Welcome to the Energy Blog

  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.



After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum


Blog powered by Typepad

« 1.2 MW Tidal Energy Turbine Ready for Installation | Main | ZAP Announces Second High-Performance Electric Vehicle in Development »

June 27, 2007



Yep, Honda will be selling diesel versions of the Civic, Accord, and CR-V, in the U.S., by 2009/10. I believe the Civics are supposed to get over 50 mpg in mixed driving, and meet the new air quality standards... and provide plenty of low end torque. Yeah, I think I can live with that.


This is another negative article from the WSJ to degrade America. I think it would be positive to have American cars average 35mpg. No one needs to sacrifice performance. I plan to buy from an innovative company that provides both efficiency and performance in their product. Anyone who reads the Energy Blog realizes this is possible and coming. America’s transportation requirements are different than that of Europe… not better or worse…just different. Our country is spread out, etc. etc.


Way to go, WSJ! We all know that the real measure of a car is the cost per pound. Less cost is always better - and a better value for the consumer. Just like cold cuts, butter and Yugos!

[Strike up Soviet Anthem, ala "the Hunt For Red October" Sean Connery's voice comes over a loudspeaker in the din and bleak expanse of a working (and very dirty) truck plant.]

"Comrades, today we have achieved glorious coup over Decadent American Capitalists and their running-dog lackeys! Today, Soviet Union has produced diesel truck far cheaper pound-for-pound than anything Capitalist Pigs produce. Let's all celebrate by starting truck and replacing engine for first time!"

Let's see how many of WSJ's editors apply this little gem of a rule in their own personal life.


Europe has regulated oil prices. Meaning it's either expensive, or absent.

It's been absent a few times, like currently in Iran. That's soo much better. *cough*. Fortunately it's been a (long) while.

Current price for diesel is 5.59958555 dollars per gallon
Current price for gasoline is 7.36760755 dollars per gallon

Still like europe's fuel ?


Tom, gas and diesel are both $7.45 here locally (Aberystwyth, Wales, UK). No societal collapse yet.


Tom, check out the today's news on Iraq.
Violence flares as Iran introduces petrol rationing


Well Tom, I for one will welcome a greater range of vehicle choices. I've been pining for a decent diesel vehicle for quite some time, but pretty much the only thing available is VW (crap) or absurdly oversized and ridiculously inefficient American trucks (no thanks, I'm perfectly adequate in the penis size department). I want something efficient, not extravagant. I'd very much prefer to buy American, but since American car companies have chosen to ignore me, I'll be happy to buy from someone else.

It shouldn't be a mystery to anyone why American car companies are in the crapper. They are still thinking in 20th century terms---hell, same thing can be said for our entire economy. God forbid we Americans should actually get ahead of the technological curve. If some of the dinosaurs here had their way, we'd still be getting around in steam-powered locomotives.

Don B.

DaimlerChrysler produces everthing you see here in a TurboDiesel version for the EU market. Often the milage is 50%-75% better than NAFTA-market gas engines. Power stays the between the same and markedly better.
$6 & $7/gal fuel reflects 2 trains of thought....1) tax them into efficiency, 2) tax them to pay for the social programs the voters so desire!
Our diesel emissions laws are much tighter over here than across the pond. Soot, oxides of nitrogen, CO2, CO, all these are considerably tougher to reach emissions limits. There are new hydrogen-on-demand devices on the market that can clean-up diesel emissions considerably,...while increasing fuel milage by 10%-20%.
DaimlerChrysler feels that there is a better investment value for our customers to drive CleanDiesel-powered vehicles VS gasoline/electric hybrids.
There is a EU-market 300C with a 3.0L TD, that performs like the HEMI and gets 41mpg!
It's coming, that's the short-term future in automotive drivetrains to meet the needs of the customer.


"If some of the dinosaurs here had their way, we'd still be getting around in steam-powered locomotives."

That might not be such a bad thing. Automotive steam engines had some fairly impressive advantages: plenty of torque, flex fuel capability, no need for transmissions, and inherently cleaner fuel combustion. Later models recycled their steam and could travel 1500 miles before their 24 gallon water tank needed to be refilled. Some models took as little as thirty seconds to warm up the boiler. Imagine what could be done with 2007 technology. I've often wondered what our society would be like if steam autos rather than internal combustion engines had dominated the marketplace.



