Thanks to growing environmental concerns and economic forces, 97% of fuel currently pumped in the U.S. is up to 10% ethanol. For a few reasons, ethanol in gas is a hot-button issue for some folks; search for an article on the topic and your chances of finding one that balances both sides of the aisle are pretty slim. But, while many drivers are familiar with Flex Fuel vehicles, which run on a fuel made of 85% ethanol, fewer realize that the gasoline they’re already putting in their cars is partially made from corn.
The dream of driving an electric car on an all-American road trip just moved a little closer to reality.
The Obama Administration yesterday announced new actions designed to give owners of electric cars access to a majority of the country.
In its announcement, the White House said,
By working together across the Federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work, and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward.
The plan includes 48 electric vehicle charging corridors spanning 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The electrified routes will place recharging stations at 50 mile intervals at a minimum, meaning all current EVs on the road will be able to reach them.
Is this the major step forward it appears to be?
That headline might have served as a teaser to get people to click just a few short years ago. In today’s world, though, technology advances at the speed of light, and a ban on internal combustion engines is a very real possibility.
Granted, it won’t happen overnight, and any such ban would be phased in over many years, but the wheels could already be in motion thanks to the speed at which electric vehicles are being developed.
For proof, all we have to do is look across the Atlantic toward the homeland of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.
Yes, Germany may become the first country to ban the sale of cars with gas-powered engines.
General Motors thinks it can save diesel.
Volkswagen’s collapse has left a large segment of diesel refugees without a home. Now that VW is switching its focus to electric cars, it may find that many diesel customers would rather stay with their tried-and-true oil burners than migrate to electric vehicles.
Those people might find a loving new home in the General’s open arms.
Volkswagen singlehandedly created the “clean diesel” market here so it’s more than a little ironic that all of its efforts could now benefit a competing automaker.
The Jeep Wrangler is an unlikely success story. For all intents and purposes, the lumbering fuel-thirsty behemoth shouldn’t have lived through the economic crisis and automotive bankruptcies of 2008 and 2009.
The Wrangler shouldn’t have lasted through the takeover by Fiat or made it through the transition to FCA. During a time when heavy road hogs were getting slashed left and right, the Wrangler powered through thanks to loyal followers who continued to open their pocketbooks.
The Wrangler has proven that neither stumps, rocks, creeks, nor economic recessions can stop the infamous utilitarian 4×4. Its future should be secured for another few decades with the introduction of an all-new generation, which will include a diesel version and the switch to aluminum.
“Premium fuel only.”
I saw the sticker inside the fuel door on my first fill-up after purchasing a used ‘99 Toyota Land Cruiser. It caught me off guard.
I’ve driven Porsches, Jaguars, and Audis that only drink the premium stuff, but figured a Toyota would be safe to fill with the more economical 87 octane.
Not so much.
I’m now in a long-term relationship with a 13-mpg SUV that demands 92 octane. That’s certainly not an ideal situation.
We are in the midst of a technological revolution in the auto industry. The amount of change in the last five years has probably outpaced what we’ve seen in the last 50. The next five years could change it all again.
Remember when seat belts and air conditioning were considered big developments in the car world? Then came cruise control and heated seats. I, for one, lost my marbles when I finally owned a car that could unlock with the push of a button.
Now I don’t even need keys to unlock, or start, my car. Heck, I don’t even need gasoline any more. My Nissan Leaf, though, hasn’t even begun to crack the surface of what’s coming.
There was a time when Europe got all the cool cars.
A decade ago, Europe had the small, fast, and efficient cars that folks in the U.S. could only envy from across the Atlantic. Even the domestic Big 3 automakers seemed to send their best metal to Europe while leaving the clunky, fuel-thirsty cars stateside.
Americans became especially jealous in 2008, because the price of gas climbed well above $4 per gallon and Europe’s fuel-sipping diesels and small-displacement motors seemed to taunt our oversized V8 SUVs.
Today it’s a different story. Some of the best cars in the world are available for sale here, including some that people in Europe can only dream of someday owning.
Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.
The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.
Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.
That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.
Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.
Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.
New Jersey has the second-lowest gas tax in the country. Residents of the state enjoy their cheap gas and neighboring New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians routinely jump across the border to take advantage of a cheap fill-up.
The average price per gallon in the state is about $2.10, with some locations showing prices between $1.80 and $1.90.
While that’s great news for commuters and road-trippers, it’s not so great for the state’s government. A low gas tax means less money for the state coffers, which has effectively bankrupted the state’s transportation department.
In fact, road construction projects state-wide were halted last week due to a lack of funds (and a hefty dose of political maneuvering). Drivers may enjoy cheap gas, but they’ve been left to navigate New Jersey’s deteriorating and unfinished roads until a solution is found.