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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Head Like a Hole

  John Eichberger |  April 1, 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 26, 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 25, 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 22, 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 26, 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.

Canary in a Coalmine

  John Eichberger |  October 1, 2018

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.

Where It’s At

  John Eichberger |  September 3, 2018

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?

I Can’t Drive 55!

  John Eichberger |  August 31, 2018

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.

Where the Streets Have No Name

  John Eichberger |  July 9, 2018

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.

Under Pressure

  John Eichberger |  June 1, 2018

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.