Transportation accounts for 29 percent of US and 26 percent of Canada's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. It also accounts for 70 per cent of oil consumed in North America is used for transportation. On average the US consumes about 367 million gallons (1,389 million litres) of gas a day, driving 8 billion miles (13 billion kilometres) per day while in Canada we consume 264 million litres daily. In the US, passenger cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans account for 59 per cent of transportation GHG emissions while freight trucks represent 19 per cent and commercial aircraft (both domestic and international) account for 12 per cent. Canadians drive more than 300 billion kilometres (186 billion miles), each driving on average 16,000 km per year. All in all, it is billions of barrels per year. And what's the potential for savings? Huge! First off, if every car in North America got the same fuel efficiency as Jim's Toyota Prius, there'd be no need for oil imports into North America. And there'd be no need to drill in the Gulf of Mexico or to drill in the Arctic. In other words, the billions of dollars that the US sends to Middle Eastern countries to import is a choice. By choosing not to regulate for higher fuel efficiency standards, the US voluntarily sends billions of dollars to foreign countries every year and unnecessarily exposes itself to environmental, economic and political risk. Roughly half the … [Read more...] about There’s More Oil in Detroit than Saudi Arabia
The inevitable long-term rise of energy prices poses a serious risk to corporate profitability. A Deloitte study, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009, showed that even modest 3.5 per cent year-over-year increases in energy and resource input costs could wipe out the profitability of a vast number of North American firms. To put 3.5 per cent increases into perspective: The price of oil was $10 a barrel in 1999 and ran up to $147 in 2008 – that represented a 40% annual compounded increase. Jeff Rubin, the former chief economist of CIBC World Markets, predicts oil will hit $225 a barrel in 2012. Heightened tensions with Iran, the fourth largest oil producing country worldwide, could be the catalyst for the run up in oil prices. A risk for Canadian manufacturers is that the Canadian dollar has become a petro dollar. When the price of oil rose to $147 a barrel, the Canadian dollar hit its highest point in decades against the U.S. dollar. And that in turn hit Canadian exporters hard. How can exporters mitigate the risk of a high Canadian dollar? One way is by becoming more energy efficient, lowering the cost of production. Another, of course, is through hedging against a rising Canadian dollar through currency swaps. Energy efficiency is a powerful profit driver and risk mitigation strategy. Walmart is spending $500 million a year on fuel and energy efficiency projects with paybacks of four years or less. During the recession, the company’s … [Read more...] about Pre-empting the energy shockwave
North America contains just five per cent of the world’s population, yet we consume 33 per cent of the world’s resources. If every person on the planet consumed as much as us, we would require at least four more planets to feed the demand. At the heart of our unsustainable North American lifestyle is the waste of materials and energy. Read more in my latest Backbone column at http://bit.ly/9uK57f … [Read more...] about Hey buddy, can you spare a planet?
Oil and gas subsidies worldwide total $250 billion. Peak oil is upon us. Why companies need to become energy and fuel efficient now. See my National Post column at http://bit.ly/8FU5fH … [Read more...] about Oil & Gas Subsidies worldwide total $250 Billion
My latest column in Friday's National Post (Aug 7): If all 200,000 taxis in North America were Prius cabs -- or got the same fuel efficiency -- the industry would save more than $50 billion in fuel between now and 2016 -- that's more than $US11,000 a year per taxi. See http://bit.ly/5iLrCQ for the full story. … [Read more...] about Converting 200,000 NA taxis to hybrid Priuses would save $50B by 2016 in fuel
By: Jordana Levine The Tata Nano, launched in March 2009, is by far the cheapest car on the market, costing a mere $2,500. It gets an average of 57mpg -- and with careful driving can get up to 67mpg, which is better than almost any car on the road; the Toyota Prius gets 48mpg driving in the city – and even the SmartCar can’t compete, getting 33mpg on city streets and 41mpg on the highway. The Nano is in high demand; the first 100,000 cars produced will be distributed through a lottery. Although the cars are cheap, customers are expected to pay deposits totalling up to $1 billion if they want to get their hands on the first batch of Nanos. Also, while the basic Nano is only $2500, it is likely that the majority of the cars sold will be the more upscale models since the basic one doesn’t even include air conditioning or cup holders. There are expected to be up to 300,000 Nanos on the roads in India by 2010, and although the car is exceptionally fuel efficient, critics are worried about the traffic and noise and air pollution that the sudden increase in cars could create. Hopefully this innovation will help the environment, though, rather than hurt it, by providing developing countries with affordable cars that conserve fuel. 1 “Most and Least Efficient Vehicles.” http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/best/bestworstNF.shtml 2 “The new people’s car.” The Economist. 28 Mar 2009. 3 “Tata ‘NANO’ – The People’s … [Read more...] about $2500 Tata Nano gets 67mpg
Yesterday was historic: US car makers agreed to produce 35 mpg cars by 2016. Wow! My Prius gets 60 mpg now. But US car makers apparently aren't that innovative. European car makers by 2016 are going to have to get 45 mpg. So this ensures that US car makers market share will continue to decline as oil prices inevitably rise. If you doubt oil prices will rise here's an interesting tidbit: Chinese consumer are now buying more than a million cars a month -- that's going to increase demand for oil and drive the price up. Just wait till we come out of the current recession and oil prices race back to $147 a barrel. But back to fuel efficiency: Volkswagen has a 235 mpg car -- already. But US car makers need another seven years to take a baby step. Now a truly impressive goal would be to see the US commit to 100 mpg average fuel efficiency by 2016. That's what I would call a stretch goal. A goal akin to JFK telling the nation that within a decade the US would put a man on the moon -- and then eight years later acheiving it. … [Read more...] about US carmakers need 7 years to match Toyota’s efficiency