Two things were especially interesting. A couple of the auto company presentations included historical data on mpg, weight, acceleration, and manual transmission. Honda’s data is below. What you see is modest increases in mpg, along with increases in weight, and decreases in acceleration time and percent manual transmissions. This data wasn’t surprising to most of the audience who are experienced in the auto world, but to me it was a striking proof of what we all see on the road. Even more important, on the right you can can what vehicle mileage would have been if performance on convenience (manual transmissions) had been held constant over that time period–mpg would have been one-third higher that it is today. This would have made a huge difference in GHG emissions and oil imports.
Source: John German, Honda.
Another interesting presentation was by a member of the Portland Metro Council, who showed data on how Portland’s land use policies have reduced trips and VMT. I know this is a goal of “smart growth,” but the benefits are usually asserted and not shown in such detail. Worth a look at the slides.