E15, a fuel blend that contains five percent more ethanol than the current U.S. standard, will finally be available to consumers. That is, if they happen to be driving a late-model car along route 10 through Lawrence, Kansas. The Zarco 66 Oasis station in Lawrence, Kansas will be the first retailer in the U.S. to sell E15, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Plans are in the works to offer E15 at a second retail station in Ottawa, Kansas. E15's limited debut might seem immaterial. However, the fuel's appearance anywhere in the U.S., even a relatively small town in middle America, is significant for the ethanol industry, which is grappling with a supply glut due to low demand. The industry, which has been forced to cut production and idle plants as corn prices skyrocket and gasoline consumption falls, has hoped higher fuel blends (once its rolled out on a larger scale) will drive up demand. E15, and ethanol in general, continues to be controversial. Earlier this week, a House … [Read more...] about E15 fuel makes its U.S. debut
U s epa
Cities need infrastructure of all types to be successful. Transit and road networks to get people around, buildings for homes and offices, the energy grid to keep everything running. But the infrastructure that snakes beneath our cities, almost entirely out of sight, carries our most precious resource: water. But as important a resource as water is, city pipes, at least in the United States, are aging quickly and are in need of replacement. A poignant example is from Washington, D.C. where north of the White House there are water pipes in the ground that were installed before the Civil War, according to George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water in Washington. Hawkins was part of an excellent episode of NPR's Science Friday along with Martin Melosi, a professor of urban history. The two pointed out a number of statistics about city water infrastructure. Did you know: Every day in the U.S., leaky pipes lose one in six gallons of clean water. In D.C., … [Read more...] about U.S. city water infrastructure built before the Civil War
Improving vehicle efficiency is often cited as a major reason for declining U.S. oil consumption since 2005. But is there any evidence for that claim? Falling domestic oil consumption is a key factor in the new narrative about the U.S. achieving "energy independence" in the next eight years through a combination of improved vehicle efficiency and increased domestic drilling. An April research note by financial services company Raymond James depicted its forecast in this chart: The much-ballyhooed May, 2012 forecast by Edward Morse of Citigroup also cited efficiency as a key pathway to energy independence by 2020, asserting, "US liquid fuels demand is in structural, secular decline due to demographics, fuel efficiency, transport technology shifts." Last December, Daniel Yergin, chairman of the oil consultancy IHS CERA, explained the decline in US oil consumption thusly in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal: "What's happening? Part of the answer is demand. U.S. oil consumption … [Read more...] about Has vehicle efficiency really curbed U.S. oil demand?
Intel Corp. continues to lead U.S. companies in the EPA's green power ranking, consuming twice as much energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low-impact small hydroelectric sources as the next biggest user. Intel, which uses "green power" to cover 100 percent of its electricity load, has sat at the EPA Top 100 Green Power Rankings list for seven years. And it's not likely to change any time soon. Kohl's, in the No. 2 spot, used 1.53 billion kilowatt hours of green power compared with Intel's 3.1 billion kWh. The EPA defines green power as energy from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low-impact small hydroelectric sources. Further down the top 10, the race is closer. And in the past year, there have been a few changes. Kohl's supplanted Microsoft from the No. 2 spot, not by adding more green power sources, but because the tech companies is now using less. Last year, Microsoft used 1.9 billion kWh of green power , which … [Read more...] about Top 10 clean-powered U.S. companies
You know those Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus-type movies where the government decides to solve the problem of one rampaging animal by releasing another into the wild to fight it? Well, that pretty much just happened — except that this time the newly released creatures are genetically-engineered killer mosquitoes.Announced this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially signed off on an unorthodox plan to use lab-grown mosquitoes, developed by the Kentucky-based biotech company MosquitoMate, as insect assassins to hunt down disease-carrying wild mosquitoes. It’s part of a project called “Adam,” in which male mosquitoes (the ones that don’t bite, since male mosquitoes feed only on flower nectar) are used as vehicles to deliver a potent mosquito insecticide, thereby reducing mosquito populations.“MosquitoMate has developed a novel mosquito control tool for the Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which we call ZAP,” Corey … [Read more...] about U.S. approves plans to release weaponized mosquitoes — for your own good
