Letter: Sensible driving saves more fuel than mandates

Several weeks ago, in Upper Marlboro, Md., our president mounted a photo op to champion two federal agencies of questionable competence (Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy) in their efforts to tell U.S. automotive engineering organizations how to save energy in vehicle design.

To a 75-year-old mechanical engineer, the arrogance and overreach of this administration goes beyond reasonable discussion. The engineering community is clearly up to the challenge, but the fundamentals of physics and thermodynamics still prevail.

A much better federal “mandate” might be to encourage sensible citizens to drive sensibly. A 300-plus-year-old Newtonian law of physics would suggest that for in-city, start/stop driving, the energy — and fuel — required to accelerate any vehicle from a stop to a given road speed is directly proportional to vehicle weight as well as to the square of the speed achieved.

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