Biofuels

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...
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...
More efficient diesel engine from VW

More efficient diesel engine from VW

Volkswagen has announced a replacement for its current 2.0-litre diesel engine with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).  The motor will first appear in the second half of 2014 under the hoods of the Golf, Beetle, Jetta and Passat TDI models. The new 2.0L EA228 engine is designed to provide “scalable” options for expected legislation such as Euro 6 as well as California’s Lev III standards.. The engine will come with an after treatment system including Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and advanced Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology. Both DPF and SCR technologies are combined in one component saving space and costs. The primary innovation of this new engine design is that the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve and the water-cooled intercooler have both been integrated with the intake manifold. That change, combined with many others including new piston rings and a two-stage oil pump, will result in improved emissions and decreased friction within the motor itself. Displacement will remain at 2.0-litres, but output will jump by 10 horsepower to 150. Torque will remain constant at 236 pound-feet. While it will first roll out in four models, Volkswagen says this new engine will ultimately appear in all VW and Audi products. VW is the leader in diesel sales in the U.S. – representing about 78 percent of the diesel sales for passenger cars, according to officials.  Robert Bosch, a global multibillion-dollar engineering and electronics automotive leader, anticipates more than 50 light-vehicle diesel models to be announced or released by 2017 in the U.S. market. “Clean diesels” are 30 percent more fuel-efficient, produce lower CO2 emissions and maintain a higher residual value compared...
2014 BMW 328d

2014 BMW 328d

A new diesel version of BMW’s compact 3-Series will hit U.S. highways this year.  BMW has offered a diesel engine in the 3-Series before with their 335d, but it was a 6-cylinder. The 328d offers a more efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that BMW says should deliver an estimated 45 mpg highway and in the mid-30’s combined. The new engine puts out 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It will have the same urea injection exhaust treatment as seen on other BMW diesels in order to meet U.S. emissions standards. The 328d will be offered in both sedan and wagon body styles. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, with all-wheel drive offered as an option. The 328d wagon will be available only with all-wheel drive. BMW’s new 8-speed automatic will be the only transmission offered. It is more efficient than a manual and therefore the best fit for a car focused on maximizing fuel economy. The 328d will have a “premium” over the 328i, which uses a turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine. Production will begin in July 2013, and sales are set to kick off in July or August. The new BMW 328d looks like a win-win, offering better fuel economy, likely twice the longevity, lower maintenance and higher resale value than the gas-powered 328i, without sacrificing performance. The base price will be below $40K...
78 MPPG in a Passat TDI

78 MPPG in a Passat TDI

It’s not an official government rating, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless: 78 miles per petroleum gallon (MPPG) in a Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel. It was anointed a Guinness World Record, so it’s more than your neighbor bragging about his eco-abilities. The team of auto blogger Wayne Gerdes and electronics engineer Bob Winger ran up 8,122 miles, using 104.94 gallons of fuel, covering the 48 contiguous states in a Passat diesel built at VW’s Chattanooga factory and delivered for the drive as it came off the line, VW says. VW itself set the previous record for a Passat diesel, 67.9 mpg in 2009. The U.S. government’s official highway mileage rating for the Passat diesel is 43 mpg. The Passat TDI drive began June 7 from VW’s U.S. headquarters in Herndon, Va., and ended when the team returned there June 24. “Obviously, we employ some specialized techniques to achieve such figures, but there’s no reason why owners of TDI vehicles shouldn’t be able to achieve great mileage,” Gerdes says. A key tactic: Anticipate conditions. “Look for impediments or topography 15 to 45 seconds ahead, rather than reacting to where you’re currently driving,” he says. Equipment on the mileage run: •Shell ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel. •Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology tires, which have low rolling resistance. Those aren’t available as a factory option on Passat TDI, but are available from tire sellers and were approved by Guinness. •Linear Logic ScanGauge II to precisely measure fuel economy ETC has contacted the team of Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger with the intention of setting a new record for MPPG from our...
Intel ISEF Awards biodiesel… again

Intel ISEF Awards biodiesel… again

For a fifth-grade science fair, Evie Sobczak found that the acid in fruit could power clocks; she connected a cut-up orange to a clock with wire and watched it tick. In seventh grade, she generated power by engineering paddles that could harness wind. And in eighth grade, she started a project that eventually would become her passion: She wanted to grow algae and turn it into biofuel. After four years of tinkering in her garage for about an hour each day, Sobczak (pronounced sob-chek) has finally figured it out. Her algae-to-fuel project won first place and best in category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, beating 1,600 other finalists from 70 countries. The Intel ISEF is one of the largest and most prestigious science fairs in the world. “When I got there, I looked at all the projects and they were amazing, but I trusted that my project has a lot of capabilities to be used in the real world, so I thought I had a good chance of winning,” said Sobczak, a rising senior at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg. The project’s official title: Algae to Oil via Photoautotrophic Cultivation and Osmotic Sonication. In less dizzying terms, Sobczak cultivated, harvested and extracted algae oils and turned them into biofuel. Biofuel is made by taking a mass — such as grass, sugarcane or corn — and converting it to fuel. The process leaves out harmful chemicals, like chloroform and hexane, which are used in making biodiesel and other types of fuel. Also, the use of algae biofuel reduces reliance on fossil fuels. Some research...

U.S. Diesel Car Registrations Increase by 24%

April 29, 2013 California, Massachusetts and New York are the fastest growing states for diesel car sales, while Texas, California and Florida have the most diesels on the road. WASHINGTON – Clean diesel car registrations increased by 24.3% in the United States from 2010 through 2012, following similar trends of double-digit diesel car sale increases throughout the country, according to new data compiled for the Diesel Technology Forum. The national registration information was compiled by R.L. Polk and Company and includes data for all types of passenger vehicles — cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and vans — in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2012. “This consistent growth in clean diesel registrations in the last three years is particularly noteworthy since it has occurred during an economic recession, the availability of an extremely large number of fuel efficient vehicles, which was topped off by some of the highest diesel fuel prices in U.S. history. Even in the face of these significant challenges, diesel buyers are seeing the big picture and long-term value by investing in record numbers of clean diesel cars and SUVs,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. Diesel car and SUV registrations increased from 640,779 in 2010 to 796,794 at the end of 2012 — a 24.3% increase. During this same period, hybrid car and SUV registrations increased from 1,714,966 to 2,290,903 — a 33.6% increase. In contrast, the total car and SUV registrations in the U.S. increased by just 2.8% during the same period. “When all passenger vehicle registrations are included — cars, SUVs, pickup...