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Are Air Conditioners Chilling the Benefits of Electric Vehicles?

Debate over the so-called “dirty little secret” of AC fluid muddies the merits of electric vehicles. Read More

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Tomorrow’s Cars, Funded Today: DOE Re-energizes the ATVM Loan Program

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

Categories: Vehicles  

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Top 7 Reasons for Considering an Electric Vehicle Today

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

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An Electric Spring: 3 Strong Trends in the EV Market

Springtime is the time of year where we start to see the first signs of growth; the green shoots of what will turn into a verdant garden or a bountiful harvest. As the first quarter of 2014 comes to a close, we are seeing some encouraging signs that both electric sales, and their benefits, will continue to grow this year. Read More

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Dear Tesla Gigafactory

Dear Tesla,

I’m excited about the recent announcement of your US-based battery manufacturing facility, which you’ve named the “gigafactory”, but I have a few concerns. The project sounds promising: you’ll be producing 500,000 electric vehicles per year by 2020, employing 6,500 people, installing new wind and solar power, and building the facility in either Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, or Arizona. But while you’re still deciding which site to pick can I offer you some advice? It’s all about location, location, location—and here’s why. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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A National Call for Oil Savings: Responding to a Recent NYT Op-Ed

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

Categories: Vehicles  

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Germany Goes for Oil Savings Gold

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

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White House Calls For Trucks That Do More With Less Oil

I spent the morning surrounded by trucks and I wasn’t cruising down the highway. I had the honor of attending the White House announcement kicking off the next round of fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for medium and heavy duty trucks, covering vehicles from delivery trucks to school buses to long-haul big rigs.

We depend on these vehicles to take our kids to school, get the goods we order online, and collect our trash. But they also have a big impact when it comes to oil use: heavy-duty vehicles collectively make up 7 percent of traffic on American roads, but account for over 25 percent of the fuel used to travel them. Trucks may be relatively small in number, but large in impact, and there is more we can do to increase their efficiency and reduce the pollution they create. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Comparing Electric Vehicles: Hybrid vs. BEV vs. PHEV vs. FCEV

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

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Diesel vs Hybrids: The Costs and Benefits of Both (And a Shiny Calculator!)

If you’re thinking about buying a vehicle, chances are you’ve noticed a number of automakers touting the benefits of new “clean diesel” vehicles with fuel efficiencies of 40 to 45 mpg on the highway. That sounds awfully high – but what does it mean, and how does it compare to the most efficient gasoline-powered vehicles on the road, hybrids? Read More

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