by Michael Sivak. Recently, the amount of retail e-commerce in the United States increased rapidly in terms of both the absolute volume and the percentage of all sales. For example, retail e-commerce sales during the fourth quarter of 2007 totaled $36.2 billion (in current dollars), or 3.5% of all retail... Read more →


In January 2019, the Chinese market saw 253% more nickel deployed in passenger EV batteries than the same month the year prior, according to a model-by-model build-up using Adamas Intelligence’s EV Battery Capacity and Battery Metals Tracker. The accelerated deployment of battery nickel in China, due primarily to an ongoing... Read more →


SEC charges Volkswagen AG, former CEO Winterkorn with defrauding bond investors during emissions fraud

The US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Volkswagen AG, two of its subsidiaries, and its former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for defrauding US investors, raising billions of dollars through the corporate bond and fixed income markets while making a series of deceptive claims about the environmental impact of the company’s “clean... Read more →


Allison+Partners report suggests a shift from car culture to mobility culture

A new report from Allison+Partners, a global marketing and communications agency, suggests that changing definitions of transportation and an influx of new mobility solutions are paving the way for the birth of a new culture—the mobility culture. Resulting from the intersection of transportation and technology, this cultural shift will be... Read more →


Adamas Intelligence: China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018

According to a new report from Adamas Intelligence, China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018. The report, Rare Earth Recap 2018: Global Production, Trade and Prices, provides an overview of global primary and secondary production by country, oxide (or oxide equivalent) and value... Read more →


In 2018, 93% of all passenger BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs sold globally used permanent magnet (PM) traction motors, an increase of 1% over 2017 penetration rates, according to a model-by-model build-up using Adamas Intelligence’s “EV Motor Power and Motor Metals Tracker”. A PM traction motor has NdFeB permanent magnets mounted... Read more →


CARB fines major online automotive parts retailer $1M for selling illegal aftermarket parts in California; ~4,000 emissions violations

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that AZAA Investments, Inc., formerly known as AutoAnything, Inc., paid $1 million to resolve violations of the California Health and Safety Code and Vehicle Code related to the sale of illegal aftermarket performance auto parts in California. Although the former AutoAnything, Inc. was... Read more →


Federal agencies release framework for advancing the bioeconomy

The federal Biomass Research and Development (BR&D) Board unveiled a multi-agency strategy to accelerate innovative technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources for affordable biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework was developed by the B&RD Board—an interagency collaborative which is co-chaired by the US Department of Agriculture... Read more →


The $32-Trillion Push To Disrupt The Entire Oil Industry

by Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com. Global oil and gas companies are increasingly facing an uphill battle as global warming policies are taking their toll. Most analysts and market watchers are focusing on peak oil demand scenarios, but the reality could be much darker. International oil companies (IOCs) are likely to... Read more →


2018 marked a record year for the sale of battery-powered electric vehicles, according to data from JATO Dynamics. Passenger electric cars recorded 1.26 million sales throughout the year, up by 74% (about 1.5% of total global sales). It was one of the highest increases among all car categories on the... Read more →


BMW Group and Daimler AG invest more than €1B in joint mobility services provider

The BMW Group and Daimler AG are pooling their mobility services to create a new global player providing sustainable urban mobility for customers. The two companies are investing more than €1 billion (US$1.13 billion) in total to develop and more closely intermesh their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and... Read more →


CU Boulder study: routine household activities generate air quality on par with major polluted city

Cooking, cleaning and other routine household activities generate significant levels of volatile and particulate chemicals inside the average home, leading to indoor air quality levels on par with a polluted major city, according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. Furthermore, airborne chemicals that originate inside... Read more →


INRIX: congestion costs each American 97 hours, $1,348 a year

INRIX, Inc. published the 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard that identified and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 200 cities, across 38 countries. According to the study, Americans lost an average of 97 hours a year due to congestion, costing them nearly $87 billion in 2018, an average of... Read more →