Yes, fuel efficiency is important. But we have 40+ car options now and they are not by-and-large prevalent. You still see more trucks in California than Civics or Mini Coopers (both with 35+ MPG). So I think we have enough data to show that euro-style cars aren't going to be well-adopted by the American public.

Further, I think the issue here is structural. European cities tend to be compact with narrow streets. But most of America's cities - particularly in big car consumer states (California, Texas) are sprawling. So while more fuel efficient euro-style cars would be nice, we have a built-in consumption based on how our cities are constructed. Further, unlike Europeans, Americans tend to be more outdoors-oriented and require towing capacity. You can't live in the Land of 1000 Lakes (Minnesota) and expect to get around in a Zap car. If you want a boat, you need a truck that can pull a boat AND stand up to a winter that rivals Siberia. So this isn't such a straight forward answer.

Mark C R UK

With Oil prices set to rise and rise (my prediction is $75 per barrel by end of year)...

American's - my friends - need to wake up and start making sensible moves towards greater fuel efficiency.

Mark C R UK

PS. I drive a 48 MPG "super mini" - Fiat Punto.

Fast agile and easy to drive.


As usual, the mainstream media is indulging in "Soundbite" journalism. Sure, there are some silly people who drive SUV's and only leave the pavement one day a year. In reality, the majority of Americans would welcome a wider range of fuel efficient vehicles. Small cars like VW rabbits, Honda civics, and Geo metros sold quite well in the U.S. Nowdays, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Mini Cooper, Yaris, or Prius. Bottom line: don't believe everything you hear on CNN (or the BBC).


Doug - "But most of America's cities - particularly in big car consumer states (California, Texas) are sprawling. So while more fuel efficient euro-style cars would be nice, we have a built-in consumption based on how our cities are constructed. Further, unlike Europeans, Americans tend to be more outdoors-oriented and require towing capacity."

So that would be different from Australia how? We have much smaller cars on average and many of the European models make it here and we buy them. Petrol is AUD$1.30 per litre and most people cannot afford the huge SUVs that are so common in the US. You see a few however most people drive smaller cars and have smaller lighter boats that can be lifted out of the water with normal cars.

In Western Australia I can drive for 400km to the next significant town north of Perth and there are only 3 small communities in the way. The next one further I have driven there in a company Prius as well as a 4cyl small car passing 2 trailer road trains on the way. I survived OK. People here camp and have boats and seem to survive with smaller cars.


typo - "The next one further I have driven there in a company Prius as well as a 4cyl small car passing 2 trailer road trains on the way. I survived OK."

Should read:
I have driven there in a company Prius as well as a 4cyl small car passing 2 trailer road trains on the way. I survived OK.

Mark C R UK

The Fiat Punto - I drive has a tow bar. It's a 1.4 litre engine (Unleaded - usually using 95 RON fuel).

My father and I have towed back more than 1.5 tonnes on a trailer over 150 miles. No problem whatsover. All street legal.

Also on M62 through Pennines - highest motoway in England - 1442 feet at Saddleworth moor M62. This towing involved going up and down some MAJORLY large hills and steep inclines.

What I am trying to say is that - unless people are towing stupidly large things or do not load correctly this is when the problems occur - that these things can really require professional haulage (like Mobile homes I've seen some stupidity in towing them before!!!)...

So a European car like this is more than up to the task of towing say 1-1.5 tonnes on a decently fitted/loaded trailer - with good tires and legal fittings.

Most post-2000's vehicles are since they are far more power/fuel efficient on the rare occasions you are towing.

So don't believe the nonsense of requring huge vehicles for towing.

If you're towing more than 2 tonnes - you oughta be getting professional haulage help anyway i.e. a truck designed for this.

For joe bloggs consumers - European cars are more than up to the task of daily tasks.

Mark C R UK

I just have to ask a question of my American friends...

How many of you actually drive these SUVs OFF ROAD in full 4*4 mode?

Is it legal to have how many millions damaging the countryside in that way??!?!

