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 |  May 24 2011, 2:58 PM

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The Obama administration will announce today it is buying 116 plug-in electric vehicles and will install charging stations in government buildings in five cities.

Of the 116 vehicles, 101 of them will be extended-range Chevrolet Volts. These vehicles are to be placed with 20 government agencies in five cities including Washington, D.C., Detroit San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The purchase decision was made by the federal government after accepting competitive bids from automakers. The General Services Administration, which has already ordered 35,000 vehicles so far this year, claims there will be an overall average fuel efficiency improvement of 21%. The new cars will save 2.4 million gallons of fuel saving $9 million in spending. The GSA has doubled the number of hybrids in the federal fleet over the last two years.

President Obama has plans to cut oil imports by one-third by 2025 over 2008 levels and also wants to put 1 million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.

[Source: Detroit News]

Read AutoGuide’s 2011 Chevrolet Volt Review here

 

 

 |  May 04 2011, 1:20 PM

Even with skyrocketing fuel prices, subcompacts are selling less than their compact counterparts.  The Ford Fiesta was the overall leader in the subcompact department, 9,147 sales but still trailed the larger Focus’  17,265 total sales. Honda Civic sales rose 7% to 26,777 which is more than triple the Fit’s total of 8,116 units in April. Furthermore, the mid-size Accord even managed to outsell the Civic.

The issue seems to be one of value for more consumers. Subcompacts are barely more efficient than compacts. The base model Civic coupe costs only $505 more than a basic Fit, but the mileage difference is minuscule.

With the ongoing price battle at the pumps, it wouldn’t be surprising to see models like the Fiesta, Accent or Fiesta to rival the Toyota Camry or Ford F150 in sales. Soon enough we may see subcompacts catching up to regularly sized cars and without a doubt, your wallet will thank you the next time you fill up.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 

 |  May 03 2011, 2:07 PM

If you think $4 for a gallon of gas is pricey here in the United States, you should thank your lucky stars that you’re not a resident of Denmark. The Northern European nation is currently leading the world in gas prices, with a gallon costing an average $9.69, including a gasoline tax of $5.41.

Other countries like Portugal, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are all in the $9 per gallon range, with the Netherlands boasting the highest gas tax rate of $5.87 per gallon. Closer to home, Canada is averaging $4.70 with a $1.20 gas tax, while the United States is still at $3.96, with a 48 cent tax.

At the other end of the spectrum are oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia, where a gallon costs 45 cents, and Venezuela, where it costs a mere 10 cents per gallon. As The Atlantic notes, Venezuela is selling heavily subsidized gas at roughly 98 percent less than market value, and the extra money could easily be put into infrastructure or public transportation.

[Source: The Atlantic]

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 |  Mar 07 2011, 12:35 PM

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]

 |  Jan 21 2011, 1:14 PM

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]

 |  Jun 04 2010, 6:47 AM

oil-products

With the epic Gulf spill, courtesy of BP, oil has been thrust into the spotlight – and frankly, it’s been getting a bad rap. Let’s not forget about all the great things oil does for us – although it’s pretty hard while you’re watching birds and baby dolphins wash up on the beaches.

The Daily Green has broken down what a barrel of oil that holds 44 gallons of crude turns into, and illustrated what happens to it.  Basically, you get 18.56 gallons of gasoline, 10.31 gallons of diesel and 4.07 gallons of jet fuel. The other seven gallons are allocated to the “Other Products” category – but what these mystery products?

For starters, petroleum is used to make plastics. But a few things you may not have been aware of include antifreeze, anesthetics, synthetic rubber and glycerin. To keep food fresh as well as make medicines, you’ll find petroleum-based ingredients listed on the label. You’ll even find it in house and car paint and laundry detergent. Another surprising fact for you: according to Energy Information Administration, making the above products consumes more than 1 million barrels of oil per day.

Yes, we are very dependent on oil, although there are more electric and hybrid vehicles on the road. What’s clear is that it’s going to be awhile before we can get this monkey off our backs. Do you think the oil spill will force companies and governments to find crude oil alternatives or will things carry on as before?

[Source: Ride Lust]