Americans collectively spent $388 billion on gasoline in 2018, averaging to 34 million fill-ups a day. According to a study by GasBuddy, a smartphone app connecting drivers with the Perfect Pit Stop, the necessity, perception, and price of gasoline adversely impacts Americans across all age groups and income brackets, with... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This article is the latest publication in a series examining recent changes in various aspects of motorization in the United States. The focus here is on distance driven per person and per household, as opposed to the absolute distance driven (which depends, in part, on the continuously... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. In a 2011 article, Brandon Schoettle and I showed that the proportion of young Americans aged 16 to 39 years with a driver’s license decreased substantially from 1983 to 2008. (In contrast, the proportion of older persons with a driver’s license increased during the same period.) This... Read more →


by Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com. It’s been a decade of lows for commodities after posting 7 declines in 11 years, but we’ve seriously underestimated lithium. It’s back with a vengeance in 2019. The commodities market endured yet another annus horribilis, with just four commodities—natural gas, uranium, cocoa and wheat—recording any... Read more →


China will drive the majority of growth in the crude oil refining industry in Asia between 2018 and 2023, contributing 44% of Asia’s crude oil refining capacity in 2023, according to GlobalData. The company’s report: ‘China Crude Oil Refinery Outlook to 2023’ finds that the total refining capacity of China... Read more →


Westport Fuel Systems appoints former Achates Power head as new CEO

Alternative fuel engine company Westport Fuel Systems Inc. has appointed David Johnson as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Johnson most recently was the CEO of opposed-piston engine company Achates Power. Nancy S. Gougarty has decided to retire as Westport’s Chief Executive Officer and is stepping down from the Board of... Read more →


Volkswagen, Ford launch global alliance starting with medium pickups and commercial vans; exploring EVs, AVs and mobility services

Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Company announced the first formal agreements in a global alliance. Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022. The alliance will drive significant... Read more →


Volkswagen of America, Inc., unveiled the new 2020 Passat at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today. Together with the Beetle (21.5 million units) and Golf (35 million units), the Passat is one of the three most successful Volkswagen models, with global sales of more than 29 million... Read more →


DOE to award up to $88M for oil and natural gas recovery research

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy announced up to $88 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects enhancing technologies for oil and natural gas recovery under two separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects selected under... Read more →


US regular retail gasoline prices averaged $2.72 per gallon (gal) in 2018, 30 cents/gal (13%) higher than in 2017 and 57 cents/gal higher than in 2016. However, a rapid price decline beginning in October led to US average regular gasoline prices ending the year lower than they began for the... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This analysis was conducted to examine changes in traffic volume on rural and urban roads in the United States from 1991 through 2016. The raw data for the analysis were lane length (which takes into account all roadway lanes of travel) and distance traveled, both from the... Read more →


Under current policies, home energy storage systems would also often increase carbon emissions, according to a study by a team of researchers at the University of California San Diego published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The researchers selected 16 of the largest utilities companies in the country and... Read more →


The future of the US Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change, according to a new congressionally mandated report... Read more →


Volkswagen brand to spend more than €9B on electrification over next 5 years; expansion of platform model

In total, the Volkswagen brand will invest more than €11 billion in e-mobility, digitalization, autonomous driving and mobility services from 2019 to 2023, of which more than €9 billion (US$10.2 billion) will be spent on Volkswagen’s electrification offensive. The brand currently has two fully-electric cars in its program. This number... Read more →


NZ study shows cycle lanes and walkways cut car use, reduce emissions

Researchers in New Zealand have shown that investing in cycle lanes and walkways encourages people to drive less and cuts carbon emissions. The researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and Victoria University studied the impact of new cycling and walking paths built in New Plymouth and Hastings in 2011.... Read more →


A new European Joint Research Center (JRC) analysis on the deployment of electric vehicles (EV) in Europe concludes that although the sector evolved significantly between 2010 and 2017, progress is still small to be characterized as full-scale commercialization. In 2010, electric vehicles still represented a niche market. Since then, the... Read more →


GM restructuring; changing product development, production; 5 NA & 2 international plants shutting next year; staff reduction

General Motors on Monday outlined a series of major restructuring steps that it said would accelerate its transformation for the future, building on the strategy it laid out in 2015 to strengthen its core business, to capitalize on the future of personal mobility and to drive significant cost efficiencies. These... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This analysis examines the recent changes in the percentage of people who work at home and changes in time spent commuting to work in the United States and in the 15 largest US cities. The source of the data is the American Community Survey—an ongoing survey by... Read more →


Lancet GBD 2017 finds halt to improvements in global health

The Lancet’s Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), first published more than 10 years ago, is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. It describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national and regional levels. Since its inception, every new... Read more →


