110 mpg Mustang

According to this video Doug Pelmear, a mechanic living in Napoleon Ohio, has tweaked his 1987 Mustang to get 110 miles per gallon.

"My grandfather had the idea back in the 40's that he can make a difference then," Pelmear says, "There was quite a need at that time also with the war going on and everything, there was quite the need then." And quite a need now.

"We redesigned a lot of different things on the [engine] block," Pelmear told the Toledo Blade newspaper. "It's still a rod-and-piston engine; it just has a lot more electronics on it."

Traditional gas engines operate at 8 to 10 percent, efficiency, while the engine on the Mustang, he said, is at 38 percent efficiency. He said he could greatly increase even that number if his car used traditional gasoline instead of a mix of gas and 85 percent ethanol.

Are you as amazed as I am? 110 mpg.. and the best the big auto makers can do is 30-something mpg? Gimme a break! Something is wrong here!


  1. Forgive me for being skeptical. But...

    If this is true, we would have to wonder what Detroit has been holding out.

  2. There is indeed way too much leakage and wastage of energy in the Western World.

  3. my step father used to tell the story of a guy he knew (he lived in Detroit in the 60's) who bought this new plymouth that got about 60 mpg. He said that the guy had it for a year or 2 and that plymouth actually found him and purchased the car back from him. My step dad has passed on now but it always made me wonder just how much car companies actually do ho;d back.

  4. I did a little research on this. I didn't come across anything definitive debunking it. Some of the guy's numbers are off though.

    I did read comments from several engineers who say it's poppycock. That coupled with the lack of detail in the story (like why couldn't they just put a few gallons of fuel in the thing and see how far it went?) leaves me very, very skeptical.

    If it were easy enough to do this that some guy could do it in his backyard, it doesn't matter if Detroit were holding back on us. Somebody'd find a way to make this puppy and be the next Bill Gates.

  5. There is another problem with this scenerio, Bob. One of the major problems with ethanol that is only recently being brought to light by the media is that ethanol is highly corrosive. The owners of some very expensive foreign imports, such as BMW, are learning that running on ethanol means engine repairs that run $1,000 minimum. If Mr. Mustang is actually running on 85% ethanol, his car will be in the shop very soon. Flex fuel cars are created with special corrosion resistance against ethanol. An occasional tankful of ethanol in a regular car probably won't cause too much trouble, but a steady diet of it means very EXPENSIVE trouble down the road.

  6. KB,

    I have not been blogging much these days, but I marked this when I saw it. The car owner is lying. Simple. He is. I don't know why he's lying, and I don't know exactly what the lie is, but he's lying.

    I had a '69 Chrysler 300 that got 8mpg around town and 22 on the freeway. I kept the timing highly advanced, and so it did well when sitting at 55. (Yeah, back then.)

    That's truth. Getting 44 out of that car would be a lie.

    (Dude, I just had to minimize your site. Your fun quotes widget was too amusing, and I could not type. :-) )

    There is only so much energy released when a hydrocarbon is broken down into co2 and h2o. By directly injecting the fuel/air mix in the right proportions and at the right time and with maximum compression, you can put as much of that energy to use as possible, but that's exactly what the manufacturers are doing.

    There is no special carbuerator, no way of injecting water, no magical alignment of magnets, and no plethora of charlatans that will deliver the magical maximum efficiency possible from a mechanical engine. Every engine is limited to reality.

    I saw a video the other day at an elder's house that showed an engine running on water. The water was first split into H2 and O2, then those gases were burnt for fuel. Maybe this guy was telling a half truth. Maybe the engine was actually running on h2 and o2. But, the video told a whole lie, because the batteries that had to be charged to split the h2o into h2 and o2 used power, too. He has found a way to power a hydrogen-converted gasoline engine off plug-in power. Big whoop. The video made it sound like you could drive to work using tap water. Wrong.

    Energy is unforgiving.

    The engines produced by the world's engine manufacturers are the best, most efficient, most cost-efficient engines our current level of technique can produce.


  7. Thanks for stopping by CP.. your comment reminded me of your grease monkey background.. these days you seem to be only working on those engines manufactured by Calvin automotive :)

    Did I forget to tell you that they only got 110 mpg going downhill :)

  8. Hey Bob,

    Hubby is an engineer for an American auto company....although for how much longer we don't know. I only told him the bare basics about the story, but he reminded me about the corrosive nature of ethanol.

    BTW, he first time I ran across TANSTAAFL, was in the book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein. I won't tell you what it is, but I've given you a hint on where you might find it should codepoke not show up again for a while. ;) Codepoke left out the "A", which is a valid variant.

  9. I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress really, really young, and I never forgot TANSTAAFL (I knew I was forgetting something. :-) )


    And that's some hill, KB


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.