Department of Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz announced today that the DOE is making key improvements to the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program. This is good news for a program that has made some important contributions to developing fuel saving vehicle technology but needs to continue funding qualified applicants to help advance the efficiency of our cars and trucks even further. Read More
April 2nd, 2014
April 2nd, 2014
You may have heard a lot recently about electric vehicles (EVs). Sales of EVs are up, manufacturers are beginning to offer a variety of EV models – from sportscars to sedans – and our recent analysis found that 42 percent of American households with a vehicle could use an EV.
So, why are car buyers getting more enthused about EVs? Since I’m not an EV owner myself (I continue to rely on my 25 year old Panasonic “collectors” bicycle – and by “collectors” I mean rusting hunk of Japanese steel), I asked UCS members who drive EVs what they like about driving on electricity. Read on to hear their stories and find out the top 7 reasons to consider an EV. Read More
February 28th, 2014
Earlier this week a public call to reduce our oil use got some good national attention in this New York Times op-ed penned by Admiral Dennis C. Blair, a former director of National Intelligence and former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, and General Michael W. Hagee, the 33rd commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
These two gentlemen make the case that reducing our oil use is critical to safeguarding our country (and our wallets) against oil supply and price shocks. They make the astute point that no matter where our oil comes from, we are still vulnerable to the whims of the global oil market because our transportation system remains almost completely dependent on oil as an energy source. Read More
February 25th, 2014
For the past several weeks the eyes of the world were glued on Sochi, watching the XXII Olympic Winter Games. But that’s not the only global contest I’m interested in. The U.S. and countries around the world are also racing to reduce their oil use and global warming emissions from transportation. Developing a cleaner transportation economy may not seem as exciting as a ski-cross photo finish, but it has major implications for our future. Read More
February 12th, 2014
Choosing a vehicle is tough. Sunroof or moonroof? Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or all-wheel drive? Do I even need a CD player? And what about color? Burnt orange is nice, but so is cashmere metallic and squid ink (hint: always get squid ink). Considering a hybrid or electric vehicle adds another factor into an already difficult decision. Should you go with a standard hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, or fuel cell? What is the difference between these types of vehicles anyway? Read More
January 28th, 2014
Cities breathe. They take deep breaths in the morning as commuters rush to get to work and exhale in the evening as workers travel away from the city center. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population here in D.C. grows from 584,400 to over 1 million people on a daily basis and the population of Manhattan nearly doubles from 1.5 million to 3.0 million during the work week. This amazing phenomenon is made possible, in part, by city buses, which carry hordes of passengers along concrete arteries toward the heart of the city. Read More
December 11th, 2013
The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is booming. More EVs have been sold in 2013 than were sold in calendar years 2010-2012 combined and more EV models and designs are coming to showroom floors than ever before. Despite all of this good news, however, EVs only make up less than 1% of the total vehicles on the road in the United States and the ever-present chorus of “EV-haters” continue to carol the futility of driving on electricity.
The dichotomy between the recent rise of EV sales and the sustained backlash against EVs raises the question: are today’s EVs a suitable choice for drivers, or are they a technology destined for lonely Ebay auctions like Betamax or Minidiscs? To answer this question, UCS teamed up with Consumers Union, the nonpartisan policy wing of Consumer Reports, to assess whether today’s EVs could meet the vehicle needs and driving habits of American drivers. Read More
November 8th, 2013
When it comes to investing in clean transportation solutions, Norway is doing it right. Or should I say, Norway is gjør det riktig. The country famous for Vikings, the perfect complement to bagels and cream cheese, and Johan Olav Koss, is also a good example of a country working to reduce their oil use through transforming their transportation sector.
October 18th, 2013
When you think of Formula One racing, you tend to think of speed, power, and skill. I mean, look at how much faster F1 cars are compared to high end racing cars with exotic pedigrees that are usually thought of as “fast.” Read More
September 19th, 2013
Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the 246th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition. This event provided an opportunity for chemists to collectively geek out about non-oxidative conversions, triazollium-based ionic liquids, and rhodium catalysts — for example — and for chemical supply companies to showcase contraptions that jostled, stirred, shook, rotated, inverted, injected, and swirled chemical compounds. This all made very little sense to me as a non-chemist, though I came close to purchasing a turbo vortex evaporator, just to say I own one, but please don’t ask me what it does.
What made sense to me as a transportation policy analyst, however, was the amazing potential of these studies and equipment to dynamically impact our transportation future, especially when it comes to hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) — a technology that is a piece of our plan to cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years. Read More