It's the Environment, Stupid.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

And now back to a message from ExxonMobil…

Yes, ExxonMobil again – but they had another one of those propaganda/ads in Thursday’s NY Times (print edition, op-ed page) that I couldn't pass up. Here's a link to the PDF from ExxonMobil's site.

This one is called “Driving for Efficiency” with a subheading, “Despite cleaner fuels and better engines, average U.S. fuel economy hasn’t changed. Science suggests it can." Above the text is a drawing of a big ol car next to a little gas pump, with a little guy climbing up a ladder to fill his tank. I didn't find this one nearly as entertaining as the previous one refuting the peak oil theory, but it's still good.

The text (with my running commentary):
Who would argue against improving fuel economy? (Not me. Would you?)

The obvious benefits of using oil supplies wisely have made most people – including energy producersadvocates for energy efficiency. (Since when?)

America has made progress since the 1970s ‘energy shock’. The U.S. economy today is nearly 50 percent more energy-efficient than 30 years ago (50%! Why that's leaps and bounds in a matter of 30 years!) Every form of transportation – planes, trains and automobiles (not really EVERY form now is it?) – now benefits from improved fuels an engine systems.

So why is it that despite this overall progress, the average fuel economy of American cars is unchanged in two decades? (um, maybe you want to ask GM and Ford? Because I'm sure oil companies fully supported stricter CAFE standards.)

It’s because underlying engine efficiency gains have been largely offset by the increasing weight of vehicles, reflecting a growing share of the market moving to light trucks and sport utility vehicles. (efficiency gains and market share - that's a good way to keep your readers.) The size and flexibility of SUVs have made them popular and to many consumers those benefits are hard to give up, even at higher fuel costs. (so engines have been getting more efficient, but the vehicles are bigger and we like big vehicles, therefore the logic makes sense?)

So what to do? (yes, it is quite a quandary.)

While some technologies hold promise for the longer-term, (no room to list them here of course) the more immediate challenge is to continue improving engines and fuels to achieve maximum efficiency regardless of vehicle size.

(This is the good part...) The best available science suggests that a further 50 percent improvement in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine may be achievable. (Didn't the best science available also say that global warming was real several years ago? I guess you can just pick and choose your science to fit your needs.) How this translates into vehicle fuel economy will depend on factors such as size and weight or other technology improvements like today’s hybrids. (If ExxonMobil would heed the word of Amory Lovins they would know that a lighter material is available NOW for vehicles - no need to wait for technology to catch up, it's here. But listening to Lovins would also mean we'd be a country less reliant on oil.)

Would a 50 percent improvement be worth the investment needed to achieve it? (who's investment are we talking about here?)

We think so. And through partnerships with leading vehicle manufacturers (so the car companies are in on it) we’re working on fuel and engine systems that could dramatically improve efficiency and reduce emissions – without restricting America’s ‘right to drive’. (Keep oil, reduce emissions, drive more - makes sense.)

3 Comments:

  • Maybe Exxon wants to get in on this synthetic fuel thing?
    Here's a link to the GreenBiz article from WBCSD...
    http://www.wbcsd.org/plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?type=DocDet&ObjectId=MTgzODI

    By Blogger Amy Stodghill, at 10:16  

  • ExxonMobil spends more on combustion fuel and effeciency research than any other company in the world.

    Of course Exxon wants people to continue to drive their huge, gass-guzzling SUV's, but they are doing a service to the environment by pouring millions of dollars into combustion research (they do). We shouldn't belittle them for trying to help the situation.

    By Anonymous Travis, at 01:45  

  • Have you checked out this website ?

    http://www.theviewfromthepeak.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20:37  

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