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How Will Global Warming Concerns Change The Vehicles We Drive?

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
edited March 2014 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 Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    ...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: 4,600
    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: 15,327
    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.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • 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: 23,875
    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: 4,600
    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: 4,600
    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 Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    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.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Well even if global warming was proven to be a bunch of B.S. I'd still like cleaner air. Ever looked at L.A. on a hot summer day ???? That isn't very healthy for your lungs.

    Rocky
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    All off-topic, however....

    Looks like a case of Clever marketing.

    There's only one way that I see this could be done (assuming they really DON'T sell fuel made with middle-eastern oil): the service station owners have to know the refiners are using non-mideast oil. Meaning the station is located where the local refineries are all using domestic oil supplies (in which case, the website wouldn't JUST say "no gas that comes from the Middle-east", they'd just go ahead and say "gas that comes from domestic supplies") OR.....the station is getting gas from a refinery that isn't using domestic supplies but also isn't using mid-east oil.

    Like a rebadged Citgo. Selling gas from Venezuela. Home of Mr. Chavez.

    Now, back to the "Global Warming Changing the Vehicles we drive" topic.....
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Yeah, I agree....

    Rocky
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Well even if global warming was proven to be a bunch of B.S. I'd still like cleaner air. Ever looked at L.A. on a hot summer day ????"

    The theory behind Global Warming (at least the car related portion of it) is that Greenhouse gasses released by cars contributes to Global Warming. The primary Greenhouse Gas is CO2.

    CO2 is NOT contributing to the smog you've noted. Smog is primarily due to various nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons in vehicle exhaust reacting with the atmosphere to generate a surface layer of ozone. And current technology does a terrific job of virtually eliminating those pollutants in automobile exhaust which contribute to smog.

    On the other hand, the only real way to reduce automobile CO2 emmissions is to reduce fuel consumption. Period.
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 15,327
    What I saying is that there is a lot of lying and misinformation on BOTH sides. I don't believe the junk science that is being funded by oil companies either. However, when an oil company presents evidence against global warming everybody rolls their eyes and says "Of course, they have a vested interest in saying that". When some "activist" comes out with global warming information everyone just accepts it as gospel. What I'm saying is that when money is involved you have to be careful who you trust. (Sure grandma, I'll loan you 10 bucks...where's your collateral?")

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    On the other hand, the only real way to reduce automobile CO2 emmissions is to reduce fuel consumption. Period.

    Or use a alternative fuel source such as hydrogen or ethanol..... ;)

    Rocky
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Or use a alternative fuel source such as hydrogen or ethanol....."

    Each of which has their own set of problems.......

    Hydrogen still has some pretty big technical issues to overcome (not the least of which is the energy SOURCE used to produce the hydrogen). And IMO the jury is still out on whether or not ethanol actually results in a net reduction in CO2 (though I'm sure that ADM-funded studies indicate that corn-based ethanol is just fine and dandy....).

    TANSTAAFL rocky

    *There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Hydrogen still has some pretty big technical issues to overcome (not the least of which is the energy SOURCE used to produce the hydrogen).

    Hydrogen, is a very easy energy to produce. You can capture it at Nuke plants and now I've seen people make it at their kitchen sink. I honestly believe it's being delayed on purpose because what will happen to the oil company's if the average joe can make hydrogen at home ?????? ;)

    And IMO the jury is still out on whether or not ethanol actually results in a net reduction in CO2 (though I'm sure that ADM-funded studies indicate that corn-based ethanol is just fine and dandy....).

    TANSTAAFL


    I think ethanol is a viable source but I think their's more promise in hydrogen and in a plug in hybrid car. Ethanol is expensive because their isn't enough plants and only so many have pumps. Perhaps the prez and dems will invest money to expand these area's and take this issue serious just in case we are hurting this planet. ;)

    Rocky
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I'm in the corner that there are more advantages to gradual curbing of emissions and consumption, by hook, crook, tax or law, than disadvantages. Market conditions short of a strangled economy aren't going to do it.

    Ethanol. Whatever... I'm thnkin' ethanol is not much more than an ADM conspiracy. :blush:
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Hydrogen, is a very easy energy to produce. You can capture it at Nuke plants and now I've seen people make it at their kitchen sink."

    Great! Let's build some more Nukes. Maybe they'll be online by...oh....2025?

