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Old 02-25-2012, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default We Sample the EA211, Volkswagen’s Next Global Four-Cylinder Engine Series



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Volkswagen’s various platforms, including the new MQB architecture, can enlist many different engines, but those engines will start to look a lot more similar. As it stands now, VW engines worldwide vary quite a bit. U.S. four-cylinders are fairly similar to the diesel variants—their intake valves are fore of the exhaust valves and the engine is canted forward. But in Europe, the EA111-series engines breathe the other way around and are canted backward.

To complement the MQB platform’s modularity and keep things more consistent, VW is developing the EA211 gasoline engine series, which will replace the EA111 series. The new engine group has a displacement range from 1.0 liter (a port-injected engine) up to 1.6. It’s the 1.4-liter turbo engine, however, that really sparks our interest. (For reference, VW’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged four-banger—dubbed EA888—that powers the GTI, A4, A5, et al., is actually managed by Audi.)
With 16 valves, direct injection, and a turbocharger, the basics are comparable to what we’ve seen from VW four-cylinders before. But the differences are vast and, aside from sharing an 82-mm bore spacing, little carries over. The 1.4 is the only EA211 variant we expect to get in the U.S. It will arrive first in the Jetta hybrid (more on that later), and there’s a good chance the 1.4 could replace the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter five-cylinder as the base engine for U.S.-bound Golfs. The 1.4 turbo has a slightly lower power rating than the 2.5 (140 hp versus 170) but a little more torque (184 lb-ft compared to the five’s 177), which peaks at 1400 rpm. The decision to use it more widely here hinges in part on the little bit of turbo lag the engine exhibits; Volkswagen planners fear it could be off-putting to American buyers.


Saving Weight, Wonders of the Headifold
Instead of being cast entirely from iron, the 1.4-liter block is made of aluminum with iron liners, which saves 42 pounds. Each connecting rod is about a third of a pound lighter. By lightening this reciprocating mass, the crankshaft’s mass, with better-optimized counterweights, drops from 25 pounds to 20. All told, the engine is 49 pounds lighter and delivers up to 20-percent-better fuel economy, according to VW.

The fuel-economy improvement comes from a combination of many innovations. For one, the exhaust manifold is integrated into the head. This setup reduces the distance exhaust gases have to travel before entering the turbocharger, helping fire the catalyst faster—it’s located right next to the turbo, adjacent to the cylinder head. The headifold (we just made that up, let’s see if it sticks) features its own cooling circuit. Valves in the coolant paths control this circuit’s flow. By isolating and collecting the heat in the head, this engine comes up to temperature quicker, reducing the fuel-rich environment of a cold engine and heating the cabin quicker.
Conversely, when the engine is up to temp, this circuit can cool the exhaust gas about 212 degrees Fahrenheit under full load, which is a boon for emissions.

Cam Belts and Suspenders
In complete defiance of the norm, the EA211’s camshafts are driven by a belt. Yes, a belt. The advantage is less friction loss than with a chain system. The kicker: VW says the EA211’s belts are good for the lifetime of the engine. No mileage was quoted, but we expect “lifetime” to mean at least 100,000 miles. Cam phasers inside the belt-driven cogs produce variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust for more high-end torque and improved response at low revs.

Gone is the air-to-air intercooler. In its place is an air-to-water heat exchanger that has been integrated into the intake manifold. This tightens up the packaging and, like the headifold (we’re not giving up on that name!), reduces the distance air travels between the turbo’s compressor wheel and the cylinders.


The really cool part: In some applications, the 1.4-liter EA211 will feature cylinder deactivation (called ACT in VW jargon, which translates to active cylinder management) that reduces the firing cylinders by half. This is a feature normally reserved for larger-displacement engines. This system is very similar to what is found on the new 4.0-liter V-8 powering Bentley Continentals and the Audi S8, among others. The camshafts are not honed from a solid piece of steel; instead, a splined shaft is fitted with cam profiles. The profiles for cylinders one and four are fixed with a pin, while the other two actually slide and feature two distinct shapes: one for normal operation, and a second with no profile. When the engine computer deems the middle cylinders superfluous, a tiny actuator atop the head drops a pin into a guide path, which swaps it to the blank profile. The whole process takes no more than 36 milliseconds (it’s a little quicker when engine rpm is higher).

