Category Archives: traffic

Reputation and climate change: Could labels help? – Slate Magazine

Reputation and climate change: Could labels help? – Slate Magazine.

“Warning: This Car Is Inefficient”

Could having better labels help out the environment?

Posted Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at 2:41 AM ET

Have you ever noticed a friend or neighbor driving a new hybrid car and felt pressure to trade in your gas guzzler? Or worried about what people might think when you drive up to the office in an SUV? If so, then you have experienced the power of reputation for encouraging good public behavior. In fact, reputation is such an effective motivator that it could help us solve the most pressing issue we face—protecting our planet.

Environmental problems are difficult to solve because Earth is a “public good.” Even though we would all be better off if everyone reduced their environmental impact, it is not in anyone’s individual interest to do so. This leads to the famous “tragedy of the commons,” in which public resources are overexploited and everyone suffers.

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Read the full story here: Slate Magazine

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A Way to Make Motor Fuel Out of Wood? Add Water – NYTimes.com

A Way to Make Motor Fuel Out of Wood? Add Water – NYTimes.com.

A Way to Make Motor Fuel Out of Wood? Add Water

A Georgia company says it has overcome a major roadblock in turning agricultural waste into vehicle fuel and other useful chemicals by experimenting with a technology that treats the waste with compressed water heated to very high temperatures.

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If it works, the technology could reduce the nation’s reliance on oil imports for gasoline in favor of a cleaner-burning and less expensive source of energy. A company with a workable technology would have a guaranteed market, given that Congress has set quotas for the consumption of cellulosic fuel but so far, hardly any is being produced.

What is more, the supply of cellulosic biomass is far larger than the amount of corn available for making ethanol, and it does not involve diverting many resources from food production.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil – NYTimes.com

How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Contributors

How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil

OUR country has just gone through a sober national retrospective on the 9/11 attacks. Apart from the heartfelt honoring of those lost — on that day and since — what seemed most striking is our seeming passivity and indifference toward the well from which our enemies draw their political strength and financial power: the strategic importance of oil, which provides the wherewithal for a generational war against us, as we mutter diplomatic niceties.

Oil’s strategic importance stems from its virtual monopoly as a transportation fuel. Today, 97 percent of all air, sea and land transportation systems in the United States have only one option: petroleum-based products.

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While OPEC sits on 79 percent of the world’s conventional oil reserves, it accounts for only one-third of global oil supply. There is, however, a way out of this crisis. Ultimately, electric cars may become the norm, but for the near and middle term, the solution lies in opening the transportation fuel market to competition from sources other than petroleum.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Netherlands Meter Plan Links Gas Pedals to Wallets – NYTimes.com

Netherlands Meter Plan Links Gas Pedals to Wallets – NYTimes.com.

In Auto Test in Europe, Meter Ticks Off Miles, and Fee to Driver

EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands — As Sander Van Dedem recalled watching the charges tick up every 10 seconds on the dashboard meter on the way to the airport, he resolved to try public transportation next time.  “Looking at the money makes you realize that a car isn’t always a good idea,” said Mr. Van Dedem, a commercial sales manager for I.B.M. here.

But his pricey ride was not in a taxi. He was driving his own Volvo XC60.

The car had been outfitted with the meter so that Mr. Van Dedem could take part in a trial of a controversial government tax proposal to charge drivers a fee for the miles they drive. The meter also factors in the cost to society in the form of pollution, traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and wear and tear on roads.

Hooked up to the Internet wirelessly and to GPS, the system tabulates a charge for each car trip by using a mileage-based formula that also takes account of a car’s fuel efficiency, the time of day and the route. (Driving on busier thoroughfares costs more than driving on less-traveled roads.) At the end of each month, the vehicle’s owner would receive a bill detailing times and costs of usage, not unlike a cellphone bill, although participants in the trial did not have to pay the charges.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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