BP has announced their third quarter profits. The company made £6.4bn ($10.5bn) between July and September, a 148% gain over the same period last year. This amount was not surprising after the price spike in July skyrocketed barrels of oil to over $147. This caused the British government to start commenting on the fact that oil companies are still reaping the benefits of high gas prices even though the price of crude oil has dipped into the $60 a barrel range. "BP have absolutely no excuse for not passing on any fuel price falls to customers. It would be a scandal if they do not." Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said.
The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called upon BP and other oil giants to pass along the price drops to motorists. "There has been more than a halving in the price of oil and, just as when the price goes up people see it immediately reflected in the petrol pump prices, we want to see the falling price reflected in the petrol pump prices, and we are determined to see that happens," the British Prime Minister added.
BP chief executive Tony Hayward admitted the company’s profits have been boosted by the cost of fuel: "Although it has since fallen away sharply, the high oil price of the third quarter obviously helped our absolute result." BP was also quick to point out that over the past three years it had paid more than £5bn ($8.2bn) in tax to the UK. Then when fuel, excise duty and VAT were added, the total rose to almost £21bn ($34.75bn).
Or maybe the race is a dash of genius mixed with a whole bunch of crazy. Escape from Berkeley is a madcap alternative fuel race from Berkeley, Ca to Las Vegas. The rules are simple, no petroleum allowed, and fuel must be scavenged along the way. So while the rules are simple the task is anything but. "The basic premise is build a vehicle out of junk, we’ll give you the equivalent of one gallon of gas and you have to drive 600 miles to Las Vegas. Oh, and you can’t buy any fuel along the way," says Jim Mason, the artist and inventor behind the race. "That’s a pretty heavy stone to carry."
The old Dodge pickup, pictured above, was made by Wayne Keith and runs on wood. He gets about 1.6 mpp (miles per pound) so he needs about 1,000 pounds to get there. He’s carrying a chainsaw and a list of lumberyards (He has a whole new way of dealing with fallen trees blocking a road). There are ten teams total running everything from a veggie-oil Lotus 7 to a steam-powered three-wheeler that looks like it rolled right out of the 19th century. While many aren’t terribly practical, including the the solar trike and fully faired tandem bicycle with an ethanol motor, they do prove that the alternatives are there.
The racers are not waiting for any of the automakers to lead us beyond oil. They’ve created an impressive fleet of street-legal and roadworthy cars, proving automakers aren’t the only ones who can make autos. "I think energy will be our next hacking culture," Mason says. "If there’s any goal here, it’s to see how we can move energy from a commodity culture to a hacker culture."
Diesel cars running on vegetable oil isn’t just for hippies anymore... Now its for the at home do-it-yourself crowd. Greasecar Vegetable Oil Conversion System is a kit which contains everything you need to convert your diesel vehicle to run on straight vegetable oil. The kit includes an aluminum heated fuel cell, Quick-flush switching and 10 micron filter.
Using the vegetable oil as fuel not only you reduce the emissions of your vehicle but also reduce fuel costs. If you are interested in buying one you can go here.
Are you an environmentalist buy don’t like looking like one? Do you think that if you drive a Prius, you will be dismissed as a hippy? Well English carmaker Trident may finally have a solution. Trident has been trying to get its Iceni sports car on the road for almost a decade now, and the last time it made news at TopSpeed was two years ago. So, it sounds like the project may be dead in the water, right? In a statement today, Trident says that the new Iceni is about to go into production, and this time its gone green.
The Iceni uses a 550 hp 6.6-liter V8 to propel 3256 lbs. The catch here is the engine is a turbo diesel, which can be run on biodiesel without conversion or harming the warranty. Trident’s green mind is also adding “torque multiplication” technology in the car. It claims that with this new system, the Iceni can achieve 68.9 mpg when driving at a constant 70 mph in track tests and 108 mpg at 30 mph. Trident also promises more than 200 mph top speed and 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, in a car that costs £75,000 (about $140,000, but there has not yet been announced plans for the U.S.)
Does all this sound too good to be true? Absolutely. Trident is still looking for investors. But this may finally be the right time for a fuel efficient supercar. Besides, Trident has stuck around so long it deserves a chance to get the Iceni on the road. Now all they have to do is start making driving gloves out of hemp.
Lotus is developing engines that run on alcohol. Right now, the only other cars that do that in the U.S. are drag racers. Built by Lotus Engineering, in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and Jaguar Cars, the new engine concept called Omnivore looks to be revolutionary because it will offer significantly improved fuel efficiency for sustainable bio alcohol fuels as well as low CO2 emissions.
The Omnivore engine will feature an innovative variable compression ratio system with a two-stroke operating cycle with direct fuel injection. According to Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus, "Alcohols possess superior combustion characteristics to gasoline which allow greater optimization. Taking full advantage of the benefits of sustainable bio alcohols will ensure a greater percentage of vehicle miles will be traveled using renewable fuels."
Maybe government-controlled fuel is not a bad thing after all. Now that diesel is no longer cheap in the U.S., citizens are hopping the boarder to Mexico for cheaper sludge. Mexico controls all of their gasoline and diesel sales through the state-owned Pemex, and the diesel can be as much as $2.00 less per gallon south of the boarder. But before you start heading to your nearest boarder town, remember to leave any auxiliary tanks at home. If you are seen as transporting fuel in a vehicle not designed for it, the Federales would like a word with you. While you can fill up your car’s tank, any extra tanks with fuel will get you a fine and your vehicle confiscated for up to four days.
Diesel is not the fuel of choice for many Americans. It can be viewed as a smelly and polluting sludge that is inferior to gasoline. General Motors is trying to debunk myths about the diesel because its the fuel efficiency benefits show that there is a real future for the fuel in the U.S. This is the second video in a series that GMnext is creating about how General Motors sees alternative fuel solutions.
The rise in the price of oil not only has effect on gasoline, but also many of the components that go into making a car, like plastics. One of the more surprising byproducts of oil is carbon fiber. Starting this month, the second and third largest makers of the ultra-light, ultra-strong material will raise their prices by as much as 30 percent.
Although cars that usually use carbon fiber in their construction are already demanding a premium price, this becomes an even bigger problem as mainstream automakers are trying to use lighter materials to improve gas mileage in everyday cars. On the brighter side, it may finally be too expensive for people with Honda Civics from the 80s to afford the carbon fiber gear shift knobs.