December 31, 2008
The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) released gasoline and diesel consumption figures for September and complete figures for the third quarter of 2008. The third quarter of 2008 marked the tenth consecutive three-month period to show lower gasoline consumption. In the third quarter of 2008, Californians used 242.6 million gallons less than the third quarter last year—a decline of 6.1%.
Ford ’s New Active Park Assist Leverages Electric Power Assisted Steering; Nearly 90% of Ford Lineup to Have EPAS by 2012
|Ford’s Active Park Assist. Click to enlarge.|
Ford is introducing a new Active Park Assist technology on its 2010 Lincoln MKS flagship sedan and new Lincoln MKT seven-passenger luxury crossover. Available in mid-2009 as an option, Active Park Assist uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot.
Active Park Assist is enabled by Ford’s advanced EPAS technology. In addition to helping with parallel parking, EPAS improves fuel economy up to 5%, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing steering performance compared with traditional hydraulic powered-assisted steering systems.
|The new AJ-V6D. Click to enlarge.|
Jaguar is introducing a new 3.0-liter diesel engine—the AJ-V6D Gen III—in two power levels in its XF Diesel S sedan for the European market. The new V6 engine, derived from the 2.7-liter diesel, improves fuel economy by 12% and produces 10% less CO2 (179 g/km) than the 2.7L, while increasing power by 33%. The new 3.0L engines are Euro-5 compliant.
The 275PS (271 hp, 202 kW) version delivers 600 Nm of torque, accelerates the sedan from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and has combined fuel economy of 35 mpg US (42 mpg UK, 6.7 L/100km)—a 12% improvement in fuel economy over the 2.7-liter V6 diesel. The engine is also available in a 240PS (237 hp, 177 kW) variant, with 16% more power and 15% more torque than the 2.7-liter diesel.
Nikkei. Convenience store chain operator Lawson Inc. plans to add 150 Mitsubishi i MiEV electric vehicles to its fleet in the summer of 2009. The company may add as many as 1,600 i MiEVs eventually, according to the report in the Nikkei.
|Warmest 50 years, color-coded by period. The inset shows the entire data range from 1850. Click to enlarge.|
Climate scientists at the UK’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia forecast the 2009 global temperature to be 14.44 °C—more than 0.4 °C above the long-term average. This would make 2009 warmer than 2008 (preliminarily pegged at 14.3 °C, the tenth-warmest on a record dating back to 1850); the warmest since 2005 (14.48 °C); and one of the top-five warmest years on record, despite continued cooling of huge areas of the tropical Pacific Ocean.
The 2009 forecast includes an updated decadal forecast using a Met Office climate model. This indicates a rapid return of global temperature to the long-term warming trend, with an increasing probability of record temperatures after 2009.
The frequency of extremely high clouds in Earth’s tropics—the type associated with severe storms and rainfall—is increasing as a result of global warming, according to a study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Beginning 1 January, every 2009 model year and newer car sold in California will be required to carry a label that clearly ranks the vehicle’s environmental impact.
December 30, 2008
On the heels of its approval as a bank holding company (earlier post) and a $5-billion infusion from the US Treasury (earlier post), GMAC Financial Services will immediately resume auto financing for a broader spectrum of US customers as a result of the expanded access to funding as a bank holding company.
Study Finds Biodiesel Blends with Marine Fuel Can Improve Thermal Efficiency and Reduce CO Emissions; NOx and CO2 Emissions Increase
|Brake thermal efficiency (top) and fuel consumption (bottom) of 100% biodiesel, 100% marine fuel, and three biodiesel-marine fuel blends. Click to enlarge. Adopted from Gökalp (2008), Credit: ACS|
Blending biodiesel with marine fuel can improve the brake thermal efficiency (BTE) of a diesel engine and reduce CO emissions, although it increases fuel consumption, according to a study by researchers at Sakarya University and Kocaeli University in Turkey. Use of biodiesel increased NOx emissions and slightly increased CO2 emissions (measuring actual CO2 out, not factoring in the renewable character of the fuel) in the study.
The results were among the findings of a larger study on the effects on emissions characteristics and first- and second-law efficiencies of pure soy biodiesel and three different biodiesel blends with standard No. 2 diesel and marine fuels in a diesel engine. A paper on the work was published online 24 December in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.