Category Archives: transportation

World Bank: biofuels have increased global food prices 75%

From the Guardian:

 Sys-Images Guardian Pix Pictures 2008 07 03 Corn-460X276

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush. (more…)

Summary from Green Car Congress:

• Rapid income growth in developing countries (e.g., India and China) has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases.
• Successive droughts in Australia have had a marginal impact.
• The EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.
• Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate. (more…)

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Report project 4% shrinkage of US vehicle fleet in face of $7/gal gasoline by 2021

(from Green Car Congress):

 Photos Uncategorized 2008 06 26 Rubin1CIBC World Markets Managing Director/Chief Economist and Chief Strategist Jeff Rubin is projecting a shrinkage in the US vehicle fleet of 10 million vehicles in light of projected $7/gallon gasoline by 2012. A decline on that order would represent approximately a 4% reduction in the overall fleet—the largest such adjustment yet.

In the 26 June 2008 issue of the StrategEcon newsletter, Rubin lifts CIBC’s target for West Texas Intermediate by $20 per barrel to an average price of $150 in 2009 and by $50 per barrel to an average price of $200 per barrel by 2010. “Under prevailing refinery margins” he writes, “that should translate into a near-$7 per gallon pump price within two years, a 70% increase from today’s already record levels.”

This is really bad news for Detroit. But it goes in the category of consequences that should have been clearly foreseen for a long time…

Hydrogen is still dead

Outsourced to Joe Romm:

This just in: Hydrogen fuel cell cars are still dead

That Saturday Night Live-esque headline was inspired by a story in the Wall Street Journal today:

“Top executives from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Tuesday expressed doubts about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass-market production in the near term and suggested their companies are now betting that electric cars will prove to be a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale.”

Really? Hydrogen cars of dubious viability? Who ever could have guessed that in a million years? And electric cars are “a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale”? I’m shocked, shocked anyone could come to that conclusion [pun intended]. (more…)

China takes the capitalist road…

Via Green Car Congress:

China Considering Road Congestion Fees
29 February 2008

Xinhua. China is considering charging fees on some of its traffic-congested urban roads, according to Wang Fengwu, deputy director of the Ministry of Construction’s urban construction department, speaking at a forum in Shanghai.

Fees could be charged on the basis of the frequency and intensity of vehicles road use “to reduce people’s excessive dependence on cars,” he said.

“We will learn the concept of properly allotting urban road space resource as advocated by international communities,” he said. Wang said the country would change the current vehicle-oriented practice of allotting road space into a traveler-oriented one with more space given to buses, bicycles and pedestrians.

Currently, public transport only handles less than 10 percent of journeys in most Chinese cities.