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Increasing Fuel Efficiency Without Hybrids and EVs: Down on On-Ramp, Up on Off-Ramp

By • Jun 15th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Daily Snapshots

Freeway Off-rampWith all the talk about being efficient in our daily use of the cars, we shouldn’t forget about the infrastructure. you know the good old American freeways? It’s all part of the fuel-efficiency problem. We can’t just spend billions on developing better cars while not paying attention to the networks of cement and asphalt roads that our cars run on. In fact if we just change the way we enter highway on-ramps and off-ramps, we’d already be ahead of the efficiency game, regardless of the cars that people drive.

I was talking with my expert transportation and energy friend Tom Bartley the other day, and as usual, we kicked around a lot of ideas. Here’s a low tech solution that can make a big difference at essentially no costs, and it benefits everyone: build on-ramp and off-ramp lanes so that drivers always go downslope to get on the freeway, and upslope to get off.

Yep. It’s free gravitational energy at work. Construction of new highway sections and reconstruction of existing ones can be designed to incorporate downslope and upslope ramps.

It’s pretty straight forward. On acceleration to highway speeds, vehicles can be gravity-assisted by going down to the highway. And on deceleration to exit the highways, vehicles can again be gravity-assisted by going upslope. As one would expect, the concept brings a number of benefits, including less fuel needed to go enter the highway, and less brake use to come off of it. And what about the on-ramps and off-ramps themselves? Well the cost differential and impact to build such features should be miniscule compared to savings realized by vehicles operating in the such environment over the life of the infrastructure, especially for big rigs.

Highway construction projects should consider incorporating this or similar concepts immediately. It’s free energy for everyone.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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