What’s old is new again. It seems like every clever idea or radical invention has already been thought of, existing in government patent archives or a 15th century sketch from Leonardo da Vinci. Retro design is a prime automotive example of this, but it’s not the only one. Ethanol is a promising transportation fuel of the future, just as it was a century ago.
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AutoGuide’s regular “Under the Hood” segment has already explained the vagaries of octane and the advantages of Top Tier gasoline, but there’s so much more to fuel than that. Ethanol, for instance, is a major component of gas, and something that’s a potential peril for consumers. But what is ethanol? And what is E85? Should you run these fuels in your vehicle?
President Barrack Obama’s initiative for government fleet vehicles to be able to run on alternative fuels like E85 ethanol, could result in higher gas consumption, rather than reducing it. That means, this project could end up doing the opposite of what it was set out to achieve.
Only 1-percent of gas stations offer E85 in the United States, so only very few government fleet vehicles can take advantage of this fuel. So most fleet drivers end up using regular gas.
And they end up using more of it, because the vehicles they drive, the ones that can run on both regular gas and E85, are not the most fuel-efficient vehicles sold in the country. So while this initiative had its heart in the ‘green’ place, it could ending up increasing green-house gasses.
In order for the President’s plan to work, the infrastructure needs to improve vastly which would increase the availability of alternative fuels.
President Obama recently said that by 2015 he wants to see more fuel-efficient of alternative fueled vehicles to be used in fleets, as part of the plan to reduce dependency on foreign oil. However, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric vehicles aren’t as widely available and cost more to buy. Plus they lack the durability that is required by some government fleets.
In 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, government vehicles increased gasoline use by 3-percent. Figures for 2010 are to be released later this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Prince William chose an environmentally friendly way to show off his new bride by leaving Buckingham Palace in his father’s vintage Aston Martin DB6 MK II.
While Prince Charles is a noted gearhead, he’s also extremely passionate about environmental causes, and has had the Aston retrofitted to run on E85 made from “wine wastage”. Prince Charles has owned the car since 1969, but is also known to drive an Audi A8 and an Audi Allroad station wagon.
An expected announcement today by President Barack Obama will outline the federal government’s commitment to buy only advanced technology vehicles by 2015.
Only hybrids, plug-in electrics, and flex-fuel vehicles will be allowed into its present fleet of 600,000 vehicles. The government has already doubled its number of hybrids in keeping with existing mandates.
Full-size SUVs and other vehicles could still be allowed, but they would need to run on E85 ethanol.
Also expected from Obama’s Georgetown University speech today will be a strategy to cut oil imports by one third by 2025, while calling for a substantial increase in fuel economy for vehicles produced from 2017-2025.
The reduction could save the U.S. more than 11 million barrels per day, the White House said, which is the amount the U.S. imported in 2008.
Obama will also ask Congress to increase incentives to assist compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for consumers, corporate and business fleets.
Today’s announcement will be just one of a long line of transportation energy measures tightening the belt in the face of ever diminishing oil supplies.
Last summer the White House supported a bill that would have approved $4 billion in assistance for CNG vehicles. That bill stalled in the last Congress, but did have some support from Republicans and Democrats.
In October 2009, the president directed federal agencies with 20 or more vehicles to cut fuel usage by 2 percent.
In 2010 the government bought 23,000 fuel-efficient vehicles, of which 9,000 were hybrids. This year the government will buy its first 100 battery electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, shown above.
Concerned also with greenhouse gas emissions, a $300 million stimulus bill was approved by Congress in 2009. The White House also intends to finalize the first national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses.
These are planned to take effect in the 2014 model year and will cover the 2014-18 model years.
[Source: Detroit News]
Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg has found a way to make 1,115 horsepower look even more impressive than it sounds, (well, sounds to say anyway), thanks to a matte-white and exposed dry carbon body.
We’ve acquired these shots of the latest Koenigsegg, the Agera R, on display at the Geneva Auto Show a day ahead of its world premiere. But it’s what’s underneath that body that really matters.
Known for supercharged V8s, the modern Koenigseggs use turbocharged versions, with this specific model pumping out 1,115-hp and 885 lb-ft of torque. That’s only if you’re burning E85, however, and with 95 octane it produces ‘just’ 940-hp.
No yet on the display car, an earlier press release noted it would appear with a carbon fiber ski box made by Thule. Why? Probably because Thule paid them to, or because the owner of the car probably also owns Thule. Who really cares?
Check out all the pics in the gallery below.
GALLERY: Koenigsegg Agera R
Starting this fall, the 2011 Buick Regal will be E85 capable, marking the first time a direct-injection turbo motor can run on biofuel.
The E85 turbo engine was originally intended for the new Saab 9-5, but with the Swedish luxury division out of GM’s hands, the engine needed a new home. The base 2.4L four-cylinder will be E85 capable as well. The turbo engine in particular is expected to eliminate the fuel economy discrepancy that occurs when running on E85. Motors running on ethanol tend to see a 15 percent drop in fuel economy, however GM expects the gap to narrow below 10 percent on the turbo engine, with virtually no discrepancy in the future.