Archive for the ‘autos’ category

You can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 20 Pounds Today

February 27, 2007

26 Feb 2007 – Are YOU personally doing your part?  Forget about pointing fingers at industry for a moment.  What is one simple way you can eliminate production of 20 pounds of greenhouse gases today?

Here’s how.  Prevent just one gallon of gasoline from being burned.  That’s right.  Eliminate a trip.  Combine trips.  Carpool to work.  You figure it out.

Whether businesses or individuals, we don’t ask others to go the extra mile, unless we are willing to do it ourselves!  That’s where it has to start.



Escalating prices for gasoline and motor vehicle fuel

February 19, 2007

What caused gasoline prices to go up?  World governments did.

press release from the U.S. Department of Energy says they are expanding the size of the strategic oil reserve.  It’s current size is 727 million barrels.  A regularly updated inventory of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be seen in this document.  For more facts on the U.S. reserve, go here.

But wait a minute, China has begun constructing and operating a strategic oil reserve according to this article.  Their plans are to have 102 million barrels of strategic reserves.

“Greenest” Vehicle runs on Natural Gas

February 11, 2007

According to the greenest vehicle for 2007 is the CNG (compressed natural gas) Honda Civic GX 1.8 liter, 4 cyl.  Edging out the Toyota Prius by two points, the CNG Honda Civic GX surpassed 3 hybrids to earn the top spot.  The new subcompact Toyota Yaris earned the fifth place ranking with 40 mpg highway and 34 mpg in the city.

Food or Fuel

February 5, 2007

Missouri River, Feb 4, 2007.  The United States is diverting ever-increasing portions of their foodstocks to motor vehicle fuel production.  Will there be enough food left to feed the rest of the world?

Divide the United States in half along the Missouri River.  If you look east you will see primarily biodiesel plants.  Look west and you see mostly corn-based ethanol facilities.

Current Biodiesel plants:  580 million gallons

According to the U.S. National Biodiesel Board, there are currently 86 biodiesel plants operating in the United States.  Seventy percent of these facilities are east of the Missouri River.  These eighty-six facilities have the capacity to produce 580 million gallons of biodiesel fuel per year.

Under Construction:  1400 million gallons

Interestingly, there are 78 biodiesel plants under construction or expansion, and two-thirds of them will be built east of the Missouri River.  Newer facilities are typically larger than existing facilities.  Annual production capacity for plants under construction or expansion is 1.4 Billion gallons per year, so demand for biodiesel raw materials will triple when these go online.

Raw Materials

Just what do these biodiesel plants use for raw materials?  The larger plants historically have used soybean oil.  But in April 2007 in Velva, ND a large, 85 million gallon plant using canola oil – is slated to go online.  Some biodiesel production facilities can use multiple feedstocks such as soybean or canola oil, recycled cooking oil, poultry fat, trap grease, cottonseed oil, or tallow.

E Diesel

E diesel is similar to biodiesel, in that it is a blended fuel product made from diesel fuel and up to 15% added ethanol.  It has been shown to burn cleaner and reduce particulate emissions.  Check it out for yourself on the E Diesel page of the official Government website for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

In the United States, ethanol production facilities use enormous amounts of corn as feedstock.  A future article will discuss ethanol production facilities in the United States.

Finding high gas mileage cars

January 22, 2007

Why is it more difficult now to find new high miles-per-gallon (mpg) cars than it was fifteen years ago?

Fifteen years ago you could buy a Geo Metro getting 50 mpg at highway speeds.  Now, the best you can get is around 42 mpg.  What is with that?  Can’t we make cars safer AND improve mpg?  We can send astronauts to the moon; we certainly should be able to do this!

Sure, if you want to spend considerably more, you can buy a hybrid.  Unfortunately the students, young couples, and retirees who seem to be the ones looking for fuel-efficient cars, can’t always afford the premium to buy these hybrids.

The Detroit Auto Show exhibits plenty of 300+ hp vehicles.  Wonderful engineering.  And those fuel guzzlers are getting more efficient, yes.  Just no improvements in the high mpg cars!  A decline, actually.

Once we require our elected officials and governments to mandate more high mpg vehicles, only then we will start seeing a trend toward cars getting better fuel economy.