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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Global Regulations Run the Gamut

  John Eichberger |  February 2017

“All politics is local.” Tip O’Neil’s most famous quote may not seem appropriate for a discussion about emissions regulations, but when one peals back the onion on global initiatives it seems consistent with reality. While the effect of emissions is not restricted by political boundaries, the regulations that affect them clearly are and deserve attention to better understand the direction in which they may affect the future of the transportation energy market.

The More Things Change...

  John Eichberger |  January 2017

What does the U.S. auto industry have in common with Bon Jovi, Machine Head, Cinderella, Rush and Ludacris? Each of these musical acts recorded songs containing the lyrics, "the more things change the more they stay the same." This is very much what has been witnessed in the auto industry over the past several years with regards to powertrains purchased by consumers - nothing significant has changed.

A New Hope

  John Eichberger |  December 2016

The box office blockbuster at the end of 2016 was "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." After watching this on the opening weekend, it led me to rush home and watch the original Star Wars ("A New Hope"), to tie the two together. (I strongly encourage viewing each in close proximity - there are a bunch of aha moments!)

Economic Rationality Does Not Really Apply

  John Eichberger |  November 2016

Which do you fancy? James Bond’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 or maybe his short-lived 2014 DB10? Magnum’s Ferrari? The Bandit’s Flaming Eagle Firebird or Michael Knight’s technologically superior Trans Am? Or the Batmobile, but which one? Adam West’s, Michael Keaton’s or Christian Bale’s?

Forget Millennials - Change Comes with Gen Z

  John Eichberger |  October 2016

When will the market shift from petroleum to electric and autonomous vehicles? This is probably the most common question I receive, and it was a frequent topic of discussion at the 2016 NACS Show in Atlanta. The NACS Show, for those unfamiliar, is the largest trade show gathering convenience and fuel retailers from around the world. My response to this question has not really changed over the past 12 months - to predict when the market will fundamentally change, look at the shift in generations.

Crossing Borders Can Yield Valuable Lessons

  John Eichberger |  September 2016

The economy is truly global in every aspect. It can be alluring to assume that because the United States works within the constructs of its own regulatory programs, the automotive and fuels markets of North America are unique from the increasing pace of globalization – but that would be incredibly short sighted.

Exploding Liquid Dinosaurs Still Reign

  John Eichberger |  August 2016

At a time when everyone seems to be enthralled by the potential of alternative fuels and advanced powertrains, one market fact seems to remain undisturbed at this time - America's on the road transportation energy is dominated by liquid fuels, especially those derived from the compressed remains of former inhabitants of earth - petroleum.

It's Really Not Complicated

  John Eichberger |  July 2016

My first job that touched the energy space was as a legislative assistant for a congressman from Iowa. Within my first couple of weeks, I received a question from a constituent.

Light-Duty Diesel Keeps Trucking

  John Eichberger |  June 2016

It's possible I'm on an island all by myself for being bullish about the light-duty vehicle market for diesel engines. Some experts in the market have told me I am fooling myself, that the recent emissions scandals have scared off consumers and automakers, deflating the potential growth of this market.

Should I Share or Should I Own?

  John Eichberger |  May 2016

I may be a relic of the past - I love to drive. I want to be behind the wheel, not in the passenger seat. And I want to drive my car, not someone else's or a pool car. Fortunately, my love for driving pairs nicely with my compulsion to be in control. Some might call me a control freak - I am ok with that, just give me the keys.