• Money for Nothing

    April 2018

    Is it time for a new grassroots campaign with a catchy hook?

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  • Land of Confusion

    March 2018

    Driving home from a recent congressional hearing, I was reflecting on a question I was asked: "Can we make this any more confusing?" regarding the consumer experience when refueling their vehicle. The March 7, 2018, hearing was called to explore the "Future of Transportation and Fuels," and I was invited to share my thoughts on how the market might evolve over time. In response to that question asked by a member of the committee, I said "Yes, we can make it more confusing." I held back, "especially if Congress gets too involved."

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  • ICE, ICE Baby

    February 2018

    Like Vanilla Ice came under pressure from David Bowie and Freddie Mercury for "sampling" their technology, today's ICE vehicles are likewise under pressure from fuel economy standards and the unrelenting drum beat of electrification which threatens to steal their market. But don't count ICE out of the equation - there is a resurgence under way that should prove more fruitful than Vanilla's effort to shift from rap to hard core rock, then ultimately to high-end house flipping.

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  • Consumers Hold the Keys, Even Before Buying the Car

    January 2018

    So much is written about the future of transportation and the shift to electric vehicles, but not enough focus is being given to the whims of the consumer. This fickle beast will determine whether alternatives, like EVs, will take over the world - but how do we know what consumers actually think and what they will actually do?

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  • A Tango and a More Worldly View

    November 2017

    My entire career has been focused in the United States and it is so easy to adopt a U.S.-centric philosophy, but once you begin to engage with others around the world, your perspective begins to change you realize how small the world is and how interconnected we all are.

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  • It's All About the Denominator

    October 2017

    How often have you read a headline that makes you think the days of liquid fuels are over? But news of the demise of the internal combustion engine has been greatly exaggerated. And it's because we seem to have forgotten grammar school math and the rule of fractions.

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  • Let's Leave Our Baggage At Home

    September 2017

    Despite the politically divisive world in which we live, it is still possible for people to step out of their boxes and open themselves to collaboration and an honest exchange of information and perspectives, and the Fuels Institute has established the forum for that to thrive.

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  • Dog Parks and the Global Transportation Market

    August 2017

    We live in a global market. Regulations are increasingly being developed in a cross-border, collaborative fashion. And governments are always looking at each other to coopt ideas about how to guide their economies. The independent actions of individual government entities (sometimes nations, sometimes cities) can disrupt the flow of the market, just like a skirmish among terriers can rattle the dog park; but, these types of governmental actions often serve as distractions from what is really driving the market.

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  • Sowing the Seeds for Future Change

    July 2017

    Our latest series of reports, "Tomorrow's Vehicles," show the vehicle market will not change overnight, but the seeds for more rapid evolution in terms of the number of electric vehicles being sold and on the road have been sown.

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  • How Soon for EV? Let's Have Another Cocktail and Do More Math

    June 2017

    In the last blog entry, we introduced the concept of using simple, cocktail napkin math to evaluate how long it takes to turn over the vehicle fleet. In Part 2 of this series, we will apply this simple logic to evaluate potential penetration of electric powertrains. As our results will show, I think we have time for another cocktail or two before the market changes so much it becomes unrecognizable.

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  • Are We There Yet? 10 More Years

    June 2017

    We are a very impatient species. We started as kids - "Are we there yet?" "How much longer?" To shut us up for a while, our parents responded "Ten more minutes." Then we responded, "That's what you said 30 minutes ago!" And it is only getting worse.

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  • Teetering or Tottering - Part 2 - Balancing oil markets with U.S. policy?

    June 2017

    The last time we took a stroll through the park to see what was happening on the playground of fuel prices. This time, let's climb higher and look around - what is truly influencing the up and down of the teeter-totter that consumers are riding.

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  • Teetering or Tottering - Part 1 - Who likes low gas prices?

    May 2017

    Have you ever watched kids playing on a teeter-totter? Who is having more fun - the kid going up or the one going down? Or perhaps more importantly, which kid has greater influence over up vs down?

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  • Superman Has It So Easy!

    April 2017

    New York City is known by so many different names – the City that Never Sleeps, the Big Apple, the Capital of the World, Gotham City and even Metropolis. Spend a little time there, and I guarantee you will come up with nicknames of your own, some flattering and others not so much.

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  • Bring Out Your Dead

    March 2017

    Earlier this year I attended the National Ethanol Conference and was asked what I thought about the future of the alternative fuel E85.

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  • Global Regulations Run the Gamut

    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.

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  • The More Things Change...

    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.

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  • A New Hope

    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!)

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  • Economic Rationality Does Not Really Apply

    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?

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  • Forget Millennials - Change Comes with Gen Z

    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.

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  • Crossing Borders Can Yield Valuable Lessons

    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.

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  • Exploding Liquid Dinosaurs Still Reign

    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.

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  • It's Really Not Complicated

    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.

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  • Light-Duty Diesel Keeps Trucking

    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.

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  • Should I Share or Should I Own?

    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.

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  • Tesla-Model for Tomorrow?

    April 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.

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  • End of the World?

    March 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.

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  • Will Our Children Drive?

    February 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.

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  • Smaller Engines, Higher Mpg

    January 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.

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  • Visions of the Future

    December 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?

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  • Is Big Brother Watching?

    November 2015

    It has been 31 years since George Orwell’s vision of the future in “1984” came and went without incident, but technology is catching up and enabling the potential emergence of Big Brother. Of course, like all potentially invasive government programs in science fiction stories, the core objectives are clearly benevolent and seek to serve the common good – but in the wrong hands…

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  • Fuel Without a Cause

    October 2015

    Visiting the Indianapolis 500 Speedway Museum during the 2015 Fuels Institute Annual Meeting gave me a lot to think about.

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  • Take a Little Trip

    September 2015

    Personal experience is key to understanding alternative vehicle technology.

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