Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Dirty little secret is out: We can't have alternative fuels and lower mileage
Houston Chronicle ^ | April 28, 2002 | TOM RANDALL

Posted on 04/28/2002 8:00:00 AM PDT by Dog Gone

ONCE upon a time, the picturesque university town of Cambridge, England, decided it had too many cars. To remedy the situation, it placed bicycles all over town, free for anyone to use.

The experiment sounded good, but it failed. The bikes were stolen and vandalized.

Sometimes an idea that seems good for the environment doesn't work in the real world. Take the notion of using alternative fuels to increase fuel economy. For years environmentalists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have grown increasingly strident in their demands that we must have vehicles that get greater fuel economy. At the same time they have been insisting that we replace gasoline with cleaner-burning alternative fuels. Most frequently mentioned are compressed natural gas, or CNG, and liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG.

But the EPA and environmentalists have known all along a dirty little secret: You can't have both. Unfortunately, it's an either-or situation -- either alternative fuels or higher mileage. This is spelled out very clearly in a joint EPA, Department of Energy publication, "Model Year 2002 Fuel Economy Guide." It lists mileage ratings for nearly all American-made and many foreign cars and light trucks sold in the United States.

The numbers are very revealing. A typical example is the mileage ratings for the Ford F-150, for decades the most popular light truck in the country.

According to the EPA/DOE guide, the gasoline-powered version of the F-150 with a 4-speed automatic transmission and 5.4-liter V-8 engine gets 15 miles per gallon in city driving and 19 mpg on the highway.

Same truck, same engine, same transmission, powered by CNG is rated at just 12 mpg city and 16 mpg highway -- 20 and 16 percent less, respectively.

The same truck in a bi-fuel model that can burn gasoline or CNG performs even worse: 11 mpg city and 14 mpg highway. Those are mileage reductions of 27 and 26 percent from the gasoline-powered model.

Mileage takes a big hit in the bi-fuel model built for gasoline and LPG, too: 12 mpg city and dramatically low 13 mpg highway -- 21 percent below the gasoline-powered version.

Automotive experts, such as Robert Brooks of the prestigious auto-industry publication "Wards Engine and Vehicle Technology Update," point out that the poor mileage of these alternatives is to be expected.

In simple terms, they say that CNG and LPG contain less energy per gallon than gasoline and it is the energy contained in the fuel, not just the fuel itself, that moves you down the road. They point out that a similar, though less severe, reduction in mileage is caused by adding the "alternative fuel" ethanol to gasoline.

Dramatically expanded use of ethanol is advocated by both Republican and Democratic leaders, in an effort to appeal to the farm vote. Ethanol is made from corn. The fact remains, you can't have it both ways: It's higher mileage or alternative fuels.

There is a second little secret about these alternative fuels: They come from wells: in many cases, the same wells from which we get oil. Oil that we use to make gasoline. Wells that environmentalists don't want us to drill.

Could the real secret be that environmentalists just don't want us to drive cars at all? No ... to anyone paying attention, that's not a secret.

Randall is director of the John P. McGovern Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center for Public Policy Research, in Washington, D.C.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: energylist; enviralists
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-85 next last

1 posted on 04/28/2002 8:00:00 AM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
Has anyone addressed the issue of the fuels being used by locomotives, airplanes and big rigs?

Do tractor trailers, boats, airplanes and locomotives currently run on fuels we get from Venezuela and the Middle East?

Can we get better mileage from any of those?

2 posted on 04/28/2002 8:05:08 AM PDT by syriacus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
The thing I am surprised by is that we don't purchase diesel passenger cars and trucks. I suspect because of the damage done to the reputation of such engines by the Oldsmobile fiasco of the 80's.

I have a VW Jetta TDI that gets 36 to 39mpg in the city and 49'ish on the highway. It goes as fast as just about anything I have driven in its category, and doesnt smoke or belch soot like the big rigs.

If people want them - the alternatives are there... but having the government force us to drive stuff we dont want to drive will seriously damage the economy and put tens of thousands out of work.

