Friday, November 11, 2005

More Fuel efficiency

I know I've ranted in the past about the fuel efficiency issue, but today I happened to read a few articles that made me smile. There happened to be a couple of announcements at the same time about improvements that may help the industries that actually drive the most. Taxi's and Semi's. The Taxi story is out of New York, and now the Taxis in New York are allowed to be Hybrids. Apparently New York is listed as one of the 3 worst cities for Air Quality in the US and they have a lot of Taxis that put on a lot of miles each year. The story cites 100,000 miles a year. Wow!! Can you imagine the saving in polution and gas that can come from NY alone by having all of the taxis being hybrids? I don't think that the car manufacturers acutally make enough hyrbrids for all of NY to switch en masse, but I do like to dream. What if all of the major cities did the same thing? Come on Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Seattle, etc. Let's all get on board. Hell not that I'm a fan of government, because I'd prefer that in general they stay out of things. But they could mandate that Taxis have a certain fuel efficiency in these cities.

Similarly There is some research on Semis that has gained the heavily loaded trailers 0.6 MPG. This is small, but they only normally get 4-6 MPG, so 0.6 is at minimum a 10% improvement, just by putting an extension on the back to help fight the drag from the wind. They are going to be running a year long test to see if the results hold up in all kinds of conditions. I wish they would run it for 3 months, publish results and make the product available. Sure they can keep testing for the rest of the year, but some may start to take advantage of this earlier. Again I am elated to hear of semis saving up to 10% on their gas. This can save a lot of gas and reduce overall shipping costs. What other aerodynamic options are available to save us money with these? Can we plug something onto the nose too?

Finally, there are some scientists in Canada that think they can make the cost of Hydrogen viable by combining wind power and nuclear power in generating the hydrogen. Wind power is free and the nuclear power would keep the system producing hydrogen at full capacity when the wind is not blowing. However, it also says that when it's windy additional energy would be sold back to the power company. Wouldn't that mean that the nuclear power is being used to run the Hydrogen generation at near 100% and the wind power is just being used to offest the cost of the nuclear by selling power back to the power company? I don't think I like the way that it sounds, but you can read what they say about green nuclear power here.