Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

Move Over for Stopped Emergency Vehicles in Maryland

A new Maryland law went into effect on October 1, 2010. This law requires drivers to move over one lane, away from an emergency vehicle (police, ambulance, fire apparatus) on the side of the road with its red or blue lights flashing, and to slow down. The fine is $110.00 and two points for each emergency vehicle on the side of the road with flashing red/blue lights passed. For example, you come upon an accident scene on the left side of the road. There is a fire truck, an ambulance, and three police cars – all with flashing red/blue lights – at the scene. You continue pass the scene in the left lane at the posted speed. Your fine could be $550.00 plus 10 points. [Source: The Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2010]

If you passed the scene at a speed greater than the posted speed limit, an additional fine and points could be added for speeding and perhaps even reckless driving. 10 points means your license would be suspended for two years – in addition to a substantial increase in your auto insurance (30% – 50%) or forced to use the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) where you will pay at least 30% more than your current premium and must pay for a complete year all at once (no installment payments allowed) – you will remain in this category for three years.

Maryland Point System – This is in addition to any fines that are imposed and increases in automobile insurance premiums:

9 mph or less over the posted speed limit = 1 point

10 – 30 mph over the posted speed limit = 2 points (Except 20 mph or greater over a posted 65 mph limit = 5 points)

30 mph or more over the posted speed limit = 5 points

Reckless Driving = 6 points — can be added to the points assessed for speeding. For example, you are convicted of driving 20 mph over the posted 65 mph limit and reckless driving. The total points that could be awarded (in addition to fines) is 11 points. If you pass a fire truck, ambulance, and three police cars (all with flashing red/blue lights) on the side of the road while you are recklessly speeding down a road with a 65 mph speed limit and you fail to move at least one lane to the right and significantly slow below the speed limit, you could be awarded a total of 21 points! So, what happens?

When you accrue 5-7 points in a 2-year period, you are required to complete the Maryland Driver Improvement Program (driving school).

8-11 points within a 2-year period means your license is suspended for two years.

12 points gets your license revoked. After two years you can apply for a new license. In the example above, you could lose your license for four years and the cost of auto insurance would be high!



205mph Electric Hybrid Supercar from Jaguar

From The Daily Telegraph:

A sexy new 205mph Jaguar supercar that blends sporting looks and performance with the latest ‘green’ technology is set to rock the prestigious Paris Motor Show when it is officially unveiled today.

The new two-seater Jaguar C-X75 is a £200,000 electric hybrid vehicle uses hi-tech jet-turbine know-how from the aviation industry to sprint from rest to 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds and up to 100mph in just 5.5 seconds…

The new Jaguar dispenses with a conventional internal combustion engine.

Instead, powered by a lithium ion battery charged from the domestic mains, the new Jaguar can run with zero-emissions for up to 68 miles on four electric motors – one of which drives each of four wheels.

Then it can harness two rear-mounted super-efficient gas-turbines to generate the extra electric power it needs to give it an extended range of 560miles – enough to get it from London to Berlin on a single 60 litre tank-full.

And that is with minimal emissions of just 28g/km of carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas blamed for global warning and against which all UK cars are now taxed…

Read the rest (and see more great photos of this car).



Jersey Turnpike Buys System to Predict When You Will Be Sitting in Traffic

Via Bloomberg

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority said it hopes to begin alerting motorists to traffic jams — 10 minutes before they occur.

The agency, which manages the two main toll roads in the most densely populated U.S. state, approved the awarding of a $652,000 contract to En Pointe Technologies Inc.

The El Segundo, California-based company has a computer system that is designed to give drivers an early heads-up on developing traffic jams, to allow them more time to detour away from congestion, Brian Gorman, director of technology, told members of the authority’s board at their regular meeting today.

The system was tested on the 148-mile (238-kilometer) New Jersey Turnpike and the 173-mile Garden State Parkway, which stretches from Cape May to the New York state line. It predicted traffic with at least 90 percent accuracy, Gorman said. Motorists will be alerted to potential problems through electronic signage on the highways.

“We do have the ability to prevent congestion disruption,” Gorman said.

