Monday, November 08, 2004

Cost of California's Climate Change Initiative per SUV

Danny Hakim reports on How much it might cost to improve fuel economy of SUVs. I am not sure about the following points:

* Are the costs in the accompanying chart in 2004 dollars?

* When the chart says Diesel-like combustion, I think that they are talking about HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition) engines. In that case, we know that the technology is not there yet.

* I don't understand the Alliance's comment that Tire redesign to reduce rolling resistance is not feasible. I will look in to the tire pressure regulations, but my first impression is that the claim is not correct.

* I know of no reason why Variable Valve Lift (VVL) and Cylinder Deactivation (DeAct), both could not be used. I am sure that the benefits of using both technologies are not entirely additive, but the benefits are real and the costs are modest.

* I agree that weight reductions may not be required to meet the proposed standards, but to get to the 60-70% emission reductions, weight reduction may be a more feasible option.

* I will get some reliable estimates on costs and benefits of a 42-Volt starter generator by tomorrow, so more on that later.

* I do not know anything to comment on the torque convertor issue.

* The last three points account for the price difference between the two estimates.

* Finally, the discount rate used and the estimated gasoline price would both turn out to be critical parameters in deciding if the proposed technologies are cost effective. As long as the discount rate used by the UCS was not too low (less than 7% since DOT uses 7%), I would feel comfortable. As for the current gas prices, they are much above the $1.69 used in the UCS analysis or $1.74 used in the CARB analysis.

There is a lot of juice still left in the story, and I promise to come back to it.


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