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Author Topic: Astron Power Supply efficiency  (Read 15082 times)
W8JX
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« Reply #60 on: March 29, 2011, 06:05:49 AM »

You know I keep seeing this "repairable excuse being used. In nearly 30 years of using various power supplies I have yet to need to repair the first one. I have always powered them through good surge protectors and never overloaded them. So, repairabilty is not a factor for me at all in power supply selection.
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N2EY
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« Reply #61 on: March 30, 2011, 10:41:05 AM »

The real issue is the payback time.

Say that changing from a linear to a switcher saves you an average of 50 watts. And say you use the rig 2 hours per day, 350 days per year. (How many of you actually use your even rigs that much?)

Then you're using it 700 hours per year, and saving 35 kWh per year. If a kWh costs you 20 cents, that's a $7 a year saving.

How many years does it take for the switcher to pay back its cost at that rate? If the switcher costs $140, you'll break even in 20 years *if you don't count interest*.

OTOH, a couple of CFLs and LEDs, a clothesline and a programmable thermostat will save a lot more kWh in a lot less time.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W8JX
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« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2011, 11:06:31 AM »

Well for starters, if you leave switch on 24/7 at 20 cents a KW it will cost you abt 15 bucks a year to power it idle, a linear about 3 times that amount. Next your average power saving will easily exceed 50 watts and likely close to 100 watts or more in operation because switch uses 170 less watts at 100 watts out. so 2 hrs a day times 365 equals 730. Then savings here is about 15 bucks but would climb fast if you use it more. If you factor in idle power usage (as many forget to shut off supply or leave it on so radio backup battery has max life) so 30 plus 15 is 45 minimum saving in one year but likely much higher. Might seem like chump change but it adds up over time. On a side note I mow about 7 acres of grass here and recently was faced with overhauling engine in my current mower or spend money for a newer and bigger mower that would reduce my mowing time too. I went with newer mower which cost more up front but in long run it cut my fuel bill by more than half saving 200 to 300 a year on fuel and with fuel going up in ten years time it could save 5 grand and more. Nothing wrong with doing same job/work for less cost.
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N2EY
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« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2011, 02:16:33 PM »

Well for starters, if you leave switch on 24/7 at 20 cents a KW it will cost you abt 15 bucks a year to power it idle, a linear about 3 times that amount.

Hmmm....

You measured your switcher at 9 watts idle and your linear supply at 18 watts idle. That's a 1:2 ratio, not a 1:3 ratio. With the rig on at low volume, the switcher drew 36 watts and the linear 53 watts, which is about a 1:1.5 ratio, not 1:3.

A non-leap year has 8760 hours in it so at 20 cents per kWh the cost is almost $16 for the switcher and about $31 for the linear supply. If you pay less, the savings are less, too.

But the big question is: why leave it on all the time?

Next your average power saving will easily exceed 50 watts and likely close to 100 watts or more in operation because switch uses 170 less watts at 100 watts out. so 2 hrs a day times 365 equals 730.

How much is saved depends on how you operate. Not just how many hours the rig is on, but how much of the time you're transmitting and in what mode (CW and SSB have fairly low duty cycles while AM, FM and RTTY have high duty cycles). For example, if you operate CW and spend half the time listening and half the time sending, the key is actually down less than 20% of the time.

So if the savings is 17 watts key-up and 170 watts key-down, the average savings is (0.8 x 17) + (.2 x 170) = 47.6 watts average savings while operating.

Then savings here is about 15 bucks but would climb fast if you use it more. If you factor in idle power usage (as many forget to shut off supply or leave it on so radio backup battery has max life) so 30 plus 15 is 45 minimum saving in one year but likely much higher. Might seem like chump change but it adds up over time.

It all depends on how much you operate, what modes, and whether or not the supply is left on all the time.

As for the backup battery, how much does one cost? Spending $15 on electricity to avoid changing a $3 battery doesn't make sense to me...

On a side note I mow about 7 acres of grass here and recently was faced with overhauling engine in my current mower or spend money for a newer and bigger mower that would reduce my mowing time too. I went with newer mower which cost more up front but in long run it cut my fuel bill by more than half saving 200 to 300 a year on fuel and with fuel going up in ten years time it could save 5 grand and more. Nothing wrong with doing same job/work for less cost.

Again, the real question is payback time. If the new mower saves $300 a year in fuel and cost $1500 more than repairing the old one, the payback time is 5 years (not counting interest). If fuel gets more expensive, the payback time shortens, of course. There's also the expected life of the new mover vs. the old one after overhaul, the resale value of the old mower, etc. Most of all there's the value of your time: if you enjoy mowing, spending less time doing it has a very different value than if you don't.