I say the same thing to British people here - that don't own a farm or anything yet have rediculously large vehicles like these. The weather in parts of Wales, Scotland and the north of England can be bad. But even then most people don't live in isolation to warrant vehicles like I've seen on the roads.

Jeep and Hummer are trying to enter the UK market majorly. They'll fail - since it's saturated now by LR and mitsubishi and a variety others.

Plus I was at a car auction recently. The numbers of 4*4s (or as American's call them SUVs) being sold there was astonishing.....

Does that not tell you something?

Mark C R UK

It tells me ... that a significant number of consumers are wanting rid of their SUVs....

I also noted the elevated (on usual price of the "Super Mini" classification vehicles). Partly as a result of Eastern European immigrants (in the auction I was in) competing and driving prices up...

But also because in general - Super Mini are in high demand since fuel prices are continuing to rise or at the least... there is no chance of them coming down any time soon....


Just out of curiosity, what does a Fiat Punto cost over there? Sadly, the smallest diesel offered in the U.S., that I know of, is the VW Beetle. I've heard that diesel versions of the Toyota Yaris and Suzuki Swift are offered in European markets. If the gasoline powered Yaris sells for about $13k here, then a ballpark estimate for the diesel version would be around $16k-$17k. That's another car that I wouldn't mind buying.

Susan K

to average joe:
"So that would be different from Australia how? We have much smaller cars on average and many of the European models make it here and we buy them."

The difference is we Americans are not allowed to buy the effient cars of the rest of the world. Our NHTSA forbids us to. You and Europe and Japan can buy more fuel efficient cars because you share ECE regulations. These are also safer than cars built to meet NHTSA standards. US

"...regulations are based almost entirely on SAE standards, which were written almost entirely by US automakers.

The results of this regulatory philosophy and practice do not support a safety-related basis for the prohibition on ECE vehicles: despite the sizeable auto safety lead enjoyed by the USA in the 1960s, by 2002 the US had sunk to 16th place(behind Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland) in terms of deaths per thousand vehicles. In terms of deaths per 100 million miles, the USA had dropped from first place to tenth place. With the partial exception of Canada, all of the countries achieving better safety results either require or permit vehicles built to comply with the ECE regulations, not the US regulations.

Traffic death totals, all from government-published data (FARS for US), show the safety performance of three comparison countries that are otherwise similar to the US."



Good post, but I think you have me confused with Ender. My post was right above his.


I hope we don't settle for the paltry mileage increase from the european mode of diesels and patrallel hybrids.

200+ mpg is now possible with designs like the gM Volt. Plugin serial hybrids run at full power and speed on plugin battery power alone for the first 40 miles, more than covering the average trip length without burning any gas. They run after that on backup generators operating on regular gas or diesel.

This is the technology our government ought to encourage with vehicle fleet purchasing and tax incentives. It saves the most gas and GHG.


Caution!! A note to posters and JIM.

This blog is problematic (as is everything internet most of the time), copy your post before hitting POST. Or it maybe lost forever. The second try, after pasting back into a new comment box seems to work though.

Save your post! Control+C before posting just in case.


Averagejoe's dream car for the next ten years:

A serial diesel/electric plugin hybrid with a 40 mile EV range. The motor would be a Symetron P-2 by Raser. The battery system would be affordable and durable (Firefly, EuroPositron, or EEstor). Finally, the diesel generator would incorporate Scuderi technology which would improve mileage and reduce the overall cost.

That's not asking too much, right?


Dream car? Well good thread joe.

Mine would be a 50 hp electric car with the firefly batteries for a 60 mile range, with a solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine backup generator of around 25 kw. All this packed into my Honda station wagon minus the ICE of course.

Dream motorcyle?

Green hog, with a 20 hp electric motor and lithium ion A123 batteries for a 40 mile range with a 5kw backup solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine.

I would make my own solar and wind electricty and biodiesel from used cooking grease for fuel. when parked I would run biogas from a digestor through the fuel cells to sell power to the power company. likewise with solar and wind electricity, sold to the utility.


Susan K - you are absolutely right about the safety of small cars. Designed properly with crumple zones and airbags small cars can be at least as safe as larger cars as the figures for road deaths show where smaller average car size fleets do not have higher road deaths than larger average car size fleets.

