Cars waste 85 percent of the energy used 3


This is not news as we have seen it in Sustainable energy – without the hot air but some facts need reminders. The internal combustion engine – like incandescent light bulbs – is extremely inefficient. To GOOD :

If you had to invent an efficient way to move (…), you could hardly do worse than the modern automobile. After more than a century of refinement, (a car) wastes 85 percent of the energy in the fuel we put into it.

Hence the importance of developing alternatives. And from electric vehicles – cars, trucks and scooters – to biking, walking or simple public transportation, it is not as we lacked options.

The article continues :

Most of that energy is squandered by the car’s beating heart, the internal combustion engine, which alone wastes 62 percent of the energy that enters the gas tank, according to the EPA. Where does that energy go? It’s radiated away into the atmosphere as heat.

(,,,)That means that of the 130 million joules of chemical energy in the average gallon of gasoline, only 19.5 million are converted into the kind of kinetic energy that matters—forward motion of the car. The rest are literally disappearing into thin air.

This is why electric cars are five times more efficient that internal combustion engines counterparts. This is why we need to develop them – and the aforementioned alternatives – fast.

But GOOD proposes to recover the energy. In the future this might – and there is a huge emphasis on might- Here is how what they propose :

The white whale of automobile waste recovery is the embarrassing inefficiency of the internal combustion engine, which reached its current form at the turn of the last century and has seen only incremental improvement since.

The exhaust gases flying out of the back of your car are hot enough to melt lead, so it shouldn’t be too hard to use them to produce energy. Engineers have been attempting it for 50 years. The trick is doing it simply and consistently.

(,,,) Taken together, simple addition suggests that an enterprising home mechanic with access to state-of-the-art technology could increase the fuel efficiency of his or her car by between 30 and 40 percent.

It’s hardly a revolutionary number, until you consider that the world consumes 85 billion barrels of oil a day, and auto manufacturers are already bumping up against the limits of what they shave off of a car in order to make it use less gas.


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3 thoughts on “Cars waste 85 percent of the energy used

  • Edouard Post author

    Hello Peter and thanks for your comment.

    It depends of what we mean by oil. If we mean conventional oil, yes we are running out of it. If we mean extreme oil, I also would say yes but at a lower speed.

    Given how extreme oil is expensive, very expensive, to extract I believe the current low prices won’t help them.

    In any case, it’s time to change our cars for more efficient models with start and stop systems, hybrids and electric. But more importantly, it’s our duty to switch to biking and public transportation.