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Cape Fear 2020: Green Cars

READ MORE: Cape Fear 2020: Green Cars
DETROIT -- As we continue our look ahead to the year 2020, with more people in our area there will certainly be more cars on our roads. But what kind of cars will they be? NewsChannel 3's Steve Rondinaro has covered the auto industry for years and went to the Detroit Auto Show for a look into the future. E85, hybrid, electric, fuel cell -- it's a complex new world. Which will rule the future and how will we get there? That's a multi-million dollar question. It may not be easy being green but it's the new color of the car business. Raw horsepower is now on equal footing with mileage and emissions. Got a hybrid with that hemi? Well, yes says Chrysler. Chrysler Co-President Tom Lasorda said, "We got the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango hybrids. It's the same system we're going to put in this truck, this brand new truck." The US big 3 are all in the game. Ford is developing its hybrids, including a plug-in version of the Escape. General Motors is working on two tracks and timelines. Its Chevy Malibu, the 2008 North American car of the year already has a hybrid version in the works. GM Chairman Rick Waggoner said, "So are electrically-driven vehicles the answer for the long term? Yes. Do we need something to significantly reduce our reliance on petroleum in the interim? Absolutely. And it's increasingly clear that something is ethanol." GM has launched a partnership with a company that says it can make efficient non-grain based ethanol for less than $1 a gallon while it continues to ratchet up its line of flex fuel and E85 vehicles. Honda even sported an at home natural gas fueling system to complement its line of hybrids. Honda VP John Mendell said, "It's a race I hope everybody wins. With the environment as critical to us, we've been working on this for 30 years and we continue in the same direction. And that's fine. We like to be pushed. We like the competition. And we like now that everybody's talking about the environment." Toyota's Prius is the hybrid sales leader. Plug-in prototypes are now on the road in California. Toyota is also pushing hard on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. A fuel cell Highlander made the 2,300 mile trek from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia in September without a problem. It averaged well over 300 miles per tank. Toyota's animated cutaway version drew a crowd in Detroit. It's clean renewable energy and our ultimate destination, but there's a long way to go before we see hydrogen filling stations popping up on local street corners. How we get there will be an interesting journey. It's a new green new world in the car business -- there's even a bio-fuel Ferrari in the works.

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113 mpg

While watching a TV show the other night I saw a car with a 3 cylinder diesel engine speeding around a track for 24 straight hours. The car maintained a speed of 140 mph and averaged 113 mpg. If a car can run 140 mph and average 113 mpg on a race track, then why can't the auto makers make a car that can get 113 mpg on the highway at 60 mph? They CAN! They just choose not to do so for obvious reasons. They pretend they don't have the technology. Why doesn't the news media report on these subjects? Are they being paid off too? Too bad we can't see the big picture of what is really going on behind the scenes.

Green Cars 2020

Electric Vehicles are the only REAL solution for green cars. All other options are only a smokescreen for automakers to "look green" Ethanol is the worst enviromentally friendly solution together with oil consumption. More harm to the environment is to produce ethanol and it will cause food to be rationed and increase food prices.

Gas tax

If I could buy a plug in electric car that would get about 200 miles per charge and if it were affordable, I would buy it in a heart beat. Everyone talks about Exxon making in the billions in profits, but do they ever mention a profit margin? Never! Yes, they make a big profit, but they sell a lot of gasoline. The truth is that a lot of companies out there make more profit than Exxon does when you look at their profit margins. No one complains about them, do they? I hear so many people say the oil companies are paying off the auto makers to keep them from making more efficient cars, but I think the federal government and the states are doing the holding back in this area. Why? Because they make a lot more money than the billions the oil companies make from charging us such high taxes on each gallon of gas. Think about it. They make all this money for doing nothing at all. They set a tax rate and we have to pay it. Almost total profit. So what would happen if we had more efficient cars, more hybrids, more plug in electric cars, etc.? Less money for the government. Do you really think they want this to happen? If it did what would they spend then? I guess they would just come up with a new tax so they could waste it away too.

Fuel cell vehicles

Building the vehicle was the EASY part. Now, figure out where all this hydrogen is coming from. Production of hydrogen is still energy negative unless we use rather large photo-voltaic cells or resort to chemical conversions that result in large quantities of waste. Have you ever seen the production and refueling facility for the "All-American Family's Fuel Cell Accord," that Honda gave away a few years ago? It was about the size of a railroad car and had to be located in Southern California so that the solar cells that could power the electrolysis could get enough sun. The bottom line is that cheap hydrogen that is widely available is a pipe-dream for the foreseeable future. 2020 will come and go with no fuel cell vehicles on our roads. BTW, don't place bets on ethanol being anything beyond an additive anytime soon, either. It's still energy negative and there is no national or regional distribution infrastructure. We're still subjecting it to raw politics, as well. Brazil could export millions of gallons of surplus ethanol here every year, but agricultural state politicains have made ethanol importation illegal. Meanwhile, corn prices are skyrocketing, fueling inflation in almost all prepared products and meat. The best bets for the future are still hybrids, electric vehicles, and propane/LNG fuel. Biodiesel usage will likely grow, as well. They all work right now - the rest is just fantasy, for now.

My car is already green. In

My car is already green. In the year 2020 it will still be green but it will have 2,000,000 miles on it because it is too expensive to buy a new car with the price of gas at $3.00 a gallon. In 2020 gas will probably be "only" $13.00 a gallon and a new car will cost "only" $160,000. We won't have to worry about the environment because no one will be able to afford to drive a car and we will be all on scooters.