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 1:45 PM

I understand the concept of lost fuel mileage at stoplights. There was movement a few years back to eliminate 4 way stop signs for that reason. We have long had left turn lanes, and left turn signals. But the left arrows always preceded the green light. Now I am starting to see some left arrows after the green. Is there any fuel savings in delaying the left arrows till after the green? Perhaps, If the majority of cars go straight, not left, why should the majority waste gas waiting for the few. By delaying the left arrows, only the cars turning left have to wait. Who thinks this crap up?

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#136
In reply to #119

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:29 PM

the government is supported by fuel taxes and therfore has no desire to make traffic more efficiant

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#140
In reply to #136

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:59 PM

That may well be the most moronic thing I've read this year. No offense.

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#149
In reply to #140

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 6:10 PM

Nice touch - No offense. Gotta agree with you though!

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#120

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 4:27 PM

I don't need a 130-mph car, but other folks might.

(On my island, I think the longest straight stretch of road is too short to allow acceleration to 130 mph plus braking before the next curve. Not to mention wildlife leaping out in front.)

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#122
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 8:34 PM

Tornado -- The N Tongass HWY has a pretty nice looking 4000 foot stretch just northwest of town across the straight from the airport. (Google Earth view) You could put the 1/4 mile traps in front of Precision Tire. or 1/2 mile traps further up. Gather the cars in that shopping center and then run them all back into town for two way times. Maybe the city would let you close the road for the races a couple hours some week night this month when the midnight sun is shining.

.......... Ed Weldon (See?? There really is a need for 130mph cars in AK)

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#125

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/19/2011 10:07 PM

Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?
sure we need cars that go 130[or more] on the race track
it's entertainment
for transportation, no we don't need cars that go 130
it's not a right to be entertained on public thoroughfares

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#147
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 5:19 PM

GA, well said!

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#129

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 2:08 PM

I have noticed from a list of cars in Road and Track, that most normal size cars can reach 120-130mph, excluding exotics and muscle cars.

Amazing as this may seem to you, exotics and muscles cars can also reach 120-130 mph -- and even much higher speeds.

So why do they make cars that can go that fast?

It's because the HP required to produce marketable 0-60 times, combined with the long gearing and good aero required to produce good fuel efficiency, leads to high top speeds. If these top speeds naturally exceed certain limits at which the next speed grade of tires and other chassis upgrades would be required for safety, then the manufacturer electronically limits top speed. You later (in this thread) mention a 0-60 time of 7 seconds. This is much quicker than a Honda Fit (10 seconds) and far quicker than a Honda Civic hybrid (13 seconds). So you are asking for more HP (hp-to-weight ratio being the determinant of 0-60 times -- gearing is not the determinant) but a contrived lower top speed. This makes no sense, from an engineering perspective.

[Rant on]

There are morons who think that the problem that leads to mediocre fuel efficiency in average cars is evil emission controls. They are wrong. Engines have never been more fuel efficient in terms of the only measure that counts (BSFC). (They have also never been more powerful per pound of engine weight, nor better in terms of hp-per-liter displacement or in terms of breadth of torque curve.) A typical engine (like that in a modern Accord) consumes 25% less fuel per hp-hour than a pre-emission-controlled engine, and an engine like that in the Prius consumes 33% less. The most fuel efficient cars we have are also the cleanest.

If you want less-than-average acceleration and top speed performance, you can buy a Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius. Neither of these has the horsepower to go 130, and as a result, neither has the hp to accelerate to 60 in 7 seconds, or even 8 or 9. So we already have cars that won't perform up to your standard, and, understandably, many people think they are "too slow."

You could take the Prius engine and put it in a light streamlined car, like the original Honda Insight. To load the engine so that it operates at its most efficient point while cruising at 60, you will have gear it to do maybe 140 mph at redline. The Prius engine has more HP than the Insight engine did, and so the car might go 115 or so (not enough hp to reach redline in top gear). That's too fast for your needs, so you could gear it for a lower top speed, but you'd get lower fuel efficiency, because you've already optimized gearing for fuel efficiency. So you can see, I hope, that the top speed is a byproduct of tall gearing (to promote fuel efficiency, low noise, and long engine life) combined with much more hp than we thought necessary decades ago.

