DOE Under Secretary for Science: Gas and ICE to be around decades longer

Downsizing is the most cost-effective way for the US to reduce oil consumption. Hybrid cars can help, but plug-in vehicles still have a long way to go.

100 mpg: If cheap and guaranteed safe, would consumers buy such vehicles?

How important is reducing oil consumption?

“We need to learn how to use liquid fuels more efficiently than in the past,” stated Dr. Steven E. Koonin, Under Secretary for Science, US Department of Energy at the 16th Directions in Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research (DEER) Conference in Detroit because liquid fuels and combustion engines are “going to be with us for quite awhile, a number of decades.”

With gasoline 50 times more energy dense than the best batteries that can be made today, it's simple economics according to the Secretary.

So why not embrace this reality?

Recently at the X-Prize, a number of vehicles demonstrated that much higher fuel economy is within grasp without batteries or any new infrastructure – not that such things are bad. It's just that it will take time for batteries, super grids, etc. to become cost-effective, mainstream solutions.

Fortunately, there is a lot of talk about much higher fuel economy standards in the interim to batteries, such as a CAFE of 60 mpg by 2025. Yet, do we really have to wait until 2025?

Certainly, achieving such fuel economy today, cost-effectively, requires some serious out-of-the-box thinking from consumers. Thus, some healthy tax incentives are probably necessary. So, why not a robust 60 mpg-equivalent tax credit now?

Perhaps the major automakers won't be compelled to chase such a credit today, but I bet there are many Aptera-like companies out there that could achieve sustainable viability with the help of such a credit. And, since the majors have shown such little leadership regarding fuel economy, why not give some young innovative companies a shot?


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