Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy

Hybrid cars have increased in popularity as of late.Nows the time to support alternative energy solutions and technologies.

Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy


"Hybrid Nation"

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ethanol executive visits Barbados

The Barbados energy sector got a first hand account today of Brazil’s successful transition from gasoline to ethanol-powered vehicles.

The occasion was a meeting between local energy officials and visiting executive Manfred Wefers of Coimex, an ethanol exporter from Brazil.

Mr. Wefers says ethanol is about 40-45 per cent cheaper than gas and it is possible for Barbados to reap the similar benefits.

Charles Briggs, manager of the local cane industry restructuring project, says the Barbados plan is to mix ethanol with gas.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Race For Clean Cars Revs Up

Christian Science Monitor) This article was written by Mark Clayton.

A global competition to build cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars is moving into a new and serious phase. In the past two weeks:

Honda announced a new-generation diesel engine with so few emissions that it meets even California's tough clean-air standards, while getting 30 percent better mileage than an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle. It plans to sell it in the U.S. in 2009.

General Motors said it would lease more than 100 hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles by next fall and sell them in volume by 2011.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ethanol fuels energy security, cleaner air and jobs

As New York drivers pay higher gasoline bills, a proposed ethanol plant in Buffalo would create great new jobs, new alternative fuel and new economic life for the waterfront. Ethanol saves lives, jobs and money from an environmental point of view.
Ethanol is a homegrown fuel that replaces foreign oil, one of the dirtiest chemicals in the country, according to Environmental Defense's Web site, www.scorecard.org. Ethanol plants are much cleaner than oil refineries.

Ethanol also reduces ozone pollution from cars and trucks. Pollution went down when the state of New York replaced MTBE blends with 10 percent ethanol (E10) on Jan. 1, 2004. In the six years leading up to the use of E10, New York averaged 17 EPA 8-hour ozone exceedance days per year. In the two years since the switch to E10, New York has averaged 5.5 exceedance days per year, a 68 percent reduction.

In gasoline ethanol replaces benzene, a dangerous cancer-causing chemical, to lower the cancer risk. This is important because New York air is 1,900 times too polluted with cancer-causing chemicals, according to Scorecard.org. Ethanol also can clean up diesel fuel, another dangerous cancer pollutant. Ethanol also reduces soot particulate matter from cars and trucks, making them safer still.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Long Island Town Gives Perks To Hybrid Drivers

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- Huntington residents who drive hybrid cars will get special treatment from the town.

The Huntington Town Council is expected to approve a local law Tuesday night giving the electric-gasoline hybrid cars and other alternative fuel vehicles free parking.

The parking would include free parking in the town's four commuter lots at train stations, at all town parking meters, and free beach passes to Huntington's beaches.The law will take effect Jan. 1. more on this story

Monday, September 25, 2006

Chevron, Los Alamos to Study U.S. Oil Shale Deposits (Update1)

By Stephen Voss

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, said it started a joint research project with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to study hydrocarbon reserves trapped in rock formations known as oil shales.

Oil shales are sedimentary rocks that contain a high proportion of organic matter that can be converted into crude oil or natural gas. The research will be based on formations in the Piceance Basin in Colorado and experiment with underground processing techniques that might mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, Chevron said in a statement.

``Today's unconventional energy sources, such as oil shales and other tight formations, will become part of the core energy supplies in the future, and our alliance can play a significant role in unlocking the potential of these resources,'' Donald Paul, Chevron's chief technology officer, said in the statement.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the U.S. holds 2 trillion barrels of oil shale resources, with about 1.5 trillion barrels located in the western states, primarily Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Chevron said.

more on this story

Thursday, September 21, 2006

GM Delivers Fuel Cell Vehicle to Army

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army on Thursday became the first customer of General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet Equinox fuel-cell vehicle.

In a Capitol Hill ceremony, GM vice president Larry Burns delivered the vehicle to Maj. Gen. Roger Nadeau, commander of the Army research, development and engineering command. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who helped secure about $4.6 million for the project over the last two years, also attended.
The Equinox is a four-passenger truck with 186 miles of petroleum-free operating range, GM says. The Army will use for it for non-tactical transportation purposes, primarily on military bases in Virginia and California.

Levin said the vehicle highlighted the domestic automobile's industry work in moving toward fuel cell vehicles, "and the Army provides an important test bed for this technology." The Senate Defense Appropriations bill includes $3 million for the program in fiscal 2007, although the amount could change before the federal budget is approved, according to a spokeswoman for Levin, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The fuel-cell market holds great potential, automaker executives say. Nearly every automaker is conducting tests of hydrogen-powered vehicles, which have received support from a five-year, $1.2 billion program to fund hydrogen research unveiled by President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address.