3 posted on 04/28/2002 8:05:53 AM PDT by visagoth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
We, here in Houston, are getting shafted starting Wednesday, May 1st, with new emissions standards. The hoops everyone will have to jump through to get our cars inspected are not only expensive, but will hopefully cause a huge backlash on the idiots who passed this stupid law.

Only 150 places in Houston are equipped to test cars, since the equipment they use is so expensive. The greenie elitists have managed to put more people out of work with this charade, but will fill their coffers by charging consumers nearly 400% more for a car inspection.

I'm praying for a backlash.... Let's see, 150 inspection places to 4 million people. Well, you do the math. I imagine the waiting line will take a 6 month minimum!

If you live in Harris County, call your state representative and Senator and bitch, bitch, bitch!
4 posted on 04/28/2002 8:12:47 AM PDT by demkicker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
The bicycles works in Denmark it seems, the trick is to make the bikes so ugly and so identifiable that nobody want to steal them.

Alternative fuels are not going to be with us as long as there is oil in the ground........ The oil companies have spoken.

5 posted on 04/28/2002 8:16:26 AM PDT by Great Dane
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: demkicker
It expands to surrounding counties 12 months from now. It's absolutely asinine.
6 posted on 04/28/2002 8:16:46 AM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: syriacus
Has anyone addressed the issue of the fuels being used by locomotives, airplanes and big rigs?
Do tractor trailers, boats, airplanes and locomotives currently run on fuels we get from Venezuela and the Middle East?
Can we get better mileage from any of those?

For the most part, all are also fueled from petroleum. The exception would be those trains that are electricly powered, primarily commuter lines.

There is major opportunity in this area by constructing more electricly-powered, high-speed mass-transportation systems in our nation's most densely populated regions and urban areas. The electricity could be generated utilizing clean-coal and nuclear technology, thus reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

7 posted on 04/28/2002 8:26:04 AM PDT by Willie Green
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
I will make a bet if the Wacko animal/earth loving liberals were around at the time of the cavemen they would have damned the use of fire!!
8 posted on 04/28/2002 8:27:56 AM PDT by GeorgeHL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Great Dane
Alternative fuels are not going to be with us as long as there is oil in the ground........ The oil companies have spoken.

Are you saying there is an alternative fuel out there that all the physicists and chemists in the world know about but haven't told anyone?

10 posted on 04/28/2002 8:33:57 AM PDT by saminfl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Titus Fikus
Um, Bush isn't even mentioned in this story.
11 posted on 04/28/2002 8:37:38 AM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Great Dane
The bicycle trick was used last year in Charlotsville VA. The green wieners were giddy with pride at the roll out of the program. Last month it was called a failure as many of the bikes have DISAPPEARED!The MENTAL-environists never learn.
12 posted on 04/28/2002 8:39:15 AM PDT by jaz.357
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Titus Fikus
That may be, but what does it have to do with this thread?
13 posted on 04/28/2002 8:40:13 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: demkicker
We, here in Houston, are getting shafted starting Wednesday, May 1st, with new emissions standards. The hoops everyone will have to jump through to get our cars inspected are not only expensive, but will hopefully cause a huge backlash on the idiots who passed this stupid law.

Being from Houston before I moved to Austin, I still frequently go there every few weeks for the weekend..I dread it, slowing down to 55 like an hour out is ridiculous.

