Dual exhausts and fuel economy

When riding my trusty motorcycle to and from work every day I get to see the rear end of a lot of cars. Over the last year or so dual exhausts appear to have become the preferred option for models pertaining to have some semblance of sportiness. Dual exhausts give the rear of a car a balanced look and hark back to the days when the Australian performance vehicle of choice was a V8 with straight though exhausts from each bank of cylinders. Of course that was years ago when fuel was cheap and nobody cared about the environmental impact of exhaust gases.

Now that fuel isn’t cheap and car owners are becoming more aware of the impact their cars have on the environment dual exhausts seem very out of place. Why would a car manufacturer want to advertise that their vehicles need two exhausts to get rid of all the gases produced by the engine? Why wouldn’t they be trying their hardest to show that their cars were so economical that they didn’t need two exhausts, or even one for that matter?

This brings me to fuel economy. Less fuel used translates directly into less greenhouse gases. Unless you have been hiding under a rock in the last 24hrs you will have heard via the media that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their 4th Assessment Report yesterday. The news isn’t good. The media, in Australia at least, are eagerly pointing out how many years away all the cleaner and greener solutions our Government has been spruiking of late. Nuclear power will take 10 – 15 years. Clean coal technology will take 10 years, etc, etc. What can we do right now? One answer is use more environmentally sustainable fuels but as we all know the volume required and the sustainable part are not there yet. Surely one obvious short term solution is simply to improve the fuel economy of all our future vehicles.

How do we ensure the fuel economy of our vehicles improves at a substantial rate over time? Setting maximum fuel consumptions for each vehicle class would be one solution. Taxing owners of inefficient vehicles, unless they justify a need for those vehicles, would be another. The extra revenue could go straight to greenhouse gas saving initiatives. There are many solutions but I fear that not one of our Governments would be brave enough to implement a single one of them until the public stand up and demand they do so.

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