Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ethanol Boom Busting

Check out today's NY Times story Ethanol’s Boom Stalling as Glut Depresses Price.
...the ethanol market is suddenly plagued by a glut, in part because the means to distribute it have not kept pace. The average national ethanol price on the spot market has plunged 30 percent since May...And if the bust becomes worse, candidates for president could be put on the spot to pledge even more federal support for the industry...

The ethanol boom was set off when Congress enacted an energy law in 2005 that included a national mandate for the use of renewable fuel in gasoline...Already, ethanol producers are poised to outpace that mandate...As ethanol supply increases over the next 12 months, the challenge will be to find a home for it,”...Because ethanol is corrosive and soaks up water and impurities, it cannot be shipped through the country’s fuel pipeline network. So it must be transported by train, truck and barge, a more expensive transportation network that is suddenly finding it hard to keep up with the surge in ethanol production....Gasoline wholesale marketers have been slow to gear up ethanol blending terminals, in part because they had to invest simultaneously in equipment to manage low sulfur diesel and tougher product specifications.
Even "overproduction" will never result in enough ethanol to fuel a significant portion of America's cars. California still has only one, yes one, E100 station. Hundreds of state fleet flex-fuel vehicles now use more gasoline and cause more emissions than the gasoline-only vehicles they replaced. (We can thank Arnold for that "green" purchase.)

And blending ethanol into gasoline is complicated, and ultimately merely perpetuates our petroleum addiction.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tesla - Longer Range, Later Delivery

CNet is reporting some good and some not so welcome news about the Tesla Roadster. Seems the batteries are performing better than expected, and range is back up to about 250 mile per charge. But another delivery delay has been announced. Cars will not hit the road until early next year. Personally I'd trade range for earlier delivery, but of course it doesn't work that way.

Simply getting on the waiting list for the car once cost $50,000. Now, for only $5,000 you can tell your friends you're waiting for one. But don't expect to receive your car for at least a year.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Someone videotaped me

A few months ago I attended an eco-event in Fairfax, CA with my electric car. Someone seems to have videotaped me and posted it on youtube.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Co-op America Really Gets It! - Plug-ins YES; Ethanol NO!

Co-op America has cut through the hype and hyperbole about "clean" cars. They did an excellent issue of their magazine analysing the pros and cons of hybrids, plug-ins, electrics, bio-fuels of all types and hydrogen with a Consumer Reports type objectivity. They found
"the truth is, not all of the "new" fuels are created equal. In fact, some are nearly as bad as gasoline in their environmental impacts, and others can't be scaled up in a meaningful way without creating other problems.
Not surprising to us, electricity came out on top - cleanest, cheapest, most infrastructure-ready. Now they are taking their findings one step further. They are mounting a campaign to move the automakers away from ethanol and toward plug-ins.

Read about it:
Plug-in Hybrids 'Yes,' Ethanol 'No:' Largest-Ever Push Mounted to Drive GM, Ford to Shift From Ethanol to Plug-in Hybrids
Take Action:

Tell Ford and GM: Ethanol is Not the Answer!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dissipating Doubt

From the pricey ads in national magazines devoting serious space to the Volt to today's announcement about the plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue, GM is compelling me to take their expressed interest in plug-in cars seriously. As announced in Frankfort and reported in Detroit, GM hopes for a 2009 release of the first Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid SUV. Leaving wiggle room, "2009-ish" brand general manager Jill Lajdziak said Thursday.

While GM is looking to achieve 40 miles all electric range with the Volt toward the end of 2010, the Vue is meant to have 10 miles all electric range. Seems piddling, but if it goes on sale in less than 2 years it will be an historical turning point.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Worst Cars Ever: TIME and Dan Neil Trash EV1

Along with a host of the filthy, the ugly and the dangerous, Time and Dan Neil declare the EV1 one of the 50 worst cars ever. Had they wanted to include a crappy electric car, they had plenty to choose from. But no, they picked what might have been the best electric car ever, and said even it sucked.

Dan Neil, the LA Times writer who naively blames consumers for the lack of electric cars in the market in the film Who Killed the Electric Car?, knows better now. He knows we need to move toward plug-in cars, and he knows the "perfect" electric car won't drop down from heaven one day. Had the EV1s been sold to consumers rather than leased, confiscated, and destroyed, they'd be very in demand.

If we are very lucky, some company will come out with a car with the decade-old EV1 specs considered unmarketable in this peculiar smackdown - 140 mile range without gasoline, miata-sized, fast. Does anyone out there truly believe this car couldn't sell for $50,000 or more now?