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fuel efficency


            Fossil fuels are depleted 100,000 times faster than they are formed, and the world energy consumption is expected to increase 40 to 50% by the year 2010 (2). This level of consumption shows our need for more efficient use of our limited supply of fossil fuels. 18% of all fossil fuel is in the form of oil, which is used to make gasoline (3). The United States uses 19.6 million barrels of oil per day (4). Of this 19.6 million barrels of oil 45% or 8.9 million barrels of oil is used in motor vehicles (5). With this amount of consumption, it is clear that we need some sort of regulation on the efficiency of our vehicles that uses oil. The current government regulation on fuel efficiency is 27.5MPG for passenger cars and 20.7MPG for light trucks (6). Since our usage is growing steadily, it makes sense to raise our efficiency to attempt to decrease our usage, and prolong our supply of fossil fuels. The fuel efficiency standards in the United States were set back in the 1970's, and needs to be updated to meet our current level of usage.
             In 1993, the Energy department financed the creation of a car that could get 80mpg; this car was to be released in 2004. On March 10, 2001 President Bush canceled the program. His reason for this was the change in car popularity. The Super Car Program was focused on small compact cars only, with the rising popularity of SUV's and other large vehicles there was an obvious need to raise fuel efficiency in these larger models. The technology found in the Super Car Program is being implemented in cars, trucks and SUV's, but the goal of 80MPG has currently been abandoned. While the 80MPG goal was abandoned, it was done so with the intention to spend the money on hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells technologies are much more efficient than any fossil fuel powered car, and they could alleviate the problem of limited supply of fossil fuel.


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