    Hydrogen at the Kitchen sink? Well, one can get hydrogen from water. Of course, you need to input energy (in some form) in order to break down the water molecules to release the hydrogen. Again, what is the energy source?
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    You are taking what I said to the far extreme. We have wind, solar, nuclear, coal, ocean turbines, etc to make electricity. If we would of invested as much money into alternative energy's as we've done into this war we would be energy independent, cured all disabling diseases, etc. ;)

    I rest my case..... :P

    Rocky
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Now you're talking politics rocky.

    And I'm going to try and be a good boy and not go there.....

    ....but you can't just throw out a bunch of assertions about what wudda/cudda/shudda and end with 'I rest my case'. We can do that till the cows come home on any number of topics....and get nowhere.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    I was only playing rorr......It might be because everytime I see you I get cotton mouth ? :P

    The fact remains their is very real alternative energy sources to curtail this global warming issue. I don't think the dollar should be the "obstacle" when we can pee money away on non U.S. interests.

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Did you like the Chevy Volt ????

    Rocky
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    While its true that there is no free lunch it is also true that there is free energy all around us that is going unused. It's just a matter of figuring out how to economically convert this free energy into a useable form. While it may now be expensive to tap into these alternative sources there is no law of physics that states it must be. Afterall, nature is able to convert solar energy into all sorts of kinetic and chemical energy. Have you ever thought to yourself how much energy must be in a hurricane? Probably in the magnitude of 100's of atomic bombs. Obviously unuseable but an example of not creating energy, which is impossible, but merely converting and concentrating existing energy. If we could get better at converting energy the whole idea of conserving it would be meaningless. I mean, why conserve something that you can neither create or destroy.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 6,016
    Well, if the polar ice caps melt... many of us could be driving speed boats or pontoons into work. :sick:
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2008 Mercury Mariner, 2007 Kia Optima
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I was only playing rorr......It might be because everytime I see you I get cotton mouth ?"

    Did you catch my one of my more recent posts in the "Buying American Cars" thread? In all honesty, I think you're closer to collecting on that little wager than I am..... :sick:

    Still waiting to hear something more official however... ;)

    "I don't think the dollar should be the "obstacle" when we can pee money away on non U.S. interests."

    Absolutely. So we should stop all American funding of the UN ASAP, right? :P

    "Did you like the Chevy Volt ????"

    Me likey. :)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "While its true that there is no free lunch it is also true that there is free energy all around us that is going unused. It's just a matter of figuring out how to economically convert this free energy into a useable form."

    Um, yes.

    "Have you ever thought to yourself how much energy must be in a hurricane? Probably in the magnitude of 100's of atomic bombs."

    Actually, I like the idea of using Tidal Energy better; it's a little less intense.

    Of course, if we ever managed to get large scale quantities of clean energy out of the tides, I would imagine that the next bout of environmental paranoia would surround the concept that we were slowly pulling the moon in to the earth ultimately resulting in the sky LITERALLY falling..... ;)
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Well, if the polar ice caps melt..."

    Well, in fact, the polar ice caps ARE melting at a rapid, alarming pace....on Mars.

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/mars_snow_011206-1.html

    I guess all those NASA expeditions to Mars were really FORD Expeditions to Mars...... ;)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    Any ideas on possible vehicle changes that might occur, or have we pretty much finished with the discussion and can now wrap it up with a pretty bow? ;)
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Actually, I like the idea of using Tidal Energy better; it's a little less intense.

    I like tidal energy too. Certainly more predictable and reliable than solar or wind. The problem is that I can't produce it myself. While it probably won't happen in my lifetime I believe that someday the idea of paying for energy will seem as ridiculous as paying for gravity. Its just something that exists in nature and we need to be smart enough to figure out how to utilize it. If/when that happens the notion of everyone living like millionaires suddenly becomes plausible.

    And what will this do to the cars we drive. First off they will be electric. Since powering the vehicle won't be a concern the idea of setting limits on size and efficiency isn't all that relevant. Our main transportation problem will shift from the cost of getting people from point A to point B to dealing with the growing congestion that impedes the process.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,875
    Ever looked at L.A. on a hot summer day ???? That isn't very healthy for your lungs.

    Some areas of the world are just "naturally dirty", because a combination of water currents, air currents, mountain ranges, etc, collide and cause pockets where pollutants just naturally build up. The LA basin is one such area. I've heard that the Houston area is another, and there's an area in Maryland near Baltimore just south of the Harbor, I think where the Patapsco River drains, that's supposed to have some of the dirtiest air on earth.

    Even if humanity never existed, these areas would still have air that's nastier than other regions. So it's areas like this where it's more important than ever to reduce the number of man-made pollutants going into the atmosphere.