An MGTD, which we used to think of as a "sports car," took 25 seconds to get to 60! A 1200 cc VW was about the same, and even though it was geared for 120 (ish) at redline, it didn't have the HP to exceed 72 mph on a level surface. It got 25 mpg according to owners, testers, and even the VW advertisements.

People with late stage Alzheimer's will tell you about their VW bug that got 35 mpg consistently, and some convoluted conspiracy that made the manufacturer and magazines dramatically understate the numbers. They will talk about their 350 Camaro that got 30 mpg when the magazines could only get 15.

CR4 seems to have an astonishingly high senility quotient, with people reporting mpg figures for their old cars that were never reproduced by magazine tests of the day. Look up a Popular Mechanics test of a 1960's Mercury Comet, (a compact, we called it) and you will find 15-16 mpg -- and you didn't have any readers writing in to say that the tests were wrong. 1964 Pontiac GTO... fast car? A new Toyota Camry V6 (what we think of as about the most bland family sedan you can buy) blows right past it in a straight line and can leave it laps behind on a road course.

We don't need great acceleration for safety. We need it only to massage our egos. It is unfortunate for the environment and our pockets that people have come to believe that a Prius is too slow, even though it is much faster than the original Honda Accord about which testers and owners raved... positively raved: zippy, fun to drive, refined, great handling, etc. You'd pay over retail and feel lucky to get one.

We didn't have more accidents back in the days of low-powered cars, but some of the accidents were more likely to kill us because we had steering columns that would go right through the driver's chest, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. There are still people who drive old air-cooled VWs back and forth to work and do just fine. They don't get hit from behind. They don't get killed on the highway. But that is no longer good enough for most of us: we need more power, etc, etc.

As you may know, there is a negative correlation between vehicle size and penis size*. (If you want to find someone with real psych issues, just find a Hummer driver.) People buy vehicles mainly to compensate for insecurities. A little car doesn't make me feel safe enough, powerful enough, rich enough, sexy enough, etc.

So no, putting in shorter gearing to limit speed to 100 will not increase fuel efficiency, it will decrease it. Artificially (electronically) limiting speed to 100 mph will have no effect... unless the rest of the car is re-engineered to take advantage of the possibility for smaller brakes, cheaper tires, etc. But the short answer is that if you want a 45-50 mpg car, get a Prius or Civic Hybrid, and accept the slow acceleration. If you want something even simpler, ditch the hybrid system, and pay for that choice with painfully slow acceleration. Both the Civic and Prius are right at the lower edge of what people will accept today -- and they are already far slower than your standard of 0-60 in 7 seconds.

Another answer in simpler terms: 4 speeds is enough for good acceleration and performance: the difference in performance between even 7 speed double-clutch transmissions and a four-speed automatic is fractions of a seconds on 0-60 times. So if you want a 100 mpg car, just don't shift your 6 speed out of fourth gear. Your fuel efficiency will suffer.

The fundamental problem is not the cars, it's the people. If people really wanted efficient cars, they'd buy only Civic Hybrids and Priuses. Both are priced substantially below the current new car average transaction price. The car manufacturers have made it really easy for people to buy efficient cars. Both an Audi A4 and a Prius will get you across the country in what would have been considered supreme comfort, quiet, and reliability in the days of Pinto and Vegas. Buyers should jump all over the Prius... and it has sold quite well when gas prices peak. It's $10,000 less than the Audi! But at least where I live, people still buy huge SUVs.

I find it sad that people don't give a hoot about efficiency, pollution, CO2 emissions, resource depletion, etc. Buyer behavior in housing (bigger and bigger) and cars shows that in America, people really don't care. "I make enough money. I want a big house and car, and I don't give a hoot about the consequences for my kids or others."

* I had a woman friend in college who would say, as an XKE went by "There goes an old guy driving his penis down the road. Funny and very observant.... even the shape, sticking way out in front... "

[Rant off.]

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#130
In reply to #129

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 2:27 PM

As Devil's Advocate... I could be wrong... but I think he meant that most cars can go 120-130, but muscle cars and exotics can go faster than that.

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#137
In reply to #130

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:29 PM

Yes, I'm sure that's what he meant... thus the . (I was being a pedantic twit.)

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#138
In reply to #137

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:38 PM

Oh! My bad.

