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Entries Tagged 'alternative fuel' ↓

You Want a Real EcoBoost? Lets Put it in Perspective …

I spent the better part of three days at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this past week. While I’ve been to NAIAS a number of times over the years, this was the first time I flew home knowing that I need to start doing things differently, ASAP. Although the price of gasoline may have plummeted, there’s still a mission (make that multiple missions) that must be accomplished. Gas will not stay this cheap forever.

Ford kindly flew me in with a crowd of “Digital Influencers” and I lived happily in the big blue snowglobe with my new comrades. Our agenda was non-stop, starting with a Sunday night visit to the historic Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, where the Model T was designed and built.

1908 Ford Model T at the Piquette Avenue Plant
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How Low Will Gas Go?

The recent drop in crude oil prices has driven the cost of gasoline down to remarkably low levels across America. It’s a whole new era, with our country suddenly awash in relatively cheap oil. This couldn’t come at a better time for many families, with all that newly liberated cash finding its way into the holiday gift budget. The piggy bank’s been fracked and we all need new jumbo flat screen TVs, the latest video games and fuzzy blankets.

So how low will gas prices go? What’s really driving the price drop? Is it simply all of the oil flowing from the Bakken Shale or is there more at play? Will OPEC’s gamble pay off? Are we on the right path to American Energy Independence? How does this drop compare to previous drops? (See: Historical Price of Gasoline in America).

I shot a little in-car stream of consciousness video while driving Slambo this week. Please take a gander and tell us what you think in the comments …

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U.S. Diesel Policy: Taxation Without Representation?

While increasing the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles is a stated goal of government of the United States of America, our appointed officials have allowed the perpetuation of a tax that penalizes the owners of certain vehicles. Although our government has put forth a great effort to encourage the adoption of vehicles that include some form of electrification, little has been done to due the same for clean diesel-powered vehicles. One could almost say that they’ve been discouraged.


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Chevy Spark EV: 5x the Tesla Model S at 1/5 the Price?

I had the opportunity to drive the 2014 Chevy Spark EV last month at a media event in Portland, Oregon. The drive route ran through the streets of the city, onto the highway, and out into the suburbs. This provided the Spark EV with an ideal setting for its virtues to shine.

It can be a trick to shoot media events like this. The schedule is extremely compressed and time behind the wheel is often limited. We set out from the garage of the Portland Kimpton hotel and headed to Electric Avenue. I hustled to get location shots and hung a pair of cameras on the car on our departure from the parking garage (although I only ended up using the external camera).

Spark EVs charging in the basement of the Portland Klimpton Hotel

Lets go out on a limb and call the Spark EV the first affordable electric hot hatch. Who could argue with 400 foot pounds of torque and a 0-60 MPH time of 7.5 seconds? With that much power, the engineers are clearly holding back its full potential, lest the front tires disintegrate into billows of smoke and shards of rubber.

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Can You Find a Fuel Efficient Used Car on eBay?

Folks often ask me, “what’s the ‘greenest’ car?” This is one of my favorite questions, because it can spur deeper conversation. Some people are shocked when I reply that the ‘greenest’ car is a recycled car. “Wait a minute,” comes the typical response, “a used car … for real?”

They often expect that I would answer with “oh, a (insert the most common name here) hybrid or an electric car (like the one that’s caught the tech world’s fancy that real world folks can’t afford).” Truth be told, 40 mile per gallon (MPG) cars are nothing new. You can find a ten or fifteen year old Honda Civic HX or Volkswagen TDI on eBay that will get 40 MPG on the highway. The older VW Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Beetle TDIs can even run on 100 domestic renewable biodiesel. Vintage Mercedes-Benz diesels can run on biodiesel as well, and they can all be converted to run on recycled fryer grease. There are great bargains to be found on fuel-efficient Saturns, too …

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an old fryer-grease-powered Mercedes-Benz. All my friends slobber over Teslas, I must make amends …

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