Nearly half of the world’s electric vehicles are in 25 cities, according to a new briefing by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). As of the end of 2017, these 25 cities were home to nearly 1.4 million of the world’s 3.1 million passenger electric vehicles. These 25 cities,... Read more →


Hyundai Motor, BTIRDI to establish $100M hydrogen energy fund in China; foundation for fuel cell vehicle market

Hyundai Motor has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Beijing-Tsinghua Industrial R&D Institute (BTIRDI) to establish a Hydrogen Energy Fund. Under this agreement, the South Korean automaker and its Chinese counterpart expect to strengthen their influence in the hydrogen ecosystem while accelerating the advent of a Hydrogen Society.... Read more →


Consumer Reports: Tesla and other domestic brands take big steps backwards in reliability rankings

Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Tesla are among the brands that tumbled in Consumer Reports’ (CR) latest Annual Auto Reliability Survey, which collected data from its members about their experiences with more than half a million vehicles. Every domestic automaker landed in the bottom-half of CR’s latest reliability rankings, which covers... Read more →


Ford reorganizes Asia Pacific markets; establishes stand-alone China business

Ford Motor Company is reorganizing its Asia Pacific operations. As part of those actions, which include hiring a new President and CEO (Anning Chen) for Ford China, Ford China is elevated to a stand-alone business unit reporting to Ford global headquarters. Peter Fleet, president Ford Asia Pacific, will facilitate the... Read more →


Caterpillar makes strategic investment in Fisker, with interest in solid-state battery tech

Fisker Inc., an e-mobility and technology company developing electric vehicles and proprietary solid-state battery technologies, announced a strategic investment from Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric... Read more →


Global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Efficiency companies in the first 9 months (9M) of 2018 was 8% higher at more than $1.3 billion compared to the $1.2 billion raised in 9M 2017, according to the latest Mercom Capital... Read more →


Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services arem of Daimler AG, has made a strategic investment in Soul Machines—a New Zealand company re-imagining how humans connect with machines—further to develop the combined use of artificial and emotional intelligence. Daimler is the first premium brand in the automotive sector to... Read more →


Global clean energy investment was $67.8 billion in the third quarter of 2018, down 6% from the same period last year, according to the latest Clean Energy Investment Trends report from research company Bloomberg NEF (BNEF). The slip in the July-September quarter leaves clean energy investment for the year so... Read more →


Petrochemicals—components derived from oil and gas that are used in all sorts of daily products such as plastics, fertilizers, packaging, clothing, digital devices, medical equipment, detergents and tires—are becoming the largest drivers of global oil demand, in front of cars, planes and trucks, according to a major study by the... Read more →


Transportation sector stakeholders launch Veloz in California to accelerate adoption of EVs

In California, public and private stakeholders in the transportation sector launched a new organization—Veloz—to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Its first project, “Electric For All,” is the largest multi-stakeholder, multi-million dollar public awareness campaign in North America. Veloz also announced major commitments from utilities and Electrify America. Veloz members include:... Read more →


Ford, Uber and Lyft to share data through SharedStreets platform

Ford Motor Company, Uber and Lyft have committed to support to SharedStreets, a new data platform designed to make it easier for the private sector to work with cities around the world and leverage data to improve urban mobility. At the heart of SharedStreets is a linear referencing system which... Read more →


Musk settles with SEC, to step down as Tesla Chairman; $40M in combined fines

Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of Tesla, Inc., has agreed to settle the securities fraud charge brought by the SEC against him last week. (Earlier post.) The SEC also today charged Tesla with failing to have required disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets, a charge that Tesla has... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. The usual focus of analyses of road transportation is on vehicle-distance traveled, without taking into account the number of passengers in the vehicle. In contrast, air-transportation analyses typically include passenger-distance traveled among the variables of interest. The present analysis examines the changes in passenger-distance traveled in both... Read more →


Gallup poll finds decrease in percentage of US commuters driving themselves to work

Although the vast majority of American workers remain reliant on cars to get to work, the percentage has decreased. In 2007, 85% of Americans drove themselves to work and 6% rode with someone else. By 2018, while the 6% of Americans who carpool has remained constant, there has been a... Read more →


California legislature passes SB 100: 100% renewable and zero-carbon energy by 2045

The California Assembly has passed Senate Bill 100—a bill to move California to 100% renewable and zero-carbon energy by 2045. This bill—known as The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018—increases the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 50% by 2030 to 60% and creates the policy of planning to... Read more →