Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Honda Accord Hybrid

While Toyota Prius has generated a lot of publicity, Honda is also building up its Hybrid line up, but much more quitely. What I find interesting in the release of Honda Accord Hybrid is the following:
Utilizing a next-generation hybrid powertrain, the Accord V6 Hybrid will deliver power and performance above the current 240-horsepower Accord V6 with the fuel economy of a compact-class, four-cylinder Civic sedan.
So, the lack of power on highway will have to be met by having a bigger engine. If Accord were to be strictly a city vehicle, a standard four cylinder engine would have worked and done wonders for fuel economy.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Probing the hydrogen versus gasoline debate

John McCormick attempts to talk about "Well-to-Wheel" analysis of Hydrogen versus Gasoline powered vehicles, but unfortunately does not do a good job of explaining the details. I would refer you here for a good comparison. You can cut the chase and just look at the last three pages (graphs) of the report. The general conclusions of the study were as follows:
  • There is no conclusive evidence to show that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are better than gasoline hybrid vehicles, unless hydrogen comes from renewable sources of energy.
  • In the near term hybrids as well as advanced internal combustion engine technologies have a significant potential to reduce fuel consumption.
  • In the long term, hydrogen from renewable sources currently appears to be our only hope for a CO2 free vehicle system.
    I think that is clear enough. Keep working on hydrogen for long term (50 years or so time scale), but in the mean time it is urgent to act on other ways to reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions.

    California throws down a global warming gauntlet

    More Updates on California's Initiative are coming.

    Sunday, June 27, 2004

    Desert Dispatch Doen't like AB 1493

    I think that it is a little late to start bitching.

    It's intended to slow "global warming." Instead, it will pick drivers' pockets; Californians will pay more for cars, and lose features and conveniences they prefer. Meanwhile, other nations impervious to such limits will spew even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    Mr. Meyer clearly does not know that both EU and Japan have either standards or voluntary agreements that will effectively make sure that average new vehicle fuel economy will be about 40 miles per gallon by year 2010.

    Drinking Water from a Fire Hose...

    Well, not exactly as some people like it, but close. This was a good refresher on some items and a good education on many more fronts. I will definitely be able to talk more intelligently about modern engine technology. Due to this, I did not have any time during the past week. I also notice that Haloscan is a problem; I will see what I can do. Stay tuned.

    Thursday, June 24, 2004

    Risk in Crying Foul Over Exhaust Rules

    LA Times Story:
    "Risk in Crying Foul Over Exhaust Rules Automakers are likely to face bad PR if they sue to stop a proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in California."

    No time for comments.

    Monday, June 21, 2004

    How many Escapes will Ford sell with a $3000 premium?

    From Blue Ova lNews:
    Base MSRP for the 2005 Escape hybrid has been set at $26,380 (excluding destination & delivery charges). Four-wheel-drive equipped versions are to start at $28,005. That represents a $3,300-$3,425 price premium over conventional V-6 powered Escape XLT models, according to Ford.

    Does it matter?

    Sunday, June 20, 2004

    Delivering More Than Mileage

    Warren Brown's review of the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV.

    Saturday, June 19, 2004

    Suddenly, It's Hip to Conserve Energy

    From Timothy Egan at the NYT.

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    AB 1493 update

    Air Resources Board's staff proposal on Maximum feasible and Cost-Effective Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Motor Vehicles is now available. The proposal envisions up to 30% reduction in new motor vehicle CO2 emissions on a well to wheels basis.
    Congratulations and good luck to ARB. The fight is just getting started. Stay tuned for detailed comments tomorrow and the day after!

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    No Guzzle, No Glory

    From the Washington Post. David Greene is quoted as saying:

    "People do care somewhat [about gas prices], but there are two fundamental things that have happened" since the early '80s, he said. "Number one is, people have become wealthier, and the more money they have, the less they care about the price of gasoline. Number two, for new passenger cars, we've already almost doubled our fuel economy since 1975. That makes the fuel component a much smaller part of owning a car."

