India is promising to invest billions to encourage the switch to electric vehicles, but July's massive blackout throws this plan into question. Meanwhile in America, cars will be more efficient, but also cost more when 54.5 MPG becomes the rule in 2025. Honda and MUGEN team up on a racing CR-Z.
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In researching the “Cost of 54.5 MPG,” I came across an article in OilPrice.com that warned of all sorts of dire consequences if future U.S. administrations try to implement the new federal mandate. The author concluded, “We need policies to enhance, not impede, the domestic suppliers of this irreplaceable liquid fuel.” That fuel being petroleum, of course, insinuating that the federal government (i.e. the Obama Administration) is impeding oil and gas companies in drilling for crude, which isn’t the case. Drilling is up 13% the past three years compared to the Bush Administration’s last three years, according to the U.S. Interior Department. [See “Falsities Regarding Oil Production Under Obama”]

Among the things I took exception to in the article was the presumption that the solution was more oil and gas, which is tragically myopic on multiple fronts. In this edition, we look at several alternatives to using more petroleum: real people using solar energy to run their cars in California, technologies to easily achieve more than 55 mpg, and options for not needing to own a car, in the first place, a trend that I seeing spreading in the coming decades.

Most of them still own a gasoline-powered automobile. Most of those sit parked, unused. The ‘them’ are owners of electric cars in California, some 96% of whom drive the Nissan LEAF. And why are they not using their gasoline-burners? Because their electric cars are proving to be more than adequate for their daily driving needs, according to a survey of some 1,419 EV drivers in California. The study, entitled California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Survey and conducted by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), offers a pretty comprehensive snapshot of who the early adapters are in the Golden State and how they are using their vehicles. The next two pages are an infograph that highlights the key observations of the survey.

Californians own more than 12,000 plug-in vehicles, which represent 35% of EVs in the nation; and as of July 2012, another 1,000 EVs are joining the fleet each month. While these numbers remain relatively small in terms of their impact on the state’s grid, understanding how these vehicles are being used, especially when and where they are being charged, is critical to planning for future growth.


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