AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to reduce the amount of ethanol required for gasoline supply.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge today by major automakers and other groups to reverse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision regarding E15 fuel.
The state of Maine is taking a decisive stance against blending ethanol with gasoline, seeking to approve a bill that will ban the fuel if two other New England states pass similar laws.
It isn’t clear what effect E15 will have on cars and in AAA president Robert Darbelnet’s mind, that’s enough to justify halting sales.
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.
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?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally approved the first applications in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol, known as E15.
This comes after much criticism on the use of E15 with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and the Science Committee in the House of Representatives both stepping in to prevent the additional 5 percent of ethanol use. For over 30 years, ethanol has been blended into gasoline but was limited to 10 percent usage.
The use of E15 will be restricted to vehicles model year 2001 and up and the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years. According to the EPA, before E15 can be sold, “manufactures must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements.”
Gas pumps dispensing E15 must be clearly labeled so that consumers can make the right choice when getting gasoline for their vehicle.
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]
While motorists in North America have had 10 percent ethanol infused gasoline all but forced on them, and Brazil operates almost entirely on E85 biofuel, German motorists have slammed the door shut on the corn-based fuel by simply refusing to purchase gasoline that is made up of 90 percent dino-juice and 10 percent ethanol.
The Super E10 gasoline has an octane rating of 95 , but motorists in Germany are simply purchasing the pricier 98 octane fuel that is devoid of ethanol. The backlash comes from a variety of organizations, ranging from the German ADAC automobile club to Greenpeace, who claim that ethanol can do everything from ruin the mechanical bits of automobiles to increase CO2 production.
While only half of Germany’s gas stations offer the fuel, the problem is so severe that Germany’s Environment Minister is convening a summit to figure out how to deal with the problem. Currently, gas stations are sitting on ample reserves of E10 while the non-ethanol high grades are in short supply.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
The EPA will announce Friday that it has approved the use of E15 gasoline for vehicles made after the year 2000. The EPA previously approved the added ethanol content for vehicles made after 2007 – the new regulations would see the amount of vehicles able to use E15 grow exponentially, and directly benefit American corn farmers, whose crop is used in the production of ethanol.
The increased use of ethanol has been roundly criticized for its effect on food prices (more corn used for fuel causes the price of maize, a staple crop for much of the world, to rise), its environmental impact and the simple fact that most small engines are not designed for a such a concentration of ethanol.
Although ethanol is touted as a “green” fuel, the higher blends of ethanol in gasoline can have the effect burning out the catalytic converters, resulting in higher emissions.
[Source: Left Lane News]
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.
Bentley to make drastic fuel consumption and CO2 emissions changes by 2012
As well as debuting the Continental GTC Speed, the Bentley press conference focused on the company’s commitment to the environment. By 2012 Bentley aims to achieve a long list of green changes for its entire lineup.
For starters, Bentley aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent by applying new technologies to the current vehicles as well as using new transmissions and drivelines. Also, the company plans to begin reducing the weight of its cars – an area where Bentley certainly has a lot of room to work with.
Bentley also plans to bring an entirely new powertrain to the market, which will be 40 percent more fuel-efficient than the standard models. There is no word on if the new powertrain will be diesel, a hybrid-electric engine or some other type of system.
Finally, Bentley plans to have its entire lineup of vehicles able to run on either Biofuels (i.e. Ethanol) or gasoline. In other words, they will be flexfuel vehicles.
Mid-cycle, mid-year changes made to keep G6 Pontiac’s bestseller
Since its introduction in 2004, the G6 family has been a best seller for the Pontiac brand. In the hopes of keeping the car relevant, Pontiac has decided to give it a series of mid-cycle updates. Interestingly, the refresh also comes mid-year, so the updated G6’s will be classified as 2009.5 models.
The G6 Sedan, Coupe and Convertible will all get a redesigned front fascia inspired from the stunning G8. A new rear bumper is also a part of the package, as are redesigned headlights and taillights. An updated spoiler design will appear on all V-6 models and will continue to be an option on base models.
(The G6 GXP will remain unchanged).
NEW ENGINE OPTIONS
For 2009.5, the G6 Coupe will, for the first time, be available with the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. This move will make the Coupe more fuel efficient, as it will match the Sedan with a 33-mpg rating. The transmission will feature Pontiac’s TAPshift manual shift system with steering wheel mounted paddles.
Pontiac will also offer a 219hp FlexFuel version of the 3.5-liter V-6 engine at no extra charge on all body styles starting in 2009.5. The 222hp 3.9-liter V-6 and 252hp 3.6-liter V-6 (GXP) remain unchanged.
2009.5 Pontiac G6 Sedan
2009.5 Pontiac G6 Coupe
2009.5 Pontiac G6 Convertibe
Official release after the jump:
Is this the future of Saab convertibles?
Unveiled at the LA Auto Show, some 25 years after the Swedish company first brought the world a Saab Convertible, the 9-X Air Concept will likely drive the design direction of future 9-3 models.
The convertible roof is a new innovation from Saab and slides away flat into the trunk and under the rear tonneau cover in three sections. Saab is currently looking to patent this design.
Surprisingly the convertible top is a soft top and not a hard top, which is much lighter by design. This is something Saab says is due to the 9-X’s environmentally friendly attitude.
The 9-X Air is actually an ethanol powered Hybrid and uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter Hybrid ethanol engine. Saab claims the engine makes 200hp and is capable of propelling the 9-X to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds.
We don’t expect to see this new powerplant in future North American Saabs but the design language is certain to show through on the next 9-3.