No one can argue that the best way to save fuel is to build cars that use less of it.
The first function of fuel economy is weight: the lighter the car the higher the MPG.
The second function is RPM. The more an engine revolves per minute, the lower the MPG the car achieves.
Since there’s a limit to how light a car can be, I’ve always wondered why cars didn’t have an extra gear or two for highway speeds. At 70 MPH, my 5-speed manual Suzuki SX4 gets about 25 MPG. Why not have a sixth gear so I could decrease the engine speed and achieve 30+ MPG? Sure seems like I could save a lot of gas cruising the highway at 2000 RPMs rather than 4000.
The Korean car company has recently announced the production of an 8-speed automatic transmission, for introduction in 2010. Designed to maximize engine torque and improve fuel efficiency, vehicles equipped with this tranny should see a dramatic improvement of highway MPG ratings.
I believe technology such as this is the immediate answer to decreasing our use of oil, and applaud Hyundai for their forward thinking.
What makes the most sense to you: efficient gas-powered cars or hybrid/alternative fuel vehicles?