This past weekend I had the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S, and it’s an amazing car to drive. Its luxury and high performance has won it accolades like Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year—but the inherent benefits of being an electric car are what really set it apart.
January 9th, 2014
January 7th, 2014
I work with very smart people, engineers and scientists who understand the emissions benefits of cutting pollution from our tailpipes and gasoline, and the technology necessary to get there. Our work helped enact the last round of standards to cut tailpipe pollution in the late ‘90s and has been influential in the development of a new round of requirements, referred to as Tier 3. These standards are set to be finalized early in 2014. Read More
January 2nd, 2014
I’ve said before that the food versus fuel debate is about more than corn, and specifically that using a large share of America’s vegetable oil for fuel would be counterproductive, and would do more to expand unsustainable palm oil production than to sustainably cut oil use and reduce carbon emissions. Read More
December 23rd, 2013
As you find yourself traveling on the road these holidays, you may notice something different about tractor-trailers—some of them are wearing skirts. Because of the roughly 100,000 miles traveled annually by the average long haul tractor-trailer (ie semi-truck, or big rig), putting on one of these long skirts (pictured below) is like eliminating the global warming pollution from an average car. Here’s how, and why we need more of them. Read More
December 18th, 2013
Hi, I’m Rachael and I recently joined the UCS team as a Kendall Science Fellow in the Clean Vehicles group. My focus during the fellowship will be on the lifecycle impacts of advanced vehicle technologies, so first I’m going to start with a brief background on what lifecycle assessment is and why it’s important. 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
December 2nd, 2013
Yes — it’s that time of year again. The online holiday shopping season is kicking off with another Cyber Monday. And if the trend continues, as it has for the past several years, another online shopping record will fall. I’m sure that’s welcome news to the likes of UPS and FedEx. But there’s another trend starting as well that should be good news for all you online shoppers out there (myself included). The trucks that move all those goods from factory, to warehouse, to your door are burning less fuel and creating less carbon emissions. Read More
Michael Wright, NASA engineer
Glen Rock, PA
November 21st, 2013
As a NASA engineer and father of three, there are two things that I consider important: space exploration and climate change. Unfortunately, neither space nor climate change are receiving the attention they deserve from policy makers and the public. Fortunately, my 30-year career at NASA has given me the opportunity to become involved in both. Read More
November 19th, 2013
Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles will take center stage at this week’s LA Auto Show. Three companies — Toyota, Honda and Hyundai — will unveil prototypes of new hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and announce details of their rollout plans for 2014 and 2015. Fuel cell vehicles may not be as well-known as hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles, but they are a vital part of the solution to reduce pollution and oil use from transportation. These vehicles have been promised for some time, so it’s exciting to be on the cusp of having fuel cell vehicles in new car showrooms. Read More
November 12th, 2013
The newly released Honda Accord Hybrid scores a noteworthy 50 mpg around town according to the EPA. That’s nearly the fuel efficiency of the popular Toyota Prius hybrid—but in a larger car with sedan styling. However, what really stands out is the technology that lets this car achieve such a high fuel economy mark.