Senators propose 12-cent fuel tax increase

By JOAN LOWY WASHINGTON – Two senators unveiled a bipartisan plan Wednesday to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades, pitching the proposal as a solution to Congress’ struggle to pay for highway and transit programs. The plan offered by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would raise the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4 cents-a-gallon diesel tax each by 12 cents over the next two years, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation. The increase would be applied in two increments of 6 cents each. The plan also calls for offsetting the tax increases with other tax cuts. Senators said that could be done by permanently extending six of 50 federal tax breaks that expired this year, but they indicated they would be open to other suggestions for offsets. The plan was immediately embraced by industry and transportation advocacy groups seeking a long-term means to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent. However, it would require a lot of heavy lifting from Congress in the politically charged atmosphere of an election year to pass such a plan before late August, when the trust fund is forecast to go broke. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has indicated he’s looking for means to shore up the fund for about the next six months while working on a long-term plan. That would move debate on a gas tax increase or some other revenue-raising scheme until after the midterm elections in November. Revenue from gas taxes and other transportation user fees that for decades hasn’t kept...

Scotland is going 100% Green by 2020

By Juan Cole | Dec. 20, 2013 | Glasgow is the city of the future, not Phoenix. Scotland has a population of about 5.3 million, a little more than the US state of Arizona. But the resemblance stops there. Arizona’s state government is backward-looking, roiled by racial politics, contemptuous of higher education, and a climate laggard, dirtying up the atmosphere and causing its state’s own increasing desertification. Last year, Scotland got 40% of its electricity from renewables, up from 24% in 2010. Arizona gets 9 percent of its electricity from renewables, despite vast solar potential that completely dwarfs that of Scotland. Almost all Arizona renewable energy is hydroelectric. About 35% of Arizona electricity is from coal, the dirtiest possible source. A similar proportion comes from natural gas, also a big source of carbon dioxide emissions. Arizona has a pitiful plan to be at 15% renewables by 2025, which is the sort of goal that dooms the earth. Scotland is planning to get 50% of its electricity from wind, solar, wave and hydro in 2015, and is going for 100% green energy in 2020. Scotland is planning to get 50% of its electricity from wind, solar, wave and hydro in 2015, and is going for 100% green energy in 2020. About 12% of Scottish power is from hydro-electric, just slightly more than Arizona. The share of Scottish electricity produced by nuclear plants has fallen from 50% to 34%, and the Scottish government has no plans to build new nuclear plants. The Scottish public is on board with the government’s plans. Scots don’t mind dams or solar panels or wind turbines....
2014 Mercedes E250-45mpg EPA Hwy Rating

2014 Mercedes E250-45mpg EPA Hwy Rating

2014 E250 BlueTEC Sedan Gets 45 MPG EPA HWY Rating 2014 E250 BlueTEC. (PRNewsFoto/Mercedes-Benz USA) The newest Mercedes-Benz E-Class – the 2014 E250 BlueTEC sedan – has achieved an impressive estimated EPA rating of 45 miles per gallon on the highway and 28 mpg around town. The first diesel E-Class to be available with 4MATIC achieves best-in-class fuel efficiency for a midsize luxury sedan and for the entire industry in the same size range. When equipped with optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive, its fuel mileage numbers are still an impressive 42 mpg highway and 27 in the city. No other diesel sedan offers a better EPA fuel economy highway estimate. High-Tech Four Cylinder with Balance Shafts: It’s clear that the big news for 2014 is the high-efficiency turbodiesel engine that powers the E250 BlueTEC. The all-aluminum, in-line four-cylinder engine makes use of four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts with vane-type variable valve timing, producing 195 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. To smooth out the inherent vibration of an in-line four-cylinder engine, two Lanchester balance shafts spin at twice crankshaft speed in sophisticated, low-friction roller bearings. During normal operation, the advantages of this two-stage turbocharged system can be felt – no turbo lag, fast throttle response, a broad torque curve across the entire engine speed range and noticeably improved performance. What’s more, the 369 lb-ft of torque is readily available at 1,800 rpm. BlueTEC Refinements; Fuel pressure for the BlueTEC direct fuel injection system is 2,000 bar or 28,400 pounds per square inch, which makes possible even more power and lower exhaust emissions. Higher ignition fuel pressure means...
FIAT 500L Diesel Coming to US

