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Should I trade in my Tacoma?

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby dereferenced » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:17 pm

The efficiency of a Prius is a lot higher than other sedans for city driving (because of the regenerative braking, electric motor efficiency, etc.), but on the highway, I think there's nothing that special about it, it's still a gas engine, it's just a little lighter and more streamlined. I've measured up to 44 mpg on highways in a Civic. So, you could easily buy a used 2wd car and get better highway mileage without worrying about the nuances of battery production.

Can't say that my Civic has made it to many rough trailheads. But, you want to be an ultrarunner, so what's a few more miles on every approach?

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby climbingaggie03 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:28 pm

I know this is kind of out of left field, but have you considered a motorcycle? My bike gets 55-60mpg, you could get something like the Kawasaki KLR 650, that will get you to any trail head you want and probably still get at least 50 mpg. You can find one used for probably 3 grand or so. You'd probably drive your truck even less but you'd still have it if you need it. When the weather's nice you can ride the bike and get double the mileage of your truck

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby pseudoghost » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:30 pm

Can we go back to this one for a minute? I have not done very much homework on this so I may well be wrong, but I do wonder about it.

On the surface this makes sense since the tires would be rotating less and thus the engine using less gas, for the same miles driven. However, isnt there more to it? Primarily, the idea that engines (actually not only the engine but the entire drivetrain and even the overall vehicle itself) are tuned as a system - generally to make best use of the engines torque curve. So that if you changed the gearing to a numerically lower number it is possible that the engine is actually becoming less efficient and instead using more gasoline rather than less?

I have a personal example of this - whether or not this example proves anything or is just one example under very specific conditions or not, I dont know, but empirically it seems to make sense: My last Jeep was lifted and running on 33 inch tires (the stock tires were maybe 29 inches or so) but not re-geared. Anyway, the times I got the best gas mileage was when I was going up mountain passes in 2nd gear. ie better MPG when the engine was running at a higher RPM. My explanation is that the engine was operating closer to its peak torque at this higher RPM and thus more efficient.

Maybe the idea of a re-gearing would work, but only as long as if it didn't push the engine too far outside its torque band.


My WAG is that it was a combination of the fact that you were travelling at slower speeds; engines are typically much more efficient at slower speeds because of air resistance (exacerbated by you lifting the car), and that the engine was running lean at high altitude. Most engines can run lean and get a significant improvement in performance at the cost of increased emissions and increased operating temperatures.

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby climbingaggie03 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:55 pm

pseudoghost wrote:My WAG is that it was a combination of the fact that you were travelling at slower speeds; engines are typically much more efficient at slower speeds because of air resistance (exacerbated by you lifting the car), and that the engine was running lean at high altitude. Most engines can run lean and get a significant improvement in performance at the cost of increased emissions and increased operating temperatures.


Are you sure that an engine running lean would have increased emissions? I would think that less fuel going into the cylinders on each stroke would mean less coming out of the exhaust. I think that in the 80's they found that they could improve emissions by leaning out the mixtures, but maybe I'm remembering that wrong.

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby Tortoise1 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:29 pm

Alpine wrote:
TallGrass wrote:You could explore "hypermiling" with your Tacoma such as .... seeing if they make a taller rear end (gear ratio),


Primarily, the idea that engines (actually not only the engine but the entire drivetrain and even the overall vehicle itself) are tuned as a system - generally to make best use of the engines torque curve. So that if you changed the gearing to a numerically lower number it is possible that the engine is actually becoming less efficient and instead using more gasoline rather than less?

Maybe the idea of a re-gearing would work, but only as long as if it didn't push the engine too far outside its torque band.


Rear axle ratios are a trade-off - shorter ratios, that is higher numbers, are faster off the line, tow more, have more engine RPMs and wear, and have less (stick shift) clutch wear on take-off. Taller ratios, lower numbers, reduce engine wear, are slower off the line, tow less, have more clutch wear on take-off, and almost always get better mileage. I've seen a linear ratio from a rear axle change - 20 percent higher ratio (lower number) equal 20 percent better fuel economy.

Surprisingly most manufacturers are still gearing stick shifts for off the line performance rather than optimal gas mileage. They still seem to think all stick shift people are hot-rodders looking for off the line performance. That's likely to change as it gets harder to meet the fuel economy standards. The other thing they've screwed up is that six is too many gears for optimal fuel economy. If you want improve stick shift fuel economy, skip gears. Fewer wider spaced gears is more fuel efficient with a stick, the opposite of an automatic.

Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:00 am

This is awesome people! I have read all your responses and love the interest/enthusiasm about the subject.

bergsteigen wrote:Keep your Tacoma! I love mine ('02), and will keep it till it dies.

lordhelmut wrote:this is nonsense, enjoy your Taco!


Don't get me wrong, I love my Tacoma to pieces and even feel guilty for thinking of getting rid of it. Up to this point I have justified my owning of the car by only driving it on the weekends. Every other time I can be found on an RTD bus or more likely my badass Linus cruiser bike.