The 1.4 can operate on two cylinders between 1400 and 4000 rpm.
Engineers opted not to have the four go twin at idle because the vibrations would not be well received by passengers. If you’ve ever seen a Harley shake at a stoplight, you’ll understand what they’re avoiding—and why.


Playing EA211 Polo
We briefly drove a Polo with ACT and found the system impressive. All four cylinders pitch in for meaningful acceleration, but once you’re up to speed, two shut down. We did detect a change in the exhaust note during the switchover, but were told this car wasn’t finally calibrated. Other than that, there was no detectable change in the powertrain downsizing.

Besides the rpm stipulation, two-cylinder mode is active when the engine is asked to make no more than about 74 lb-ft of torque. Surprisingly, this amount of torque is sufficient to make moderate speed changes. Slight grades are even maintained without kicking the other combustion tubes back on.

When switching back to four-cylinder mode, there is a clear hesitation before the middle cams are realigned. The sensation does not feel like turbo lag, but more like a hybrid system restarting its gas engine. You can feel the step in power development because all of a sudden the engine is using twice as many cylinders. This is not a bad thing and it will never cause a heart palpitation when trying to thread the needle in an intersection; remember, all four cylinders are firing at idle. Again, this was an early car, so the reactivation could get massaged one final time, but in our opinion the system worked well.

Interesting too is the shift strategy that’ll be employed along with ACT. In some cases, running on two cylinders at a higher rpm in a lower gear will be more efficient than four cylinders at a lower rpm in a higher gear. Dual-clutch automatics will choose the most efficient option automatically, but manual-transmission drivers will have to pay attention to a gauge display that indicates the most efficient gear.



The Jetta Hybrid’s 1.4 Turbo

We also got some seat time in the upcoming Jetta hybrid. There, a 150-hp, 1.4-liter TSI is married to a 27-hp electric motor that is fed an AC diet from a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, built by Sanyo. This TSI engine variant does not feature ACT cylinder deactivation, but it does have a few efficiency tricks of its own.

As is the case with other VW Group hybrids, there’s a clutch between the engine and the electric motor. This allows the engine to be completely shut down and not creating any drag while coasting or while the car is in electric-only mode.

Like the ACT-equipped Polo, the Jetta we drove was still under the protection of the prototype heading. That said, the operation impressed with its seamless switches between hybrid, gas, and electric-only drive. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic makes no bones about shuffling through the gears as quickly as possible. Regenerative braking always has its quirks, and in this Jetta an initial regen bite felt comparable to grabby brakes. It took some getting used to and we have no doubt that final brake programing will smooth it out some.

Chances are the EA211 will be available, if not standard, on the next-generation Golf. That car rolls out in Europe later this summer and should be here around this time next year.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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a 150hp UP! GTI would be fun.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:10 PM   #3
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Seriously neat stuff...



... and I wouldn't dare touch it for another 5 years and then only if it's not a complete quagmire thanks to it being VAG.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:18 AM   #4
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While I am glad to see new engines, I think that VW 2.5L gets dumped on a lot without a good reason. The EPA number for the 2.5L are mediocre, however I was getting better real world MPG driving a 2.5L 2009 Jetta compared to my 2.0L 2012 Impreza CVT. Same roads, same driving distances. The Jetta was rated 30 MPG highway, the Impreza is rated 36 MPG highway. I had over 120 fill ups tracked on the Jetta so I know what I was getting for MPG in certain months, my shiny new Impreza with 5K miles on it is doing worse. Heck, the Jetta engine was even running at 3K RPM and pumping 5 cylinders just to 70 down the highway, so you figure it should have been burning gas like crazy...

Anyway I think there is a paradigm shift here in the details. The Jetta engine was tuned for real world driving, and a lot of newer cars are tuned to max out the EPA test cycle, because EPA numbers sell cars.

Also i suspect my Impreza MPG will go up a lot in the summer and should pass the Jetta then. But still, for an all new engine smaller engine with much less power in a car that weighs 300 pounds less than the VW, I never considered that my MPG would be worse.