It seemed to me that even though 55 is supposed to put out less pollution, it takes me longer to get some where, so I would think because I'm in the area longer I'm putting out more pollutants (don't have any concrete numbers on how that all works, if somebody else does, please post `em)

14 posted on 04/28/2002 8:42:44 AM PDT by texlok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Great Dane
The lib wackos tried that free bike scam here in Austin a few years ago. As of today,none of the free yellow bikes they bought with our extracted wages are here anymore. They were all stolen or vandalized. This is a stupid "feel good" idea that will fail wherever it is tried. Drill ANWR now.
15 posted on 04/28/2002 8:44:40 AM PDT by davetex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Willie Green
There is major opportunity in this area by constructing more electricly-powered, high-speed mass-transportation systems in our nation's most densely populated regions and urban areas. The electricity could be generated utilizing clean-coal and nuclear technology, thus reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

I would love to have that where I live, because I live downtown and work in the north part of town, and traffic is just horrible. We had a vote on it and it barely failed, and there is an anti-rail contigent that would rather use the money to build more freeways/highways, which would not solve any of our problems, as we are growing too fast and because of our geographical layout are expanding primarily north and south, so you have this congestion. They would rather see neighborhoods and businesses torn down to make way for more highways (which would become congested just as quickly thanks to NAFTA among other things) than really address the problem. Not to mention because of the air guidlines, more highways in this area would force us to go through the hell that Houston is about to.

But the greenies in Austin would probably rebel against more nuclear or coal plants. So with morons on the same side, we can't win.

17 posted on 04/28/2002 8:49:30 AM PDT by texlok
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
The new Fox from Volkswagen has a brand new engine and produces about 70 miles for a gallon.
18 posted on 04/28/2002 8:50:08 AM PDT by ch.man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: visagoth
"and doesn’t smoke or belch soot like the big rigs. "

YET!

It is inevitable and unavoidable that it will.
As the rings wear. it will draw oil from the crank case and burn it. As the combustion chamber gets dirty, the carbon will reduce the efficiency of combustion.
It WILL happen. It does to all of them.

19 posted on 04/28/2002 8:57:17 AM PDT by Falcon4.0
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
Which other surrounding counties? I sell high performance engines over there in the Houston area and some folks put them in their vehicles and register them in other counties to avoid that inspection crap.
20 posted on 04/28/2002 8:58:06 AM PDT by roachie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone;All
I'm dreaming of the day I can back my pick-up up to my garden hose. I'm no engineer, but it seems to me the technology is out there to power our rigs with hydrogen. Will somebody more knowlegeable on this subject let me know if this is a possibility, and what it would take to run our vehicles with hydrogen?
21 posted on 04/28/2002 8:59:08 AM PDT by lardog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
This guy has to be a shill for the oil companies.
22 posted on 04/28/2002 9:05:23 AM PDT by JoshGray
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
Why are they talking about mileage? When comparing alternatives to gasoline, wouldn't you want to compare emissions?
23 posted on 04/28/2002 9:09:58 AM PDT by sixmil
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Willie Green
For the most part, all are also fueled from petroleum. The exception would be those trains that are electricly powered, primarily commuter lines.

Thank you for the reply to my questions.

24 posted on 04/28/2002 9:10:38 AM PDT by syriacus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: lardog
Sure, hydrogen is a good fuel, and it burns clean.
Two problems:

1. Safety (boom).
2. Cost of production. You consume more energy producing it than you get from burning it.

25 posted on 04/28/2002 9:12:55 AM PDT by SC Swamp Fox
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: davetex;jaz.357
As of today,none of the free yellow bikes they bought with our extracted wages are
here anymore. They were all stolen or vandalized.


Too bad some investigative reporter doesn't get with some business school and
rational environmentalist types (few, but they exist) and calculate the EXTRA damage
done to the environment by
1.the fuel burned (soot created) in the manufacture of the bikes
2. the extra food consumed by the workers who had to work the extra hours to manufacture them
3. the extra "waste" produced by the workers lunch that would have to be handled
by waste systems
4. the fuel burned to transport the bikes to their destination
5. the fuel expended by police investigating the loss/vandalism to the bikes
6. the trees felled to provide newsprint and paper product for the paperwork
submitted for the orders and the newspapers that heralded the "great leap forward"
that the bike scheme would give to environmental Puritanism.

Oh, and I forgot the "rape of the Earth" because either the metals for the bikes had
to be gouged from the ground...or lots of organic solvent waste was probably
created for the plastic and/or carbon fiber components of the bike.