As I argued on this blog before there are so many factors in road deaths more important than vehicle size that arguing for large cars on safety grounds is pointless.


About EuroPostitron - are they for real? Haven't heard about the aluminum battery in quite some time. The energy density that's being claimed is insane, and all other specs are really good too.

Aluminum batteries are sometimes being used as a propulsion system for torpedos. But those are not rechargeable (don't need that in a torpedo, obviously!)

If they can make that secondary (rechargeable) aluminum battery with those specs...
Couldn't find any peer-review about it though, which is suspicious...


There is a zinc/air battery system that is rechargeable. When producing electricity it combines zinc pellets with air in an electrolyte solution, the zinc oxide dissolves in the solution.

When it is recharging it turns the zinc oxide in solution back into zinc pellets. The problem is efficiency. only 40% of the recharge power comes out of the system due to the pump and blower that is needed to make it all work.

Too bad, maybe a simpler more efficient design using a nano-catalyst screen of some kind could raise that efficiency?

Mark C R UK

Average Joe - A decent generic Super mini class would be around £9995 - 14995 BPS

Although the high £ - $ USD exchange rate skews the comparison at the moment....

... To Susan K... there is one for certain Anglo-American consumer group putting pressure on converging EU and US safety regualtions...

in an era where US-EU trade is around £1.5 billion A DAY $3billion - its a vital relationship for us both.

Mark C R UK

* that was brand new on the road fee.

There is significant variation however, and (us) British consumers have been complaining a long time the fact that the manufacturers seem to put the price up compared to continental Europe (unjustifiably).

Hence the large number of Brits whom are buying from elsewhere in Europe and either making arrangements for right hand drive vehicles needed for our roads.

I'm eager to see what "average joe" makes of these super mini classification as a whole? You think US vehicle's are over sized and priced?

- I must say the Toyota Yaris you mention, and the smaller Aygo are two pretty nice vehicles. *I have a Toyota engine plant near where I live*. The Aygo for my demographic (early-mid twenties) looks particuarly well suited....


Ender wrote: Designed properly with crumple zones and airbags small cars can be at least as safe as larger cars

...At the same production-cost?

Ender wrote: the figures for road deaths show [...] smaller average car size fleets do not have higher road deaths than larger average car size fleets.

Which figures are you referring to?

IIHS Status Report, Vol. 42, No. 4, April 19, 2007

"Driver deaths per million registered vehicle years, 2001-04 models during 2002-05"

CARS - overall and single-vehicle

2,500 lbs. or less - 94 - 38
2,501-3,000 lbs. - 115 - 50
3,001-3,500 lbs. - 77 - 33
3,501-4,000 lbs. - 55 - 19
4,001-4,500 lbs. - 38 - 16
4,501-5,000 lbs. - 34 - 15

Death rates by vehicle size and weight:

Characteristics that influence vehicles’ death rates include type and body style (2-door car, 4-door SUV, etc.). Another important factor is size. The smallest vehicles in any type/body style group generally have the highest rates.

None of the 15 vehicles with the lowest driver death rates is a small model. In contrast, 11 of the 16 vehicles with the highest death rates are mini or small models, and none is large or very large.

Among all types and sizes of cars, the smallest 4-door models have the highest driver death rate at 148 per million registered vehicle years. Next highest among cars is 137 in mini 2-door models. Midsize (33) and very large (34) luxury cars have the lowest rates.

IIHS Status Report, Vol. 40, No. 3, March 19, 2005

"Driver deaths per million registered vehicle years, 1999-2002 models during 2000-03"

CARS - overall and single-vehicle

2,500 lbs. or less - 115 - 42
2,501-3,000 lbs. - 102 - 46
3,001-3,500 lbs. - 84 - 39
3,501-4,000 lbs. - 56 - 23
4,001-4,500 lbs. - 47 - 20
4,501-5,000 lbs. - -- - --

Vehicle body style, size, and fatality risk:

Important characteristics of vehicles that influence their driver death rates are type, body style, size, and weight. Within virtually every group of vehicles, the smaller and lighter models have the higher rates (see table, facing page).

