July 13, 2008

Planet Green

How has "Going Green" affected the media? Just check out the new channel on TV - Plant Green! Planet Green is a 24-hour TV network devoted to the eco-lifestyle. It's actually launched by Discovery, just adding to their TV lineup. While the shows are somewhat limited as it begins to reach more households, the concept is very promising. Be sure to check out and comment on what you like/dislike about the channel.

July 9, 2008

Nissan Goes Electric

Yet another car companies announces plan for a fully-electric vehicle. Nissan just announced, along with Renault (a French car company), that they plan on releasing a fully electric vehicle by the year 2011 in Portugal. This announcement comes after making an arrangement with the government in Portugal to create a national network of recharging stations (making electric vehicles an extremely practical solution).
"We are feeling more strongly than ever that we must speed up our development of electric vehicles," said Nissan Senior Vice President Minoru Shinohara.

This is rather exciting news actually. While some other car companies are spreading their research development over several different technologies - Hydrogen fuel cell and more Hybrid vehicles - Nissan is choosing to focus on the electric vehicle. In my mind, the electric vehicle really represents the future of the auto industry. Battery technology has been advancing enough to make it practical. Not only that, the way we power our electric grids is starting to convert to clean energy (wind and solar energy are both really starting to emerge). We'll definitely have to keep a close eye on Nissan's announcements over the next several years!

July 7, 2008

GM Cartoon - Hilarious!!

How's this for funny?

July 5, 2008

Mercedes Believes in a Gas-Free Future

Apparently, one of the luxury companies gets it - Mercedes believes motorists will have switched away from gas-powered vehicles by the year 2015 (specifically referring to urban areas). As a result, they plan on focusing on alternative energy solutions including biofuels, fuel cell, and fully electric vehicles. Quoting The Sun (a UK newspaper), "The company has already spent £2million on their new long-term Sustainable Mobility plan and are set to invest a further £7billion before 2014."

This seems like a really exciting development to me. Unlike gigantic car manufacturers like Ford and GM, Mercedes has a smaller production number and could theoretically be able to achieve a gas-free model line by the year 2015. I hope that they stick with the planned investments and it will be interesting to see which route they take (electric vs. fuel cell). I for one can't wait to stop paying $4.30/gallon!

What do you think? Can Mercedes pull it off or is this an unreasonable goal?

July 3, 2008

The Hype about Hydrogen

One alternative energy that seems to be making a lot of headlines is Hydrogen Power - specifically its use in automobiles. Hydrogen as an energy source is no new concept; in fact, it's been around for quite some time. However, with the development of fuel cells that are able to be installed in car, Hydrogen has once again become the source of much attention. Many of the large auto manufacturers have begun small-scale deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to gauge public interest.

Until recently for me, Hydrogen did seem like a viable source of energy for the car industry. However, I read through a book called "The Hype about Hydrogen" and my outlook on hydrogen as a car fuel is very bleak. It's a really interesting read and I recommend that you look through it. Some of its main points against Hydrogen are below:

  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in current models cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce (if not > $1 million).
  • The US would need to replace the entire gasoline fueling station infrastructure (and similar to the vehicles themselves, fueling stations would each be a large investment).
  • Current methods to produce hydrogen make it an expensive fuel and there are currently issues with the storage and distribution of the fuel.
So there you have it! All these arguments aside, Hydrogen is a very interesting energy source (there is unlimited availability), but it does seem like it will not be the answer - at least anywhere in the near future.

July 2, 2008

Fill It Up..With Water!

Talk about simple - what if you could just put water in your car instead of gas? This video a friend sent me on YouTube showcases a brand new car that runs simply on water. Unveiled in Japan, the car could be yet another answer to our oil issues. While it's just a test vehicle, they hope to go into mass production soon. Take a look at it - it's very cool!

July 1, 2008

Car Sales - How Low Can You Go?

Here it is - the results are in for the month of June! Front page - CNN - reports car sales being significantly down for the month of June. How far down? GM reported an 18% year-over-year drop, with Toyota sinking 21% (I'll go into that more), and Ford down a whopping 28%. Surprise, surprise. The article cites overall economic concerns, along with a shortage of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Which brings me to the real point of this post....there aren't enough fuel efficient/hybrid vehicles in dealers. The Toyota Prius saw its sales fall by a third!!?? You may ask how can that be considering you can't even find one at a dealer - there are actually wait lists for the car. It's really quite simple - they don't have enough to sell. Pretty ridiculous if you think about it. Toyota did not make enough of the Prius and now it's hurting them. Somebody is going to lose a job over that....