What I'm saying is that the cost of the investment must be considered as well as the operating cost. Spending a lot to save a little may not make sense in the typical ham application. And the same money invested elsewhere may bring a much higher return.

73 de Jim, N2EY 
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W8JX
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« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2011, 02:40:24 PM »

Granted backup batteries are not expensive but they always fail at wrong time when they do.
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N2EY
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« Reply #65 on: March 30, 2011, 02:46:12 PM »

I am not a fan of CFL bulbs.  They are expensive, in my experience don't last much longer than incandescent bulbs and are much less green in their manufacture and disposal.  Perhaps it is just me but CFL bulbs seem to break easily. A drop where an incandescent bulb would bounce and be OK results in a shattered CFL bulb. As I understand it the manufacture of CFL bulbs produces more toxic wast and uses more energy than the manufacture of incandescent bulbs. So in the end I believe CFL bulbs are worse for the environment.

In my experience the opposite is true.

Yes, a CFL costs more to buy. But they last so much longer and use so much less electricity that the difference is in their favor. I have found they last years longer than incandescents (I write the date on the base every time I replace a bulb of any kind, so I know how long it lasted. CFLs win hands down).

The BIG problem with CFLs is that people don't know how to use them properly. CFLs are best in applications where they are on continuously for relatively long periods, not where they are turned on and off frequently. And forget about dimmers unless you get special dimmable CFLs.  

      When someone tells you a newer technology is better and more energy efficient  be skeptical and look at the whole picture. How many folks look at electric cars as the answer to pollution. Depends on where the power comers from, burning coal to make electricity to run a can is about as stupid as using corn to make ethanol to put in gasoline.

No, it's not stupid at all. It all depends on the overall system efficiency.

In the case of the gasoline car, you have the energy cost of making the gasoline, the energy cost of transporting it to the station, and then the efficiency of the car itself. You'd be surprised how low the overall efficiency is.

In the case of the electric car, you have the energy cost of making the electricity, the energy cost of transporting it to the charger, and then the efficiency of the car itself. Note that the electric car can easily have regenerative braking so that energy is recovered rather than being wasted heating the brakes.

In the end, the electric system efficiency is much higher. The same results are had when you consider pollution; the electric car pollutes less too.

The #1 reason you don't see more electric cars is simple: Limited range with the batteries now available. You can drive a certain number of miles and then you have to stop and charge the battery, which takes hours.

That limitation is fine if you don't need to go long distances, or you have another car for longer trips. But if you can only have one vehicle, or you need all your vehicles to have long range, the limited range of practical electrics is a deal-killer.

There are better battery technologies in development, but they're not available yet.

There have been proposals to make electric cars with quick-change batteries, so that when the battery is almost dead you pull into a service station and swap out. That would work, but would require an enormous new infrastructure of battery-swap stations, plus a standard battery design for all cars. Maybe someday, but not tomorrow or next week. Or next year.

Solar panels on the car, you ask? They would help, but even in perfect conditions the amount of electricity generated by a car covered with solar panels isn't enough to run it continuously at highway speed. The panels extend the range but not indefinitely. Again, if you can live with the limited range...

One practical solution is diesel cars. In Europe, where fuel is much more expensive, oil is more scarce and pollution regs even tighter, most new cars are diesels. They're clean and efficient.

The problem is that here in the USA diesels have a bad rep due to the lemons put out by GM back in the 1970s. And fuel here is so cheap that the payback time is longer than most people want to wait.

I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.

73 de Jim, N2EY

 

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N2EY
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« Reply #66 on: March 30, 2011, 02:47:40 PM »

Granted backup batteries are not expensive but they always fail at wrong time when they do.

Just keep a record of when it was last changed.

My rigs don't have backup batteries so I'm set.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W8JX
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« Reply #67 on: March 30, 2011, 06:23:58 PM »

Just keep a record of when it was last changed.
My rigs don't have backup batteries so I'm set.

73 de Jim, N2EY

I have several older rigs that have them and have not changed any for ages because they are usually on a 12 v source.
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W8JX
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« Reply #68 on: March 30, 2011, 06:44:47 PM »


The #1 reason you don't see more electric cars is simple: Limited range with the batteries now available. You can drive a certain number of miles and then you have to stop and charge the battery, which takes hours.

That limitation is fine if you don't need to go long distances, or you have another car for longer trips. But if you can only have one vehicle, or you need all your vehicles to have long range, the limited range of practical electrics is a deal-killer.

There are better battery technologies in development, but they're not available yet.

Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range. They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet. This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

One practical solution is diesel cars. In Europe, where fuel is much more expensive, oil is more scarce and pollution regs even tighter, most new cars are diesels. They're clean and efficient.

The problem is that here in the USA diesels have a bad rep due to the lemons put out by GM back in the 1970s. And fuel here is so cheap that the payback time is longer than most people want to wait.

Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.


I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.


I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.
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N2EY
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« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2011, 03:23:41 AM »


Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range.

Never is a very long time. Who knows what could be developed? Look at the microprocessors we have today compared to 30 years ago.

The point is that practical long-range batteries don't exist now, and won't exist any time soon. Electric cars will have a very limited market until that changes.

They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet.

Which is simply a form of plug-in hybrid. A partial solution that uses existing infrastructure, but is expensive.

Didja know that the Prius uses an Atkinson-cycle engine, not an Otto-cycle?

This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

Yes - but there's a lot of ifs in all that. The fuel cells have to be long-lived, inexpensive, efficient and powerful. And with fuel cells you still have the whole fuel-making-and-transport process. 

Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.

Point is, a lot of folks got a bad feeling for diesels because of GM products back then.

I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit for 17 years. 40+ mpg in the city, 50+ mpg on the highway. I still miss it.

I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.

The only reason I let my old Rabbit go was that the rust got it. A lot of cars here in the Northeast were lost to rust back then.

I didn't find the diesel characteristics to be any problem at all. I really liked putting 10 gallons the tank and driving 500+ miles on the highway.

Diesels can run on vegetable oil, too.

And that was with the diesel technology of 30+ years ago. Today's diesels are even better. But in the USA we have a very limited selection of them.

A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W8JX
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« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2011, 04:45:09 AM »


Problem is not batteries, it is the design. There never is going to be a magic battery to give it long range.

Never is a very long time. Who knows what could be developed? Look at the microprocessors we have today compared to 30 years ago.

The point is that practical long-range batteries don't exist now, and won't exist any time soon. Electric cars will have a very limited market until that changes.

They need to kinda follow the pattern of volt. Be electric drive but with a small onboard engine that can top off batteries cruising to extend range and charge batteries where there is no outlet.

Which is simply a form of plug-in hybrid. A partial solution that uses existing infrastructure, but is expensive.

Didja know that the Prius uses an Atkinson-cycle engine, not an Otto-cycle?

I knew was a different design engine but not name of cycle it used. The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

This would only be until they can get cost of fuel cell down to power electric cars as the is long term solution with zero emissions, much higher efficiency (typ 80 to 90%) and ability to refuel at stations.

Yes - but there's a lot of ifs in all that. The fuel cells have to be long-lived, inexpensive, efficient and powerful. And with fuel cells you still have the whole fuel-making-and-transport process. 

This is true but given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well


Do not hang this all on GM, big part of problem then was low quality of diesel fuel then. I was around when GM was fielding that engine and knew a few with them and one swore by his getting well over 30 mpg on trips in a delta 88 and got over 140k trouble free until he traded it off. GM deserves credit for blazing the trail for others to follow. But diesels are not for all and can smell and be a royal pain in cold weather without properly winterized fuel and slow to warm up and noisy. Also for many years they benefited from lower regulation on emissions too. It is only in last few years that they have really cracked down on them while gas motors have been fighting regs for close to 40 years now.

Point is, a lot of folks got a bad feeling for diesels because of GM products back then.

Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.


I had a 91 Toyota Camary with a 4cyl and a stick that I drove 230k before it was totaled in a freak wreck. It consistently got 30 or better in town and in low 40's on many trips loaded down and with A/C and had more room and comfort and power than rabbits. I actually drove a few diesel rabbits back then to consider buying but found anemic performance and noise and idle shakes was not worth a extra 10 MPG. I do not look for oil burners ever to even come close to replacing gas motors here.

The only reason I let my old Rabbit go was that the rust got it. A lot of cars here in the Northeast were lost to rust back then.

I didn't find the diesel characteristics to be any problem at all. I really liked putting 10 gallons the tank and driving 500+ miles on the highway.

Diesels can run on vegetable oil, too.

And that was with the diesel technology of 30+ years ago. Today's diesels are even better. But in the USA we have a very limited selection of them.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.


A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.
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N2EY
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« Reply #71 on: March 31, 2011, 05:03:14 AM »

The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

The Prius runs on the battery alone until either the demand from the accelerator pedal is too much or the battery is too low.

People have modified their Prii (Priuses?) to run on the battery alone if so commanded by the driver, and to recharge from an electric outlet. Their pure-electric range is only a few miles at low speed, but for short trips that's enough.

given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well

No argument there! But again the fuel cells have to be inexpensive, efficient, durable and powerful.

Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.

VW was making their diesels in the 1970s too; GM wasn't the only pioneer. Water-in-the-fuel was never a problem for me; the huge fuel filter in the Rabbit was also a water separator.

