The Commute


Observations on the current happenings in the world of vehicles and the fuels that power them from Fuels Institute Executive Director, John Eichberger.

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Don’t You (Forget About Me)

  John Eichberger |  September 2019

At a time when it seems all attention is being directed towards electrification of the transportation market, it is important to not forget about a very important and perhaps most important component of that market – gasoline prices. Gas prices play a huge role in the market – they move a lot throughout the year, are affected by a huge variety of internal and external forces, influence consumer behavior and sentiment, and likely will influence the rate of adoption of alternative powertrain technologies.
 

Mama Said Knock You Out

  John Eichberger |  August 2019

Headlines coming across the pond from Europe could lead one to believe that the future for diesel engines and fuel was bleak – but nothing could be further from the truth. While there are serious headwinds that must be addressed, diesel is likely to continue to reign supreme as the fuel of choice for heavy duty commerce.

Photograph

  John Eichberger |  July 2019

So many have a vision of the future that is dominated by electrified powertrains and autonomous vehicles operating in a service-for-hire market, but that is so different from what is happening today that it seems almost like a fantasy.

Movin’ Right Along

  John Eichberger |  June 2019

In 1979 the beloved Muppets released their first full length motion picture, “The Muppet Movie,” which followed the characters on a road trip across America. The movie is a favorite of mine and is relevant to a report I recently stumbled across, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Statistics Report 2018.  This is a treasure trove of insights and data that captivated me for nearly a week as I poured through it – hence, in this article I will share some of the key things that stood out to me.

Rock the Casbah

  John Eichberger |  May 2019

The availability and price of oil will impact the adoption rates of alternative fuels and powertrains. They have in the past, and they will in the future. It is with this backdrop, that we prepare to descend on Dallas for FUELS2019.

Head Like a Hole

  John Eichberger |  April 2019

There are some issues that so entrench stakeholders into their own camps, that it is difficult to weigh in to try to provide some perspective without taking a side or being attacked. Yet, that is exactly what the Fuels Institute is supposed to do – look at data objectively and try to help advance the discussion without a desired outcome.  So this month, let’s grab hold of that third rail and talk about E15.

Just Can’t Get Enough

  John Eichberger |  March 2019

[I]magine my excitement when I came across a new report presenting data about the performance of the U.S. light duty fleet since 1975!  I just can’t get enough of it – and now I get to share some of it with you as we look at how far vehicles have come, both in terms of performance and environmental impact.

Good Intentions

  John Eichberger |  February 2019

Why is it that good intentions become distorted as we get mired in the details? Within the transportation energy sector, do we even remember what it is we are trying to achieve? It is so frustrating to witness well intentioned advocates attack one another because their strategies have diverged – can’t we all get along?

Lightning Crashes

  John Eichberger |  January 2019

Last year was another banner year for sales of electrified vehicles. Battery electric (BEV) and plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) combined for more than 330,000 vehicles sold, which represents a growth of 79% over 2017. And 2018 saw more announcements from automobile manufacturers about their commitment to electrified powertrains. Clearly, momentum continues to grow for this technology. But, if EVs are gaining traction does that mean that legacy powertrains powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) are dying at an equal rate?

Wind of Change

  John Eichberger |  November 2018

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.