Archive for the ‘gas cars’ Category


Could government green buying simulate the economy?

November 21, 2008

The Daily Kos (and other places too) recommended the government replace it’s mamoth fleet of ICE cars with Chevy Volts instead of dumping a huge bailout in their laps.  That would 1) stimulate the demand for US hybrids, 2) support the automaker with legitimate revenue, and 3) improve the government fleet’s MPG.

I’ve an advocate of this approach to promoting green tech (see my earlier post about School Solar) because it allows markets to develop.  Unfortunately, the companies most likely to have solutions are not equipped to navigate the bureaucracy need to do business with the government.  For example, Texas has funds to install solar at school but the money goes unspent because solar installers are not on school bid lists!

Here are 10 programs that would generate more tax revenue (to pay off ill conceived bailouts) and/or simulate critical US technology sectors:

  1. carbon tax (gas is cheap now, let’s act before people forget about high prices)
  2. convert trucks to natural gas (ala T Boone Pickens)
  3. energy neutral for schools and military bases in 5 years
  4. require national time-of-use billing by utilities including tax-by-time-of-use
  5. national passenger rail on dedicated tracks – free up freight lines for freight and make passenger trains faster
  6. nuclear plant design standardization & construction
  7. implement LED lighting in all government buildings (not those toxic CFLs!)
  8. legislate tele-commuting / commuting carbon footprint reduction
  9. enable cities to implement pay for car entry policies
  10. eliminate corn ethanol as a fuel

MPG estimates are NOT linear: please replace your SUV now

June 20, 2008

NPR did an interesting report about bad MPG analysis based on research from a Duke Professor (my alma mater) . The crux of the report is that small MPG improvements (e.g. +5 MPG) at the bottom have a much bigger impact on actual fuel used ($$$) than the same improvement at the top. So replacing a 30 MPG car with a 35 MPG car is a much smaller real consumption difference than replacing a 15 MPG one for 20 MPG.

This is not surprising. If fact, it’s painfully obvious if you present the data as a percentage (33% vs 17%) but we’ve gotten so used to looking at the just the MPG #s.

So, take everything back to $ for your estimations and you’ll be fine. That same analysis may point you away from a hybrid into a small ICE. But now we’re assuming that you can make a logic based decision about buying a car. Most of the research out there says that car buying is a emotional decision for most of us.

Note: cross posted to