IS TURBOCHARGING THE FUTURE?

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If you’ve read any car magazines recently you’ll know the auto industry’s EPA allowable gas mileage is going to increase gigantically by 2020.

We’re talking corporate fuel economy average (CAFE), too – not just a few limited production models to sneak under the wire.

It means this: Every van, pickup, family sedan performance car or sport-ute will have to increase its gas mileage by a minimum of 50-percent to pass certification.

Those numbers? By 2020 the CAFE fleet average for every automobile OEM will have to be 53-mpg! To say this is a very challenging number for hydrocarbon powered vehicles to reach is like saying it would be difficult to knock a sparrow off a fence with a squirt gun at 1000 yards.

Here’s what I’m worried about: If these numbers are reached – and the auto industry is willing to spend the billions and put its engineering resources on overtime for the next five years to meet these requirements, when will the next level of compliance hit the snowmobile industry?

One way the auto guys hope to increase gas mileage is by lowering the displacement of every engine it makes and adding turbochargers or superchargers to get driveable horsepower from a decent sized car or truck.

Yes, body and chassis weight reduction will be high on the agenda but, how about a 2000cc Chevy Silverado with twin turbos and direct injection, making 300-hp?

It could mean the end of the line for any 2-stroke snowmobile engine (yes, even E-TEC) and the advent of small displacement 4-strokes (say, a maximum of 700ccs) with turbos – across the board.

Frankly, if the requirements were made too rigid we could see a ceiling of 500ccs on all snowmobile engines.

Get ready. The political clout of the EPA is tremendous and no politician has the guts to stand up and defend gasoline engines against the correctness of environmental preservation.

Don’t expect logic here. When was the last time you saw that in these matters?

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