Aw, c'mom. You know there aren't any pedantic twits on CR4

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#148
In reply to #129

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 5:39 PM

Entertaining rant! Pretty good perspectives also, but I'm not so sure the "security replacement" or "penis size correlation" references. What about "just for the fun/thrill of it". Unless you are a Dr. of psychology, it just sounds more like simple envy to me.

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#164
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 2:45 PM

Kfry

!964 GTO /0-60 4.6 sec./13.1 @115 mph 1/4 mile/389cu.in.348hp.


by "Car and Driver 1964"

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#165
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 2:07 AM

Sure... the mystery car! Road and Track, Car Life, Motor Trend all turned slower times (14.1 - 15.8*) Rumors abound re the Car and Driver test (421 engine, slicks. etc.) True stock cars on local strips were getting high 14's). Bad steering, bad brakes... even for its day.
Although I was into cars that could go around turns at the time, I still thought the GTO was pretty cool.
*(vs 14.3 for Toyota Camry -- about as Plain Jane as a car can get, these days)

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#132

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 2:57 PM

the reason you can go that fast is because the engines eficiancy is best at low RPM. if you limit speed to 100 mph your RPM at 60 mph would be much higher than if gearing speed is set to 140 mph

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#139
In reply to #132

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 3:55 PM

I think you are wrong. Engine efficiency has to do with load. Top efficiency for a car will reveal different RPM's and gearing for different speeds, which is why we have transmissions. You will get terrible mileage going 10mph in 5h gear. (which will be very low rpm's)

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#141
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 4:03 PM

"You will get terrible mileage going 10mph in 5h gear. (which will be very low rpm's)"

Somewhat off topic, but... I know that to be true, though I've often wondered about the mechanics of that. Would you elaborate please? Your example is extreme and I'm not sure you could actually go 10mph in 5th... but still, why do you get poor mileage at low speeds in high gear?

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#142
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 4:20 PM

because torque required to accelerate exceeds what's available at low RPM's, resulting in poor fuel utilization. Throttle position is more important than rpm's, in this case. For instance, in rolling hills, at 45mph, you may get better mileage in 4th than fifth, because the pull up requires more fuel to generate the required torque (in fifth). Of course, the best efficiency would be 35mph up in third, and 55 mph down in 5th. BTW, I posted off topic.

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#151
In reply to #139

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 8:37 PM

He's not exactly wrong, but a little incomplete. In most engines of today, best brake specific fuel consumption occurs at very low rpm, always at an rpm less than half the redline rpm. (And often at an rpm that many drivers think of as lugging.) So if you gear for low rpm at cruise, you get high potential top speed, provided the engine can produce the hp required for that speed. Most cars today can produce such hp levels, with the Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid being notable exceptions.

In engines highly-developed for fuel efficiency, such as the VW TDI, this is especially true. For cruise conditions, it is always better to use the highest gear available with the TDI, unless rpm gets below 1200. (This does not result in spirited driving, because the drive wheel torque is low, because of low torque multiplication. To experience meaningful acceleration, you need to downshift.) The Prius engine is similar, with the peak efficiency at cruise loads (of less than 20 hp) occurring at less than 2000 rpm. A Prius is geared for 130ish, but cannot reach that speed because it is hp limited. Ordinary cars with similar gearing can reach such speeds, however.

So I think that LV was not advocating driving at less than idle rpm (e.g., 10 mph in fifth gear) but was saying that if you gear for efficient rpm at cruise, you end up with the potential for a very high top speed if hp is adequate to actually get there.

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#156

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/20/2011 10:35 PM

Lest you think none of us is listening:

So if I take the Dodge 2500 diesel truck that peaks out at 90mph, runs about 2100 rpm during my 65 mph commute and up the rear end ratio either through a taller axle or an aftermarket overdrive to move the rpm down at 65mph ....to perhaps 2000 or even 1900 then I might shift more often but I'll get better mileage

So can I actually calculate what my fuel economy improvement might be so I can make the appropriate cost benefit analysis?

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#159

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 10:34 AM

Forgive me if someone already brought this up. I did a quick read through.

I can't help but wonder if this has something to do with it.