Mitsubishi is in hot water for overstating fuel economy on 620,000 cars sold in Japan over the last three years. But the company says its U.S. models are not involved, citing its own internal investigation.“Our findings confirm that fuel economy testing data for these U.S. market vehicles is accurate and complies with established EPA procedures,” a Mitsubishi statement said. The company checked data submitted to the EPA for model years 2013 through 2017, and claims it found no evidence of the tweaked testing procedures its Japanese arm used.Mitsubishi disclosed this week that the affected Japanese cars got inflated fuel economy ratings because engineers used a modified version of the “coast down test” that determines air resistance. The carmaker said it devised an illegal testing procedure as early as 1992 that delivered better fuel economy results than the method proscribed by the Japanese government.Read more: Feds inquire about Mitsubishi fuel economyThe … [Read more...] about Mitsubishi says it didn’t cheat on U.S. fuel economy tests
The ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal has put U.S.-market diesel cars on the endangered species list. Diesels have never been as popular in the United States as they are in Europe, and now that Volkswagen Group brands aren’t selling them here, their numbers have dwindled.VW was arguably the most enthusiastic about diesels in the U.S., but it wasn’t the only carmaker selling them here. Mercedes-Benz offers a handful of diesel models, although slow sales, tougher emissions standards, and increased scrutiny resulting from the Volkswagen scandal have weakened its resolve. Mercedes may even stop selling diesels in the U.S. entirely, according to Automotive News (subscription required).The automaker is still working on certification for a limited number of 2017 diesel models, Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz Cars, said in an interview at last week’s 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The company is conducting market research to … [Read more...] about Mercedes-Benz is pessimistic about the future of U.S. diesels
Honda is in the midst of the biggest sports car offensive it has ever launched in its history. The company’s Acura division unveiled the long-awaited (and long-overdue) second-gen NSX earlier this year in Detroit, and industry rumors claim it is designing a smaller and more affordable mid-engined model to compete against the Porsche Boxster and the Alfa Romeo 4C.Surprisingly, John Mendel, the executive vice president of Honda’s American division has hinted that the tiny S660 (pictured) could add a third prong to the offensive.“We’re looking at it intently for North America. We want some spice in the lineup,” revealed the executive in an interview with Edmunds.If it’s given the green light for production, the U.S.-spec version of the convertible won’t be identical to the one that’s sold in Japan. For starters, the S660 is considered a “kei” car in its home country, meaning that owners benefit from sizable tax breaks. … [Read more...] about Honda’s pint-sized S660 roadster could be sold in the U.S. with a bigger engine
The new Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel could prompt more Americans to consider buying a diesel who might not have ever considered it as an option before.While widely popular outside of the U.S. market, a lot of Americans probably still have a negative view of diesel vehicles despite being aware of the potential fuel savings.Even with all the advancements made in the technology, the image of pulling up to a light and hearing a truck rumbling with a diesel badge is probably a more accurate picture of what a lot of middle Americas think of diesel cars.I’d be willing to bet that many American consumers have no idea that luxury carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW now offer diesel-powered sedans in the U.S. And if they do, it probably means little considering that the cars are out of their price range.I’m not even sure that a lot of Americans know that Volkswagen offers a very affordable diesel in the U.S. However, with a starting price just under $26,000 … [Read more...] about Can Chevy’s new Cruze Diesel help change the negative perception of diesel cars in U.S.?
You probably don’t recognize the Insect Shield brand, but if you have ever donned a piece of insect-repellent clothing or bug-resistant gear, then you likely have experience with the company’s technology. The company’s proprietary permethrin formula is used by the U.S. military and by more than 70 lifestyle clothing brands.And it is used for good reasons — permethrin is effective against a variety of insects including mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and no-see-ums. With the introduction of its new Easy Pack program, Insect Shield’s highly regarded repellent formula is now available to the public.The Easy Pack program is a mail-in service that allows consumers to send their clothing to Insect Shield for treatment with this long-lasting permethrin formula. The Easy Pack simply is a pre-paid Priority Mail envelope that measures 17.25 inches by 14 inches. Customers can stuff the pack with clothing and then ship off their items to the company using … [Read more...] about Insect Shield offering U.S. military-approved bug repellent for clothing