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How Will Global Warming Concerns Change The Vehicles We Drive?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
edited March 12 in Toyota
Will hybrids such as the Prius, Volt and others be commonplace by 2012, say, or by 2017, or will improvements in the internal combustion engine (ICE), and perhaps greater emphasis on fuel economy keep traditional powerplants competitive? Is a major breakthrough in battery technology realistic, and what would it mean for the vehicles we drive, our economy, and our dependence on foreign oil?

As I see it, a major barrier for replacing the ICE is battery technology. Even without a major breakthrough, I can envision hybrids taking 10%-12% market share by 2012, and 25%-30% by 2017. Part of this growth would be attributable to a rise in the price of oil, in real terms.
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Comments

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    ...on the radio about biodiesel being harmful to the environment per global warming. I only caught the tail end of the broadcast, so I'm not sure what they were talking about. Can anybody explain this?

    Would global warming still progress even if we ceased using fossil fuels? Maybe its simply nature at work regardless of what we do or don't do?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    There's a big debate about whether global warming is due to cyclical climate change, human activities, or some combination of the two. If its the latter, how much of it attributable to human factors, to what extent is it controllable, etc? From what I gather, most scientists believe that humans play a significant role in global warming, but dialing it back could have adverse consequences on employment, prices, global income distribution, and other economic factors. Regardless, based on current knowledge, environmental concerns are likely to affect vehicle designs in the coming, and here we can discuss how and why.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,235
    I don't put much stock in "facts" given to me by people who have a money interest involved. This includes car salesmen as well as "experts" trying to get grants by scaring us. One volcanic eruption puts out more sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide and carbon dioxide than all the cars that have ever run. Yet to hear the "experts" tell it every time you start up your SUV a glacier melts. These global warming fanatics who want us back to horse and buggy transportation seem to forget that 1000 years ago Vikings were growing grape vines in Greenland. Unless they drove over there in Ford Explorers I doubt humans had anything to do with that warm period. A wise man once said "When things don't make sense, follow the money". Before you believe either side of this debate ask who stands to gain.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Personally, I don't think that individual concerns over global warming will change the cars we drive.

    Either folks are already on that bandwagon and already trying to conserve BECAUSE of global warming or they aren't. At this point in the game, I don't see many folks changing their mind.

    What WILL affect the vehicles we drive is the cost of fuel. Folks will usually only change their consumption habits out of personal fiscal concerns (meaning, until Joe Sixpack is hit in his own pocketbook, you can bombard him with all the global warming hysteria you want but to no avail).

    Now, price of fuel could go up for a whole range of reasons. And, depending on how high (and how quickly) fuel prices go up, that would impact vehicle choices much more than a desire to 'do the right thing' with regards to Global Warming.

    Now, all of that goes right out the window if, due to political pressure, the government starts MANDATING changes to vehicles.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "Now, all of that goes right out the window if, due to political pressure, the government starts MANDATING changes to vehicles."

    This is a near certainty Roach, and we both know it. Both particulate and greenhouse emissions will be subject to tighter restrictions, and I would be surprised if the ratcheting doesn't commence well before the '08 race gels. Hell, we crazed Kahleefornians already passed legislation to that effect, though the only way to get it by was to put a 14-year deadline on the task. Eight other states are poised to follow suit.

    Global warming or not, I'm in favor of, in the very least, closing the CAFE loophole on light trucks, and forcing the index itself to rise incrementally on an annual basis, backdated to 1990.

    And I don't even own any stock in an alternative energy company! Sho'nuff good time to think about that investment opportunity, says I...

    But you are correct, I'm thinking; shy of legislation aimed at mfrs, Joe Blow's conscience certainly isn't going to take hime there, by and large. Only a shot across the wallet makes any significant difference.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    how much cleaner they're going to be able to make cars. For instance, by 1979 the typical new car only put out about 10% of the pollutants of its 1970 or so counterpart, thanks largely to removing lead from gasoline and the comparatively crude emissions controls of the time. I don't know how big the advances were since then, but you get diminishing returns as you make the cars cleaner. Just like fuel economy: it's quite a savings in fuel when you go from a 10 mpg car to a 20 mpg car, but in jumping from 90 to 100 mpg, who really cares?

