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White House Moves to Reduce Use of Ethanol

Biofuel law falling short of expectations – even as criticism grows.

by on Nov.18, 2013

A corn showdown?

It’s been a rare hallmark of bipartisanship in recent years, but the Obama Administration is now looking to scale back the once-promising biofuel law enacted during the Bush White House.

The move recognizes that consumers have shown little interest in filling up on ethanol – even as criticism of the renewable fuel grows, some critics contending the law may actually be doing as much harm as good to the environment.

Fuel Your Knowledge!

The law passed in 2007 has required a steady increase in the use of ethanol – almost all of it currently being produced from corn.  Last year, reports the federal Energy Information Administration, 13.3 billion gallons were blended into the nation’s gasoline supply, slightly ahead of the 13.2 billion gallon mandate. But the sale of E85 fuel, which uses 85% ethanol and just 15% of gasoline, has lagged expectations despite significant discounting at the pump.

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From Pond Scum to Gas Tank

California drivers now can fill up on algae-based bio-diesel.

by on Nov.16, 2012

An algae biofuel production system.

No, you can’t simply pump the green scum that forms on your swimming pool into your gas tank, but motorists in the San Francisco area now can fill up on a new biofuel derived from algae.

There are plenty of proponents searching for ways to replace petroleum with renewable fuels, though some alternatives, such as corn-based ethanol, have come under fire, especially in the wake of last summer’s nationwide drought. But the biofuel system developed by South San Francisco-based Solazyme, Inc. won’t tap the food supply.

The Last Word!

“We are putting a stake in the ground,” said Matt Horton, chief executive officer of Propel Fuels, which is supplying the fuel to four stations near San Francisco and which would like to expand distribution to “hundreds of stations like this in California.”

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A Geneva Surprise From Bentley

New model will be marque's fastest, most powerful production car ever.

by on Jan.28, 2009

Bentley's Geneva surprise

Bentley's Geneva surprise

Take a close look at this picture. It’s all you’re going to get to see, at least for the next five weeks, of the new supercar that Bentley plans to unveil at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

What little the automaker is revealing, for now, is that the new model will be “very much the extreme Bentley,” and will rank as the fastest, most powerful production car the British luxury marque has ever brought to market.

A little short of a year ago, and also in Geneva, Bentley sketched out plans to go “green,” Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen noting, at the time, that, “the security of our fuel supply and climate change.” According to Paefgen, the amount of CO2, the prime culprit in global warming, emitted by Bentley products by will be reduced “at least 15 percent” by 2012.

How to deliver more power and performance – and less CO2? Maybe it’ll become more apparent when we see the new Bentley in person, as the 2009 Swiss show. For the moment, we’ll have to settle for the suggestion that the car we’re seeing – likely the replacement for the current Continental line – will be capable of running on biofuel.

Bentley, we should add, could use a bit of a boost, whatever powers it. It’s long been conventional wisdom, in the auto industry, that luxury products, especially in the Bentley range, are immune from recession. The current downturn has proven that wrong, with the British maker showing losses in line with more mainstream brands. But so far, we’ve also been told, Volkswagen AG’s top-line brand has been able to keep its operations in the black.