What do you think - is July going to be worse or will the recent rebate stimulus checks sent out by the IRS radically change car spending? Also, please comment if you HAVE found a new Prius!

June 30, 2008

Save on Gas

I just read an interesting article written by a CNN Money editor about how she is saving money on gas with several good methods of driving. They seem like pretty good ideas - especially if you're driving an SUV or a pickup truck. Here they are:
  • Drive a smaller car if you have access to one: If you have a boy/girlfriend, wife/husband, or a roommate that has a smaller car that gets better gas mileage - use it!
  • Logging and Planning your driving: Take a piece of paper and write down everywhere you go throughout the week and how many miles you go. After that week is done, plan to either eliminate some driving or consolidate errands.
  • Use public transportation: This one can be tricky depending on where you have to go, but try and use the public transportation in your town or city. Buses, subway systems, and trains could all end up saving you money depending on how far you're driving.
  • Better driving techniques: Consistently check your tire pressure, and also more importantly, easy up on the gas pedal! Don't accelerate too fast and always try to drive at or below the speed limit. On the highway, set the cruise control for 60 or 65.
Seems like some good ideas to me! Anyone else have any good suggestions?

June 28, 2008

Free Gas for Summer...?

Pump prices got you down? It's definitely got the car manufacturers down! While people struggle to figure out ways to afford gas prices, car dealers are struggling to sell cars that don't have high fuel efficiencies. Some car manufacturers have now released gas-price incentives such as "Free Gas for Summer" by Suzuki and a fixed $2.99/gallon price for 3 years by Chrysler.

They must be pretty desperate to start basing incentives off of gas prices, because any knowledgeable person knows that gas prices will not be declining or leveling off in the near future. On the bright side, hopefully this also means that these same manufacturers are putting a lot of investment into raising fuel efficiency and alternative energy vehicles.

Would you be swayed by one of these gas incentives? Leave a comment!

June 26, 2008

Oil Price Rises - New Record High

Think oil prices are leveling off and you don't need to worry about fuel efficiency? Think again! This just in...one barrel of oil now costs $140 - a new record. According to a CNN article just released this afternoon, fear of reductions in oil supply from Kenya and comments made by OPEC officials citing a $170 price later in the summer has caused this record spike in price.

Good luck finding a Prius!

>>>>>> CNN Article - Oil Price Record <<<<<<

Global Warming = Terrorism?

How scared of global warming should we be? Apparently...very! Not only should we worry about the ice caps melting, temperatures increasing, and an increase in severe weather, but we should also fear increased terrorist attacks! According to this recent CNN article,
Climate change "will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions," Thomas Fingar said. "All of this threatens the domestic stability of a number of African, Asian, Central American and Central Asian countries."
What do you think - will climate change be enough to destabilize third world countries and create a new field of recruits for terrorism. Read the article at CNN below!

>>>>>> CNN Article - Global Warming <<<<<<

June 25, 2008

Honda's Hydrogen?

Watching TV last night, I saw this commercial recently released by Honda - their new FCX Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle. Quite an interesting development, although hydrogen is impractical right now (lack of fueling stations and a high vehicle cost). What do you think - is this a real step in the right direction or just a commercial ploy to try and create good press for Honda?

June 24, 2008

In A Green World...

Welcome to "In A Green World," a blog completely devoted to bringing you the most up-to-date information on the alternative energy industry in the US. These past few weeks have really opened our eyes to reality: oil has completely changed the way we live in a matter of months. Road trips no longer seem practical, food prices have been dramatically increasing, powering our houses and apartments has become more costly, and not only that, but the Middle East oil suppliers are living it up as prices keep rising. Fortunately, many individuals see an opportunity in this difficult situation - an opportunity for creating an entire new industry and movement here in the states. Alternative energy, and by this I mean renewable sources of energy, has started to take a new position in America's hearts. Alternative energy can free us from our oil addiction, and at the same time clean up our air and create thousands of new jobs and companies.

Every day, I'll be posting about different developments in this green movement. Some posts may come from articles I've read recently, others may be general opinions on US energy policy, and some may just be different ideas I have on potential alternative energy business. Whatever the post is, please feel free to leave comments and suggestions! Thanks and welcome to In A Green World!