Last edited by ocellaris; 02-27-2012 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:16 AM   #5
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Have fun when that "exhaust module" goes bad.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ocellaris View Post
While I am glad to see new engines, I think that VW 2.5L gets dumped on a lot without a good reason. The EPA number for the 2.5L are mediocre, however I was getting better real world MPG driving a 2.5L 2009 Jetta compared to my 2.0L 2012 Impreza CVT. Same roads, same driving distances. The Jetta was rated 30 MPG highway, the Impreza is rated 36 MPG highway. I had over 120 fill ups tracked on the Jetta so I know what I was getting for MPG in certain months, my shiny new Impreza with 5K miles on it is doing worse. Heck, the Jetta engine was even running at 3K RPM and pumping 5 cylinders just to 70 down the highway, so you figure it should have been burning gas like crazy...

Anyway I think there is a paradigm shift here in the details. The Jetta engine was tuned for real world driving, and a lot of newer cars are tuned to max out the EPA test cycle, because EPA numbers sell cars.

Also i suspect my Impreza MPG will go up a lot in the summer and should pass the Jetta then. But still, for an all new engine smaller engine with much less power in a car that weighs 300 pounds less than the VW, I never considered that my MPG would be worse.
The same story happened with my dad's 2012 Focus. Doesn't achieve it's EPA ratings in the real world.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:35 AM   #7
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Have fun when that "exhaust module" goes bad.
Does the new engine in the Subaru have p0029 issues ?
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:37 AM   #8
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Does the new engine in the Subaru have p0029 issues ?
Touche.

But I'm just thinking cost-wise as so much is integrated.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:29 AM   #9
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The valvetrain/valve cover thing is kind of neat, I think. I can't decide if it makes things better or worse though.

.1 gallon in 62 miles fuel savings though. That's HUUUUUUUUUUUGE.

Is the exhaust manifold part of the cylinder head?
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:08 AM   #10
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The valvetrain/valve cover thing is kind of neat, I think. I can't decide if it makes things better or worse though.
From a factory assembly position I'm sure it makes things better.

From a, hey, "I've got a valve cover leak.. I think I'll spend 20 minutes throwing on a new $5 gasket... hey, wait, I've got to remove the whole timing chain!?!?!" position it's definitely worse.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:36 AM   #11
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Yeah, but how often do modern engines actually develop valve cover leaks? Not very often.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:15 PM   #12
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Yeah, but how often do modern engines actually develop valve cover leaks? Not very often.
I would think that once most of these modern engines become non modern in twenty years or so they will start to leak. I know personally I will not buy a car that's that much of a PITA to work on since I do all my own maintenance.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #13
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The same story happened with my dad's 2012 Focus. Doesn't achieve it's EPA ratings in the real world.
I also have to wonder if they are testing on e10 gas. Call me cynical but I have seen some REALLY huge swings in my own mileage when I can get NON-ethanol fuel and I wouldn't put it past manufacturers to make sure the tank was not full of corn.

But about that Focus....I drove it and really did liked it except for the acceleration. I got to looking at some of the specs on the thing and the difference in acceleration between the manual and automatic is almost a second. They NEED to make the manual available across the lineup...faster.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:29 PM   #14
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I also have to wonder if they are testing on e10 gas. Call me cynical but I have seen some REALLY huge swings in my own mileage when I can get NON-ethanol fuel and I wouldn't put it past manufacturers to make sure the tank was not full of corn.

But about that Focus....I drove it and really did liked it except for the acceleration. I got to looking at some of the specs on the thing and the difference in acceleration between the manual and automatic is almost a second. They NEED to make the manual available across the lineup...faster.
I am almost 100% that testing is done with no ethanol. From my experience with a 09 Impreza I would go from averaging about 32 MPG all highway down to 29MPG with a 10% ethanol blend.

It will be interesting to see how long the engine will last but using a timing belt that "good for the life of an engine" is interesting. A big part of the cost of a vehicle is determined by the residue that you are able to sell the vehicle for. If VW makes a throw away car that only goes 100k or 150k and become almost impossible to service and resell because of the complexity of servicing it. That's definitely going the wrong way towards a greener place and also hurts your consumers pockets.

