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Archive for the 'Alternative Fuel Vehicles' Category

OBAMA’S STIMULUS PACKAGE REWARDS LONG SUFFERING GREENS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Living, Will Wonders Never Cease Department on February 16th, 2009

PACKAGE CONTAINS OVER 60 BILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING ON GREEN INITIATIVES AND ANOTHER 20 BILLION EARMARKED FOR GREEN TAX INCENTIVES

The final stimulus package which President Obama is expected to sign into law today, President’s Day, contains many victories for environmentalists with over $6o billion in direct spending on green initiatives and another $20 billion earmarked for green tax incentives.

While this package is by no means a cure-all, it is a vital he first step into a new green age and is necessary to combat the ever-worsening effects of Global Warming.

That being said, here in no particular order is the breakdown:

$11 billion for the construction of an advanced Digital Smart Grid and $7.5 billion for renewable energy and transmission-line construction, which will enable the renewable energy to be moved from the rural areas that best lend themselves to wind, solar and thermal installations, to the cities where the power is needed;

$2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable-energy research;

$6.3 billion for local government energy-efficiency grants;

$400 million for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy for the development of alternative energy sources;

$500 million for green jobs programs through the Workforce Investment Act;

$5 billion to weatherize old buildings;

$4.5 billion to boost the energy efficiency of federal buildings;

$2.25 billion for the HOME Investment Partners Program to fund energy-efficiency retrofits for low-income housing;

$5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program to fund the retrofits of 1 million modest-income homes, saving the families living there an average $350 a year;

$6.3 billion to improve federally backed and public housing projects with new insulation, windows and furnaces. For every dollar spent, such programs are expected to produce about $3 in electricity savings. The legislation also provides tax breaks for higher-income households making similar improvements;

$1.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental cleanup programs, including the long neglected Superfund;

$510 million for energy-efficiency retrofits for Native American housing programs;

$420 million for energy-efficiency improvements at the Department of Defense;

$300 million for Department of Defense research on energy efficiency at military installations;

$6 billion for cleaning up toxins on former military sites;

$6 billion for new loan guarantees for wind and solar;

The package also extends tax credits for wind-energy production for three years where previously they had to be renewed year to year. But more importantly, the legislation allows renewable-energy developers to get cash grants in exchange for the tax credits, which is crucial in light of the current economic downturn and the fact that many companies engaged in renewable-energy haven’t had the profits against which to take a tax credit;

Over $17 billion for public transportation;

$8.4 billion for transit capital assistance programs;

$9.3 billion for high-speed rail, intercity rail and Amtrak;

$27.5 billion for highways though some of that highway money could be redirected to fund public transit, if states and municipalities decide it should;

$300 million in grants and loans for technologies that reduce highly toxic diesel emissions;

$6 billion for improvements to drinking-water systems;

A tax credit of up to $7,500 for families that buy plug-in hybrids;

The new bill also allocates $300 million for a federal fleet of hybrid vehicles.

But perhaps the best of all is what was left out of the final draft of the stimulus package: the $50 billion in federal loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, as well as all money for coal and for the farce that is clean coal.

Denis

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NEWS WATCH! CLEAN GREEN RETRO MASS TRANSIT RE-EMERGES

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Transportation on August 15th, 2008

OVER 40 US CITIES CONSIDER RESTORING STREETCAR LINES AS SMOG -FREE MASS TRANSIT ALTERNATIVE.

seattle-streetcar-opening-d.jpgMost of us are too young to remember streetcars; those early twentieth century train/bus hybrid vehicles powered by overhead electric lines that ran on rails flush with the pavement, stopping frequently to pick up and disgorge passengers from entrance/exits on both sides.

Well it appears that this novel, fun means of early twentieth century transportation is just what the doctor ordered to help relieve deadlock in today’s overcrowded clean-energy conscious world.

Citing reasons including spurring economic development, easing traffic congestion and as a way to draw hip young professionals and empty-nest baby boomers back from the suburbs, over forty US cities are considering reactivating streetcars, which for the most part fell victim in the late 1940’s through mid 1950’s to aggressive automobile and oil industry lobbying.

More than a dozen US cities already have existing streetcar lines, including New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and San Francisco, while Denver, Houston, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and Charlotte, N.C., either have already introduced, or are planning to introduce streetcars.

At a cost of about $3 million dollars per streetcar and an average capacity of 130 passengers per car, it seems that this is a bargain that cities can not afford to let pass them by, particularly with all of the uncertainty surrounding future fuel prices and the crap that our country has to put up with from oil producing nations.

Now if we could only get the electricity to power the streetcars from clean renewable sources, it would be a win-win for everyone.

- – Denis

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NEWS WATCH! GREEN CAR UPDATE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on July 1st, 2008

GLOBAL AUTO INDUSTRY RUSHES TO MARKET ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES

vwtwindriveunderhood.jpgAfter years of stalling hoping to wait out the Environmental fringe’s calls for cleaner, less-toxic automobiles, the global auto industry – well, most of it, anyway – appears to have gotten the message that the public is serious in its desire for greener vehicles.

The result of the automakers newfound environmental evangelism is that rarely a week goes by without one announcement or another from a former proud polluter – oops, I mean conscientious, environmentally responsible auto manufacturer – about their latest green product either in development or about to be released to an impatiently waiting world.

These new products take many forms from tiny two passenger run-abouts all the way through larger 8 passenger SUV’s. Variety is the name of the game where power sources are involved as well with some of the new vehicles being designed to run on biodiesel, while others derive their power from electricity or from hydrogen fuel cell technology. Then there are the hybrids with gasoline electric, diesel/electric and hydrogen/electric the most popular.

Here at Libsearthwatch.com, we have made it a priority to keep you up to date on the latest products headed to your driveway in the months and years to come. Prior to now, this was an easy task to accomplish as the product announcements were few and far between. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. Information announcing new products now floods our in-box on a consistent basis. To attempt to accommodate this wealth of new info, we are debuting the GREEN CAR UPDATE as a regular feature of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

-Denis

BATTERY COMPANIES READY TO ROLL OUT KITS TO CONVERT HYBRDS INTO PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS

For those hybrid owners longing to take the next step and make their cars totally electric comes the news that several battery manufacturers are preparing to roll out conversion kits that in some instances will make it possible for their hybrid to get upwards of 100 miles on a gallon of gas.

Read more about this great new development

Speaking of Plug-In Hybrids…

VW TO ROLL OUT PLUG-IN HYBRID NEXT YEAR

Veritable German auto maker, VW, has announced that it too will have a plug-in hybrid rolling off the assembly lines sometime in 2010. Helping VW fund this new entry is
the German government, which has agreed to kick in 15 million euros. The new VW will have an estimated all-electric range of 31 miles. Power supplies include an 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

Let’s not forget fuel cell cars…

HONDA ROLLS OUT ZERO EMISSION CAR

hondafcxx-large.jpgAlways a leader in alternative technology, Honda motors has announced that it has shipped the first of their new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell cars which should be showing up at out local dealers in the not too distant future.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

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NEWS WATCH! RENAULT – NISSAN TO INVEST OVER HALF BIL. IN SWAPPABLE-BATTERY ELECTRIC CARS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Eco -Chic, News Brief on May 13th, 2008

PARTNERS WITH ISRAELI-BACKED ELECTRIC CAR PROJECT

2007-09-19-national_debt.jpgThe head of an Israeli-backed electric car project estimated on Sunday that its partner, the Renault-Nissan alliance, would likely invest $500 million to $1 billion in the swappable-battery electric cars.

“This is the cost for a three-year car program,” Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of California-based Project Better Place, said on the sidelines of a news conference to introduce the electric car prototype.

Renault and Nissan signed a deal with Better Place in January to begin mass producing electric cars as a part of a project to develop alternative energy sources and slash oil dependency.

Better Place will build the first electric grids in Israel and Denmark, with initial deployment slated for 2010.

Denmark’s DONG Energy recently signed a letter of intent with Better Place to introduce the electric cars to the Scandinavian country, where the batteries will be charged using wind power.

DONG Energy is the world’s largest offshore wind power operator, with several wind farms in Denmark and Britain.

CONTINUE READING

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GM ANNOUNCES LITHIUM-ION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, News Brief on March 4th, 2008

THE TECHNOLOGY IS SEEN BY MANY AS THE KEY TO MASS-PRODUCING HYBRID GAS/ELECTRIC VEHICLES

gmlogo.jpegAfter initially lagging behind the pack in the development of new automotive technology, GM appears ready to step up to the plate with the introduction of its new lithium-ion battery powered hybrid engine system. Lithium-ion technology is seen by many as the key to mass-producing hybrid gas/electric vehicles. The system is expected to be available in the US sometime in 2010. With the announcement, GM joins Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota and Volkswagon in the move to the lighter battery, a technology which is also expected to be a key element in the development of plug-in, all electric, cars.

Kudos to GM for this brave move into the twenty-first century. Hopefully, it is not too little, too late, for the auto giant.

-LIB


READ MORE…

STILL MORE…

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US AUTOMAKERS STEP UP LOBBYING EFFORTS TO BLOCK CALIFORNIA GLOBAL WARMING INITIATIVE FROM BECOMING LAW

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Global Warming, News Brief on January 28th, 2008

AUTOMAKERS WORRIED THAT THE INITIATIVE’S HIGHER MILEAGE REQUIREMENTS COULD FURTHER DEPRESS THE STRUGGLING U.S. AUTO INDUSTRY

2007-09-28-money1.jpgFor several years now, California had been attempting to obtain a waiver from the EPA, which would enable the Golden State to mandate that automobiles sold within state borders comply with higher fuel efficiency standards that those sold elsewhere in the country.

Needless to say, the Big three automakers were unhappy with California’s waiver request, and called upon their friends in the Bush administration to prevent it from being granted. After two plus years of delays and inactivity, the EPA denied the California request late last month.

It was Detroit’s contention that manufacturing cars to comply with two separate standards would wreak havoc with design and production plans and increase costs significantly. The US auto industry is already facing major restructuring of its US based assets in the hope of making it more competitive with other cars in the marketplace.

The California proposal would mandate a 30% reduction in auto emissions over eight years beginning next year, with a net fuel efficiency target of 43 miles per gallon for cars and some light trucks. This is eight miles higher and four years sooner than that which is called for in the recently passed federal energy law.

Not one to take this kind of interference in its internal affairs lightly, California has sued the EPA demanding it be allowed to enforce its higher standards. The appeals court in San Francisco, as of this writing, has no timetable to rule on the challenge, but carmakers are concerned enough that they may loose to hope for a change of venue.

In the meantime, automakers and their allies have stepped up lobbying to convince states considering the higher California standard, that doing so could further depress the struggling U.S. Automotive industry.

Now if the Big Three automakers only put as much effort into the design and manufacturing of their cars that they are putting into defeating California’s waiver, perhaps, they would not be in their present situation.

With the rare exception, most of the Big Three’s recent output is boring and derivative. Fix this and American car consumers will line up to buy their products. Fail to do that and the day may come when one or more of these brands cease to exist.

-LIB

READ MORE…

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VIRGIN TO FLY A 747 FROM LONDON TO AMSTERDAM USING A KEROSENE BIOFUEL MIX.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, News Brief on January 23rd, 2008

EVEN THOUGH BIOFUELS AREN’T CARBON-FREE, THE PLANE’S FOOTPRINT SHOULD STILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED.

virgin7472.jpgVirgin is the first commercial airline to experiment with biofuels. But other smaller outfits have made significant progress, too. Green Flight International flew a L-29 Russian military aircraft on 100% biofuel at altitudes up to 17,000 feet in October last year. The company is now planning a round-the-world trip in a Lear Jet powered entirely (and solely) by biofuel.

READ MORE….

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FRUSTRATED BY STATE AND FEDERAL INACTIVITY, US TOWNS AND CITIES OFFER INCENTIVES TO GO GREEN

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Conscious Actions, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy on December 30th, 2007

INCENTIVES INCLUDE FREE HYBRID-CAR PARKING. CASH REBATES FOR INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS. LOW-INTEREST LOANS FOR ENERGY-SAVING HOME RENOVATIONS. MONEY TO TEAR UP DESERT LAWNS AND REPLACE THEM WITH DROUGHT-RESISTANT LANDSCAPING

pluginhybrid.jpgFrustrated by what they see as insufficient action by state and federal government, municipalities around the country are offering financial incentives to get people to go green.

“A lot of localities recognize they’re going to get a lot more done using carrots and incentives rather than regulatory means,” said Jason Hartke, director of advocacy for the U.S. Green Building Council.

In Parkland, Florida, where the motto is “Environmentally Proud,” the city plans next year to begin dispensing cash rebates to its 25,000 residents for being more environmentally friendly.

“We will literally issue them a check,” said Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz. “We’re sick of waiting for the federal government to do something, so we’ve got to do what we can.”

Residents who install low-flow toilets or shower heads will get $150. Replacing an old air conditioner with a more energy-efficient one brings $100. Buying a hybrid car? An additional $200 cash back. And the list goes on.

READ MORE…

Source: The Associated Press

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TOYOTA UNVEILS HOT NEW HYBRID PICKUP TRUCK

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Cool Products, News Brief on December 30th, 2007

THE FUEL-EFFICIENT VEHICLE FEATURES 4-FOOT BED, NAVIGATION UNIT AND WI-FI

toyotahybridpickup.jpgToyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a concept hybrid pickup truck featuring improved fuel economy and lower emissions at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker said Friday.

The A-BAT concept vehicle is equipped with Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota’s third-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain technology, according to the company. Its trapezoidal profile was borrowed from the Prius, another hybrid Toyota vehicle.

The four-passenger pickup features a 4-foot bed, while a translucent roof panel slides open to allow for tall cargo inside the cab. The bed can be extended by 2 feet by folding down the pass through midgate into the cab and by another 2 feet by opening the tailgate

READ MORE…

Source: The Associated Press/ MSNBC

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EPA SAYS NO TO CALIFORNIA’S BID FOR HIGHER TAILPIPE EMISSION STANDARDS. CONGRESS WANTS TO KNOW WHY.

Posted in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, News Brief on December 30th, 2007

IN A BREAK WITH BUSH ADMINISTRATION TRADITION, EPA AGREES TO TURN OVER THE REQUESTED MATERIALS RATHER THAN FACE LOOSING IN A COURT OF LAW

image1414171g.jpgIn a significant blow to the auto industry and their pollution loving buddys in the Bush administration, the US Environmental Protection Agency has decided to comply with requests from congressional investigators for all data relevant to the recent decision to deny California’s request to institute more stringent tailpipe emission standards that are provided for in the recently enacted energy bill.

The material in question includes all scientific, legal and technical analysis, whether pro or con. as well as all communications between the White House and senior EPA management relevant to the decision.

The EPA rejected California’s request after stonewalling the state for over two years. Should California prevail in instituting the more stringent standards, as many as sixteen additional states are expected to follow the California model.

This would require the financially beleaguered automobile industry to, in essence, produce two seperate sets of cars, those capable of complying with the federal model, and those able to pass muster in the nation’s largest market for new cars.

Now if the domestic automobile industry would spend more time developing the products of the future, and less trying to hold onto the ways of the past, perhaps they would not be on such shaky financial ground.

Keep tuned to libsearthwatch.com for more on this issue.

- LIB

Related Story: LA Times: EPA prepares to provide records

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