Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gas prices are Going up so... Get a Bike!

Take a look at that gas nozzle up there, dripping fuel.. That could be going in somebody's gas tank! Motorcycles are extremely efficient at what they do.  So that same drop in a motorcycle is going to take you further then you would in a car or truck. 

Weight Differences
  Because I'm not hauling around a ton of steel covered with sheet metal and plastic the weight difference is gigantic.  The 2012 Toyota Carolla as listed by Toyota Carolla Specs weighs in at a whopping 2800 lbs while the average weight of a motorcycle is around 300 lbs .  This is almost 10x the difference in weight.

We all know that gas prices are going up in fact they're getting close to 5 dollars a gallon right now.  We see a lot of talk about gas prices and so forth but here is a website that helps to explain the rise of gas prices in today's world market Gas prices.

Aerodynamics of Motorcycles

Most of us know that better gas mileage is going to come from vehicles with less drag and less wind resistance, therefore a motorcycle should be better right? I hate to say it but this may not be the case, especially when considering a really high end performance car that has very low wind resistance because of how low they sit to the ground, creating little to no lift forces.

the Picture to the left is taken from a good website Tony Foale Designs on an article about Motorcycle drag.  Tony Foale Designs
"Aerodynamic design of motorcycles is more than just a matter of producing a low drag, low lift body with a C of P. behind the C of G. Stability is harder to achieve with well streamlined low drag bodies, this is due both to the greater side area present with such fairings and to more efficient production of "sideways lift" due to the angle between the airflow direction and the direction of travel. So ideally we want a combination of sometimes conflicting requirements:------ Minimal drag for performance and fuel economy. Low frontal C of P. to reduce drag induced weight transfer. Low and rearward side C of P. to reduce the unbalancing moments, and give directional stability. A shape and value of side area that minimises the side force produced. A high and forward C of G. combined with a large weight to minimise the effect of whatever side forces are generated."

Aerodynamics of Cars
Cars can spread their weight across the front two wheels allowing for a much lower drag coefficient then the motorcycle so in this category the cars win, but not by much.
If you notice the fastest cars there are in the world the lower they are to the ground.  Hmmm, I wonder why, drag coefficient possibly? I think so, and that's where thousands of dollars that we spend for a nice car is going,  research and development into aerodynamics.

The Steady Rise of Gas Prices
President Barack Obama wants to end foreign supply of oil and here's an article I pulled off of yahoo news explaining how America is dependent on foreign oil supply.

US President Barack Obama called on Saturday for an end to America's dependence on foreign energy sources -- and to the multi-billion-dollar subsidies given each year to oil companies.

"What we can't do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"In America we control our own destiny," he added. "So that's the choice we face - the past, or the future."

The comments came as the president faces mounting criticism from Republicans, who have blamed his energy policy for spiking gas prices.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts gasoline prices across the United States could average $4.25 a gallon by May, up from $3.83 today.

Between 1998 and 2004, prices ranged from $1 to $2.

Prices vary wildly between regions, however, and last week, gasbuddy.com, a website that tracks prices in all 50 states, reported $5.09 a gallon at one Mobil and two Chevron stations in greater Los Angeles.

Given that 76 percent of Americans drive themselves to work, and a trip to the store can often mean a long drive to the mall, higher gas prices are a critical issue -- especially in a presidential election year.

The president noted that the price of gasoline depended on a lot of factors that are beyond US control.

"Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply," he said. "Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand."

But he pointed out that his administration had already put in place new standards that will make sure that American cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon (88.5 kilometers per 3.8 liters) by the middle of the next decade - nearly double what they get today.

The president also called for ending the $4 billion a year in tax breaks that US oil companies receive each year.

"In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies," he said. "And when they do, we're going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people."

I've done a lot of reading and everything suggests along with my knowledge that smaller cc engines along with better shaped bikes give the best gas mileage. So if you want to save some gas get a small cc motorcycle and commute a little to work or school.  Who knows you might just enjoy the fresh wind in your face, or the fact that you don't have to wait for traffic, or the fact that you can park anywhere ;) There's too many benefits to riding, and gas mileage is simply one of them.

-Johnny 5

1 comment:

  1. I like how you definitively gave me some breathing room I was able to read and understand everything quite well. Although I still a scary cat and prefer to stay in my car where I wont have to worry about the whole weather issue.