Archive for the Category » Gasoline alternatives «

Friday, January 09th, 2009 | Author: admin

That's Mr. Vick to you!The Detroit Lions went 0-16 this year, while the auto makers are going 0-3.  Yes, it has been a rough year in Motown.

There is an opinion piece that ran in the NY Times last month by Thomas L Friedman entitled “While Detroit Sleeps”.  Now no one wants to see the auto industry fail, but he poses the question that we may be spending good money after bad.  You get that feeling of losing in Vegas and then trying to make it back on the next spin of the wheel or deal of the cards.  He equates investing in our current auto makers to putting money into other doomed technologies:

Typewriter —> PC’s
Compact Discs —> iPod
Mail Order Catalogs —> eBay
Book Stores —> Amazon

In order for the Big 3 to be a good investment, they need to change their ways.  Since gas prices have fallen so sharply, there is a tendency to delay research on gasoline alternatives.  Unfortunately, we know prices are going to rise again and we need to be better prepared next time oil goes over $100 a barrel.

In a story on Huffington Post called “Is There An Option More Promising Than The Plug-In Electric Vehicle?”, Patrick Takahashi discusses our future options.  He argues for the use of wind and solar energy to charge battery-powered cars.  This will take many years, but we have to make this a priority now.

So what should we do?  Chase our loses while doubling down on a bad hand or quit gambling with foreign oil and make sound investments in gasoline alternatives?  The Detroit Lions fired their GM and coach to change direction from their losing ways.  Sounds like a good strategy that could also be applied to our auto industry.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dave Hogg

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Author: admin

Plug In. Go Forward.

Plug-in Hybrid vehicles are coming soon.  Unlike conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids use larger battery packs that can be recharged by connecting to common household electricity. Plug-in hybrids can be driven for long distances without using any gasoline.  Although a current shortage in large battery manufacturing capacity is slowing down production of these cars in mass numbers.

Now if you could charge all of these cars from rooftop solar panels, then you would really have something.  We get free energy from the sun and drive zero emission vehicles.  Yes, that is a plan we could all agree on.

Unfortunately, producing the necessary electricity will result in additional emissions from power stations.  We will need to build more power sources or the utility companies could impose a premium for charging cars during peak times.  Does this we mean we may need new nuclear power plants to meet demand?

So while electric powered vehicles offer a great solution for our future, we have a very long way to go to get there.  It will be at least 2 years until plug-in hybrids are even available and then how long until they are in wide use?  While we are waiting, I suggest Passenger Energy could buy us some time.

Creative Commons License photo credit: wryonedwards

Friday, November 21st, 2008 | Author: admin

Chicken or Egg?We often hear about new cars and trucks that utilize fuel other than gasoline.  Here is an alternative fuel and hybrid vehicle guide to help you explore the options.  Some of the options are available today and more are coming soon.  They include: 

  • Clean Diesels - Biodiesel & Diesel
  • Hybrids - Electric Vehicles
  • Flex-fuels - E85/Gasoline
  • Natural Gas Vehicles
  • Propane Vehicles
  • Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Vehicles

All of these options are good news for our future, but what about today?  These new vehicles are more expensive than traditional ones and have very limited availability. 

Next, what do we do with the over 250 million vehicles currently registered in the US?  I’m sure many of these will be on the road for years and years to come.

The other problem with these fuel alternatives is a lack of fuel filling stations.  This is definitely a chicken and the egg scenario.  They will build the stations once we start buying the cars, but who is going to buy a car they can’t fill?

So why did the chicken cross the road?  To get a ride.

Creative Commons License photo credit: May mun

Sunday, October 05th, 2008 | Author: admin

Sources of Alternative Fuels include Hydrogen, Biofuels and Ethanol.

Ethanol Car.There is an article “A Cornfed Disaster - Bogus Biofuels” in the March 6, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone magazine that contains the following:

But two new studies show that biofuels don’t just suck up billions of dollars in federal subsidies and inflate food prices in the third world - they also speed up global warming.

According to the studies, most biofuels generate more climate-warming pollution than fossil fuels. 

There is more evidence of ethanol production driving up food prices around the world.  So while I agree, alternative fuel sources are a very good thing, they are not a magic bullet that will cure all of our problems.  The best solution is to simply drive less.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jeffrey Beall