• Jul 22, 2008
If anyone were to come along and do an updated version of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," the could change the background vocal from "I want my MTV" to "I want my MPG" or "I want my low Cd." Coefficient of drag, that is. Carmakers are taking every step they can, starting with aerodynamics, to give cars better gas mileage right now while they wait for more substantial technologies to come online in the near future.

But the tweaks don't stop with aero finessing. The 2009 Dodge Ram spent 200 hours in the wind tunnel, and it also received tweaks to its ECU, which means it spends more time in its cylinder cutoff mode. That, plus eighty pounds of weight savings, adds up to one more MPG on the EPA sheet. Said Ford's Derek Kuzak, "We need to treat every joule of energy in a vehicle like a precious commodity."

In fact, that song hook could also be "I want my XFE." The Cobalt XFE, developed over 18 months to offer the best gas mileage in the Cobalt line, is selling six percent better than expected. Fuel economy, instead of design, is the number one reason people buy a Cobalt now. And the XFE has the lowest on-the-lot time of any Cobalt model. That's how important the price of gas has become.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brian:
      Your argument doesn't work because people don't take into account the big picture.

      At $3 one person can barely afford gas or cars as is and so buys a Cobalt or an Accent or something. Another person in the Northeast is barely making ends meet because of the cost of heating oil to heat his house. And 1,000 other people say "why shouldn't I get an F-150 with the trailering package and then lower it to the ground?" Because these people couldn't think ahead, the amount of oil we use goes through the roof, driving the price up, hurting the two people who did nothing wrong even more than the F-150 people who had money to burn.

      And then there's the issue of all the money we have to send overseas to fill the tanks of these money wasters. People don't see the problem with that, but it's reducing the wealth of this country by a huge amount every day.

      Just ask T. Boone Pickens about it. A life-long oil man and now he's trying to reverse our dependence on foreign oil.

      http://pickensplan.com/

      Sometimes the government has to get involved, just like it did with auto emission in the 70s. Or industrial pollution even before that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "And then there's the issue of all the money we have to send overseas to fill the tanks of these money wasters. People don't see the problem with that, but it's reducing the wealth of this country by a huge amount every day."

        You don't have to look past the popularity of foreign autos to see that the average American doesn't give a flying f*%$ about how much money they send overseas or how much they are reducing the wealth of this country every day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looking at EPA mileage estimates, it becomes pretty obvious that GM is not exactly getting its' butt whooped in the MPG battle:

      4 Cyl / Manual
      Corolla- 26/37
      Cobalt / G5 XFE- 25/37
      Cobalt / G5- 25/35
      Aveo- 27/34
      Accent- 27/33
      Elantra- 25/33
      Mazda3- 24/32
      Scion tc- 20/27

      4 Cyl / Auto
      Corolla- 27/35
      Versa- 27/33
      Aveo- 25/34
      Elantra- 25/33
      Cobalt / G5- 24/33
      Mazda3- 22/30
      Scio tc- 21/29

      4 Cyl / Auto:
      Malibu / G6- 22/33
      Sonata- 22/32
      Camry - 21/31
      Mazda6- 21/30
      Fusion / Milan- 20/28

      6 Cyl / Auto:
      Malibu / G6- 18/29
      Sonata- 19/29
      Camry- 19/28
      Fusion / Milan- 18/26
      LaCrosse- 17/28
      Mazda 6- 17/25
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course T Boone wants to get cheap energy. He's putting his money on water now, not energy...

      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_25/b4089040017753.htm

      • 6 Years Ago
      "...Its great to consume less gas but the major downward will be that future cars will COST MORE..."
      That's what's happened in Europe. Gas prices are more than double what they are here in the US, so car prices are also double. The era of cheap cars, along with the era of cheap gas, is over.

      "This is supposed to be a free market. If consumers need fuel efficient cars, then its their responsibility to buy an efficient car."
      I wish. The only reason why GM and Ford are scrambling to bring small cars here is because of CAFE, and Bob KLutz has already shown how KLutz-y he is, what with delaying the Cruze and not bringing the Beat (even though it was supposed to be a "global" car). Mr. Mulally (Mullaly? Mullally? Mulaly?) couldn't bring the Euro Fords soon enough, and aside from the current Focus and Escape Hybrid (and, relatively, the Flex), none of Ford's vehicles are particularly fuel-efficient. If it wasn't for CAFE, I doubt GM and Ford would be putting the energy into small cars that they are today and they'd still keep selling SUVs/CUVs (despite the fact that the Ford F-150 has been beaten in May by (in order from greatest to least) the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord). Chrysler doesn't even seem to be trying to make its vehicles more fuel-efficient; all it's done is lower the price of gas to $3.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jim,
      You have poor taste then. Go drive a Mazda3. It costs just as much but it fun, sporty, and the interior is light years ahead of the Cobalt. How can the Cobalt be good taste??? This is like saying McDonald's double cheese burger tastes better than a Kobe beef burger with Wisconsin's finest cheese on top. The Cobalt has NO personality. My fridge has more personality.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Then please define what an American car is to me.

