Dec 14th, 2016 | By Katrina Kazda
Electric vehicles are increasingly dominating the alternative fuel market for passenger vehicles in the U.S. With this boom in electric vehicle sales, we wondered how other alternative fuel vehicle options fairing. Is there still a place for hybrid, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the passenger vehicle market?
Apr 7th, 2016 | By Jeremy Kranowitz
There have been two competing car narratives happening recently. A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on how improvements in overall fuel economy have stalled, not surprisingly since the price of gasoline has dropped to $2 per gallon. But the options for drivers who want to buy electric vehicles are better than ever.
Oct 10th, 2014 | By Gray Peckham
XL Hybrids converts existing gas-fueled commercial vehicles like cargo vans, shuttle buses and delivery trucks into hybrids. It’s a solution that can increase an entire vehicle fleet's fuel efficiency by 20 percent, and that’s gotten the attention of companies like FedEx and Coca-Cola. The Boston-based company has gotten our attention, too. We’re excited to announce that XL Hybrids is the latest business that Sustainable America is investing in as part of our overall goal to reduce our nation’s oil consumption by 50 percent over the next two decades.
Jan 16th, 2014 | By Amy Leibrock
With the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a wrap and the North American International Auto Show underway now, there has been a flurry of automobile news so far this year. While there were few truly groundbreaking announcements for alternative-fuel vehicles, there is plenty of good news to report. Thanks to increased fuel economy regulations, carmakers are continuing to tweak their cars to deliver more fuel economy at all levels of the market. While many innovations are ready to hit the roads, others are still aspirational ideas for the future. Here are nine reasons we're excited about 2014's new crop of cars and trucks.
Jan 6th, 2014 | By Amy Leibrock
'Tis the season for trend lists as everyone tries to predict the next big thing for the year ahead. We’ve culled through the lists to compile our own tally of trends that relate to the issues Sustainable America supports: sustainable food and fuel. The good news is that finding encouraging trend predictions was easy—now let's work together to make them come true!
Mar 6th, 2013 | By Aubrey Yee
Range anxiety is still a reality for drivers of electric vehicles. A recent study from the Department of Energy suggests that a corridor of charging stations in the northeastern U.S. could help increase demand for plug-in electric vehicles in the future.
May 25th, 2012 | By Nicole Rogers
Until now shopping for a high fuel efficiency car, like an electric or hybrid vehicle, could be confusing with overwhelming amounts of data to digest and compare, but students at The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at The University of California, Santa Barbara have just made it seductively simple.
Enter the Clean Car Calculator: an elegant online calculator that allows the consumer to compare any two high fuel efficiency vehicles on the market, providing a financial and environmental analysis of the cars and even recommending other vehicles to consider given the user’s criteria. The calculator allows the user to adjust for as many or as few variables as desired, like the car’s primary use, percentage of highway miles driven, government tax incentives, etc. One of the most valuable aspects of the calculator is that it determines how long one must own a high fuel efficiency vehicle for it to make economic sense in fuel savings.
The idea for the calculator was inspired by a homework assignment. Project manager Kate Ziemba explains:
The Calculator resulted from an assignment in the Energy and Resource Productivity class taught by Dr. Sangwon Suh at the Bren School that challenged students to understand the return on investment for businesses and consumers to implement energy saving technologies. Students compared lifetime costs and emissions of conventional gas versus high efficiency vehicles. The graduate student developers were surprised to find that hybrids not only paid themselves back in fuel savings, but also that newly released vehicles, such as the Volt and the Leaf, were smart purchases even without a government subsidy.
There you have it! There is more data everyday to show that electric cars and hybrids make sense for the environment and the consumer. But don’t take our word for it - check out the calculator and have fun comparing a few of your favorite green dream cars.
May 1st, 2012 | By Nicole Rogers
Ecodriving is a modern and efficient way of driving that emphasizes fuel efficiency, speed, and safety. It is widely practiced in Canada and Western Europe, but still catching on in the US. Some ecodriving tips work better with a manual transmission, but anyone can ecodrive. Whether you are in a commercial truck or hybrid vehicle, ecodriving techniques improve gas mileage. In challenging economic times, improving gas mileage saves money and decreases our collective dependence on oil.
For more detailed driving tips from passionate ecodrivers, check out our post on Hypermiling. Ecodriving and Hypermiling are often mentioned in the same breath. They overlap in many ways and both aim to boost fuel efficiency, but some hypermilers take matters to extremes.
Our post included beginner hypermiling techniques, but there are much more advanced hypermiling techniques that aren’t recommended for use off the racetrack or the test track. If you are curious, you can check out some examples of extreme and futuristic hypermilers here.
The Golden Rules of Ecodriving, according to Ecodrive.org:
Anticipate Traffic Flow
Get used to reading the traffic far ahead of you and anticipate the movement of traffic ahead of you as much as possible. Give yourself three seconds to the car in front of you to minimize the need to suddenly brake. Use momentum and coast as much as possible, as covered in our Hypermiling post. Different techniques can be used to accomplish this. Ecodrive.org lists some here.
Maintain a Steady Speed at a Low RPM
Think flow. You want to glide through traffic smoothly and safely with minimal braking and acceleration. Drive at a low RPM and the highest possible gear. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking, as they lead to increased fuel burn. Use cruise control when applicable.
If you have a manual transmission, shift earlier and accelerate at a lower rpm.
Check Tire Pressure Frequently - at least once a month
Check your car’s manual for correct tire pressure. Tire pressure alone can work wonders for improving your gas mileage in the long haul.
Limit Any Extras - Extra Energy Costs Fuel, and Therefore Money
Air conditioning always burns more fuel, so use it only when necessary. The same goes for any other electrical extras you use in your car.
Avoid dead weight like heavy equipment you forgot in your trunk, and aerodynamic drag like an open sunroof on the highway.
Of course, you need to be comfortable, so there is no need to drive around with all of the windows up and no air-conditioning on a hot day. Generally speaking, on the highway at speeds of 50 mph and above, air-conditioning is a more fuel efficient option. When cruising around town at relatively low speeds, turning the a/c off and rolling the windows down is the better option.
Hungry for more?
Of course, a few tips like this are helpful, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Ecodriving Solutions specializes in training fleet drivers (like bus and truck drivers) to ecodrive, potentially saving participating corporations and government departments 6-24% on fuel costs. They provide a free demo for the average driver on their site, and have an excellent and prolific blog covering ecodriving.