Consumers feel their home energy costs would have to more than double before they had to use less or reduce other expenses to compensate, according to a new index created by the University of Michigan's Energy Institute and released today. The university's energy affordability indices are modeled on U-M's Survey of Consumers, and like their progenitor, the surveys ask questions of consumers about how much their own bills for things like gasoline, electricity, and home heating would have to rise before they became unaffordable. The energy surveys, which canvassed 3,400 Americans over two years, found that throughout the survey period, even consumers in the lower third of the income scale would have to see their home energy costs double before costs broke the bank. The survey also looked at gasoline prices and found that consumers would not find it unaffordable to fill their tanks unless pump prices more than doubled to $5.50 a gallon.
Two new Department of Energy grants that total $5.4 million will let University of Michigan engineering researchers work on “transformational” engine and battery projects. Their efforts could lead to efficiency gains in cars and trucks, the electrical grid, and beyond.
ANN ARBOR—Could vehicles that communicate with each other and their surroundings, helping drivers avoid crashes, also save energy?
The University of Michigan is working with two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories to study whether connected and automated vehicles could help people drive more efficiently. U-M, with Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, won a three-year, $2.7 million grant from DOE to fund the research.
“It would be better if the Renewable Fuel Standard were simply repealed,” argues John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute and a former senior fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund.
Held in the heart of the nation's automotive industry, leading researchers and members of the automotive, energy, and regulatory communities debate key transportation fuel-economy and emissions issues in the current economic and policy landscape.
The light-duty vehicle fleet is expected to undergo substantial technological changes over the next several decades. New powertrain designs, alternative fuels, advanced materials and significant changes to the vehicle body are being driven by increasingly stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. By the end of the next decade, cars and light-duty trucks will be more fuel efficient, weigh less, emit less air pollutants, have more safety features, and will be more expensive to purchase relative to current vehicles. Though the gasoline-powered spark ignition engine will continue to be the dominant powertrain configuration even through 2030, such vehicles will be equipped with advanced technologies, materials, electronics and controls, and aerodynamics. And by 2030, the deployment of alternative methods to propel and fuel vehicles and alternative modes of transportation, including autonomous vehicles, will be well underway. What are these new technologies - how will they work, and will some technologies be more effective than others?
A new piece on Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco's blog, Cars and Climate, explores the flow of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide during the life cycle of biofuels. It is excerpted below.
"After all that's been written about the pros and cons of biofuels over the years, it's fair to ask whether there's anything left to say. It turns out that there is, and a new insight comes from evaluating what actually happens on the earth, that is, on the land where the plants used to make biofuels are grown.
Energy Institute Research Professor John DeCicco was featured in a Marketplace Morning Report piece titled "Your electric car may be a carbon polluter." The piece highlighted a working paper that will be featured in this fall's Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy and the Environment (more info on the conference is viewable here).