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.

  Subscribe to Fuel for Thought newsletter


Crossing Borders Can Yield Valuable Lessons

  John Eichberger |  September 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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.

Tesla-Model for Tomorrow?

  John Eichberger |  April 1, 2016

Was the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 the beginning of the end for the internal combustion engine? When I woke the next day and flipped through my Twitter feeds, I was given the impression that indeed the end was near.

End of the World?

  John Eichberger |  March 1, 2016

In 1987, R.E.M. released its hit single, "It's the End of the World." Remember the song? A string of seemingly nonsensical lyrics and unconnected short statements linked together with a fast, halting rhythm and amplified by a captivating chorus that concluded with the lyric, "and I feel fine." I remember spending hours rewinding the cassette tape (yeah, I know) in an attempt to understand and memorize the lyrics.

Will Our Children Drive?

  John Eichberger |  February 1, 2016

I had a discussion the other day about the future of driving and whether my daughter (now almost two years old) will ever have a driver's license. The argument presented to me was that autonomous technology would advance at such a rapid pace that she will never need to learn to drive and, more to the point, will not want to learn to drive. I disagree, but only partially.

Smaller Engines, Higher Mpg

  John Eichberger |  January 1, 2016

Improving fuel efficiency is certainly a hot topic going into 2016. For one, it's a government requirement and two, consumers are demanding it. Will the answer be the introduction of sexy new alternative vehicles that promise 100 mpg? Possibly, but data suggests that traditional engines and fuels aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Visions of the Future

  John Eichberger |  December 1, 2015

So often, those of us in industry talk about what the Millenials, or the next generation, want from products and services. We seek to understand their motivations and what might be important to them as they emerge into the primary target consumer segment. But what do we really know?