        Is it the parent company? What % has to be American owned to qualify?

        Is it where it was built? Again, what % of it has to be built on shore to be considered?

        Is it where the parts came from? Same qualifier.

        I have a car that was built in the UK by a German company using an engine that was built in Brazil in a partnership with an American car company.

        Is it German? Is it English? Is it American? Is it Brazilian? You tell me. Spiritually, it's English with German engineering. Physically, it's from all over. Revenue wise, it's all over the globe as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I love my Mazda3, but realize it's not for everybody.

        The Cobalt is not a car I would buy, but it's not nearly as bad as people make it out to be, and I'd probably buy a Cobalt before I bought a Corolla. At least most Chevy dealers would try to get my business, whereas at a Toyota dealer it's "pick a number and pay what we tell you to pay".
        • 6 Years Ago
        Bill,
        That is a good point. It seems when it comes to GM if the car is not the best in class it must be absolute crap. That is not really true. The Cobalt is no stunner for sure. I have driven a few and it was very OK light years better than the Cavalier but still just OK.

        The best thing about the Cobalt is that it can be bought SOOOO cheaply. It is better than some of its competitors and not as good as others but it is not the worst thing ever.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cobalt has some very strong points
        1) Soft, smooth ride rather than a hard "sporty" ride
        2) 150hp AND 36mpg
        3) Starts at just $15k
        4) OnStar
      • 6 Years Ago
      PV, the European prices are only double if you convert them into our weak dollar, which Europeans do not have to do when they buy a car. Europeans get paid in euros and live in a euro economy. The only way the dollar cost affects them is when they buy American goods or travel here...they love our weak dollar.
      • 6 Years Ago

      What if gas prices came down again? I guess it will be back to " I want my MPH".
        • 6 Years Ago
        More like I want my GPS and other useless electronic garbage :) Electronic gizmos are more important to consumers than power.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've owned a 2005 Mazda3 Hatchback with a 2.3L 5-speed manual, and averaged a cool 10.3L/100km (22.84 US MPG) through 50%/50% city/highway driving. Best number I've got was 7.7L/100km (30.55 US MPG) driving on the highway at 60mph with just about everyone including their grandmother passing me on the left side. Enjoy the car for the 3-year lease, but with all the other problems (aside from the poor fuel economy), I would not go back to Mazda product for a while. I've also driven the Colalt a couple of times, and it's not ahead of it's class, but certainly not a POS as some of the ignorant people here are posting. I'm sure that in the past couple of years, GM had an opportunity to improve some of the initial issues found in these cars and make improvements accordingly. For the record, I'm currently driving a (used) 2006 Lexus IS350 and I'm averaging about 27-30 MPG on the highway. With additional 1.2L, 2-extra cylinders, and close to double the horsepower, the Mazda3 2.3L is a gas pig compared to my Lexus. Toyota is certainly doing something right.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who would buy a Cobalt for the design? Go buy a Campbell's soup can and drive in that....same thing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I wish. The only reason why GM and Ford are scrambling to bring small cars here is because of CAFE,"

        They are building more small cars because demand is up. These cars were on the drawing board years ago. This was before increases in CAFE and long before gas even hit $3.50 a gallon.

        Unfortunately CAFE will be given the credit, when the market is what is making changes.

        Stupid, armchair engineers think that car companies start building these things overnight.
      • 6 Years Ago
      HAhahah, laughing hard about the Dire Straits quote.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "I wish. The only reason why GM and Ford are scrambling to bring small cars here is because of CAFE,"

      They are building more small cars because demand is up. These cars were on the drawing board years ago. This was before increases in CAFE and long before gas even hit $3.50 a gallon.

      Unfortunately CAFE will be given the credit, when the market is what is making changes.

      Stupid, armchair engineers think that car companies start building these things overnight.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, the gov't won't help in a bailout, but they have massive demands...

    • Load More Comments