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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A New Hope

  John Eichberger |  December 1, 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 1, 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 1, 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 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.