I think I've found an environmental SuperFund situation!
26 posted on 04/28/2002 9:15:09 AM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: demkicker
And I understand it will take longer to get there (traffic jams aside) due to the lowering of speed limits to 55 mph (elsewhere in Texas, 70 mph), which is also an environmentalist concoction. (BTW, the speed limits on I-40 and I-25 in ABQ will go from 55 to 65 mph in May -- go figure!!)
27 posted on 04/28/2002 9:15:20 AM PDT by CedarDave
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: demkicker
We, here in Houston, are getting shafted starting Wednesday, May 1st, with new emissions standards.

Welcome to my world. We here in Massachusetts have been on the ridiculously expensive and strict emissions testing scheme for 3 or 4 years now. If your vehicle doesn't have all wheel drive, it must be put on a Dynamometer and run up to 40 mph while being tested. Costs us 30 bucks and takes 30 minutes. It's even more expensive if it doesn't pass.

28 posted on 04/28/2002 9:18:31 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Titus Fikus
I've reread this article twice and still did not see President Bush's name mentioned. What's your point? Do you have a point? Or is this just another hit and run Bush Bashing moment? Please, comment on the article.
29 posted on 04/28/2002 9:21:28 AM PDT by baseballmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
bump
30 posted on 04/28/2002 9:22:51 AM PDT by timestax
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: Dog Gone
Two problems with the article.

The first is simple logic. "Mileage" as a measure of "cleanness" is not revelant unless the fuels are very similar. As an example buring LPG may not produce the same amount of "dirty exhaust components" per gallon of fuel than let's say gasoline produces.

Second, there are conventional, gasoline powered cars that produce milage in excess of the 35city/40highway that the greens desire. These cars are ideal for the typical commuter application and seat 4 adults comfortably for trips under two hours. Their use is a matter of public will not government policy.

33 posted on 04/28/2002 9:25:47 AM PDT by Amerigomag
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Dog Gone
it is the energy contained in the fuel, not just the fuel itself, that moves you down the road.

The answer for greater fuel efficiency might lie in our space program fuels.

Ammonium perchlorate (AP) comes to mind; it's the oxidizing agent in composite solid propellants for rockets, booster motors and missiles -- rather dangerous in collisions, though.

35 posted on 04/28/2002 9:31:29 AM PDT by thinktwice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: visagoth
but having the government force us to drive stuff we dont want to drive will seriously damage the economy and put tens of thousands out of work.

Regardless of your passion your statement fails the logic test.

Logically we must conclude from your statement that the populus will go without a car if they are forced to drive "little tuna cans".

Logic dictates that the populus will grudgingly drive little tuna cans if the more popular alternatives are not economically feasible.

36 posted on 04/28/2002 9:31:39 AM PDT by Amerigomag
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: VOA
Good as far as you went, but I think we should add the fuel (i.e., food) consumed by the bicyclists in their pursuit of nirvana.

Bikes take energy to move, just as all vehicles do. The calories expended in riding have to be taken in as food, which then adds to all the other parts of the pollution cycle you've outlined.

And then there's the emissions of greenhouse gas . .

(But we don't need to go to that detail.)

37 posted on 04/28/2002 9:33:51 AM PDT by logician2u
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

To: Dog Gone
Since the average citizen seems to be the focus of these energy saving and alternative energy ideas, maybe the government should just pay more people to do nothing. This way, they wouldn't have to use fuel to commute. And in order to save fuel on shopping trips, they should all be clustered close together, like in a city. The government could subsidize their food and shelter, and even provide mass transportation.

And since we can't expect people to just get something for nothing, all the government will ask in return is that these people vote them back into office.

Oh, wait, Democrats already do that. Never mind.

