CalCars Receives $200K Grant from Google.org to Promote PHEVs
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Gasoline Consumption Reduction Bill Heads for Senate Floor

On a 20-3 vote, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today approved a markup of bipartisan legislation that requires improved energy efficiency, promotes renewable fuels diversity and invests in research on carbon sequestration. The legislation is now ready for consideration by the full Senate.

The bill establishes an escalating requirement to reduce US gasoline consumption, beginning with a 20% savings target in 10 years.  The bill places a particular focus on the development of advanced biofuels by requiring an increasing portion of renewable fuels to be from unconventional biomass feedstocks beginning in 2016.

Among the other transportation efficiency provisions of the bill are programs that provide $2.3 billion for research related to automotive batteries and authorize $60 million for DOE to research and develop light-weight materials for vehicle construction.

The bill also authorizes research and development spending of up to $120 million on carbon sequestration, with the goal of furthering development of this key technology to reduce carbon emissions.

Comments

SJC

The Congress does essentially nothing with C.A.F.E. for 20 years and now they come up with this after gasoline is over $3 and may be heading towards $4 this summer...come on.

Engineer-Poet

I cut my consumption by 30% roughly 3 years ago.  I'm poised to cut it by another 65% next year, for a total reduction of 75% or so.

It's too late now for half measures.

SJC

I suppose if everyone lost their jobs, we could cut consumption by a lot, but that might not be a good idea.

Engineer-Poet

I'm just as employed now as I was when I started this process.  What I've done so far is replace a 26 MPG car with a 40 MPG car, and move home and work to 1 mile apart.  What I hope to do next year is replace most of my use of the 40 MPG car with a 100-MPG PHEV.

Henrik

The statement on the bill say I quote “Among the other efficiency provisions of note are programs that $2.3 billion for research related to automotive batteries;” If this is not some sort of spelling error this is big news for the battery industry. This could become the most important part of that bill towards achieving its goal of reducing the fuel US consumption.

Rich

It looks like a "do nothing" bill. 20% in 10 years? Give money to do research that private industry should have been doing and should be doing with their own money.

Cervus

E-P:

That's nice if you can afford to move closer and purchase a new vehicle. Not everyone can. There's an apartment complex not one mile from my workplace. But the lowest rental rate is $1,500. Not gonna happen, even on my decent salary.

SJC

Many of us could buy more fuel efficient cars and combine trips. Not many could move closer to work, if the housing is not affordable. In California, people move to other countries to be able to afford a house and commute 30-40 miles each way to and from work.

I have long thought that telecommuting at least one day per week would be possible for many "knowledge workers", but employers have not adopted this on a wide spread basis. Maybe tax incentives could help.

Harvey D.

SJC:

WHERE did you get the idea that consuming 75% less IMPORTED liquid fossil fuel = less jobs?

On the contrary, using locally built PHEVs + locally built batteries (Altair, A123, Firefly etc) + locally produced biofuels + clean electricity form wind-sun-waves-hydro-geothermal and even from 50+ new local nuclear plants can create a few million new jobs.

If the Big-3 would start producing PHEVs NOW, their sales would pick up very quickly and most of the jobs lost over the last 3 years could come back.

Locally built e-bikes, e-scooter, e-lawn mowers, e-yard tractors, e-pleasure boats, e-play vehicles etc could also produce many more million new jobs. Where is the American initiative? Let's use those lower cost Firefly batteries now. Why should we wait for others to do it?

A positive secondary effect would be a lot less air pollution and GHG, better health for most everybody and much lower health care cost.

wintermane

In califotnia its very common to commute 50-75 miles simply because you work in a place you would never raise your child not to mention can afford to live anyway. zero growth movements have spread workers out quite far.

andrichrose

Harvey D.

Maybe unlocking the NiMh patents that are held by Chevron
and exclude the use of this type of cell for "propulsion purposes"
would be a good idea , I am sick of hearing from the large auto
manufacturers that " the battery technology is not ready" an excuse
that seems to allow them to sit around on their bloated behinds,
waiting for the advent of lithium as if it was the holy grail of battery
technology !
As far as I know the Toyota Rav4 electrics are still running on
this battery , so much for "not ready" I suspect that they were "too
ready"

Cervus

Harvey:

Fact of the matter is that these vehicles and batteries are much more likely to be built where labor costs are lower and environmental regs are much less strict. Namely, China, S Korea, Mexico, even Japan.

andri:

More like "battery powered cars can't get me where I want to go". Long commutes, long roadtrips, long recharge times, very high battery costs, among other issues, are why EVs simply have not caught on. Public perception is that EVs are "punishment cars". Until Tesla came and started to change that, EVs will have a very tough time finding marketplace acceptance.

Engineer-Poet

I think the VentureOne may do quite a bit to change that perception also.

tom

Wait a minute. Isn't this actually less than what Bush was calling for? Wasn't Bush calling for 4% a year. In addition, I listened to the hearing last night and they were talking about 35 mpg in ten years.

Hopefully, this goal will be raised in markup.

tom

Correction. This is a differenet comittee. The 20% savings appears to have nothing to do with CAFE. Changes to CAFE would be on top of these savings.

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