Last edited by wrxsubaru; 02-27-2012 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:32 PM   #15
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EPA fuel economy testing is done with Indolene fuel which has no ethanol content. Emissions testing for California standards is done with California Phase II fuel, which also has no ethanol content.

The fuel economy is calculated by performing 5 different drive cycles: FTP75/LA-4, HWFET, US06, SC03, and a cold FTP cycle. Weights are assigned according to a complicated EPA formula and spreadsheet available online http://www.epa.gov/oms/cert/dearmfr/...calculator.xls
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:47 PM   #16
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It will be interesting to see how long the engine will last but using a timing belt that "good for the life of an engine" is interesting.
We used to call that a CHAIN....lol

I have to think VW's (and every other manufacturer right about now) biggest challenge is keeping all the complex electronics reliable over the long term. Between that and ridiculous recommendations about never changing antifreeze and tranny fluid that is some built in expensive parts destined to fail.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:57 AM   #17
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I also have to wonder if they are testing on e10 gas. Call me cynical but I have seen some REALLY huge swings in my own mileage when I can get NON-ethanol fuel and I wouldn't put it past manufacturers to make sure the tank was not full of corn.

But about that Focus....I drove it and really did liked it except for the acceleration. I got to looking at some of the specs on the thing and the difference in acceleration between the manual and automatic is almost a second. They NEED to make the manual available across the lineup...faster.
From a dead stop/slow start it's a pig but for cruising/highway the dual-clutch is pretty quick to downshift and go. Compared to driving some of the other econoboxes though I can't believe how nice the steering and the stability through corners is. It's fun given the right circumstances.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:45 AM   #18
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Couple thoughts.

Looks like they're going back to oil filter on bottom, where the later revision of the 2.0t had oil filter on top. Wonder if they found something they didn't like with using top mount oil filters in production vehicles the last few years.


Also, **** vw and their definition of "lifetime". My the tranny fluid in my tdi is phrased as "lifetime" which in their definition only means long enough to be out of warranty. Abundant 01m failures are a perfect example.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:56 AM   #19
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EPA fuel economy testing is done with Indolene fuel which has no ethanol content. Emissions testing for California standards is done with California Phase II fuel, which also has no ethanol content.

The fuel economy is calculated by performing 5 different drive cycles: FTP75/LA-4, HWFET, US06, SC03, and a cold FTP cycle. Weights are assigned according to a complicated EPA formula and spreadsheet available online http://www.epa.gov/oms/cert/dearmfr/...calculator.xls
I would love to see some data on how ethanol free fuel is affecting EPA numbers. I live in the Northeast and I can ONLY get E10 fuel, so I feel a bit snookered reading EPA numbers that are possibly all over the place with the only fuel I can purchase. Even with some variation from car to car, I never thought my 24MPG (combined) VW would be getting better actual MPG than my 30MPG (25% higher combined) Impreza.

I think the current system is being gamed by automakers like Hyundai (and now Subaru...) which is making this really unfortunate. Plus you have situations where cars like the Honda Civic has sub 40 MPG highway rating, but easily beat 40+ MPG highway rated cars in real world driving. Honda has long been known to NOT tune their cars for the EPA cycle and it shows in real world economy. I don't know what the better system is, however there are definitely some brands that seem to be less consistent with hitting EPA numbers than others.

Quote:
It will be interesting to see how long the engine will last but using a timing belt that "good for the life of an engine" is interesting. A big part of the cost of a vehicle is determined by the residue that you are able to sell the vehicle for. If VW makes a throw away car that only goes 100k or 150k and become almost impossible to service and resell because of the complexity of servicing it. That's definitely going the wrong way towards a greener place and also hurts your consumers pockets.
Well almost anything can be serviced. What it comes down to is do people want a car with more parts and more parts to potentially service, or a simpler design (for part counts) that will need less service, but may cost more when it needs it. Also mechanics learn to deal with the complexities as time moves on. 20+ years ago, mechanics were freaking out when everything was moving over to fuel injection, people were complaining that the cars would be impossible to service because people didn't understand the electronics. Now all the electronics determine what on the car needs service through the ODB2 port.

