Posted by Car Geek on July 5, 2007
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to take the opportunity to step back from each individual step that we’ve been focusing on here to take a look at the broader perspective.
In 2005, Australia consumed:
– 18,712 million litres of petrol (15,856 ML of which was used in passenger vehicles)
- 8690 million litres of diesel fuel (5,636 ML of which was used in rigid or articulated trucks)
- 1564 million litres of LPG/CNG fuel
Current indicators are that fossil fuel use has increased in the 18 months since this data was recorded; alternative fuel use in transport was not significant enough to appear with these statistics at the time. In terms of fuel production:
– Non-renewable fuel production has increased 446% in the last 30 years
- Renewable fuel has increased 28% in the same period
Clearly these are not the markers of a country that has embraced alternative and renewable fuels, as much of the world is doing. This is both a weakness and an opportunity for us: although we have so far given up the chance to be a world leader in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, we have been able to observe a very rapidly maturing field of fossil fuel replacements and make a sensible decision about which is best for the Australian environment. If you’re interested in knowing who the primary contenders are, read on.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in alternative fuel, Biodiesel, Biofuels, Electric vehicles, Ethanol, fossil fuels, Hybrid, Hydrogen, Legislation, Nuclear power, renewable fuel | 5 Comments »
Posted by Car Geek on June 28, 2007
Visiting US peak oil expert Dr Roger Bedzek is calling on the Australian government to immediately study the effects that peak oil would have on Australia. The former White House consultant is in Australia to give a series of lectures on the theory of peak oil, which states that oil production rates will soon reach or has already reached its highest point. He suggested that Iran’s recent controversy regarding its domestic fuel restrictions highlight the effect that a drop in oil production may have.
“The problem is we’re so tightly stretched now there’s no slack in the system, so even minor perturbations in the system, such as reduced output from Iran, affects the entire world.”
To counter this potential problem, Dr Bedzek is calling on Australia to investigate “possible, aggressive actions on both its supply side and on the demand side”, including energy effeciency measures in transport and alternative fuels including biofuels, hybrids and liquid fuel from coal, as soon as possible to mitigate the effects that peak oil might have.
“It’s going to take a long time, in terms of changing development patterns, running rail and light rail systems, mass-transit systems out to the suburbs and that,” he said.
“If you don’t try to take these kind of mitigation options starting immediately, the ultimate cost to Australia will be many billions more than that [the investment in making the changes].”
(Sources: ABC News, NineMSN)
Posted in alternative fuel, Biofuels, fossil fuels, Hybrid, Peak oil | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Car Geek on May 23, 2007
Sales of four-wheel drives, or “sports utility vehicles”, has risen despite a trend in motor vehicle sales against it, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Despite petrol price increases and the threat of a spike to $1.50 per litre, 4WD sales have risen 4.3 per cent for April against a trend for vehicle sales downwards by 1.1 per cent. The trend has been attributed to a stronger economy and less speculation about interest rate rises.
Year to date, 4WD sales are up 9.8 per cent on the same period last year, while passenger car sales have risen by 1.1 per cent. 4WDs can be rated for up to twice as much fuel consumption as smaller cars.
Sidenote: does anyone else get annoyed with how “SUV” seems to have replaced 4WD in the official lexicon? That’s a trend out of the US I’d rather not have picked up.
Posted in 4WD, fossil fuels | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Car Geek on May 18, 2007
Rio Tinto, one of Australia’s largest mining companies, and BP have joined forces to create an emission-free coal power system. The system is expected to create hydrogen gas from coal, with the resultant carbon emissions being buried in underground cavities such as those of emptied oil and gas fields. The hydrogen gas is then used to create electricity or in industrial and commercial applications. The project is similar another BP joint venture, where it is working with GE in Scotland to create hydrogen from oil and sequester the carbon emissions in underground cavities. The products of these systems are well-suited to future automotive applications, either using the electricity generated or directly using the hydrogen gas, for zero-emissions transport.
Posted in Carbon sequestration, fossil fuels, Hydrogen | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Car Geek on May 14, 2007
Although it should come as no surprise (being the reason this site exists), a study has confirmed it: Australia’s government funding overwhelmingly goes to non-renewable fuels such as oil and coal, to the tune of nearly $10 billion, according to a study completed by the University of Technology, Sydney and commissioned by Greenpeace. In comparison, renewable energy receives only $330 million. Of that $10 billion, approximately 74 per cent benefits the transport sector through avenues such as road subsidies. According to the study, the subsidies for the coal power industry are such that coal plants were able to be built when other options would have been cheaper.
(Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Posted in fossil fuels, Legislation | Leave a Comment »