I have written similar software for the DC metro area, and it predicts traffic jams most Mondays through Fridays from 7:30am to 9:00am, and again from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.



Compendium Software Systems to Provide Fuel Conservation Technology for Trial Use on City of Sanford Vehicles

SANFORD, Fla. (July 12, 2010) — Compendium Software Systems, LLC was recently awarded a contract to install its FuelClinic.com® Fleet System fuel conservation and risk reduction technology on select City of Sanford vehicles on a trial basis.

Michael Bragg, president of Compendium Software Systems, LLC, said the Sanford Economic Development Office played a big role in shaping the agreement.

Compendium Software Systems’ FuelClinic.com® Fleet System closely records real-world driver behavior and provides data analysis and reporting.

“FuelClinic.com® Fleet System provides a fuel efficiency report card for drivers and vehicles that will enable the city’s fleet of vehicles to achieve maximum fuel efficiency while reducing fleet risk,” Bragg explained. “The goal is to show how FuelClinic.com® Fleet System can help the City save money by reducing the fuel consumption of normal fleet operations.”

Bragg said the trial project will be conducted in two phases. Each phase will include data collection and analysis, he said.

Bragg said installation of the monitoring equipment will commence in July.

Compendium Software Systems LLC is a client company of the UCF Business Incubation Program and headquartered at the Incubator on West First Street in downtown Sanford. Compendium specializes in advanced information systems for use in driver behavior analysis.



Oil Spill: The Urgency of Doing

We can boycott and punish BP for their crimes… and it is a crime. And on election day we can hold the government accountable for it’s dereliction of duty in this disaster, but the next set of derelicts we elect may be no better. In between we can day-dream of a future when all of our cars are electric and run on sunshine and windmills.

But time is short, and we can “do better” sooner. We can take meaningful action now, every day, starting today.

Leonardo da Vinci inspires me with this quote:

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

We must do.

I day-dream about the impact of 3/4 million people waking up tomorrow, starting to work, and quietly deciding that today they will not compete with the other drivers on the road for position. Today they will not race to the next stoplight. Today they will try to maintain more distance in front of them to allow a little coasting before braking. Today they will move to the middle or the right on the highway and slow down 5 or 10 MPH. This week those people will go an additional 25 or 50 miles on a single tank of gas – possibly more, maybe enough to skip a fill-up for a day or two.

If all 750,000 squeezed another 50 miles from a full tank of gas this week, that’s 37,500,000 “carbon-free” miles traveled. At $0.12/mile avg. cost that’s $4.5 million dollars saved – ($6/ea) to be saved or spent elsewhere. Repeat that process each week, and you see it can add up to significant numbers very quickly. And that’s ONLY considering 750,000 people – imagine what would happen if each of them told two friends about what they are doing and impressed them to try.

It’s easy to do. You can track your personal per-tank mileage by setting your trip odometer at each fillup. If you want better data, keep your receipts and use a notepad, a spreadsheet, or a free website like FuelClinic to track your MPG over time, and look for ways to improve your score (see links below for additional techniques).

We all feel the urgency. We know what to do. The only questions is – are we willing? If you are willing, then you must DO.

Learn more fuel-efficient driving techniques here:

http://www.fuelclinic.com
http://www.ecodrivingusa.com
http://www.fueleconomy.gov

Video: Together We Are More Powerful Than Oil



Weaning America off of Middle Eastern oil is a four-decade long unkept presidential promise.



Something Different: Patriotic Car Commercial

June 16, 2010 · Filed Under Automotive Industry, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, Movies & Video · Comment 



Military Continues to Test Alternative Aviation Bio-Fuels

Some additional information regarding how the DoD is exploring options to ween the military away from petroleum based fuels.

On Earth Day, 22 April, the US Navy conducted a test flight of an F/A-18 Super Hornet at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, run on a 50-percent mixture of a fuel refined from the crushed seeds of the flowering Camelina sativa plant. The flight of the Green Hornet, as it was called, followed an Air Force test a month earlier of an A-10C Thunderbolt II at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, fueled with a similar blend.