Plus if you had to get to a new "lifetime" timing belt on the VW engine, it still looks easier than getting to the timing belt of a Subaru. Also with enough volume of these cars being sold, the secondary market will produce parts and repair costs will go down. I certainly wouldn't want to be the first person to buy a new exhaust module, but before most of the cars get to high mileage, there will be aftermarket turbos and catalytic convertors available as separate pieces for a somewhat normal price.

Last edited by ocellaris; 02-28-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanH

We used to call that a CHAIN....lol

I have to think VW's (and every other manufacturer right about now) biggest challenge is keeping all the complex electronics reliable over the long term. Between that and ridiculous recommendations about never changing antifreeze and tranny fluid that is some built in expensive parts destined to fail.
The manufacturers do not care about long term longevity, they care about keeping you happy in your car for 3-5 yrs so you will buy another car from them.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:10 PM   #21
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I would love to see some data on how ethanol free fuel is affecting EPA numbers. I live in the Northeast and I can ONLY get E10 fuel, so I feel a bit snookered reading EPA numbers that are possibly all over the place with the only fuel I can purchase. Even with some variation from car to car, I never thought my 24MPG (combined) VW would be getting better actual MPG than my 30MPG (25% higher combined) Impreza.

I think the current system is being gamed by automakers like Hyundai (and now Subaru...) which is making this really unfortunate. Plus you have situations where cars like the Honda Civic has sub 40 MPG highway rating, but easily beat 40+ MPG highway rated cars in real world driving. Honda has long been known to NOT tune their cars for the EPA cycle and it shows in real world economy. I don't know what the better system is, however there are definitely some brands that seem to be less consistent with hitting EPA numbers than others.
Some automakers' products are closer to the advertised numbers than others. That's for sure. I understand your curiosity about E10 but about doing official EPA testing with E10 fuel... well if they did that everybody's numbers would go down. If the numbers go down, it eventually comes out of you the customer's wallet through more expensive cars and possibly more gas guzzler taxes. So you can see the use of E0 indolene fuel as you being conned or you can see it as a concession to the industry as a way to keep costs down. The new CAFE standards are calculated only with the very old 2cycle method (FTP75/HWFET cycle) so it will be less expensive for automakers to meet the standard.

Everyone likes to bitch about how they want good fuel economy but nobody wants to pay for it. Good fuel economy in an era of low emissions and safety standards is expensive, especially for diesels. 30mpg in 2013 model year has to be much much cleaner than in say 1995 model year due to the LEV-II and Euro 6 emissions standards.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:24 AM   #22
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Some automakers' products are closer to the advertised numbers than others. That's for sure. I understand your curiosity about E10 but about doing official EPA testing with E10 fuel... well if they did that everybody's numbers would go down. If the numbers go down, it eventually comes out of you the customer's wallet through more expensive cars and possibly more gas guzzler taxes. So you can see the use of E0 indolene fuel as you being conned or you can see it as a concession to the industry as a way to keep costs down. The new CAFE standards are calculated only with the very old 2cycle method (FTP75/HWFET cycle) so it will be less expensive for automakers to meet the standard.

Everyone likes to bitch about how they want good fuel economy but nobody wants to pay for it. Good fuel economy in an era of low emissions and safety standards is expensive, especially for diesels. 30mpg in 2013 model year has to be much much cleaner than in say 1995 model year due to the LEV-II and Euro 6 emissions standards.
I don't feel that I was conned I feel that the testing method is flawed. Since some vehicles appear to do much better on E10 compared to others, I think this would be important information for consumers to have if this is causing the swing.

Also I think CAFE standards are more of a dog and pony show than a serious push to improve fuel economy. I think the CAFE numbers should be done in post-EPA correction factor values, and I don't think they should have been footprint based. Companies will make larger vehicles that get slightly better MPG instead of making small vehicles with better overall better MPG, because it is much easier and keeps the profit margins higher.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:35 AM   #23
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Actually, my comment would be that I would much rather have ethanol free fuel so I stop getting crappy mileage.
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