American consumers have been enjoying Christmas since July – that is, July 2014, when the average price for all grades of gasoline peaked at US$3.75 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. Since then, prices have declined substantially, as every motorist knows: to $2.90 by Thanksgiving 2014 and to $2.14 as we approach the end of 2015. In many parts of the country, the price of regular gasoline is well below $2 per gallon today.
On November 30, as the Paris international climate conference was getting underway, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a long-overdue update of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements. Originally established in 2005 and then greatly expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS mandates increasing use of ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels in America's cars and trucks.
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.
The first North American roads were foot trails- trails that widened, with the centuries, to accommodate horses and then teams. A horse and wagon traveled at an average speed of four miles per hour. Our average travel speed has changed a bit since then, yet many of those same trails- made to offer the least resistance possible for animals two-legged and four- now carry millions of Americans to their destinations. Builders, policy experts, and others who plan and study transportation systems must literally build the future on top of the past.
The University of Michigan will award more than $1 million in grant funding to technologies that demonstrate high potential for solving transportation's toughest challenges.
The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Transportation program, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., offers an avenue for U-M researchers and innovators to discover commercial opportunities to advance their projects out of the lab and into the market.
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?
ANN ARBOR—The opening of the University of Michigan Energy Institute's Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, or Battery Lab, today further expands the Midwest's rapidly growing battery research and manufacturing capabilities.
The open-access lab will provide space to build and test battery concepts while fully protecting the intellectual property of its users. The lab's capabilities have already attracted global user interest from startups, established corporations and academics.
The German carmaker has admitted fitting as many as 11 million diesel cars with software that detected when a test was being run and altered the engine performance so it would pass. The company has suspended sales of those vehicles and CEO Martin Winterkorn quit as investigators from Washington to Berlin have promised to punish those responsible.
"This is a warning that the regulators can never afford to let down their guard," said John DeCicco, a researcher who worked on overhauling EPA test procedures in the 1990s. "They can't just accept lab results."