    I am looking for data to show the first statement is true. I heard somewhere that average household income of a family that buys a new vehicle is of the order of $ 80,000 per annum. For these folks, gasoline may be less of a cost factor.

    As for the cost of gasoline, AAA calculates that while total costs of driving for various types of vehicles varies from 50 to 70 cents per mile, gas and oil contribute to only about 5 to 6 cents of this cost. This is less than 10% of the driving costs. Much of the costs are really embedded in the depreciation of the vehicle.

    Friday, June 11, 2004

    Connecticut's Gasoline Prices

    I promised myself to follow up on what happens to gas prices in CT following the MTBE phaseout mandate. A friend of mine who drove across several different states last week was complaining about how high the gasoline prices were in CT. IF you live in Connecticut could you let me know what is happening to your gasoline prices. I am sure that the EIA has information somewhere on its website, but I am not inclined to search there.

    EIA's Summer Gasoline Update

    EIA projections for gasoline prices in summer and fall:
    Nominal price levels are still expected to remain high by historical standards, with the average for regular gasoline expected to be $1.82 per gallon during the second half of 2004, compared to an average of $1.42 per gallon for the same period over the previous 5 years. For the summer (Q2 and Q3), regular gasoline prices are now expected to average $1.91 per gallon, slightly below last month’s estimate but still 35 cents per gallon above the 2003 average.

    It appears to me that the current increase in petroleum price is a result of increased demand worldwide and OPEC decision to not worry too much if the oil prices are in the 30s. Joseph Stanilaw of CERA says that OPEC has realised that the world demand is not decreasing significantly with increased oil prices, and has no further interest in keeping the oil prices low.

    I noted previously, that if the gas prices continue to stay at these prices, a very important psychological barrier will be broken. Unless there is a further spike in the prices, my belief is that the public will get used to $1.80 per gallon price at the pump, which is about a 30 cent per gallon or 20% increase!

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    AB 1493 in action

    As promised, CARB is coming out with a draft of its proposed regulations on AB 1493. Danny Hakim reports.

    I have been following this for over a year and a half now, and believe that this is going to be very important. The form of the standard is likely to be in terms of emissions of carbon-dioxide per mile driven. This may look different from the fuel economy standards, but it is not. There will be a lot of legal talk over this in the next year or so. AB 1493, even though well intentioned, may not be successful because it prohibits all demand side measures. Yet, we need to encourage California's efforts.

    More on Energy Taxes

    Roderick Cameron, the first executive director of the Environmental Defense says that all energy consumption should be subject to hefty tax. I would say, all energy consumption, except for renewables should be subject to a hefty tax (I am sure that is what he means too).

    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    I love Lee Raymond!

    The Exxon chieft says, Energy Independence Is a Myth:
    "We simply cannot avoid significant reliance on oil and gas from the Middle East because the world's supply pool (of oil) is highly dependent upon the Middle East," Raymond said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

    The fact that the United States and the rest of the world will have to depend increasingly for its oil and also for natural gas from Middle East, "is not a matter of ideology or politics," he said. "It is simply inevitable."

    Raymond is right, but not always.

    "We simply do not yet have the economic solutions or technologies that would permit us to meet future energy demands without carbon emissions growth," Raymond said.

    If by economical, we mean free, then yes Raymond is correct. We must, however, be willing to pay the price for our energy usage, and in that context we do have many technological solutions available. We don't have all the answers, but we need to try.

    Thursday, June 03, 2004

    Europeans' car preferences reduce fuel price shock

    A report from Reuters:
    "Worried by prospects for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, European manufacturers are churning out fuel-efficient cars in a bid to boost their fleets' average consumption to around 40 miles per gallon (5.9 litres per 100 km) by 2008 from some 28 now - still a third better than the average for US models, Reuters said.

    'The rise in pump prices in some ways even helps them because it does refocus the consumer back on small engines. There has definitely been a trend to higher power outputs recently' in all big markets, John Lawson at Smith Barney told the news agency."

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