FIAT 500L Diesel Coming to US

FIAT 500L LIVING PASSES THE BOSCH ‘DIESEL CHALLENGE’ TEST Turin-Paris, nearly 800 kilometers (500 miles) without refueling.  The feat was achieved by the Fiat 500L Living cars with a 1.6 MultiJet II 105 HP Bosch Common Rail diesel engine. With less than $40 euro of diesel: the distance was covered on an average of 27 liters of fuel (7 US gallons), corresponding to approximately 30 kilometres per liter or 71.42mpg US.  Burning B20 that would be 85.70 mppg (Miles Per Petroleum Gallon). The new turbo diesel ensures fun, outstanding range, low running costs and more miles before servicing. Even more remarkable was the performance of a professional driver who drove the same distance on only 20.9 liters of fuel, equal to more than 38 kilometers per liter. The same excellent results were registered by the teams who traveled back from Paris to Turin, again without stopping for fuel. Fitted with a small fixed geometry turbocharger, a variable displacement oil pump and ‘smart charge’ alternator, the 105 HP 1.6 MultiJet on Fiat 500L Living is a second generation MultiJet engine which ensures category topping economy, eco-friendliness and performance. The secret of its performance lies in the new fuel supply system with faster injectors capable of multiple injections in rapid succession. Specifically, the MultiJet II system’s servo valve technology with balanced shutter is capable of managing up to eight injections per cycle, offering greater speed, flexibility and precision in the various phases of operation. The injector is also simpler and more reliable because its construction is less complex and it has 40% fewer components. This new type of injector paves the...

Diesel vehicles earn the lowest cost/mile rating

A new study found that diesel vehicles saved owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a three to five year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan, Transportation Research Institute. The University of Michigan study, Total Cost of Ownership: A Gas Versus Diesel Comparison, was conducted for Robert Bosch LLC and the results were released at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Washington D.C. Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include: Total Cost of Ownership: In the three-year timeframe comparison, diesel vehicles in the mass market, passenger car segment are estimated to save owners a significant amount of money with the VW Jetta owner saving $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saving $3,389, and the VW Golf owner saving an estimated $5,013. In the luxury segment, all the diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E Class ($4,175), Mercedes-Benz GL Class ($13,514), Mercedes-Benz M Class ($3,063), Mercedes-Benz R Class ($5,951), and VW Touareg ($7,819) save owners money in the three-year timeframe. Fuel Efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions with the diesels having between 8- to 44-percent higher miles per gallon. Fuel Costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than all the gas versions of comparable vehicles, with 11 of the 12 vehicles showing double-digit reductions in fuel costs, ranging from 10 to 29 percent. Similar to the three-year comparisons, five year estimated fuel costs for diesel vehicles are less than those of comparable gas versions. The percentage difference in terms of the reduction from gas to diesel costs decreased for some diesel-gas comparisons as diesel prices began to increase around the...

California is buying Diesels – Not EV’s

The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about diesel engines, fuel, and technology, presented new research to the California Energy Commission Panel that states California will reduce vehicle fuel use and emissions in the future due to the greater acceptance of clean diesel technology. The research was collected by the Martec Group, a market research and consulting group, which was commissioned by the DTF. According to Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of DTF, some of the major findings of the new research include: California is the number one state today in overall diesel car and pickup truck registrations. From 2010-2012, California was the number one state with the fastest growth in registrations of new diesel cars and SUVs. California has the third highest registration (20 percent) of the new generation (2007 and later) clean diesel commercial trucks (Class 3-8). 2005‐2012 light-duty diesel engines have saved California consumers: 0.7 million tons of CO2. 110 million gallons of gasoline. 2.5 million barrels of crude oil. Conservative estimates of fuel savings and CO2 reductions for 130,000 new light-duty diesel engines sold each year between 2013‐2020 will save California consumers an additional: 165 million to 240 million gallons of gasoline. 1.0 to 1.3 million tons of CO2. In addition, according to ExxonMobil’s 2013: The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, not only will diesel surpass gasoline as the number one global transportation fuel by 2020, diesel demand will also account for 70 percent of the growth in demand for all transportation fuels through 2040. ExxonMobil also projects that natural gas will remain only a small share of the...