Hidden inefficiencies of the internal combustion engine

Akos Szoboszlay, 1998

Freeway and automobile advocates, when considering energy efficiency when making their arguments for more highways and in fighting construction of guideway transit lines, conveniently omit mention of hidden energy consumption of the automobile/highway system. Much energy is used in making gasoline and diesel fuel. Further energy is spent in transporting the fuel from the refinery to the gas station, as well as transporting it from the Middle East (or wherever) to the refinery.

What is more commonly known is that the internat combustion engine itself is only about 1/3 efficient. Compare this with electrical motor efficiencies around 90% for DC motors. Even more efficiencies result from regenerative braking. This is the feeding back of the kinetic energy during braking into the electric power grid, which also results in faster braking.

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