Both events had the purpose of testing the performance of biofuel/petroleum mixtures with an eye toward the eventual certification of the fuels for routine use. They also demonstrate the efforts of the Department of Defense to increase its use of renewable energy, not only for environmental reasons but also to protect the military from energy price fluctuations and dependence on overseas sources of petroleum.

The DoD spends $20 billion a year on energy and incurs $1.3 billion in additional costs for every $10 per barrel increase in the market price of oil, according to a report recently released by the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate. In addition to vulnerability to price fluctuations, the DoD’s “reliance on fossil fuels also compromises combat effectiveness by restricting mobility, flexibility and endurance on the battlefield,” said the report. “Transportation of fuel to the combat theater is a significant vulnerability as fuel convoys are targets in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Read the rest…

Source: ISN Security Watch



Pressure-cooking Algae into a Better Biofuel

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Heating and squishing microalgae in a pressure-cooker can fast-forward the crude-oil-making process from millennia to minutes.

University of Michigan professors are working to understand and improve this procedure in an effort to speed up development of affordable biofuels that could replace fossil fuels and power today’s engines.

They are also examining the possibility of other new fuel sources such as E. coli bacteria that would feed on waste products from previous bio-oil batches.

“The vision is that nothing would leave the refinery except oil. Everything would get reused. That’s one of the things that makes this project novel. It’s an integrated process. We’re combining hydrothermal, catalytic and biological approaches,” said Phillip Savage, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the U-M Department of Chemical Engineering and principal investigator on the $2-million National Science Foundation grant that supports this project. The grant is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This research could play a major role in the nation’s transition toward energy independence and reduced carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector,” Savage said.

Read the rest…



Motorweek Uses CarChip to Measure Benefits of Eco-Driving Behaviors

The CarChip Pro was previously reviewed here on Fuelishness!

Since then we’ve been selling CarChip Pros to eco-conscious motorists, cautious parents of young drivers, commercial fleet operators looking to reduce risk, and even some government agencies exploring technologies to help reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions.

Each of our customers had one thing in common – all were looking for an inexpensive and versatile piece of hardware that can provide valuable insight into driving behavior.   (You can read all about it and order one here, and if you are a FuelClinic member you’ll enjoy a generous $20 discount per unit. See details on the order form)

Recently found by a friend of FuelClinic – a segment of Motorweek that covers the benefits of fuel efficient driving (eco-driving) and they too are using a CarChip (older version) to compare results of two very different driving styles:

This clip from Motorweek proves there’s no absolute need to change your car if you want to save $$ and get better mileage. Simply altering how you drive can make an impact… in some people’s case, a significant one.



Eco-Driving Research Document Library Launched

A quick note to announce the addition of the “Eco-Driving Research Document Library“.

Source: FuelClinic.com

We’re making a selection of our reference collection available online, gathered together in one place, to aid in public research and education regarding eco-driving initiatives and benefits, as well as related subject materials. This collection will grow in size and functionality as time permits. When available, we will link directly to the source for each document. If you would like to suggest a publication for this collection, please send details to feedback@fuelclinic.com.

Over the past few years of our own research we have collected hundreds of documents, whitepapers, presentations, and government reports from around the globe – all related to the topic I loosely refer to as “eco-driving”. Most of these resources are available scattered around the dusty corners of the internet, but were simply stumbled upon and would require expert Googling to find again. Other documents are being made available for the first time online via this library.

The current collection that we’ve placed online is a small sample of the total collection. As time permits we will continue to add select documents and other resources (like images and video) from our total collection to this online library, as well as add features like categories, “tags”, search, pagination, and comments.

We hope that this library will grow to be a valuable resource to anyone doing research on eco-driving and related topics.



A first? Texting while driving leads to arrest…

…the driver also had a suspended license, so not exactly arrested only for texting.

Source: Union Leader (New Hampshire)

A Massachusetts man may be the first person in the state to be arrested for texting behind the wheel, which became illegal Jan. 1.

