THE approaching exhaustion of the petroleum supply, from which nearly all of the available internal-combustion engine fuel is produced, raises two vital questions, upon the answers to which will depend the future of the automotive industry. These are (a) what fuels are to be available, from the point of view of the engine designer and (b) how much transportation can be secured from the fuel used.
It is not certain that satisfactory engines can be developed to handle a wider range of fuels than those used at present. It is therefore not clear whether the trend of development will be toward two or more different grades of fuel, or toward a single mixed fuel to be used in all engines ultimately designed to burn it. The development of different grades of fuel may result in a light fuel, such as gasoline, and a heavier-fuel, such as kerosene, or an even heavier product, each to be used in engines of different designs, the heavier-fuel engine being used for tractor and possibly truck service.
The second question emphasizes the necessity of more careful study of the fuel waste in existing types of vehicles. A brief analysis of present automotive practice shows that not less than 30 per cent of the fuel is used unnecessarily. Bad carburetion, largely due to ignorance or carelessness on the part of the user; excessive mechanical losses, and a general tendency to heavy cars and unnecessarily large engines, are responsible for this condition. A more careful scientific study of fuel economy is urgently needed.