    Cars are so clean nowadays that phrases like "LEV", "ULEV", and "SULEV", or however they're classified, really don't mean squat, except as buzzwords to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

    However, the one thing that they really can't engineer out of cars is carbon dioxide, which makes up the bulk of a car's emissions. At least, on every emissions test slip I've ever seen, stuff like NOX, CO, and HC are usually either fractions or, at most, 1-2 gmp, whereas CO2 is usually 30-50 gpm.

    And the only way they're going to cut CO2, I'd imagine, is to make smaller engines that burn less fuel and suck in less air.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "And the only way they're going to cut CO2, I'd imagine, is to make smaller engines that burn less fuel and suck in less air."

    I think that's really where the legislative efforts are aiming, Andre. The one way we know we can effect the output as of today is consumption. That's today.

    Who knows what they can come up with down the road though. Fact: American ingenuity isn't at it's best without a hurdle to jump. Amazing what can be accomplished when one simply has to.

    What's the old saw: "Necessity is a mother..."?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I think that's really where the legislative efforts are aiming, Andre. The one way we know we can effect the output as of today is consumption. That's today."

    I'll second that.

    LEV and ULEV and SULEV etc etc etc do a great job on the pollutants most responsible for the creation of smog. However, for the global warming issue the problem is 'greenhouse gas' of which the prime culprit (at least as far as vehicles goes) is CO2. And you can LEV a vehicle all you want but CO2 production is still pretty much dictated by the amound to fuel you run through an engine.

    Therefore, the only meaningful way to curb vehicular CO2 emmissions is to curb fuel use.

    And since Joe Sixpack is apparently only willing to give lip service to the concept of reducing fuel consumption, the only way the GW crowd will ever get satisfaction is through legislation.

    Actually, that's not true......I'm not sure the GW crowd will EVER truely get satisfaction.....but that's for a whole separate conversation ;)
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    ...to reduce oil consumption is through higher prices. This would also ensure that when the auto makers produce more efficient vehicles (which requires compromises in other areas), people will buy them.

    But when gasoline prices were rising, many (not all, to be sure) of those who profess to be concerned about global warming were running around saying that rising oil prices were part of a conspiracy on the part of oil companies.

    All of a sudden, $1-a-gallon for regular unleaded was some sort of Constitutional right.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Oh I think there's manipulation for certain, but the market of course also responds to supply and demand.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    There are attempts at short-term actions, but they can't win over market forces in the long run.

    And most of the proposed "solutions" would make things worse over time, and cause long-term distortions and lots of unintended consequences.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    You're right, relying on market forces allocates resources better than legislation such as CAFE standards, tax incentives, or permitting certain hybrids to use HOV lanes with just the driver on board.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    You're right, relying on market forces allocates resources better than legislation such as CAFE standards, tax incentives, or permitting certain hybrids to use HOV lanes with just the driver on board.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I'm not sure your argument makes sense. It's the well funded special interest groups that have paid to discredit this global warming theory. Its primarily scientific and academic groups that are issuing these warnings. Unless I misunderstood your point, following the money supports global warming.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well at least the prez acknowledged global warming tonight in his speech. I do think it was his best speech he's ever given. I actually caught myself clapping on a few occassions. :surprise:

    rorr, did you see that new gas station they showed on CNN that was called something like "Terror Free Oil Gas Station" ?

    I'd buy gas their even if it costs me more $$$$$$ ;)

    Rocky
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "rorr, did you see that new gas station they showed on CNN that was called something like "Terror Free Oil Gas Station" ? "

    Nope, can't say that I did. What exactly is 'terror free oil'?

    Is it a Citgo?
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Well at least the prez acknowledged global warming tonight in his speech."

    Politics. Politically speaking, there's little upside to being critical of the concept of Global Warming.
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