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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Car Gas Economy, Hybrids, All-Electric and Ethanol

America is playing around with vehicles, oil, moonshine and climate change. Federal car gasoline economy standards are 27.5 miles per gallon and the current energy bill wants to raise that to about 36 mpg. Will not happen. John Dingell is Chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee and he believes increased standards will hurt Detroit. And he represents Detroit.

Hybrids still use gasoline so such vehicles will reduce but will not eliminate carbon dioxide and smog forming emissions. All electrics still have lithium ion battery technology hurdles to overcome before becoming commonly available. The batteries do not like heat. Think laptops spontaneously combusting around heat.

And ethanol will create more smog because it produces more nitrogen oxides, a component of smog. The 10 percent ethanol additive decreases mileage by about 3% according to some estimates. Congress wants to use the current energy bill to increase the 2005 Energy Policy Act requirement of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol as the oxygenate additive to 36 billion gallons by 2022. There is also a 54 cent per gallon tariff on imported ethanol to protect domestic ethanol profits. Ethanol is also suffering from overproduction, which has led to a glut and low prices at the same time ethanol refiners are paying more for corn to produce ethanol.

Yet none of these measures will significantly reduce global warming, our dependence on imported oil or smog. And we hate sounding like gloom and doom deep ecology eco extremists. But we thought you should know.

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