Again, most of you seem to believe driving an extremely dependable car with not the best mpg is still better than buying a new car that gets 12mpg more (i.e. the impreza or golf). I have never really wanted a Prius as I understand the possible detriment to the enviro (not trying to hate on Prius owners, just my opinion!)

climbingaggie03 wrote:I know this is kind of out of left field, but have you considered a motorcycle?


I have pondered a motorcycle in fact! Perhaps one day I will seriously consider it but as for now I am getting by with the bike.

I also like how some of you have offered others means of helping the environment. Driving frugally, reducing the amount of things you consume and reusing stuff are all wonderful ways to help the environment.

If we just put a little thought into items we can reuse and items we don't need (take out boxes, plastic shopping bags with 1 item in them), we (and the polar bears) will all be better off. :-D
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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby SeracZack » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:12 am

Tortoise1 wrote:If you want improve stick shift fuel economy, skip gears. Fewer wider spaced gears is more fuel efficient with a stick, the opposite of an automatic.


Source?

Somehow it doesn't make sense to me that dropping the engine RPM so low in-between shifts would increase fuel mileage. My typical RPM drop between shifts is 800 (IIRC), so by increasing that drop to 1600 RPM on my engine would make the engine lug too much and I would have to press down on the accelerator even more to continue accelerating. Thus bringing the engine out of its efficiency zone, and burning more fuel.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby Dex » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:18 am

Mark A Steiner wrote:Fletch's detailed Wicki response nails down a few particulars not generally known among Prius environmentalists. I'm not condemning the car, but the environment takes quite a hit (mining and chemical responses in manufacturing) to make C02 and hydrocarbons pale in comparison.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology may be a better choice ... thoughts?


I'd like to see more options like natural gas or propane. In some countries it costs $500 or so to add a natural gas system to your car. In the USA it is a couple of thousand.

There is talk about long distance trucks using natural gas and adding re-fueling stations along interstate highways.

One aspect never talked about in the global warming/cooling/change discussion is population/demand. We're going from 7B to 10B over the next 50 years or less. Those 3B people will be producing a lot of green house gasses.


... and the children will lead the way ...

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s10e02-smug-alert

Listen to the cometary by the writers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef-YWyG5TXw
Last edited by Dex on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby GeezerClimber » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:36 am

Having perfect fuel/air ratios makes for more power, more efficiency and less emissions. Lean burns increase NOx emissions, rich increases COs and CHs. The main reason motors are much more powerful, efficient and cleaner today than ever is modern engine management (aka computers) control fuel flow and ignition timing more precisely than ever. In the early 80s, the only way they could reduce emissions was reducing compression, delay ignition timing and running relatively lean. These motors produced very poor power and were not all that efficient and just clean enough to pass emissions. Beginning in the mid 80s, computers were used to improve motor performance in every way and has been continually refined and improved to this day. This is why you can now buy a 600hp Corvette and still get over 20mpg on the highway.

IC motors are at their most efficient when used at maximum power and rpm but this is not practical for everyday use or durability. This is why cylinder deactivation is becoming popular on V8s. A smaller motor working harder is more efficient than a large one not working hard. Engineers use various parameters to develop torque curves for the real world balancing power, efficiency and intended purpose. For instance, in NASCAR, they use large motors developing about 900hp at 9000 rpm. Running wide open at 200mph+, they get over 5mpg. I have taken street cars with relatively efficient small motors to road race tracks where there is a lot of accelerating and decelerating and gotten only 5-6 mpg without ever going over about 125mph. The NASCAR motor would be pretty much useless in real life though because of the way it is tuned.

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Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby Dex » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:44 am

Keep the truck - get rid of the dog.

"In a new research, scientists have determined that pets can play a large part in increasing greenhouse gas emissions, with calculations indicating that a Land Cruiser's eco-footprint being about 0.41 hectares, which is less than half that of a medium-sized dog."

http://www.medindia.net/news/Pets-Play-Major-Role-in-Increasing-Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions-59946-1.htm
Montani Semper Liberi
"Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous." Barry Ritholtz

Re: Should I trade in my Tacoma?

Postby coclimbguy79 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:13 pm

I have a newer impreza hatchback with 6 speed cvt. It feels as roomy as a small suv, and I don't think there would be any issue for a 6' or under person sleeping in the back with folded seats. Ground clearance is just under 6", but I don't know of another compact with above 6" (with the exception of the suzuki sx4). Averages 30-32 with city driving and will get high 30s (and possibly over 40) with highway driving.

The crosstrek has almost 9" of ground clearance, but is basically the same car, same engine with more weight. I wouldn't consider the boxer engine high performance on the standard impreza and it would be pretty weak on the crosstrek (which reviews seem to confirm). But I suppose if you want very good gas mileage and good ground clearance, you have to make a sacrifice somewhere. I'm sure there's better crossovers as far as performance, but there might be a sacrifice with ground clearance and gas mileage there.

I drove my impreza to the Leavick site about a month ago, and it did great in that the snow.

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