Thursday, October 30, 2003

Changing Drivers: A WRI/SAM Report

I meant to post this yeaterday itself (summarry document here), but I got so engrossed in reading it that I forgot! What this WRI report says in short is that:
* Emerging carbon constraints constitute a new and additional influence on competitiveness in the automotive industry.
Translation: Performance on CO2 emissions will become a key competitive driver.
* “Carbon intensity of profits” and management quality around lower-carbon technologies are two key determinants of an OEM’s sensitivity to carbon constraints.
Translation: The laggards in the industry will face uphill battle of tackling costs of emissions reductions and maintaining profitability.
* Carbon constraints could significantly affect OEMs’ earnings and should be viewed as a material issue by investors.
Translation: The further behind the OEMs fall in the race to cut their carbon emissions, the harder will be the impact on their bottomline. Investors should take note of who these laggards are.
* Relative sensitivity to carbon constraints also serves as an indicator of OEMs’ positioning with regard to other market dynamics.
Translation: This assessment should not be taken as valid only for the developed world, but also for the emerging markets such as China, where fuel economy and CO2 emissions will become critical issues as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Vote on McCain-Lieberman bill on climate change is expected to take place on Thursday. While the result is a foregone conclusion, this at least gets the senate to debate and vote on a very important issue.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Twelve states appeal EPA decision on GHG emissions.

Meanwhile, Susan Frissell of Women with Wheels writes about "Making a Choice to Go With Diesel".

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Model Year 2004 Fuel Economy Numbers Now Available.

Meanwhile, this piece from the economist weighs in on CAFE among other issues.

The most important, and most controversial, of America's demand-side measures is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law. As a result of this measure, the average fuel efficiency of new American-made cars rose by over two-fifths from 1978 to 1987. From 1977 to 1985, America's GDP rose by 27%, but its oil use dropped 17% by volume. The volume of America's net oil imports fell by nearly 50% during that time. Mr. Lovins (Amory lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute) argues that the dramatic drop in oil intensity of the American economy “broke OPEC's pricing power for a decade”. The cartel fell into disarray in the late 1980s, and the world enjoyed relatively low and stable oil prices for much of the 1990s.

Demand-side measures like CAFE did help check the cartel's power for some time. However, the automobile industry hates the law and for the past few years has managed to thwart efforts by some in Congress to raise the standards and to close a loophole that exempts trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). As a result, America has started to return to its gas-guzzling ways of the past. The average fuel efficiency of American vehicles has been near a 20-year low for the past two years.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Hybrid Car Owners Invest in Their Beliefs
The Prius has a sticker price of $20,480, compared to $14,085 for a Corolla, while the Civic Hybrid lists for $19,650, about $6,000 more than the standard Civic's base model. Hybrid buyers receive a $2,000 federal tax deduction, and Wuertz figures she'll make up much of the difference in savings on gas.

She averages about 47 miles per gallon, a figure she tracks on the dashboard "Energy Monitor," a screen that displays fuel consumption rates and tells whether the gas or electric engine is supplying the power.

"You can get mesmerized by the screen in there," says Wuertz, 48. "When I used to own sports cars, I loved to drive fast. With this, it's `How can I get every ounce of gas out of it?' I think I'm a much safer driver now. Before it was about speed; now it's about economics."
The idling of fuel efficiency -- A Chicago Tribune Story by Rick Popely and Jim Mateja

Actually, the difference between fuel efficiency and fuel economy must be understood clearly. Fuel efficiency is a measure of how effectively a vehicle uses the energy from fuel, whereas fuel economy is what consumers measure as they drive on the road, or what manufacturers report to the government, i.e., the miles per gallon value. While fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks continues to increase, the overall fleet fuel economy has remained flat since the late 80’s.
Who place else but Seattle to lead the charge on Hybrid buses:

Seattle's Transit District Buys 235 Hybrid Buses
King County, Wash., which includes Seattle, plans to buy 235 diesel hybrid buses for its transit system, one of the largest orders for city buses with hybrid technology, according to the New York Times. The King County Metropolitan Transit Authority plans to spend about $47 million more for the hybrids than it would have for conventional diesel buses. County managers say they think they will save $27 million over 12 years by using less fuel and oil and reducing maintenance costs, though savings from new technologies can be hard to predict.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Ethanol Tax Debate Could Jeopardize Energy Bill

By Charles Abbott and Tom Doggett
Tuesday, October 21, 2003; 7:28 PM

What do you think? More later.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Big car owners face tax hike -- Motorists who drive higher-polluting cars may have to pay more road tax under plans considered by the Department of Transport. Is this possible? Of course, but not in the US! This is being considered in the UK, BBC reports.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Hybrids, Not Diesels, May Be Winning Hearts, Minds of America By David E. Zoia at, Oct 15 2003

Score one for Toyota in the fuel-economy propaganda war. U.S. and Japanese auto makers have been at odds over how best to reduce America’s dependence on oil, and the early returns have Toyota winning the battle.
Who wants a Hybrid SUV?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Federal regulators, poised to overhaul fuel economy rules, released a study on Tuesday that asserts that reducing vehicle weights would have a deadly effect over all. But the study said that putting the heaviest Hummer-size vehicles on diets could save lives. -- NYT Story from Danny Hakim
The full study is available on the NHTSA web site.

Monday, October 13, 2003

How Many Miles To The Gallon? -- A 60 Minutes Special Report.

Everbody has an opinion on the issue of fuel consumption of light duty vehicles. Jack Doyle thinks that Detroit has taken us all for a ride. Thomas Freidman thinks that a $1 a gallon gasoline tax, phased in, would not only be a huge revenue generator (even with tax rebates to ease the burden on low-income people, farmers and truckers) but also a huge driver of conservation and reduced oil imports. This, he says, will be a REAL PATRIOT ACT.

Andrew English asks: Half full, or half empty?
If projections are right, by 2020 the world car population will rise from 600 million to one billion and, within a decade of that, the majority of the world's population will live in cities. What will urban life be like by then? Will there be enough space or clean air for us and our cars?

Meanwhile, Phil Kent says that Anti-SUV and environmentalist lobbies' efforts could possibally result in loss of jobs in the auto industry. This is not a new argument. I don't think that it deserves much attention. Yes, Detroit is a big provider of jobs, and as long as it continues to make vehicles that provide comfort and mobility, people will keep buying.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Monday, October 06, 2003

Special Order: A Green Hummer! Ha Ha, I like that joke! Thinks what will happen if Arnold really becomes the Governor of CA?
Fuel Cell Cars Will Make Hybrids Obsolete, GM Says. I really doubt if Larry Burns said anything like that. He is very smart and I am sure that he must have mean't that GASOLINE-hybrids will become obsolete. That may be true in about 50 years. However, hybrids as a technology is likely to be used even in fuel cell cars.
Now if Larry Burns really said that, then I feel sorry for him and General Motors. It may be case of sour grapes with Hybrids for GM!

Quick Update: I was sure that Larry Burns would not be irresponsible to make a statement like the one above. He really said that "Gasoline-Hybrids" will become obsolete. See the Automotive News Report.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Calif. Plans to Sue U.S. EPA Over Carbon Dioxide . This was almost expected. However, the fact the Gov. Davis should find time to support this during the recall mayham is quite interesting.
A Pollution-Free Hydrogen Economy? Not So Soon
Electric cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells don’t produce greenhouse-enhancing carbon dioxide. But producing hydrogen does—and if we want to reduce our petroleum dependence, we’re going to have to reconcile ourselves to that fact.

By Richard A. Muller
Technology for Presidents
July 11, 2003

Friday, October 03, 2003

New Technologies Compete in (Michelin Bibebndum) Challenge.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Hybrids Can Be Cheap to Make, Toyota Says.
Carmakers favour other green options over hydrogen?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

So is the latest increase one fuel rise too many for the UK's motorists?

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

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