This Sunday, as always, Mike Millikin lays out for us the week's top stories in green cars and transportation-related environmental news. Metaefficient's Justin Thomas is taking the week off -- his Week in Green Design feature will return next week.
Quite a lot happened underscoring the need for urgent action on climate change this week:
At the same time, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that US oil consumption rose at its highest rate in 5 years, with total petroleum deliveries climbing 2.3% in 2004. Domestic crude production fell 3.8% and crude oil imports grew 4.0%. US oil imports crossed the 10 million barrel per day threshold for the first time. (GCC)
On the automaker front, Ford Motor was very active. The company is stepping up its rhetoric and its work on sustainable mobility.
Just over the past few weeks, Ford has accelerated its production of hybrid models, made some very significant diesel announcements, introduced a full hybrid diesel-electric prototype, begun touting biofuel use in its diesels and announced customers for its hydrogen combustion engine shuttle vans.
In his talk to investors and analysts, Bill Ford stressed that one of his company’s historic strengths has been the mass commercialization of advanced technology. If the company is able to follow through on that commitment with these clean technologies, Ford could be well positioned as the consumer market shifts—as eventually it must. Just a question of timing...or, in the framework of the ICCT report, of being able to make enough of a difference before hitting the threshold point.
In other news of the week, governments in Asia are giving CNG and LPG more of a role in public transit. (Beijing, CNG. Calcutta, LPG.) Fiat is going back to Iran after a 50-year absence to build dual fuel (gasoline/CNG) cars. (GCC)
And on the biofuels front, a report from the US Department of Agriculture estimates that Biomass-to-Liquid diesel fuel could soon meet 13% of Germany’s diesel needs. (GCC) BTL creates a synthesis gas from biomass waste and uses a Fischer-Tropsch process to convert that to a range of products, including clean diesel fuel.