A Solar Car for the Masses?

It’s car show season again, with the annual crop of car-model launches like the new Corvette “supercar” and the Acura TLX prototype. However, my biggest regret in missing this year's Washington DC Auto Show was not seeing the Ford “C-MAX Solar Energi” concept, an unlikely marriage of electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic panels (PV). ...

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US Oil Demand Returns to Growth

After three straight years of declining oil consumption and a substantial net reduction since 2005, preliminary estimates suggest that US demand for petroleum and its products grew by 2% last year. In the estimation of the International Energy Agency (IEA) US demand growth in 2013 even outstripped that of China. ...

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Canada: From Energy Supplier to Competitor?

In remarks last month the Canadian Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, suggested that with the continued growth of unconventional oil production in the US, "Our only customer will become a competitor." Considering plans for liquefied natural gas export facilities on both sides of the border, he might have included LNG in that comment, too. Let's take a look at the kind of competition he might have had i ...

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Will Self-Driving Cars Revolutionize Vehicle Efficiency?

Self-driving cars, also referred to as autonomous cars, have been in the news for several years. Interest in them spiked in September 2012, when Google announced it would make the technology available to the public within five years. Yet while this could be revolutionary in many ways, the most relevant question for us here concerns their potential to reduce transportation energy demand. At this point the li ...

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Study Sheds Light on the Environmental Impact of Shale Gas

Since the late 1990s natural gas has been identified by both energy experts and environmentalists as a likely "bridge fuel" to facilitate the transition to cleaner energy sources. This view has recently been challenged by suggestions that methane leakage from natural gas systems--particularly from shale gas development--might be significant enough to negate the downstream climate benefits of switching to na ...

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As US Oil Production Revives, New Vulnerabilities Appear

On the front page of today's Wall St. Journal I see that "US Rises To No. 1 Energy Producer." This news builds on a number of recent headlines such as, "US oil production reaches highest level in 24 years." Stories like these aren't as attention-grabbing as they were when this streak began more than a year ago, once shale oil production ramped up dramatically. ...

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Energy Projects Seem Less Urgent in A Post-Energy-Crisis World

To someone living in 1974, during the first energy crisis of the last 40 years, the idea of mass protests to block a pipeline for importing crude oil from Canada would have seemed incomprehensible. Our environmental awareness has expanded in the interim, along with new channels for exchanging information, including "enduring misconceptions". ...

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Will the Keystone XL Decision Be Based on Incorrect Assumptions?

When President Obama commented on the merits of the Keystone XL pipeline project in an interview in the New York Times last month, the Washington Post suggested that his remarks “give opponents reason for hope.” Although he confirmed that the White House’s main objective criterion for making this decision was still the pipeline’s greenhouse gas impact, the President also speculated about the project’s job-c ...

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