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#160
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 12:38 PM

I've received exactly 4 traffic tickets in 30+ years on the road. And I have to say that each of those times, I was doing something wrong. Three times blatantly, the other one was subject to a technicality. Hey, if a speed limit is too slow for a stretch of road... whatever; it's still posted. If a camera catches me a little over the line with the light red... well, I was one of the 0.01% of the drivers who used that intersection that day whose judgement wasn't good enough to get him through a simple traffic light properly.

Y'all quit whining cuz you got caught. A 3-color traffic signal is a pretty friggin simple concept. Err on the side of caution, and be responsible. Simple. What else do you want? A 5-color traffic light, like on a drag strip? It's not a perfect system. But when you have to deal with those that just GOTTA be the last ones through that yellow light (just to be stopped anyway, at he next light), there is no way to make it perfect, because we have to rely on people doing the right thing.

It's irrelevant whether cameras make it safer, or limit accidents. The traffic lights are there. We should be able to figure out how a 3-color system works. When they were first introduced, they only had two colors, with a delay in switching to the intersecting road. But because drivers didn't have enough good judgement to make that work, they added a CAUTION light in between colors that was saying "Hey! Pay attention! I'm about to CHANGE COLORS!" At that point you have a decision to make. Do you go through, or don't you? Make all the excuses you want, but if you can't make the right decision, based on all that is going on around you, you're just not a very good driver.

Here's an idea. How about if we all have one day nationwide, where we don't let a single traffic camera take a picture? Oh wait, that would require us all to be safe, and stop trying to BEAT THE LIGHT If you don't want a speeding ticket DON'T SPEED!

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Oddly, this post can be posted to two different threads... this one, and the other one about traffic cameras. I think I'll do that

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#161
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 12:54 PM

Oddly, this post can be posted to two different threads... this one, and the other one about traffic cameras. I think I'll do that
I was thinking: isn't he responding to a different thread?

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#162
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/21/2011 1:01 PM

LOL, no, I was responding to the link that kramarat provided, which was basically saying traffic laws are fixed just to gain revenue. That old stale argument. But then I realized it also applied to the whiners and excuse makers on the red-light-camera thread!

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#166
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 12:52 PM

When I'm coming up on a traffic light, and it turns yellow, I have a choice to make; accelerate and get through before it turns red or slam on the brakes ending up in the intersection. Invariably, I go through; sometimes a tough decision to make, especially when you have someone on your tail who wants to beat the light. This is when I use pedal-to-the metal acceleration. I also use it when passing on 2 lane roads when the window of opportunity is small.

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#167
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 1:02 PM

How considerate. That window can be such a nuisance, especially when there is someone on your tail who wants to beat the light. You must have amazing powers of perception, being able to do that while driving through a yellow light.

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#168
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 1:05 PM

Yes, but common sense must also figure into the matter. Fortunately, some states recognize common sense, as is shown in this quote regarding Washington State law:

Fortunately, Washington addresses such situations in their listing of traffic laws, with RCW 46.61.425 reading, in part:

"... a person following a vehicle driving at less than the legal maximum speed and desiring to pass such vehicle may exceed the speed limit, subject to the provisions of RCW 46.61.120 on highways having only one lane of traffic in each direction, at only such a speed and for only such a distance as is necessary to complete the pass with a reasonable margin of safety." 46.61.120, referenced there, simply specifies that overtaking a vehicle on the left requires that the oncoming lane be free of traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to safely complete a pass, and that a pass will not in any way interfere with traffic in the oncoming lane.

So, the best way to assure non-interference with oncoming traffic is to expedite the pass, which is accomplished by momentarily exceeding the limit."

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#169
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 1:40 PM

When I'm coming up on a traffic light, and it turns yellow, I have a choice to make; accelerate and get through before it turns red or slam on the brakes ending up in the intersection.

... or 3. brake normally, and stop short of the intersection, or 4. continue at your current speed to travel through the intersection safely during the 3 seconds while the yellow light is on.

I can count on one hand the number of times per month when I have had to "slam on the brakes" or "accelerate and get get through" the light. In either case, I find that I have failed to maintain situational awareness adequately.

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#170
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 2:19 PM

Agreed. If I was a boss, or a superior in the military, or a parent... and I heard these excuses coming from someone in my charge... the conversation would be something along the line of "Stop. Just stop talking. Stop the excuses. None of that matters at all. You effed up. You will pay the consequences. Period." Or something along that line.

Bottom line, if you took choice #1 or # 2.... you did something wrong, at some point, during your approach to the intersection.