Lt. Gary Fisher said Stephen Judd, 20, of Dracut, Mass., was texting on his phone while traveling down Bridge Street on Monday morning, in plain sight of an officer. Officers later learned Judd was driving with a suspended license, he said…

…”It might be a possible deterrent and put some common sense in the driver’s head,” Drisko said. “Hopefully, it does. It is going to be in the next decade that you might see it be a nationwide federal law, because states all across are popping it in. It’s going to become a national issue.”

…”We’ve got to get the message out that this is a serious highway safety issue,” Adkins said. “It’s hard to enforce. It’s a habit. Kids see their parents doing it, it’s something a lot of teens have been raised on, watching Mom and Dad texting, but the best message is simply hang up and drive.”

The federal government has previously banned texting-while-driving for all federal employees, and in January of this year extended that ban to cover commercial truck and bus drivers.

Last year a study released by VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” (Source: SafeTeens.com)

A recently released study (PDF) by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” As per talking on a cell phone, the same study found no increased risk for truck drivers and 1.3 times the risk for car drivers. There was considerably more risk associated with dialing while driving. The institute’s Richard Hanowski acknowledges that the numbers are likely to be different with car drivers. As reported by CNET’s Jennifer Guevin, the study also found that “texting took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds–enough time…to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph.”

Many states have laws already banning texting-while-driving, and the trend seems to be spreading as awareness of the danger spreads.

What do you think about texting-while-driving laws? What about broader distracted driving laws that may impact your use of any gadget that takes your attention from the road? Add you comment here, or join the conversation over at our Facebook page.



[Video] Efficient Driving: Anticipating Traffic



The Quiet Energy Revolution

Source: The American

The 20th century was the century of oil. Wars were fought over it, and the outcomes of the century’s biggest conflicts hinged on the stuff. In World War I, for instance, Churchill’s conversion of the British Navy to oil gave the crown’s ships supremacy over German vessels. In World War II, when the Nazis and Japanese each failed to secure supplies of oil, they were doomed. Later, President Ronald Reagan, CIA Director William Casey, and America’s Middle Eastern partners manipulated global oil production to bankrupt the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. In the first half of the century, oil policy served as the catalyst for military victory. In the second half, oil helped propel the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world, and liberated mankind from the tyranny of immobility.

All hail oil! But not too much, because the 21st century won’t be defined by oil. It is more likely to be defined by a different fossil fuel: natural gas…

…Natural gas may also change how we drive, and enable ordinary consumers to break oil’s monopoly on transportation. As my colleague, Peter Huber, notes in a recent Manhattan Institute report, “Gas-handling technologies [have] improved quite enough to make natural gas a practical alternative” to oil. After all, gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel per unit of energy. That’s why large stationary power plants that used to run on oil switched to natural gas long ago.

The chief obstacle to developing a natural gas infrastructure capable of supplying service stations and highway rest stops is regulatory. If that is removed—and here we do need government action—we could expect to see trucks, buses, and cars running on natural gas in a relatively short period of time. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be considerable.

We may also see continued inroads of gas into the electricity-generating sector (which can also affect transportation as we move to hybrid and electric vehicles). Gas emits about half as much carbon per unit of energy as coal. With worries about long-term gas supplies allayed, expect regulators and utilities to favor construction of new gas-fired power plants over controversial coal plants, which are more expensive to build anyway. This same thing happened during the 1990s, and gas shot to a 20 percent share of America’s electricity economy as a result.

Read the whole thing… then add your comment below, or over at our Facebook page. What do you think – is LNG a viable transportation fuel, or will it always be relegated to highly controlled and well-maintained systems like power plants – venturing out on the roads only in bus fleets and corporate utility companies?



