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There are a variety of techniques and tools that allow an internal combustion engine to capture more of its energy and direct it to moving your car down the road as opposed to sending that energy out of your exhaust. Most of these tools are difficult to use and maintain. They simply are not ready for primetime. However, with the virtual collapse of the automotive manufacturers in the US, it is not likely they are going to be increasing their R&D on getting more performance out of the engines that they make. It is an unfortunate reality that cars are sold on other things than their efficiencies.

Obamas Order Is Likely to Tighten Auto Standards

Should the governance of pollution be left to the states or should it be governed by the federal government in a single standard? Many times in the past, the EPA has allowed the states (primarily California) to regulate at least portions of their pollution output, primarily in deference to regional challenges in the quality of air for breathing. In the past several years the Bush administration has pushed back on this but now it appear that the Obama administration is going to reverse this trend. He appears to be ready to allow 14 states including California to set their own emissions standards.

Administration Releases EPA Report, Then Repudiates It

July 12, 2008 – Wall Street Journal

The Bush administration continues to struggle with what to do with global warming and carbon dioxide as a pollutant.  The Supreme Court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant resulting from the burning of several fossil fuels. This has caused the EPA to try to figure out what to do with this new authority without destroying the economy.

As with most issues that revolve around Washington DC, this one is embroiled in politics with both major Presidential candidates chiming in.

The Bush administration published a government blueprint to reduce the U.S. output of global-warming gases, but at the same time rejected the document out of hand — saying it relied on “untested legal theories” and would impose “crippling costs” on the U.S. economy.

Diesel-powered Loremo promises to hit 150 miles per gallon

Engadget – February 21, 2008

I realize that there has been a lot of discussion on automobiles lately but I also know that a good number of my regular readers are concerned with the automotive industry and its impact on the environment.

Some people believe that switching to diesel for our liquid fuel would be a more appropriate and cleaner alternative to using gasoline.  I am not sure that the chemistry really works out but I hope that the industry continues to evolve.

I originally found this article on Engadget but the original story comes from MSN and that is where the following excerpts come from.

Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010

The New York Times – January 14, 2008

Toyota is not going to be out-done by GM.  Yesterday, I discussed that GM is spending a lot of effort and money to develop alternative fuels and alternative propulsion options. This article shows that Toyota is not going to stand still in that important competitive battle.

Toyota will offer the first plug-in hybrid in 2010. Plug-in hybrids are important because it is far more efficient to produce electricity at an industrial power utility plant than it is to burn gasoline in your car in the form of a “traditional” hybrid vehicle.

GM to partner with biofuels start-up Coskata

BloggingStocks.com – January 13, 2008

I am very intrigued with biofuel as an alternative source of liquid fuel to propel our trucks and automobiles down the road. This source combined with plug-in electric technology seems like a very effective method of breaking our addiction to liquid fossil fuel.

GM has been on this site a lot lately (here, here, and here). It is obvious that they are trying very hard to show themselves as a “green” company. I wonder if it is really working.

General Motors announced this weekend at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it would partner with Coskata Inc., an Illinois-based renewable energy start-up company that plans to produce ethanol from agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste byproducts.

An Inconvenient Reduction

Wall Street Journal – December 3, 2007

I am not a big believer in taxes. I do think that the government needs funds to operate and therefore has the right obligation to tax its citizens for services rendered. I also understand that, just like all costs, the act of taxing can be a deterrent to activity. Taxing “sin” activity such as tobacco and alcohol is simply good policy. If it was possible to tax overly fatty food, I would probably be in favor of that as well.

Based on this logic, it make sense to tax certain activity that adds pollution to the atmosphere. I question the logic of taxing automobiles but I do think that taxes on fossil fuels make a certain amount of sense as a revenue source and an activity deterrent. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

E.P.A. Says 17 States Can’t Set Emission Rules

New York Times – December 20, 2007

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just decided that 17 states could not have a waiver that allowed them to mandate their own standards for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. This comes after the EPA had previously granted approximately 50 waivers to California over many years allowing California regulators special privileges as they combat their unique pollution issues.

White House threatens veto of energy bill

The Detroit News – December 4, 2007

I can’t figure out wether this is incompetence on the part of the House and Senate, convenient forgetfulness, or excuse making on the part of the Administration.

A few days ago, I wrote on the compromise that would have allowed an increase in the CAFE requirements for automobiles. You can read that post at:

New Fuel Standards Are Poised to Advance

It appears that the White House is threatening a veto of the bill that would increase fuel standards to 35 mpg by 2020. The bill evidently doesn’t cover some nuances that the Administration feels are necessary and is going to throw it back to the Hill and tell them to get this fixed. How did the Congress forget to include this stuff? Is the President just trying to find a convenient way to get out of signing it?

What Will the Car of the Future Look Like?

Wall Street Journal – November 19, 2007

This is a very interesting article about the challenges of manufacturing cars that would be better for the environment by using less petroleum. The impetus for the article was Presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton’s push to double fuel economy by 2030.

The article starts out with a claim that Bill Clinton and Al Gore did nothing to increase federal fuel-efficiency standards and I am not confident that this claim is based on true fact. I cannot find evidence of my memory of the situation but I seem to remember that the Clinton administration did try to increase the standards.