Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The sexiest futuristic cars run on electricity and hydrogen. A few months ago, I wrote a feature describing how state and local governments were picking sides between these two fueling sources and, in doing so, may influence what powers the next generation vehicles.
Allen Schaeffer wrote me to point out, for lack of a better word, a homelier option. Here's what Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, had to say:
Josh--I read your story in the May 2007 Governing Magazine--It was a good intro to the trials and tribulations of the "hydrogen economy." As I remember reading the National Academy of Sciences independent panel on Fuel efficiency and vehicles about 4 years ago--they identified the H2 economy as at least 25 if not 50 years out.
I was hoping I'd see a mention of the possibility of more diesel cars coming to the US in your story - along the lines of more fuel efficient vehicles and ones that can run on renewable fuels - but there was no mention. Diesel is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine and petroleum-based fuel out there today, and it can and does run on biodiesel blends--which incidentally are viewed as better renewables than ethanol for carbon balance and energy density.
As you may know - about 50 percent of all vehicles sold in Europe have diesel engines which are about 20-40 percent more fuel efficient than today's gasoline and in the next year or two will be every bit as clean as gasoline.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.