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#171
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 3:25 PM

What I wished existed is a line clearly painted on the pavement showing the decision point (i.e. if you are traveling the speed limit and you are past the line when the light goes to yellow, then you can make it through the intersection...if not you should be able to brake without locking up the wheels and be able to stop).

There are many times that I am doing the speed limit when the light goes to yellow and I'm close enough to think I should be able to make it through....but far enough from the intersection to think I should be able to stop if I brake aggressively. If someone is close enough behind me, I would error on the side of going through the intersection.

Why? For two reasons:

1) If I am traveling the speed limit and it's a close enough call to question which is better, then there is a very very very low probability someone will hit me broad side or that I will hit someone entering the intersection.

At the posted speed limit, should I have miscalculated and not made it through the intersection, I would be most of the way through (tail end still in the intersection) when the light goes from yellow to red. It's very unlikely someone will be flying into the intersection as their light goes from red to green at that instance.

2) Years ago I had a bad experience stopping for a train. As I approached the rail road tracks the lights started flashing and the crossing bar began to descend. I had to stop aggressively (not so aggressive as to lock up the brakes) although it was possible to go through before the bar was down. As my car was coming to a stop, I looked in the review mirror to see the car behind me wasn't slowing down. The woman driving was not looking at me, she was looking down the tracks to see how far away the train was.

Needless to say, the impact did a great deal of damage to my car. I was completely unaware of the next few seconds. Fortunately, when I regained awareness I found myself (and my car) coasting down the street on the other side of the tracks. My seat was tilted back about 30 degrees and I could barely reach the brake pedal. I was the only car on that side of the tracks....quite far from the tracks too.

The damage to the car was over $5,000 and, of course, was trivial compared to the damage I might have received had my car not made it across the tracks. Since that time I have been keenly aware of how close someone is to me and how they are driving as I stop. By the way, the lady who hit me, was not close to me prior to me stopping.....she just wasn't watching me....and by the time I was close to 0 mph, she was virtually up my ass.

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#172
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:02 PM

You wrote, "What I wished existed is a line clearly painted on the pavement showing the decision point (i.e. if you are traveling the speed limit and you are past the line when the light goes to yellow, then you can make it through the intersection...if not you should be able to brake without locking up the wheels and be able to stop).".

Doesn't work that way. Vehicles have different stopping distances and it is just one more budgetary expense to implement and maintain.

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#173
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:15 PM

True, they have different stopping distances. But given that the majority of stretches of road leading up to a traffic light are between 35mph and 45mph, that difference between cars isn't so great in most cars, so that a line or marker as described couldn't at least be used as one additional tool to at least help in making that decision, in the instant the light turns yellow.

The relative cost of adding one additional line to a plethora of already existing lines, I feel, is negligible.

I could see a marker like that perhaps having some value in the long run.

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#174
In reply to #172

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:16 PM

You are correct regarding stopping distances....but it is possible to mark the distance to the other side of the intersection based on yellow light time for a given speed limit.

Yes, it's another budgetary expense.....but far less expensive than red light cameras (oops...doesn't do much for generating revenue though).

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#175
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:25 PM
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#176
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:37 PM

No it's not...this thread just happened to evolve into a similar subject.

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#177
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 4:49 PM

LOL, yeah they seem to have merged.

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#182
In reply to #177

Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/23/2011 10:53 AM

Yeah...its time to withdraw from this thread.

Nobody can think of anything new to say.

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#178
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 5:17 PM

.....and you can't move the line when it rains (or even see it wen it snows)!

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#179
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 5:27 PM

If you can't see it when it snows, you can't see any of the other lines when it snows, either. As I mentioned, it could be used as just one additional tool to help make the decision under nominal conditions (exactly like the "suggested speed for going around upcoming curves signs"), not as a foolproof guide for every situation.

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#180
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 6:49 PM

what about a hi tech solution?

maybe a imaginary line like the 1st & 10 line in the NFL

probably cost about the same as RLC's, no revenue stream though

or some integration with the heads up display on some cars

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#181
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Re: Do We Really Need Cars That Can Go 130mph?

06/22/2011 10:13 PM

Well, once we get those flying cars, we'll have a 3rd dimension to worry about. We'll definitely need the imaginary or holographic lines then!

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