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Bumps on the road for U.S. ethanol vehicles

By Timothy Gardner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brad Beldon bought a 2007 flexible-fuel Chevrolet Suburban that runs on either gasoline or a mostly ethanol fuel blend, thinking it would be good for the environment.

But Beldon, of San Antonio, Texas, can only find two service stations that carry E85, a fuel made from 85 percent corn ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Both stations are clear across town, and he said he doubts whether he'd ever buy another flex-fuel car.

"You can only go so far in doing the right thing, but if you can't get the fuel, it doesn't help you much," said Beldon, who owns a roofing business.

What's more, he learned only after buying the sport utility vehicle that while E85 can cost less at the pump, it actually costs 20 percent more than gasoline because its lower energy content cuts fuel efficiency.

Driving flex-fuel sports utility vehicles on E85 15,000 miles a year can cost consumers an additional $400 per year, according to the Department of Energy.

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Locale hit by Katrina oil spill empty a year later

By Erwin Seba

CHALMETTE, Louisiana, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Eileen Schwartz stands on the sidewalk in front of her one-story house with new, blue siding, refurbished after the biggest environmental disaster created by Hurricane Katrina.

Looking down the street of abandoned houses and overgrown lawns in Chalmette, Louisiana, she explains what it's like to live where a year ago crude oil covered pavement, grass, porches, floors and furniture.

"It's like living in the country," Schwartz, 36, said. "You're still in the city, but it's quiet, like in the country."

Schwartz's home is one of 1,800 estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be in the square mile (2.6 sq km) area flooded by 25,110 barrels (3,415 tonnes) of crude oil from Murphy Oil Co.'s (MUR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) 120,000 barrel-per-day refinery about a mile (1.6 km) to the east.

Floodwaters forced across St. Bernard Parish, about 10 miles (16 km) east of downtown New Orleans, by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, floated a partially filled oil storage tank 33 feet (10 metres) off its base, releasing about a quarter of the crude inside.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Ethanol production set to grow in Western Canada

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Ethanol production in Canada's largest grain-growing province will double in 2007, a spokesman for Terra Grain Fuels Inc. said on Monday.

Terra Grain Fuels' plant, valued at more than C$100 million ($90 million), is now under construction in Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan, and is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2007, said President Tim LaFrance.

The plant will use 400,000 tonnes of feed wheat and produce 150 million litres (40 million U.S. gallons) of ethanol annually, creating about 40 jobs, LaFrance said.

Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is fuel produced from renewable crops such as wheat, sugar and corn. It can be blended with gasoline to ease demand on fossil fuels.

Ethanol demand is set to increase as the Canadian government wants 5 percent of transport fuel in the country to be from renewable sources by 2010, which is expected to require 3 billion litres of biofuel.

LaFrance's privately held Vertex Energy Limited of Calgary, Alberta, and the Drummond Group of Regina, Saskatchewan, are behind the development of Terra Grain Fuels
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Damaged BP platform ups oil prices

Oil prices rose on Monday after BP said output from a massive Gulf of Mexico platform damaged by last year's Hurricane Dennis would not be restored until mid-2008, at the earliest.

Analysts said the BP news did not cause the rally by itself, although it may have magnified a technical bounce that began on Friday following nearly two straight weeks of declines.

"You can't go down every day," said BNP Paribas Commodity Futures broker Tom Bentz. "We needed to recover a little bit."

BP's Thunder Horse platform, which can produce up to 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and 200 million cubic feet a day of natural gas, had been expected to be running by early next year. But the London-based company said new sub sea equipment failed during a test and it will need to be rebuilt
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State buys more hybrid than standard gas-powered cars

For the first time, the state's public agencies bought more hybrid cars than standard gasoline-powered cars in the past 2006 model year, according to the state Department of General Administration.

In the 2006 model year, the state bought 222 Toyota Prius models compared with 218 gas-powered vehicles through state contracts managed by the general administration department. State agencies also bought 206 Ford Escape hybrids and 390 vehicles that can run on gasoline and ethanol.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

GM vice chairman wants mass produced hydrogen cars by 2011

Associated Press
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles could hit showrooms as early as 2011, General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Thursday.

Calling the effort a "moon shot," Lutz said it is vital the world's largest auto maker commits to the new technology, so it can win back its reputation as an innovator and design leader.

"This is to re-establish our technological credentials with the American public and the American media," said Lutz, who spoke at the military base where the company was delivering a hydrogen concept car that will be test-driven by Marines in coming months.

"And it has a huge re-moralizing effect in the company as our people see how serious we are," he added.

