Archive for ‘Fuel’

June 23, 2011

The Energy Expenditure of Internet Usage

by Vince


This is an interesting short video titled “How Green Is Your Internet?”

TDW:

Hungry Beast‘s Dan Ilic explores the facts and figures behind the oft ignored energy expenditure of Internet usage.

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June 5, 2011

Electric Cars and Oil Dependency

by Vince

The guys over at the Freakonomics blog have an interesting

point about electric cars. I guess every advantage has it’s disadvantages:

One argument I’ve heard is “national security,” the idea being that electric vehicles would make the United States less dependent on imported oil. Be careful what you wish for, however, because if electric cars become a mainstay, we may be trading one dependence for another that is even more troubling. Ninety-five percent of the world’s output of rare-earth metals today comes from one country: China. By some estimates, demand will outstrip supply within five years. At least with oil we know there are fifty years of oil reserves readily available. Moreover, oil is produced all over the world, limiting the monopoly power of any one country.

It is quite possible that scientists will figure out alternatives that lessen the need for rare-earth metals. If not, add the words dysprosium, praseodymium, and terbium to your vocabulary, because you will be hearing a lot about these elements in the future, and the news is not likely to be good.

June 1, 2011

The Magical Mystery Tour of Sarah Palin

by Vince

As I noted earlier today, Palin is making her cross-country trip, effectively rousing the people for a possible 2012 GOP bid. Palin is taking an unconventional route (no pun intended) in that she is purposefully eluding the press (and even her fans) and making them find her. In a sense, this tour will either give Palin the green or red light in terms of running in 2012:

According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s thinking, the tour is a test of whether she can do it “her way,” which the source described as “nontraditional, low-cost, high-tech…. The key is to be totally unpredictable and always keep her rivals off-balance.”

With that under-the-radar approach, Palin may have some gold up her sleeve:

Unscripted moments that go badly can haunt a politician on YouTube during a campaign and into the future, but Palin’s ease with a rope line and her politicking skills are one of her best assets. A Palin campaign may not have a press bus or the more formal interviews that reporters crave, but her team will undoubtedly factor in added time for her to greet supporters and campaign not just in large rallies but one on one as well.

The one major trait of Palin that could doom her chances is her divisiveness. Everything from her comments post-Tuscon to her Tweets, she polarizes the political debate to awful extremes (sometimes even cultural ones). Andrew Sullivan made this ironic point when she moved to Arizona, a state bitterly divided between the white, conservative north and the Hispanic south.

One other irony: Palin made the comment that she loves the smell of emissions. This comment could have many meanings behind it. It coincidentally was said by her the same day this report (eyes widen) was released:

According to the IEA, a record 30.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere last year, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels. In light of these shocking numbers, experts now fear that it will be impossible to prevent a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius — which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change.”

Picture by Flickr user Dave77459

May 25, 2011

Plastic UPS Trucks

by Vince

They are testing them out:

UPS has more than 70,000 vehicles on the road, so gains in fuel efficiency can save the company a lot of money—and reduce carbon emissions for the rest of us. Their latest experiment is a prototype CV-23 truck, which has body panels made of ABS plastic instead of sheet aluminum. That means it’s about 1,000 lbs lighter than a standard truck and can run on a smaller engine. The upshot? It’s 40 percent more fuel efficient. The folks at Triple Pundit estimate it gets more than 14 miles per gallon, which might not sound like a lot, but could save around 84 million gallons of fuel annually.

UPS will be testing five of these plastic CV-23s, made by Utilimaster and Isuzu, through December 2011, on some of the company’s most bruising, high-mile routes. They’ll deal with rough rural roads in Lincoln, Nebraska; freezing temperatures in Albany, New York; and the heat of the Tucson, Arizona desert. If they survive, they’ll be incorporated into UPS’s permanent fleet.

And good news: ABS plastic can, in theory at least, be recovered and reused when the trucks have been retired.

You just hope the trucks don’t melt in Arizona. It will be interesting to see how they react to different types of weather.

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May 17, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

May 14, 2011

Fuel Psychology

by Vince

If you ever cared about saving money at the gas pump, you may have driven out of your way to save a few cents per gallon. Read this:

As the NACS notes, such a trip is more likely to increase your costs than it is to save you money. A 10-minute detour theoretically results in a 20-minute round trip. At an average speed of 45 mph, the trip would cover 15 miles. If your car gets 30 miles to the gallon, you have to burn half a gallon of gas to reach the station with the cheaper prices. At $4 a gallon, that’s a cost of $2. To make such a trip worth your while (without factoring in the value of your time or the additional wear and tear on your vehicle), you’d need a fuel tank capable of holding 67 gallons. At a savings of three cents a gallon, that 67-gallon tank would cost $2.01 less to fill up at the cheap station versus the more expensive station. This means that after subtracting the cost of the extra fuel it necessitations, your excursion would save you a penny!

One other note for those bemoaning the car/fuel age:

Indeed, while the gas that cost 36 cents per gallon in 1970 would only cost $2 per gallon today, the average fuel economy for cars in that era was approximately 13.5 miles per gallon. In contrast, a 2011 Ford Fiesta gets 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway — so until gas prices top $4 per gallon, Fiesta drivers are actually paying less per mile for gas than the drivers of the 1970s did. And they’re not paying a premium to achieve such efficiencies — the Fiesta starts at $13,320 (that’s just $2312.72 in 1970 dollars).

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