I prefer the smell of diesel to the smell of gasoline. Diesel is also much less dangerous to handle.

IMHO the biggest issue was that Americans want a car where you just turn the key and roar off into the dust, and put in a familiar fuel without any real thought. This mindset dooms any car that requires thinking or planning beyond a certain level - be it electric, diesel, fuel cell, etc.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.

Diesels may have higher NOx but they are lower in other emissions. All modern car engines are complex; it comes with the territory.

The real reason for a turbo is not pollution but to give a variable compression ratio, and to get more HP out of a smaller engine.


A big part of the long-term solution is to not be so dependent on rubber-tired motor vehicles for transport. But that's another discussion...


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.

What I mean is that so much of American transport is totally dependent on roads and fossil-fueled rubber-tired vehicles. And it doesn't have to be that way.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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W8JX
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« Reply #72 on: March 31, 2011, 05:58:51 AM »

The "problem" with Prius is that is is still a gas drive hybrid with gas providing primary power whereas the Volt uses battery as primary drive and gas to extend range but only has electric drive motors.

The Prius runs on the battery alone until either the demand from the accelerator pedal is too much or the battery is too low.

People have modified their Prii (Priuses?) to run on the battery alone if so commanded by the driver, and to recharge from an electric outlet. Their pure-electric range is only a few miles at low speed, but for short trips that's enough.

Again Prius is primarily a gas driven car with very limited battery storage and very small electric motors too. Toyota would do well to re-invent it and kinda follow Volt concept and make it electric drive only with a small aux gas motor to charge batteries. This motor could be gas or diesel and could be very efficient and low emission as it would only run basically at one RPM and load cycle


given that a car is maybe 25% efficient at best when shift is made to fuel cells will reduce "fuel" distribution volume by 50 to 70% and with is a big reduction in emissions as well

No argument there! But again the fuel cells have to be inexpensive, efficient, durable and powerful.

There is some debate on how to power/fuel them too as some want to make a fuel cell that uses gasoline to use existing fuel distribution.


Again not defending GM but they were a pioneer back then and blazed trail and people today that do not like them it is not because of GM in 70's. It is because the smelly fuel and exhaust at times, noisy and cold weather quirks. Fuel quality was a big problem in past and even today a bad tank of diesel with some water in it can bring a diesel to its knees. I have seen more than one modern diesel SUV crippled by bad fuel.

VW was making their diesels in the 1970s too; GM wasn't the only pioneer. Water-in-the-fuel was never a problem for me; the huge fuel filter in the Rabbit was also a water separator.

I prefer the smell of diesel to the smell of gasoline. Diesel is also much less dangerous to handle.

IMHO the biggest issue was that Americans want a car where you just turn the key and roar off into the dust, and put in a familiar fuel without any real thought. This mindset dooms any car that requires thinking or planning beyond a certain level - be it electric, diesel, fuel cell, etc.

Diesel has its own dangers and harder to cleanup in spills too. Get some on clothes or track it into your car mat and odor is tuff to loose. And yes average driver want a car that starts instantly and runs smoothly and quietly and that will not smell up garage when the open door and warm car up on a winter morning.

Reason for this is US has much tighter emission requirements. By nature diesels are dirty and big NOx generators and for year have relied on turbo charging to not only boost power but to dilute tail pipe emissions with excess air flow which reduces PPM  but not overall GPM. Also while diesels have improved a lot and are more sophisticated, the more complex the clock work the easier it is to muck it up and the harder and more expensive it is to build and maintain.

Diesels may have higher NOx but they are lower in other emissions. All modern car engines are complex; it comes with the territory.

The real reason for a turbo is not pollution but to give a variable compression ratio, and to get more HP out of a smaller engine.

Diesel are deceptive polluters. Yes turbo boosts power but the excess air through motor also dilutes PPM (parts per million) of emissions to make it "look" clean (like diluting muddy water with a big stream of clear water) but when you look at GPM (Grams Per Mile) you find diesels are dirtier than gas motors. They will soon be going to GPM standard to close that loophole.    Besides, direct injection gas motors will soon be main stream and with them more power and better efficiency which will further null diesels "edge".  Also there was a time with diesel motor were cheap option (compared to today) and fuel was cheaper to give you a pay back but with diesel motors costing far more today and higher than gas fuel prices in many areas the payback point is much further away and many loose money with diesel when you factor in all costs over life of vehicle today especailly with direct injection gas motors coming on line.


It is not the rubber tires as much as what is powering them.

What I mean is that so much of American transport is totally dependent on roads and fossil-fueled rubber-tired vehicles. And it doesn't have to be that way.


That is true but there are those that make billions every month off of fueling this and do not want to see that income go away
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