Fuelishness! Feed: Fuel Economy still the Next Big Thing; Study: Fuel Costs Must Double; Biofuel-Fed A-10 Warthogs; Oil Prices Continue 2-month Climb

  • Still the next big thing: Fuel economy — “We’re all in a race again,” he said. “From the standpoint where we [as manufacturers] kept bringing out new products to meet emission targets, now we’ll be aggressively focusing on fuel economy.”
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  • Study: Fuel costs must (at least) double to reduce GHG emissions — The team concludes that the only way to change the status quo in America — to reduce GHGs 17% by 2020 — is to adopt a mix of stringent rules that substantially increase fuel costs and increase vehicle mileage. To do this, the Harvard study suggests starting with a $0.50 a gallon tax in year one and adding another half-buck tax a year until the tax reaches $3.36 per gallon in 2020.
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  • Air Force Debuts Biofuel-Guzzling Warthog — In a bid to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been looking to new energy alternatives. Under the Air Force’s current energy plan, the goal is to acquire 50 percent of the domestic aviation fuel from an alternative blend by 2016. Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, said in a statement the goal was to encourage a major shift in the way the service powers its aircraft. “Our goal is to reduce demand, increase supply and change the culture and mindset of our fuel consumption,” he said.
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  • Oil rises above $84, extending 2-month rally — Oil prices have jumped from $69 a barrel in early February on investor expectations that a gradual recovery in the U.S. economy this year will eventually boost crude consumption.


Breakthrough Engine Technology Turns the “Gasoline-Ethanol Equation” Upside Down

Alternative-fuels like bio-diesel (from algae) and ethanol/methanol (cellulosic ethanol)  would allow us to quickly displace a great quantity of petroleum while continuing to utilize our existing distribution infrastructure.

Ethanol-fuel vehicles have existed for decades, and have been used with great success in sugar-cane ethanol rich Brazil since the 1980’s. Known as “Flex-Fuel” this technology allows a greater combination of ethanol mixed with gasoline (up to 85% ethanol) to be used safely in a standard internal combustion engine, while adding as little as $100 to the cost per vehicle in upgraded fuel system parts. (The current estimate is that there are approx. 7.5 million Flex-Fuel vehicles on American roads today… you may be driving a Flex-Fuel vehicle and not know it.)

One of the biggest problems with Flex-Fuel and ethanol in general is the “decrease in MPG” blamed on ethanol “containing less energy” than an equal quantity of gasoline. You’ll suffer a loss in MPG (but a substantial gain in MPGG) by using ethanol-blends in Flex-Fuel engines because gasoline engines are not designed to take advantage of one of the particular strengths of alcohol-blended fuels – tolerance for higher compression ratio.

Engines designed to be fueled with higher-octane alcohol blends are designed with higher compression ratios, able to squeeze more energy out of the fuel, improving efficiency and producing a greater amount of power. Ricardo recently announced they have developed an engine that takes advantage of the physics, and have developed an ethanol-fueled engine with superior efficiencies…

Ricardo says this engine, which it dubbed the Ethanol Boost Direct Injection engine, or EBDI, is tuned to make the most out of ethanol’s properties where it has an edge on other fuels. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than diesel or gas, so it’s more likely to ignite at just the right point in the engine’s combustion cycle. Diesel and gasoline can sometimes ignite earlier or later than intended, causing knocking noises in the engine. Automakers compensate with knock detection systems, but those can cut an engine’s efficiency.

Ricardo will be testing this new engine in a heavy-duty GMC truck, expecting an 18% improvement in efficiency with the new ethanol-powered engine over the stock gasoline engine.

The engine runs best on a blend with gasoline that is 30% to 50% ethanol, but, Ricardo says, can run on anything from all gas to all ethanol. Ricardo is bringing a GMC Sierra 3500HD pickup to the Washington, D.C., auto show this week that will be outfitted with its V-6 ethanol engine. On gas, it says, the GMC truck gets about 12.7 miles per gallon. On all ethanol, it would get about 12.1 mpg, the company says. But with an optimum blend, it says the engine could get 15 mpg.

Join in the discussion by commenting here, or jumping over to our Facebook Community and add your thoughts!



Ultra-Efficient Gas Engine Passes Test — Diesel-like Performance of 64 MPG

Source: MIT Technology Review

Transonic Combustion, a startup based in Camarillo, CA, has developed a fuel-injection system it says can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by more than 50 percent. A test vehicle equipped with the technology gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving, which is far better than more costly gas-electric hybrids, such as the Prius, which gets 48 miles per gallon on the highway.

