Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Monday, September 29, 2003

Transportation Funding Hits Gridlock : Struggle for Resources Drives Lawmaker Impasse on Popular Initiative By Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post Staff Writer)
The National Highway Trust Fund, which is funded through an 18.4-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax, generated about $98 billion during the past three years. But the Transportation Department estimates that meeting the nation's transit needs during the next six years will cost $375 billion.
"We're going to have to figure out a way of financing it," said Rep. Thomas E. Petri (R-Wis.), who chairs the transportation subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines. "As a society, we're going to have to pay for it one way or another."
Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) and his Democratic counterpart, James L. Oberstar (Minn.), have proposed boosting the gasoline tax to pay for the new spending, adding 5.4 cents in the first year and boosting it to 8.4 cents by 2009.
But House GOP leaders reject the idea of levying higher taxes. "At a time when we are trying to drive an economic recovery, the idea of imposing a new gas tax is something that has trouble gaining popularity on the Hill," said Chief Deputy Whip Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.).
The White House also opposes that approach, saying lawmakers should satisfy themselves with spending $247 billion over six years. To do otherwise, one administration official said, is "a huge budget problem. Obviously, we don't want that."

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Report delivers mixed verdict on US diesel market prospects in the US. The complete report could be found here.

Meanwhile, more good news for Toyota Prius, while Detroit continues to fall behind on Hybrids.

According to this report, by the middle of next summer, the Missouri Department of Transportation should become one of the nation's biggest single consumers of the alternative fuel, which is made primarily from soybeans and blended with petroleum diesel.

Continuing on the Hummer line:
With a vehicle that climbs every mountain and fords every stream, proud owners don't dwell too much on gas mileage.

"Everybody's idea of what is environmentally correct is different," Margie Pierce said. "It's a free country. You should be able to do what you want."

Don't we have an obligation to each other as fellow citizens? she was asked.

"I think of the good of society in my own way," Pierce, 42, said. "It just happens not to be how much gasoline I put into my vehicle. My thing is I do random acts of kindness. If I see somebody begging, I give him money. If I'm ahead of someone in the supermarket who has fewer items than I do, I let them go ahead. I treat others the way I would want to be treated."

Monday, September 22, 2003

It is probably a good sign that a serious debate about the future of Hydrogen economy is developing. See these links:
1. Scientists Question Hydrogen Fuel Cells
2. Fuel Cells to Advance Zero-Emissions Energy in Tomorrow's Economy (?)
3. Symposium on the Role of Nuclear Energy in Hydrogen Supply at MIT's Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES)

Sunday, September 21, 2003

This story suggests that people may be purchasing vehicles on emotions rather than on reason with an example of Hummer. However, the hummer is a special case, and we should actually be more bothered about millions of cars and light-trucks whose fuel consumption could be reduced.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Calif. Set to Sue EPA on CO2 Emissions? This could be important for the AB 1493 in California.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

California Climate Change Emissions Regulations Workshop: Standards and Economics is on today and you can see/listen to the webcast here. Related information on AB 1493 is here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Citing poor safety and gas mileage records of the average sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Auto Safety released a blueprint for what they call the first safe and fuel-efficient SUV.

UCS claims that the fuel economy of Guardian, which is based on the Ford Explorer, could be boosted from 21 mpg to 27 mpg for less than $750.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

One of these cars is an environmentalist's dream ? Really? even if they cost $ 200-500 more than equivalent vehicles?
"We're fairly certain our customers would be unwilling to pay it," says Kevin Cullen, staff development engineer at General Motors' Milford, Mich., proving grounds and technical adviser for GM environmental programs. "If the sticker price reflects the difference in costs, we don't think there'll be a whole lot of PZEVs sold in the open market."

Saturday, September 13, 2003

I thought that this was very funny. The difference between Japanese and American Auto manufacturers as explained in this boat race.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

New J.D. Power buyer study says that consumers are once again starting to look at fuel consumption when purchasing new vehicles. I suspect that this is a temporary situation. Once in a while, when the gas prices go up, the cost conscious consumers consider more fuel efficient vehicles.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the Swiss government must press ahead with plans for a fuel tax on carbon dioxide emissions if it is to meet targets on cutting greenhouse gases.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Hybrid Autos: Will the Big Three Catch up with Toyota and Honda?

Monday, September 08, 2003

Turbocharging is one of the many promising technologies for reducing fuel consumption. However, it can be used in two ways. If the engine is downsized to take advantage of turbocharging, then fuel economy benefits can be 3-5% (can be more). On the other hand, I suspect that in the US, more and more turbocharged engines will be used to boost the power performance.
An agro-business company in New Zealand may be taking steps towards developing bio-fuels. Meanwhile, here in the US, another build up towards higher CAFE standards may have began.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Is Detroit heading for a crash? Micheline Maynard thinks that The End of Detroit is near. On the other hand, more optimistic views suggest that Big 3 may start paying more attention to the passenger cars segment.

Friday, September 05, 2003

EPA working on 'Energy Star' label for cars?? Don't get overly excited or concerned. Wait and watch. Meanwhile, International Center for Technology Assessment plans to sue the U.S. EPA in federal appeals court once the agency formally publishes the decision it released last week outlining the reasons it does not have to establish mandatory GHG reduction targets for the U.S. transportation sector.

In other news, the McCain-Lieberman climate change bill goes to vote in senate soon. It is very likely to be defeated, but the forms suggested in the bill are what is likely to emerge eventually.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Automotive News advises car makers and air lovers to rethink the situation and find common ground on CAFE.
Fuel prices driving sales of new hybrid autos ? I am not sure, but this report thinks so. The argument is : As long as prices continue to rise at the pump, the less gas people buy. That doesn't mean they're driving less, they're just finding cheaper alternatives to gas guzzling vehicles i.e. Hybrid cars! In any case, the hybrids and specially Prius seems to be getting a lot of press. However, its just not the press that is excited, it is also the owners. "When you buy a Prius, you feel like you're part of a movement," said Marsha Niles, a labor-relations adviser in Los Angeles.

Monday, September 01, 2003

I just think that this is COOL! However, also note that Toyota's prsident says that development of eco-friendly cars is a key to their future growth strategy. Can you imagine GM saying that?

Disclaimer: All opinions are personal and in no way affiliated to any other person, group or an institution.

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