    One nice thing about global warming though, is that my oil heating bill has been pretty cheap so far this winter. :P
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I grew up in LA and can remember days in the late 60's, early 70's where it was actually painful to take more than a half breath. That can't be good. The air color was typically gray on those days. Now on smoggy days it is more a brownish-orange. It definitely is not as painful to breath. Not really scientific, just an observation. So maybe the nature/composition of smog has changed in the last 30 years. Another area that has a big smog problem that you don't hear much about is Las Vegas. They are surrounded by mountains and under certain atmospheric conditions, called an inversion layer, it is as if a lid was put on top of a bowl. With the population growth that area has experienced they sometimes achieve pollution indexes that are truly impressive.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I think that as more and more consumers want more fuel efficient vehicles, automakers will build it, as that is where the profits are. Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius are a good first step.

    I would, however, like to see the RAV4 EV in some way reincarnated, as it'd be nice to have a second car that doesn't use gasoline, or maybe I've seen Who Killed the Electric Car too many times :)

    I think that if every person who doesn't use the full capabilities of an Expedition EL or Suburban downgraded into a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V this country could save quite a lot of fuel :)
  • I am pro global warming. I have some land here in nevada which I wish would become ocean front property. Already got the sand, just no water, lets melt the ice caps already. Just think of how antarctic real estate values will shoot up. Especialy since the hole in the ozone is closing. =)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I agree with jchn2 above. While we're in the minority, I think an increase in the number of lighter, smaller cars could go a long way toward improving our environment. I'm not suggesting that Expeditions and Suburbans should be banned, but that they be produced in smaller numbers, and sub-compacts in greater numbers, to reflect true needs. And how would these needs be determined? If it were up to me it would be through pricing; that is, through higher fuel taxes, and licensing taxes that proportionately (but not punitively) reflect the size and weight of the vehicles. I would then make these taxes revenue neutral, by reducing other taxes by an equivalent amount.

    As nice as it would be to maintain the status quo, I don't think this is the best course of action, much less feasible in the long run. Most people would agree that it's not worth fighting wars to ensure an ever increasing supply of foreign oil, or to be in a defensive geo political situation. Hopefully, some combination of renewable energy and scientific breakthroughs will make the transition painless, or even yield a net gain for us - I would never underestimate human ingenuity - but we should be prepared to change our habits in the near term.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Did you catch my one of my more recent posts in the "Buying American Cars" thread? In all honesty, I think you're closer to collecting on that little wager than I am.

    Yeah, I saw it..... :P

    On a more serious note I do think cars could change. We could end up driving more bio-diesel SUV's and Trucks, and plug-in Ethanol hybrids for cars if GW policy gets implemented in the near future

    How do y'all see it ? Do you think I'm correct or is the automanufactors going to pull a rabbit out of their hat to improve fuel economy standards without changing technology drastically ?????

    Rocky
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    Speaking of inversion, there was an incident called the Donora Smog that killed a bunch of people in the steel mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania back in 1947. I also seem to recall London, England suffered from "killer smogs" back in the early 1950s.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Global warming is very real, but if we all stopped driving today, would global warming stop? Nope say most climate experts.

    Pollution is very real, but if all forms of pollution were cut off today, would pollution in the air go away? Nope says the EPA.

    Earth's natural environment cycles and systems are enormously more complex than we humans can possibly figure out. Japan, EU and US scientists have been trying to model earth's systems for years with the largest fastest super computers available. Scientists say they are at least a 100 years away from their goal of accurate computer models of earth's vast systems.

    OTOH, putting some basic taxation principles in place on a global scale to begin managing the polluting effect of human economic activities is really the only thing we humans can do. Of course, this means a huge global tax will be slapped on the US.

    Hmmm, yeh, global taxation, that's gonna work.
  • Natural climatic swings do occur (we seem to be in a warming mode) but all the CO2 and other pollutants we've been pumping into the athmosphere have only made it worse.

    The real "climate breaker" is yet to occur. If global warming continues, the Northern Tundra will defrost. That will cause CO2 emissions far in excess of anything we or the planet are currently creating.

    Meanwhile, the ozone hole over the antarctica is getting bigger. USA's also lost 6% of its ozone protection in the last 20 years.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/polar/gif_files/ozone_hole_pl- ot.png

    for more data.

    So what can we do? Wrt cars, Only hope I see is driving more efficient vehicles that offer the power everyone craves for without using more fuel than absolutely necessary. Or vehicles that can tap a less polluting fuel source with similar goals.
This discussion has been closed.