Entries Tagged 'ngv' ↓

A Comprehensive Unbiased Approach to National Transportation/Energy Policy

Our national security continues to be at stake. By borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Middle East, we dig ourselves deeper into the hole each day.

As a nation, we must take a comprehensive and unbiased approach to national transportation/energy policy. We have been given the natural resources to make this happen. It is simply a question of having the will to see it through, without giving into factions and lobbies.

Step 1: Immediate and massive conversion of diesel fleet vehicles to natural gas power (NGV). This will spur employment and lower pollution in communities across the nation. School bus, public transportation, utility, delivery, and courier fleets present a prime opportunity for retrofits and new vehicle sales.

Step 2: Encourage the rapid adoption of highly-efficient clean diesel passenger vehicles. The engines and exhaust treatment systems have been developed. Americans need to be able to buy passenger vehicles with the same fuel-efficient engines that are available in Europe, where diesel market share exceeds 50%.

Step 3: Continue to encourage the development of electric-powered passenger vehicles (PHEVs & EVs). Lets get the battery plants built and bring these cars to market at an affordable cost. This will require massive government subsidies in the short-term, until the cost of production is driven down to a realistic level.

Step 4: Turn up the heat on biofuel development. Ease away from inefficient corn-based ethanol production. Increase algae production efforts.

Step 5: Provide micro-grants to garage entrepreneurs for technology development and installation. Revitalize the auto dealerships that have lost their franchise and get those service departments humming again.

Step 6: Encourage drivers to become more fuel-efficient through technology and technique. You don’t have to drive like Grandma to save a few dollars at the pump each time you fill up. Over the course of a year, the savings can be significant.

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Recovery Through Retrofit for Trucks

Domestic energy independence and economic renewal are core themes here at MPGomatic. Today’s announcement of the Federal Recovery Through Retrofit program spurs the question: why isn’t there a Recovery Through Retrofit Program for Pickup Trucks?

Tens of millions of existing pickup trucks could benefit from the conversion to plentiful natural gas or to more fuel-efficient diesel engines. Shuttered automobile dealerships could become conversion centers that reemploy displaced workers and stimulate the economy on Main Street. Existing technology can be bolted into place immediately, without waiting years for development.

Domestically manufactured clean diesel engines and natural gas vehicle (NGV) conversion kits will bring benefit in the near term, as battery-powered conversions come down the line and prices fall.

Cash for Clunkers was just a start. There is much more to do at a local level.

A Recovery Through Retrofit program for Pickup Trucks goes right to the heart of the matter, by providing economic sensibility with an approach that encompasses all technologies, rather than one.

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35.5 MPG by 2016? Bring it On!

With all the hoopla about our nation hitting a 35.5 mile per gallon (MPG) average for new cars and trucks by 2016, its easy to lose sight of some simple facts. The original goal set forth by the Bush administration was 35 MPG by 2020. The Obama administration has simply proposed that we speed up the effort by four years and turn up the dial on fuel efficiency.

It’s a great feeling knowing that someone has been listening. We’ve been banging the drum here at MPGomatic for two years now.

An average of 35.5 MPG is not a lofty goal, even in this shortened time frame. Back in March of 2008, MPGomatic opened some eyeballs and raised a lot of eyebrows when we published 35 MPG: Why Wait Until 2020, an article that provided details on the export-only fuel-efficient diesel-powered cars and SUVs that Chrysler builds right here in North America, half of which already hit the 35 MPG mark. Hundreds of thousands of folks have read that article and learned the truth over the past fourteen months.

In Europe, 35 MPG isn’t a goal. It’s the norm.

America need not and must not fear this change. We must embrace it with the realization that it is the best way forward.

35 MPG does not = wimpy cars.

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Civic NGV

Ever wish you could fill up at home and skip the service station altogether? How about eliminating your addiction to petroleum with the cleanest internal combustion engine sold today? The Honda Civic NGV aims to fill all those dreams.

The natural gas powered Civic GX NGV is refilled via a Phill home fueling unit, which is tied to your home’s gas line. While initially targeted at controlled fleets and campus settings, the Civic NGV is available to individuals in select areas. Alas, it’s not for everyone. Finding an authorized Honda NGV dealer in your area may pose a significant hurdle.

It’s important to note that the Civic NGV is not a conversion, nor is it imported from overseas. In this video report shot at the 2008 Alternative Fuels and Vehicles conference, Honda representative Annabel Cook explains that the Civic NGV it is built from the ground up as a natural-gas powered vehicle at Honda’s production facility in Ohio.

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Economic Stimulus Bill: What’s In It For Alternative Fuel Cars?

Sometimes it makes sense to stall. I’ve been meaning to dig into the economic stimulus bill to find out exactly what it contains with regard to alternative fuel cars. As I attended to other matters, the answers appeared in my inbox, thanks to the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) and the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVI).

According to the AFVI, the Economic Recovery Act that was signed into law by the President yesterday includes:

  • $ 2 billion for research for electric vehicle batteries
  • $ 10 million for advanced technology vehicle manufacturing
  • $400 million for near-term deployment of electric drive vehicles
  • $300 million to reduce diesel emissions
  • $300 million for regional deployment of alternative fuel vehicles

The Diesel Technology Forum notes that the $300 million earmarked for heavy-duty diesel vehicle and equipment owners to retrofit their fleets represents a six fold increase from last year’s funding level of $49.2 million.

In the meantime, I couldn’t resist dropping another iReport off at CNN, regarding the topic of economic renewal through energy independence …

I’m optimistic that this bill is the first step in establishing a comprehensive and coherent energy policy in this country. 100% energy independence is America’s best bet for a long and lasting recovery. We need to fix what ails us, rather then haphazardly blast out a bunch of expensive band-aids with a shotgun.

While it’s cool that we’ll all be eligible for a sales tax rebate on purchase of a new car, the measure would have been even more effective if the House had seen fit to maintain the provision for the auto loan interest rebate.

Regardless of that, the auto sales tax rebate is a first step to helping pump revenues back into the States, into the automakers, and into the dealers at the local level.

As I’ve written on these pages, this is a great time to buy a fuel-efficient car. There are tax rebates for certain hybrids and clean diesels – on top of the sales tax rebate.