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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The automotive infrastructure in the US consists of 250 million vehicles. We shall see below that it takes a long time to replace this infrastructure. Let’s develop a model to see how gas mileage improves with the introduction of new hybrid technology.

General Growth Assumptions:
The total number of all vehicles grows by about 1% a year to accommodate new drivers. Annual new car sales consists of about 7% of total vehicles. Total gas usage (116 billion gals/yr) results from an average of 12,000 miles driven per year with a 20 mpg fleet average. Use known data for number of existing hybrids and introduction volumes of E-REVs. Assume hybrid and E-REV sales have a mileage of 40 and 80 (with an improvement rate in 22 years to 140) mpg, respectively, and volumes grow at 25%/year after known production introduction volumes. Modify growth rate to keep total vehicles sold per year at max 7% annual rate. Assume that after 10 years hybrids and EV have a 7% wearout replacement rate. Assume new ICE vehicles have a mileage of 25 mpg and improve at 1.5%/yr. Model from 2008 to 2038 and check/modify results for consistency.
See attachment.

The results show that it will take 20 years for E-REV sales to improve fleet mileage by 10% and 25 years for to replace half of ICE engines with alternative technology engines. At that time improvements in vehicle technology will reduce gas consumption from present levels by 10%.

Conclusion:
Because of the huge number of vehicles presently in use and slow rate of hybrid introduction, it will take a long time to replace the existing ICE infrastructure. Clearly, to get timely improvement in dependence on foreign oil, we must use another strategy such as an increase methanol and domestic fuel production.
 

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Tom, Interesting analysis. I wish I could see the numbers and charts that you came up with but I don't download Zip files due to virus problems.

I think your assumptions are impossible. Why? Because your solution is also impossible. Even if we decide to increase domestic production and methanol use that will require a minimum of 10 years to make any difference. That is assuming that the drilling is successful!

You are also assuming that energy use around the world will not change if we have hit peak oil. If people are uncomfortable with the peak oil term we can say that if we have hit a point where supply cannot keep up with demand without extreme price increases and shortages.

If we do not hit that extreme situation it will not matter how long it takes to convert our fleet. Reasonable gas prices and plentiful supply will not change, or need to change our current energy use.

I however feel we are at a transition point. Extremely high prices for energy will cause massive changes in world energy use. Demand, global vehicle fleet growth, population growth, economic growth will be determined by the supply of energy. It cannot grow without energy growth. If you take a snapshot of the world today that is about as much energy as we will get. If someone in China buys a new car and uses it everyday then someone else in the world has to give up their car. It's that simple in terms of energy use. Thus, I expect extreme demand destruction as people and businesses react to the risks. Populations moving closer to their places of employment, extreme amounts of conservation due to extreme prices and shortages, massive efforts to transition from petroleum products. Once the fear of God is brought to the masses the changes will be extremely swift. One only needs to look at war history to see what is possible.

In conclusion, your analysis is a great idea and a good start. However, you must take into account limited energy supply. We Americans on average use several times more energy per capita then people in other developed nations. This is due to the price of energy being so cheap. As the prices increase our usage must come down. We have a long way to go before we hit bottom. Who knows how bad things will get but if you go to the extreme where each person in America is limited to having one comfortable and extremely efficient living area (room), required use of mass transit brought on by extreme energy prices, etc. then you can see just how low our energy use can get In America (and the rest of the world) before starvation in the developed world starts to become a serious problem requiring military conflicts.

So while you believe it will take 25 years to reduce our current gas consumption by 10 percent, I feel that if we have indeed hit peak or have entered a limited supply situation that in 25 years it might be illegal to burn a fossil hydrocarbon without a strict and expensive permit. The pace of transition will be no slower than the maximum pain threshold of our population. No pain no change.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Basic Law of Life: Compete or Die

Texas,

All that you’re saying and predicting may very well be true. The point of my analysis was to show that the strategy of replacing the existing ICE infrastructure with alternative vehicle technology will take a very long time to have a significant impact on fleet oil consumption and, consequently, in the short term, other solutions must be pursued.