The key is heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber, says Mike Rocke, Transonic’s vice president of business development. This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle. The company also treats the gasoline with a catalyst that “activates” it, partially oxidizing it to enhance combustion.

I am generally leery of any new fuel efficiency technology that requires any additive that “activates” or “catalyzes” anything… but it’s very interesting that this new injection system does not require a spark-plug for ignition, instead injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber and allowing the heat generated during compression ignite the fuel – much like a diesel engine. (Fun fact: The current crop of small diesel engines available in Europe are regularly scoring 60+ MPG in every-day driving.)

Once the fuel is injected into the piston, the heat and pressure are enough to cause the fuel to combust without a spark (similar to what happens in diesel engines), which also helps provide fast, uniform combustion. Ignition can be timed to happen just when the piston is reaching the optimal point, so it can convert as much of the energy in the gasoline into mechanical movement as possible, without wasting energy by heating up the combustion chamber walls, as happens in conventional technologies. The company has developed proprietary software that lets the system adjust the injection precisely depending on the load put on the engine.

So is this new injection technology a way to use the diesel cycle with widely available gasoline instead? Considering that refineries generally produce much more gasoline vs. diesel from each barrel of oil, this technology might allow us to take advantage of the diesel-engines superior efficiency without off-setting the gas/diesel ratios of production and distribution. Like modern (and prototype) FLEX-fuel engines, this new technology would allow drivers to “work within” our existing “gas station” distribution model, without requiring expensive new “refueling stations” or specialized refining and distribution networks that do not currently exist in any great numbers.

With gasoline prices generally unstable and on the rebound since the “crash” of 2008, modern mobile civilizations are counting on engineers to innovate creative solutions like this one.

“It’s a time of renaissance for internal combustion engines,” says William Green, a professor of chemical engineering at MIT.

Join the discussion by commenting below, or jumping over to our Facebook Community and add your thoughts!



Eye-candy: Porsche’s Hybrid Supercar

From The Local:

Porsche unveiled its creation at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. It claims the car has a top speed of 320 km/h but uses just three litres of fuel for every 100 kilometres – equivalent to 94 miles per imperial gallon.

“We are a sports car manufacturer and that means it’s about driving fast – but at the same time about cutting pollution and conserving natural resources,” Porsche chief Michael Macht said according to the website of news magazine Der Spiegel.

Critically, the Spyder emits an average of just 70 grammes of carbon dioxide, the firm claims. According to Britain’s Department for Transport, the third-generation Toyota Prius – the best-known hybrid car – emits 89 g/km.

500 HP V-8 that get’s 94 miles per gallon?

Read more



Ford Motor Company, Progress Energy, Orange County & The University of Central Florida to debut Florida’s First Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Community Leaders to Address Electronic Transportation Needs & UCF & Orange County/Metro Orlando’s Sustainable Energy Initiatives


Orlando, FL — Ford Motor Company, Progress Energy, Orange County and the University of Central Florida have partnered to debut Florida’s first Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at UCF’s Smart Solar Plug – In Research Facility on the Campus’ Memory Mall.

– Ford and Progress Energy are testing one of the industry’s first vehicle-to-electric grid communications and control systems, which enables electric vehicles to interface with the grid for optimal recharging.

-The new technology allows the vehicle operator to program when to recharge the vehicle, for how long and at what utility rate. For example, an operator could choose to charge only during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper, or when the grid is using renewable energy.

– This unique vehicle, which can achieve up to 120 miles per gallon, will be tested in Florida by Progress Energy, through its partnership with Ford Motor Company. Media will have the opportunity to be among the first to test drive the vehicle. Interview key leaders in the sustainable energy community are also available.

– UCF’s Smart Solar Plug-In Research Facility includes parking spaces for four electric-powered vehicles. The roof canopy consists of 48 photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun’s energy into electrical power. The system also can charge vehicles when it’s dark or cloudy outside.

Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 11:00 AM

Subject: Florida’s first Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at UCF

Location: University of Central Florida Solar Smart Grid Research Facility on the Campus’ Memory Mall adjacent to Parking Lot D

http://campusmap.ucf.edu/printmap/ & http://campusmap.ucf.edu/address.php

Speakers:

– Dr. John Hitt, President, UCF

– The Honorable Richard Crotty, Mayor, Orange County

– Dr. Marwan Simaan, Dean, UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science

– Greg Frenette, Manager, Global Electrified Fleets, Ford Motor Company

– Rob Caldwell, Vice President of Efficiency & Innovative Technology, Progress Energy



The Distracted Driver: Looking Away From Road Main Factor in Crashes and Near-Misses

From Ford “Driving Skills for Life“:

Independent research based on real-world studies, that’s where drivers are monitored in their own cars rather than in labs, show that looking away from the road is the main factor associated with crashes and near-misses. Another study by NHTSA/Virginia Technology Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that “dialing a handheld device” had a higher risk compared to “just driving,” while “talking/listening on a cell phone” did not statistically differ from risks associated with “just driving.” VTTI summarized their findings by stating that it’s rare that drivers are involved in a crash when their eyes are on the roadway, regardless of any cognitive demand they may be under. Another point to keep in mind is that although there was explosive growth of cell phone subscriptions in the U.S. during the last 15 years, there has been a decline in crash rates which may indicate that drivers choose to engage in tasks when they judge the driving conditions are least demanding.

More than likely this is already apparent to most drivers, but indicates the importance of human-systems integration design in new vehicles so that drivers “know” where their controls and displays are without having to hunt for them.

What impact does this have on add-on gadgets that require the driver to take his/her eyes off of the road to gather information? GPS navigation suckered to your windshield? After-market eco-driving instrumentation or “apps” with charts and graphs indicating how well you are driving?



Eco-Driving Project Results in 13% Fuel Economy Boost for Public Works Department

By Mary Hamel at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Together Wisconsin Clean Cities, the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, and Veolia Water in Milwaukee embarked on a Fleet Eco-Driving Project to promote eco-driving in southeastern Wisconsin. Their results included a 13-percent boost in fuel economy for the fleets participating in the project.

Funded by a DNR-initiated federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant, the selected fleets from the City of Milwaukee-Department of Public Works and Veolia Water North America Water-Milwaukee received: classroom instruction, behind-the-wheel training, pre- and post-testing, and a training manual for ongoing use. Milwaukee Area Technical College helped develop and deliver the “Fleet Training on Eco-Driving Project.”

The 13-percent fuel economy improvement is in keeping with the 10–20 percent savings estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy in its seminal Driver Energy Conservation Awareness Training (DECAT) Program, which ran from 1976 through the 1980s. The Fleet Training on Eco-Driving Project is the first comprehensive effort since DECAT to show the many benefits of changing driver behavior, which also include lower maintenance and repair costs, as well as improved road safety.

“Our joint project demonstrates that eco-driving is an everyday solution for everyone to cut fuel costs and clean our air,” added Francis X. Vogel, executive director of Wisconsin Clean Cities.

Start your own eco-driving project today by accelerating gradually, using cruise control, and reducing time spent idling your engine.



Charging Motorists by the Mile More Reliable Than Fuel Tax, Says Study

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Charging motorists for every mile they drive could be more reliable than fuel taxes to pay for bridges, highways and transit systems, but would be hard to sell to motorists, according to a national policy group.

A RAND Corp. study released last week concluded there were good reasons to switch from charging gas taxes to charging fees based on how far each car or truck travels. The government gets most of the money for road construction and maintenance from gas taxes, but cars and trucks put more wear and tear on roads while inflation and better fuel efficiency make the fuel tax worth less and less, said Paul Sorensen, lead author of the study…

…Collecting the fee would be more expensive than administering the gas tax; putting tracking units in cars likely would raise privacy concerns; and changing the fee wouldn’t be any more popular than changing the federal gas tax — which hasn’t increased from 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993, Sorensen said.

Read the whole article here, then join in the discussion over at the FuelClinic Facebook page.



Fuelishness! Feed: Hummer now “Green” for Japan; Diesel Engine Biofuel Advances; Dolphin Wins Eco-Driving Challenge; Fuel Efficiency VS. The Tax Man in Washington State

  • In Japan, the Hummer Is Now Officially Green — Starting this week, Japanese buyers of the hulking power machines from General Motors — which come with a 5.3-liter, 300 horsepower engine and roar to 60 miles per hour in eight seconds — receive a 250,000 yen ($2,780) subsidy under Japan’s new, looser fuel-efficiency standards for imported cars.
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  • Researchers develop “smart” diesel engine that runs on biofuel blend — Researchers from Cummings and Purdue University claim to have found a way to improve fuel efficiency in diesel engines that run on biodiesel fuel while cutting emission levels. The process involves an advanced “closed-loop control” approach for preventing diesel engines from emitting greater amounts of smog-causing nitrogen oxides when running on biodiesel fuels.
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  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne wins Audi fuel-efficiency driving challenge — The Audi Efficiency Challenge was designed to showcase the mileage and performance possibilities that Audi TDI clean diesel technology provides in real-world driving conditions.
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  • Fuel-efficient cars affecting Washington gas tax — Automobiles are more fuel-efficient, people are driving less and, increasingly, they are driving automobiles that aren’t powered by petroleum at all…”All of those things add up to the fact that we aren’t going to rely on the gas tax as being the mainstay of the future if we want to maintain, preserve and improve our transportation system,” said Paula Hammond, the state’s transportation secretary.


BREAKING: Tesla Motors Files S-1 Registration Statement for proposed IPO

Tesla Motors has filed the S-1 Registration Statement with the SEC for a proposed public offering of it’s common stock – the first such IPO from an American auto manufacturer since Ford went public in 1956.

While the filing is an exciting sign of growth at Tesla, there’s a bit of bad news buried in the paperwork for Roadster fans… apparently the current Roadster we’ve all come to love will not be built after 2011… possibly to be replaced with a new Roadster after Lotus re-tools their plant in England.

The Model S coupe is expected sometime in 2012.

From AutoBlogGreen:

For the first time in more than fifty years, a U.S. automaker is holding a public offering. Henry Ford made shares of Ford Motor Company public back in 1956. Tesla, the Elon Musk-owned Silicon Valley electric car company, filed to do so today. There’s no word as to when the shares will be available for public consumption, nor any word as to how much each share will cost…

The press release from Tesla Motors starts…

PALO ALTO, CA. – Tesla Motors, Inc. today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. Tesla Motors designs, manufactures and sells high-performance fully electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined…

But Wired Autopia Blog finds some discouraging news in the IPO filings, Tesla Motors say they’ll stop building their popular Roadster sometime in 2011. Here’s why:

Wired’s Autopia was digging through the papers filed by Tesla to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its IPO and came across with this nugget:

“We do not plan to sell our current generation Tesla Roadster after 2011 due to planned tooling changes at a supplier for the Tesla Roadster.”

As everyone’s aware, the current iteration of the Tesla Roadster is built in Hethel, England by Lotus using Elise/Exige underpinnings. Judging by the quote above, that means the Elise/Exige is due to be replaced by a new model (good news for enthusiasts), but that leaves Tesla up a creek without the proverbial paddle.

The other telling line is this:

“As a result, we anticipate that we may generate limited, if any, revenue from selling electric vehicles after 2011 until the launch of the planned model S…”

Read the rest…

Exciting days ahead for the EV enthusiasts for sure.



Oprah Show: Distracted Driving – America’s New Deadly Obsession

Oprah Winfrey is using her considerable influence to educate motorists to the growing dangers of distracted driving, a topic near to our hearts here at FuelClinic.

Millions of people text, talk or e-mail on their cell phones while driving—a recent survey finds that 71 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 admit they text or talk on the phone while they drive.

If you think you can call, text and drive at the same time, you cannot. That message you can’t wait to send could kill. Distracted driving is an epidemic that is sweeping through our country, claiming lives and destroying families.

On Monday, she aired an entire episode dedicated to her new cause. While you can’t find the full episode online, here is a short clip available at CNN.

We applaud Oprah along with the many professional driving educators, technology creators, and others working every day to make positive changes in this important effort.



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