Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cold weather bad for car energy efficiency

It's time to combine this month's theme of energy with one of my favorite subjects, the weather.  WXYZ does the work for me in Electric vehicle and hybrid drivers find extreme cold takes its toll.

Today's extreme cold temperatures may mean drivers of electric vehicles and hybrids use a bit more gasoline or get less mileage out of their battery's charge.
I've been lucky that my car managed to get through this week's cold snap with no complaints, no mean feat for a vehicle with 215,000 miles.  Fortunately, today looks like the end of the coldest weather.  Yes, it snowed two or three inches last night, but this afternoon it was above freezing, the sun was out, and the snow was already melting.  There's even warmer temperatures on the way as yesterday's weather reports shows.

Yes, the cold returns, but not as intense.  Besides, it's Michigan in January.  What do you expect, another unseasonably mild winter?  That's not what was forecast last October.
My students have already started asking me what I think of the upcoming winter's snowfall. I've been telling them it will be colder and snowier than last year, but snowfall will be no more than average and probably less. Looks like I got lucky, as the local experts are calling for 35-39 inches of snow, which is less than the average of 42 inches. Just the same, after last winter, even a slightly below average snowfall will seem like a lot of snow.
So far, that's exactly what we're getting.

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