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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Big Breakthrough for Big Rigs: The EPA’s New Fuel Economy Rule for Trucks - The Equation

Big Breakthrough for Big Rigs: The EPA’s New Fuel Economy Rule for Trucks - The Equation | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
If you haven't yet heard, today the federal government issued a new rule to make sure that our nation's "heavy duty vehicles" (big rigs, delivery vans, garbage trucks, and the like) go almost 40 percent farther on a gallon of fuel. This new rule will reduce global warming emissions by 1.1 billion tons and oil use by 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the program. This is the single most comprehensive set of fuel economy and global warming pollution standards for heavy duty vehicles ever put in place, and the United States now has the strongest truck fuel economy standards in the world.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
New efficiency standards for semis.
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Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live.

Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Nowhere do automakers sell more hybrid vehicles than California, with its unique combination of environmental consciousness, high gas prices and traffic-choked highways.

But new hybrid models will be in short supply at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show — one sign that the technology is still struggling to break out of its green-car niche, experts say.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

There is nothing new about this analyses, but it is an updating of older efforts with the most recent numbers out there.  It is true that using coal-fired power to juice your your car is problematic, but for most of the county (e.g. coastal areas) most of us would be better off switching to electric transportation systems.  Also, the best possible solution is to power our vehicles with locally-generated power, such as roof top or garage-top solar panels.  

 

The trick is getting this into everyone's hands in an easy, turn-key manner.  I think the tone of this piece misses that key point.  This is an evolving conversation and new technology.  It also needs to be one part of a broad spectrum of approaches to de-carbonizing our energy markets.  Falling back onto the old mantra of "it doesn't work everywhere all the time" is a bit ho-hum and overly simplistic.  Kind of the way some folks feel it is necessary to write an op-ed about their research to get increased attention for it.

 

For those interested in the actual study, you can find it here:

 

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~mansur/papers/GraffZivin_Kotchen_Mansur_MargEmit.pdf

 

There is also an interesting story, in a similar vein, from the LA Times about faltering gas-electric hybrid vehicles at this week's LA Auto show:

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-la-auto-show-no-hybrids-20141121-story.html

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Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business

Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
While the MTA regulates the taxi industry, the state Public Utilities Commission has claimed jurisdiction over the new ride services, which typically contract with people to use their personal cars to carry passengers who hail them with a smartphone app. The new companies, unlike taxi operators, have lesser insurance requirements, no restrictions on the number of vehicles they put on the streets, no clean-air standards and less-stringent background checks. Among biggest impacts of the ride services has been the drop in taxi rides taken by people in ramp taxis, which carry people in wheelchairs. Director Malcolm Heinicke wants to make it mandatory for taxis to have e-hailing apps, and taxi drivers said they want the city to keep ride services and limousines out of transit-only lanes and taxi stands.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Change is hard.  This is perhaps a classic example of how poor planning can kill an industry that provides a social good.  Is your grandma going to be able to jump on Uber and get in someone's car when she lands at the airport for Thanksgiving?

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Gas, Hybrid and Electric Cars [Infographic]

Gas, Hybrid and Electric Cars [Infographic] | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Already, electric and hybrid cars are surpassing gas engine cars in not only miles per gallon and sustainability, but also affordability.

For example, the 2013 electric Nissan Leaf runs costs from $28,800 to $34,840. This affordable midsize car gets 75 miles on a full charge and has a refuel time of just seven hours at 240 volts.

Find more information at the link.


Via Lauren Moss
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Tesla throws cold water on its own hype by admitting huge risks in building the Model 3

Tesla throws cold water on its own hype by admitting huge risks in building the Model 3 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Undermining its own hype, Tesla admits that building its new Model 3 could be a huge challenge
PIRatE Lab's insight:
High risk, high reward.
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How Much Space Do Cars Take? Cyclists Demonstrate How Bicycles Fight Congestion

How Much Space Do Cars Take? Cyclists Demonstrate How Bicycles Fight Congestion | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

People that commute by car spend an inordinate amount of time staring at taillights. There’s no way they’re getting around that traffic in front of them. But what about bike commuters? This group of Latvian cyclists recently created a powerful demonstration of the large footprint created by cars that carry just one occupant.

 

The four cyclists strapped on fragile frameworks shaped like cars, then hopped into the local traffic in Riga to show how much room they would occupy on their daily commute. The difference communicates loud and clear: if these cyclists were actually in cars, they would seriously add to congestion.


Via Lauren Moss
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Russell Roberts's curator insight, October 17, 2014 12:23 PM

Interesting study from Latvia.  Something to think about when fossil fuels  run out or become too expensive to buy. Protection from bad weather is a definite plus for cars.  Or, you could have commuters park their cars in a municipal lot and use bikes to reach their workplaces once they enter the city.  Aloha, Russ.

Jim Gramata's curator insight, October 27, 2014 10:49 AM

Visually compelling look at the power of the bike commute 

Agence Relations d'Utilité Publique's curator insight, November 24, 2014 5:06 AM

Les images parlent d'elles même...

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New carpool lane on northbound 405 finally set to open

New carpool lane on northbound 405 finally set to open | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

After countless delays, cost overruns, gridlock gripes from Tesla's Elon Musk and a phenomenon known as "Carmageddon," officials Friday will finally unveil on the 405 Freeway the nation's longest continuous carpool lane.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow...it only took a billion dollars, a decade of active planning/construction (on top of our twenty previous years of discussions), unions screaming for the "high paying jobs" the construction would provide, beyond aggravated motorists, etc., etc.

 

Who says we can't do overpriced, car-centric, gasoline-centric, dated-before-it-launches transportation planning?

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