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Gasoline Consumption Reduction Bill Heads for Senate Floor

2 May 2007

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.

May 2, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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"

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.

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

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.

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.

E-P,

How are you planning to get a PHEV next year?

I would'nt jump to conclusions until the vote. The bills going through the senate include grants and loan garuntees that should help manufacturers transition. I don't agree with all the biofuel hype because of the loss in efficiency but serial hybrids will finally surface as the clear winner imo. After watching the commitee hearing I think the Senators are well aware of this technology. Also look for further amendments for tax credits etc. It seems to me everyone on Green Car Congress should be emailing their Congressmen!

E-P,

If you get an PHEV from Venture One next year, then
you must be working on the prototype that they
haven't even built yet. I would bet 2009 as a more
realistic delivery date for this three wheeler. I
guess I'll be right behind you in line, unless the
2009 Prius with lithium-ion batteries can be supplimented
with an additional A123 battery for 30+ mi. all electric
range. For 10 grand more I'll take the four seater with
the four wheels. But, I will miss out on the Jet Fighter
canopy and tilt fuselage.

I am not equating jobs with fuel economy, I was just pointing out that here, people live in the suburbs and work in the city. Maybe we should have more affordable housing in the city and more clean industry in the suburbs and more telecommuting, but until we do, commuting and the congestion it causes, the pollution it creates and the fuel it consumes are realities that are long over due being dealt with in an honest way. (nothing like a run on sentence :)

Venture Vehicles has said (IIRC) that they will start taking deposits when the prototype is running (3Q07).  They expect to begin deliveries about 1 year after the prototype (making it 3Q08).

The VentureOne is a vehicle I can use, that does most everything I need (and in some areas, more than I wanted) and is in my price range.  It also looks amazing and would be a great way to get people exciting about dumping the oil addiction.  If I can promote this by giving VV a full order book, I'll do it.

andrichrose:

The electric RAV4 used NiMH batteries, not Li-Ion. Full electrics did not catch on the first time due to high prices, limited range and slow charge times, not to mention cheap gas. California tried to shove EV's down the publics throats, and they gagged on them.

This time around the market looks bigger even for limited range commuter cars. But pure electric's need all day range (300-400 miles minimum) or quick recharge times (30 minutes or so) to really take over the market. Oh, and they also have to cost close to the same as IC gas cars and last as long.

All that said, even at $5/gallon, it's hard to beat gasoline for vehicle price/performance/durability/convenience. Profitable, affordable electric cars are year off unless gasoline gets WAY more expensive than even our current $3 - $4 range.

There have been fast chargers (15 minutes) for lead-acid batteries for years; they use short pulses of discharge current to remove gas bubbles and prevent the batteries from being damaged.  A network of 15-minute charging stations would have made even 100-mile EV's relatively practical.

Suddenly GM's insistence upon inductive charging systems (not enough power-handling capacity for such fast chargers) for the EV1 looks almost conspiratorial.

simple! simple! Don't know why all of the pin heads in Washington D.C., and all the ones who have provided the above stupid comments have not come up with the answer. LOWER SPEED LIMIT BACK TO 55 MILES PER HOUR AND ENFORCE THE 55 LIMIT. Would reduce gas usage by approximately 20% NOW not in 10 years.

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