39 posted on 04/28/2002 9:53:28 AM PDT by lds23
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
The future looks increasingly like natural gas and hydrogen, rather than petroleum. New studies indicate that there are limitless supplies of natural gas under the Earth, and not just in Saudi Arabia. As for mileage, just have people park the stupid vans and suvs unless doing something which actually requires them, and have something more rational to commute and run errands in. The day when we tell Saudi Arabia to screw off will be worth whatever it took to get there.
40 posted on 04/28/2002 10:10:16 AM PDT by medved
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Willie Green
There is major opportunity in this area by constructing more electricly-powered, high-speed mass-transportation systems in our nation's most densely populated regions and urban areas. The electricity could be generated utilizing clean-coal and nuclear technology, thus reducing our dependence on imported petroleum.

If that's the case, how about letting the market make that determination, not government fiat.

41 posted on 04/28/2002 10:15:01 AM PDT by Doodle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: medved
As for mileage, just have people park the stupid vans and suvs unless doing something which actually requires them, and have something more rational to commute and run errands in.

So what is a guy advocating more government control doing on a website call FREE Republic?

42 posted on 04/28/2002 10:20:54 AM PDT by Doodle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: medved
Some silly quacks believe New studies indicate that there are limitless supplies of natural gas under the Earth, and not just in Saudi Arabia.
43 posted on 04/28/2002 10:38:36 AM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: VOA
that heralded the "great leap forward"

Cousin to "A Leap of Faith"? How about "Leaping from the Pan into the Fire"? Or "The Great Society".
Each represents a 'leap' from where we were at some point in time (market, society, culture) toward some unkown but no doubt desirable destination. Stupid ideas (enviro-whacko, gungrabbers, etc.) from the Left shall now be kept in my "Great Leaps Forward" folder. Thanks VOA.

44 posted on 04/28/2002 11:12:05 AM PDT by budwiesest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: *Energy_list;*Enviralists
Check the Bump List folders for articles related to and descriptions of the above topic(s) or for other topics of interest.
45 posted on 04/28/2002 11:33:16 AM PDT by Free the USA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Doodle
Providing transportation infrastructure is a legitimate government function.
Providing alternatives to choose from is not a "fiat", it's market development.
46 posted on 04/28/2002 12:05:30 PM PDT by Willie Green
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
They point out that a similar, though less severe, reduction in mileage is caused by adding the "alternative fuel" ethanol to gasoline.

Can anyone state anything good factual about ethanol as a gasoline additive? The only thing I can think of is that it boosts measured octane (allowing fuel companies to use lower-octane fuel for the rest of their gasoline) though unlike real octane which makes fuel less volatile but provide more energy, ethanol makes it less volatile by providing less energy.

Ethanol would improve emissions in a car without a catalytic convertor, but those aren't exactly the most common breed these days (and since they're generally collectible, people who drive them generally don't want to destroy the engines by running ethanol through them). AFAIK, farm equiment is exempt from fuel-additive requirements, even though gasoline powered farm equipment without catalytic convertors is probably the place such fuels would provide the most environmental benefit. Oh well...

47 posted on 04/28/2002 12:13:07 PM PDT by supercat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Willie Green
Providing transportation infrastructure is a legitimate government function. Providing alternatives to choose from is not a "fiat", it's market development.

When the "alternative" comes from taxes, it's government fiat. If you believe that paying taxes is a "choice," I guess that's your perogative. I happen to believe it's coercive.

48 posted on 04/28/2002 12:19:32 PM PDT by Doodle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Doodle
I suppose you don't care much for paved roads, either.
49 posted on 04/28/2002 12:21:07 PM PDT by Willie Green
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: supercat
Being neither a chemist, nor on the refining end of the oil business, I can only parrot some of the things that I've read and understand a little.

For some reason, the EPA requires oxygenates in gasoline, presumably to lower emissions. There seem to be two choices, ethanol and MTBE. MTBE delivers better engine performance and does a nice job in preventing smog, but has a nasty habit of getting into ground water. Whether that is from tank leaks or is a tailpipe emission, I don't know.

Ethanol is safer for the environment, but it's a lousy fuel. Farmers love it, because it drives up the price of corn.

50 posted on 04/28/2002 12:26:55 PM PDT by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-85 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson