Without a doubt, there is significant momentum behind the electrification of transportation. Just open any newspaper (or more accurately click on any news website) and the headlines scream at you that electricity is coming, kind of like the Red Coats were in 1775. But the U.S. market for electrified vehicles currently is heavily dependent on public policy to support market growth, and if we have learned anything in the past several years it’s that the winds of change are strong in American politics and what once was can soon be no more.
There was a consistent theme resonating with the meetings I had during the [NACS] Show – those who operate petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs) need to pay more attention to their systems in order to head off problems associated with water intrusion and corrosion. And consistently evaluating and monitoring the system (aka, sending a canary into the coalmine) can provide an early warning to potential problems before they get out of hand.
We have seen coverage about the proposed changes to U.S. fuel efficiency policy, and I was wondering how much impact these changes might have on the global automotive industry. Will the industry fall in line behind the U.S. or will other markets wield greater influence?
Some of the arguments underlying the recent Trump administration proposed revisions to the CAFE programecho the sentiments of efficiency and safety that came with 55 mph… Among other provisions, the proposed rule seeks to freeze the increase in CAFE standards (which relate to tailpipe emissions) at model year 2020 levels through model year 2026… [I]t seemed to me that there is a primary, underlying thesis: the proposal seeks to accelerate fleet turnover by reducing the stringency of the standard to mitigate an increase in the price of new vehicles.
Remember growing up? For some of us, that is getting more difficult but one of the hallmarks for many kids was the family road trip.
The strongest pressure washer you can buy at Home Depot delivers water at 4,500 pounds per square inch. Now, imagine fuel being injected into an engine piston chamber at 40,000 pounds per square inch! That is the reality of modern diesel engines - cranking out more miles per gallon by leveraging high pressure common rail (HPCR) injector systems. But nothing comes without complications and the Fuels Institute is leading a collaborative effort to study opportunities and challenges in the market.
Is it time for a new grassroots campaign with a catchy hook?
Driving home from a recent congressional hearing, I was reflecting on a question I was asked: "Can we make this any more confusing?" regarding the consumer experience when refueling their vehicle...
Like Vanilla Ice came under pressure from David Bowie and Freddie Mercury for "sampling" their technology, today's ICE vehicles are likewise under pressure from fuel economy standards and the unrelenting drum beat of electrification which threatens to steal their market. But don't count ICE out of the equation - there is a resurgence under way that should prove more fruitful than Vanilla's effort to shift from rap to hard core rock, then ultimately to high-end house flipping.
So much is written about the future of transportation and the shift to electric vehicles, but not enough focus is being given to the whims of the consumer. This fickle beast will determine whether alternatives, like EVs, will take over the world - but how do we know what consumers actually think and what they will actually do?