Among cars, for example, the smallest two-door models had the highest death rate at 190 per million vehicle years. This rate is more than twice as high as the average for all vehicles included in the study.
The vehicle group with the lowest driver death rate was large luxury cars with 37 deaths per million vehicle years. The next lowest rate was in large minivans and station wagons with 42 deaths per million.

Vehicle weight and the risk of death:

Because vehicle size and weight are so closely related, it shouldn’t be surprising that their effects on driver death rates are similar. In each group (cars, SUVs, pickups) the heavier vehicles, like bigger ones, generally had lower death rates (see table, p.7). The rate in the lightest SUVs, for example, was more than twice as high as in the heaviest SUVs.

Ender wrote: there are so many factors in road deaths more important than vehicle size that arguing for large cars on safety grounds is pointless.

Please show your math.



I got a look (online) at a Fiat Punto yesterday and it is a very nice looking car, indeed. For my needs, it would be just the right size. The only concern I have is the Punto's ground clearance. In the picture, it looked a bit low to the ground... but maybe it was just the camera angle. I would agree that most of us in the U.S. could survive quite nicely with a smaller car. Super Minis and small station wagons would be just fine for everyday commuting cars. Of course, some people use larger vehicles ( trucks) for work, but that doesn't explain all the soccer moms I see driving by themselves in huge Ford Explorers.



I don't know whether EuroPositron is legit or not. On the one hand, they did win the Frost and Sullivan award for technological innovation in 2005 which is supposed to be a big deal. Firefly won the same award in 2006. On the other hand, they are still in the research phase. They claim to have a new technology that would make rechargeable aluminum batteries possible. Supposedly, they have eliminated the problem of Aluminum Hydroxide fouling. Some of the performance benchmarks claimed are a bit extreme:

from http://www.europositron.com/en/background.html

Energy Density/Volume: 2100 Wh/litre
Energy Density/Weight: 1330 Wh/kg
Cycle Life: 3000+ cycles
Minimum Working Temperature: - 40C
Maximum Working Temperature: +70C
Life: 10-30 years
Discharge Rate: Adjustable

From what I read, they say that a working prototype and third party verification is two years away. That's assuming an adequate level of funding. For right now, I'd put this one in the "Wait and See" category.


In response to Mark about traffic deaths, you need to add SUV deaths and then campare that to cars. That clearly shows that pound for pound cars are safer than the same size Suuu-Veee, (calling hogs). I can't wait till my Smart Fortwo gets hear. Some of use overweight Americans welcome small cars.
We will all be safer when they stay off-road.



Well, it finally happened. Your ship has come in:

"An engineering team at Imperial College London has developed and bench-tested a series-hybrid powertrain that combines an intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cell (IT-SOFC) with a ZEBRA sodium nickel-chloride battery..."

Geez, now I've gone and done it. DRX will never shut up about SOFC's now...



SUV's / 4x4's / gas drinking vehicles... Americans have a love affair with their cars; many people think bigger is better. What about the (ever-growing) bigger hole in the ozone layer? Is that better too? I don't think so! Granted, a smaller car is typically not able to have the same carrying capacity as an SUV but, they generally get better mileage and some don't even burn fossil fuels! The Brazilian OBVIO - Electric Car

coach handbags

Happiness is like a pebble dropped into a pool to set in motion an ever-widening circle of ripples. As Stevenson has said,being happy is a duty.

Jordan 11

Everyone has his own opinion to one thing. And I agree with you. You are so good at writting and I like you article punish in your blog. It is very useful for me. From your article I know we should see his advantage and also to see his disadvantage. Thank you! http://www.airjordan.cc/air-jordan-11-44/

coach outlet

Failure doesn't mean you are a failure,
It does mean you haven't succeeded yet.

Nike Shox Turbo

I would like weeping using the smile as opposed to repenting using the cry,when my center is broken ,is it required to fix?

Subaru Dealerships

Yes why not US can adopt and its already producing somewhat awesome cars that are fuel efficient though some of the manufacturers are still trying their best to reach to their maximum level.

Chrysler Town and Country

I personally believe that adopting something that can benefit at a huge level and that can bring prosperity is a positive step towards success. United States should think about this and try to implement it in its automobile market.

CGS intake

This is a good idea. Since the design factor is an open system, it would pose no problems adopting ideas and assembly of parts from other countries.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .

Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles