The gas crisis of the 1970s led many Americans to start valuing fuel efficiency, and auto makers to respond. Lots of things were tried – smaller engines, smaller cars, turbos, the gear known as overdrive. But when gas prices dropped again in the ‘90s, cars – and SUVs – got bigger again.
Now that gas prices above $3.00 are probably here to stay, car companies, consumers and the government are again looking at fuel efficiency. Some previously tried ideas are back on the table, in addition to some new ones.
Lake Effect auto contributor Mark Savage spoke with Dan Harmon about some of these fuel saving strategies, including the continuously variable transmission, known as CVT.
"These have been around for a long time. Think of it as a pulley system with a belt that is as they say, continuously variable," Savage says. "In most cars you'd have four, five, six, seven gears depending on the kind of car you have...and those gear ratios are set...But with a CVT it's this belt and pulley system that's working together...it adjusts as it goes."