Up to $9 billion has been freed up as a result of General Motors' recent restructuring, Lutz said. The company now has more money to invest in hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars, which will form an important part of the auto giant's long-term economic recovery plan.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Hybrid huggers:Loyal drivers stay fiercely true to their 'green' cars

They form clubs, hold conventions, and yes, even make movies about their obsession.
No, they're not Trekkies or Wayniacs, they're owners of "green" cars, specifically hybrids and electric vehicles. They flood Internet chatrooms and host festivals dedicated to their beloved automobiles.

It's a love affair between man and machine.

Retired mechanical engineer Edmund Leland of North Andover collected Ford Model T's for years. But when it came time to choose his everyday car, he turned to Ford's latest model, the Escape hybrid SUV.

"It's like driving Canobie Lake Dodgems or a gold cart," said Leland, with a certain amount of glee. "If you stop, it goes to sleep. It shuts off automatically, and you don't have to start it up again."

When he does stop, whether at the corner store or a highway rest area, other drivers always ask him the same question: "Do you like it?"

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Biomass ethanol to fuel Honda?

Honda Motor on Thursday said it has co-developed the world's first practical process for producing ethanol out of cellulosic biomass in what would be a big step toward using nonedible plant materials as fuel.

Ethanol is a major source of motor fuel in Brazil and is gaining popularity in the United States, but the renewable fuel is produced mainly from sugar cane and corn, raising the issue of balancing supply against the use of the crops as food.

Honda and partner Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, or RITE, a nonprofit entity set up by the Japanese government and private enterprises, said the new method allows large volumes of ethanol to be produced from widely available waste wood, leaves and other so-called soft biomass.

Current technology for converting cellulosic biomass yielded impractically low levels of ethanol due to the interference of fermentation inhibitors with the function of microorganisms that convert sugar into alcohol. The fermentation inhibitors are formed primarily during the process of separating cellulose and hemicellulose from soft biomass.
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Oil Prices Rise in Asian Trading

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Sep 14, 2006 (AP)— Oil prices rose in Asia Thursday, extending overnight gains after the United States reported a drop in the nation's crude inventories as the International Monetary Fund predicted prices could again rise and impact global growth.

Elsewhere, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad maintained his country's standoff with the West over its nuclear enrichment program could still be resolved through dialogue, but asked for an unspecified number of conditions for negotiations.
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Google.org Creating For Profit Hybrid Cars

In a New York Times article named Philanthropy Google’s Way: Not the Usual, describes how Google.org is actually a for-profit company, unlike the "Google Foundation" which is part of Google.org. Google.org is actually "consulting with hybrid-engine scientists and automakers" to design a new "an ultra-fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid car engine that runs on ethanol, electricity and gasoline." I guess we can call it the Google Car? The goal of this Google car is to have these cars exceeds 100 miles per gallon. I wonder what colors these cars will come in?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Experimental Danish ethanol plant built

LYNGBY, Denmark, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A pilot ethanol plant has been built at the Danish Technical University in Lyngby, Denmark, to convert agricultural bi-products into the fuel.

The breakthrough technology is designed to solve the problem of using foodstuffs to create ethanol -- a method criticized as being neglectful towards the world's undernourished population, the financial newspaper Børsen reported.

The pilot plant will use research provided by the firm Biogasol to use agricultural bi-products such as straw and maize stalks and leaves to produce the ethanol.

The plant's operations will provide potential investors with assurance the method actually works outside the laboratory, Professor Birgitte Ahring, Biogasol founder and co-owner, told the newspaper.

Ahring said financing is needed to construct a larger plant to produce at least 10 million liters (2.6 million gallons) of ethanol per year to make the fuel economically viable.

Such a facility would cost about $34 million (200 million kroner), with the money coming from both public and private sources, Ahring said.

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Oil Prices Up After Seven Days of Losses

Oil prices rose Wednesday, reversing seven straight days of declines after the U.S. government reported a decrease in the nation's crude inventories.

Crude futures stayed under $64 a barrel, though, due to a large rise in heating oil inventories and the perception among traders that threats to supplies - ranging from Atlantic hurricanes to Middle East politics - have eased.

U.S. crude inventories fell 2.6 million barrels to 327.7 million barrels last week, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. They're still 5.6 percent above year-ago levels and above the upper end of the average range for this time of year.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

8 Reasons to Buy a Hybrid Car

They're fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, and cool to drive. Could a hybrid be right for your family?
By Alan Rider

Driving one of the new high-tech hybrids — cars that combine the power of a gas engine with an electric motor to reduce fuel consumption and emissions — may seem like something only an environmentalist or an engineer could get revved up about. The fact is, however, that a new generation of hybrid cars and trucks due to go on sale within the next 12 months offer a number of very practical advantages for families, from saving money to helping save the planet. Many experts are predicting 2004 will be the year that hybrids turn the corner from eco-friendly novelty to mainstream transportation.

There's never been a better time to consider a switch to one of these green, clean, gas-saving machines. Here, eight reasons a hybrid may be perfect for your family.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Gas prices tumble 21 cents

(CNN) -- Gasoline prices plunged more than 21 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to a national average of $2.66 amid an abundant supply of fuel at service stations, a national survey said Sunday.

Lower demand for gas with the end of the summer driving season and a drop in crude oil prices combined to send prices downward across the United States, according to Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the "Lundberg Survey."Lundberg, whose survey tallies prices every two to three weeks at about 5,000 gas stations in all 50 states, said gas prices were "punctured."

The average price of a gallon of gas has fallen nearly 37 cents a gallon in the last four weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey taken on Sept. 8.

The drop means prices are 35 cents lower than a year ago in the days following Hurricane Katrina, which disrupted of the oil industry along the Gulf coast.

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Drop in Oil Prices May Help Extend Wall Street Rebound

NEW YORK — A drop of 4 percent in crude oil prices this week could help Wall Street extend Friday's rebound, but upcoming inflation data may renew worries about the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates.

A major U.S. economic report, the Consumer Price Index for August, will be released on Friday, along with August data on industrial production and capacity utilization.

Investors will watch those reports for clues on whether the Fed will keep rates steady at its meeting this month or resume its raising cycle. Retail data for August are also scheduled this week and could provide a better picture of back-to-school sales.

But crude oil's decline for five straight sessions last week, falling as low as $66 a barrel on Friday, could help stocks start the week on a positive note
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After ethanol, next focus is hybrid cars

NEW DELHI: With the government’s alternate fuel programme for doping petrol with ethanol set to go national from November 1, experts feel that the next stage will be to make alternate fuels and hybrid technology for automobiles commercially viable.

Ethanol suppliers, comprising distillers and sugar companies, have been forced to agree to competitive bidding when it comes to supplying ethanol to oil companies for 5% blending with petrol. “Ethanol, on an average, costs about Rs 21.50 a litre which is what we are expecting the distillers to quote,” says one oil company official.

Buyers such as Indian Oil Corporation and other oil refiners may not mind the price though issues of taxation on ethanol, considered industrial alcohol in states, still exist. When it comes to biodiesel, currently being produced from non-edible oilseeds for blending with diesel, taxation is little better.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oil prices fall as summer driving season ends, steady OPEC production expected

WASHINGTON (AP) - Oil prices fell Wednesday with the close of the high-demand summer driving season in the U.S. and as traders expect OPEC, which meets next week, to maintain current output levels.

Tropical storm Florence formed far out in the open Atlantic and could strengthen into a hurricane by the weekend, but forecasters said Wednesday it was too soon to tell if it would reach the United States.

Further easing supply concerns, Shell Exploration & Production Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, said its Mars platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina, is now pumping 190,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or 20 per cent more than before last summer's storm.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

PG&E plugs campaign for hybrid electric cars

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas and Electric Co. wants its 5.1 million customers in California to pressure car manufacturers to mass-produce electric vehicles that can be plugged right into a standard home socket.

Within the next three weeks, PG&E customers will receive in their September bills an insert asking them to sign an online petition at www.pluginpartners.org, a Web site designed by Plug-In Partners — a national group lobbying automakers to manufacture Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

“We want to be a green company,” PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said, adding that the company “promotes and champions causes that are environmentally friendly.”

While one may argue PG&E stands to gain with PHEV vehicles in circulation, Smith countered that PG&E “wouldn’t make any money from it.”

“The amount of money we make in a given year is regulated by the state Public Utilities Commission,” he said. “There’s a ceiling on that. That’s why we always encourage our customers to conserve energy.”

Today’s hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, use electricity generated by gasoline-fueled engines. A PHEV would cut a consumer’s gas cost down to $0.75 per gallon, advocates say
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

PG&E asks carmakers to hurry up on plug-in hybrids

LOS ANGELES, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is asking its 5.1 million customers to petition automakers to speed up development of plug-in electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles, California's largest utility said on Friday.

Along with their power and gas bills for September, PG&E customers will get a request to lobby the automakers.

PG&E and its parent, PG&E Corp. (PCG.N: Quote, Profile, Research), have joined with an Austin, Texas-based organization called "Plug-In Partners" that has set up an Internet petition drive to pressure U.S. and foreign automakers to make cars that can charge up by plugging in to a regular 120-volt household outlet.

"The petition basically says, 'If you build it, we will buy it,'" said PG&E vice president Bob Howard.story continued