With regard to energy philosophy I will point out the basic law of life is that those who do not compete will die. If we do not compete with the other (emerging) global powers for energy, economically, they will eat us alive. It is a sad fact of life, as history has shown from age to age, that we must have energy for our planes, ships, tanks, or we will be conquered and enslaved. The law of life is survival of the fittest.
 

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Tom, I agree with many things you are saying. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint) we here in America have by far the strongest military on earth. We can literally crush other countries and claim their resources and there’s not a lot other countries can do about it. We can fill the sky with radioactivity if we are cornered. It is my greatest wish that we don't get to that cornered state. That is why I feel we must act now on a realistic energy plan. First comes the plan then comes the action. Must we wait for disaster? Probably, but I hope we are smarter than that.

Thus, I have to question your analysis as well as your proposed solutions. If you can paint a picture for us as to what you propose we can then analyze what the possibilities for success are. You have many good ideas so I would like to fully consider what you are saying and try the best I can to tear it up. My reason for that is that I wish others to tear up my ideas. The goal is to get working on the best plan. A plan that has be beat up, trampled on and kicked around until it’s solid and robust.

With that said, I will start with what you highlighted:

"must use another strategy such as an increase methanol and domestic fuel production. "


This is a very broad statement that does not give me much to work with. Can you give me amounts, timelines, etc. to your thoughts? When I think of increasing domestic fuel production I assume you mean more drilling. I think about our aging drilling fleet. I think about how our domestic oil production peaked in 1970 and no amount of technology has been able to reverse it. Slow it down yes but not reverse it. We now produce only half of what we did in 1970. I think about ANWAR and how the most we can get is 1.3 million barrels a day because that is all the capacity that is left from the Alaskan pipeline (we will never build another one - if we do it will take at least 10 years - not short-term). I think about the outer continental shelf and what are the possibilities. I say drill so people will shut up about it. I also say that for every dollar of federal money used to drill that we spend an equivalent amount on renewable technologies. Drill a well, subsidize plug-in hybrids. Build a coal-to-gas plant, built a second generation biodiesel plant. I think that is fair. Half of an enormous amount of money is much better than what we are doing now, which is essentially nothing. Can you agree with that?

OK, let's say we decide to go with your methanol and drilling. When can we expect the energy to be commercially available in any significant way? I will argue that it will take at the very least 5 years. Definitely not a short term solution. In 5 years we can build millions of plug-in hybrids and BEVs. In 5 years battery technology could be much more advanced, with or without massive government investment. With massive government investment who knows how far along we will be.

Please give us your thoughts on your energy plan. I just posted my energy plan in another thread. Please tear it apart! I will try my best to do the same to yours. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand "Engineering", but not "other solutions"

Texas,

I worked for 30 years doing product design and R & D. What I do is math and physics based analysis. This is the type of contribution I have made to this Forum, mostly under “Engineering.” I am open to evaluation and criticism of this "Engineering" work. I posted under the title of "Analysis of Effects of ..."

Once again my main thesis is: “The point of my analysis was to show that the strategy of replacing the existing ICE infrastructure with alternative vehicle technology will take a very long time to have a significant impact on fleet oil consumption and, consequently, in the short term, other solutions must be pursued.” I leave the discussion of “other solutions” to others.
 

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Tom, Fair enough. Using your assumptions I agree that the use of hybrids alone will not make much of a difference. I do however disagree with your conclusions to use methanol and drilling as a solution. First, if your first analysis is correct there will be no need for your solution because there would be no problem to solve. If demand and usage continued to grow things would be dandy. Therefore drilling more and using more fossil fuels would extend that happiness for a few more years maybe another decade.

I feel we are in a much worse situation. We need a plan and we need to act. Do I think we will do just that? No, I think there is less than a 10% chance that we will be aggressively proactive. The @#$% will have to hit the fan before we pull out the cleaning bucket.
 
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