California's Hydrogen Highway Blueprint
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While Phase 1 is supposed to be completed by 2010, time lines for phase 2 and 3 have not yet been identified. Even then, I would call this plan quite ambitious.
Observations on the U.S. Automobile Fuel Consumption Debate
Automakers fear that petroleum companies and refiners aim to delay or relax the rules. The key provision, effective in September 2006, requires that 80 percent of highway diesel fuel contain no more than 15 parts per million of sulfur. The limit now is 500 parts per million.Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) is critical if Diesels are to arrive in the US, but it is also somewhat costlier.
Ultralow-sulfur fuel is essential for expanded use of modern, cleaner-running and more fuel-efficient diesel engines in cars and light trucks, a major goal of automakers over the next few years.
Gas-electric vehicle technology leader Toyota is using the New York Show to make its most explicit statement yet about how it plans to market hybrid-propulsion systems. At the Lexus stand, Toyota is showing off not only the long-awaited RX400h gas-electric hybrid SUV, but also a gas-electric version of its recently launched GS sedan. Both of these vehicles use hybrid propulsion to achieve V-8 performance with V-6 or better fuel economy. Toyota's bet is that luxury customers, who keep buying more and more horsepower despite higher fuel prices, will be drawn to hybrid technology for guilt-free performance. In the Toyota brand, Toyota will push fuel economy.
Rivals are watching. At Ford, Mark Fields, executive vice president in charge of the auto maker's luxury brands, calls the Volvo brand a logical place for Ford to expand its own gas-electric hybrid offerings. 'We're working on a plan to see if we can get that done,' he says.
Meanwhile, Volvo will promote its 315-horsepower XC90 V-8 model with ads showing Richard Branson blasting off into space.
Do you have any data on how much of US oil consumption is for automobiles, perhaps broken down by type (cars, trucks, SUVs) etc.?Answer: U.S. Light-Duty vehicles (which include cars and light trucks) consumed about 550 billion liters of gasoline in year 2004 (1 Gallon ~ 3.78 liters). Of this about 250 billion liters was consumed by the cars and wagons, whereas the SUVs, pickups and vans together consumed about 300 billion liters of gasoline.
"Demand for fuel-saving hybrids could grow to as much as 10 percent of total U.S. new vehicle sales by 2010", Jim Press, Toyota's U.S. managing director, said last month.
The projected average West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price for the first quarter of 2005 has been revised upward to about $48.70 per barrel, approximately $13 per barrel higher than in the first quarter of 2004 and $2 per barrel above the first quarter 2005 projection in the previous Outlook. EIA projects that WTI prices are likely to remain near the high-to-mid-$40’s (or higher) per barrel range throughout 2005-2006. It is emphasized that oil prices are likely to be sensitive to any incremental supply tightness that appears during periods of peak demand worldwide. Imbalances (real or perceived) in light product markets could cause light crude oil prices (such as WTI) to increase to well above $50 per barrel, as has recently occurred.Honestly, I would not read much in to this report. Just keep in mind that the much of the increase in crude prices we are seeing now, and will probably see at least until the 16th of March, will show up in the higher gasoline prices with a slight lag. In spite of the fact that the inventories of gasoline in the US are at a robust level, expect a lot of hue and cry about using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and the perrenial favourite CAFE standards!
...Pump prices for regular gasoline are expected to average about $2.10 per gallon during the 2005 driving season (April through September), up 20 cents from the same period in 2004. Sustained domestic growth in gasoline demand, both seasonal and year-over-year, is expected to increase average monthly prices to about $2.15 per gallon by spring.
The current best guess for how we might logically proceed toward a hydrogen economy involves using coal and natural gas -- in clean processes that sequester carbon -- as short term hydrogen sources, while developing and implementing a renewable solar, wind and biomass infrastructure over the long haul. On the plus side, all the technologies needed to make this happen already exist, at least on a small scale. The overwhelming problem we face is in producing -- and paying for -- the sheer volume of fuel humanity consumes.
This is where politics slithers into the picture and people start getting hot under the collar. Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with political wrangling. For better or worse, it's part of the process. I'm only suggesting that political opinions will serve a greater purpose when they're buttressed by cold, hard facts.
...The point is, there is no one right way to wean ourselves from the beastly carbon cow and make the conversion to clean hydrogen fuels. The process will inevitably lead down a number of paths and will require the combined efforts of a multitude of rational, intelligent researchers, engineers, administrators and, yes, even politicians. Politicians who are obliged to listen to us, whether or not we know what we're talking about.