How the US auto industry is creating jobs and cutting pollution while helping Americans save money

Imagine if our nation was offered a choice of how to spend half a trillion dollars of our wealth over the next two decades.
One option would be to send $350 billion overseas to the Middle East and other oil exporting countries, and the remainder on increasing oil industry revenues.
An alternative option would be to take that half a trillion dollars and invest $300 billion directly into the U.S. auto industry, put $200 billion back into consumers’ pockets, and create half a million new jobs while cutting emissions of dangerous carbon pollution.
Is this choice just a pipe dream? Is it too simplistic a way to look at things?
Hardly.

GM’s 20/20 vision

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

There’s a chart on fueleconomy.gov that’s a graphic illustration of what happened to GM. The chart is a compilation of 2009 hybrid vehicles. It lists 27 hybrid vehicles in descending order from the highest mileage cars to the lowest.

At the top of the chart, perch some of the highest mileage vehicles available on the market, the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic and the Nissan Altima. The top two clock in at 40 mpg and up. The Altima at 33-35 mpg.

The lowest mileage vehicles reside at the bottom of the chart. And the bottom five are all GM products: The GMC Yukon, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado and Cadillac Escalade.

Detroit auto show…The audacity of hope

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

You’d expect Doug Fox, the cordial co-chair of the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Saturday, to have some good spin on how this event would rise above the stench of economic panic in the Motor City, and the country.

Not only did he have the goods, by the end of the conversation, I was convinced that this is a pivotal, but not hopeless time for the car industry.

Eight Green Concept Cars To Tickle Your Imagination

By John Fadler and Keelan Tollefson

Pushed by the dwindling prospects for fossil fuels, the auto industry is undergoing changes not seen since the days of Henry Ford. Today’s innovators aren’t just looking to gear up production, they’re trying to dial back energy use, and that’s produced a bumper crop of wild and wacky (and some not so wacky) concept cars.

Here are eight of our favorites:

Air Car

It would cost less to manufacture (and buy), less to maintain, less to fuel and there would be no emissions. The makers of this car, Air Car Factories, are either on drugs or they’ve seized the Holy Grail. Their car would run on compressed air collected by see-saw devices on the road. Each car would be refueled through regenerative driving. The Barcelona-based company expects to begin with electric models, until testing is completed on the Air Car. A green dream? We hope it’s a reality.

Nike ONE

That’s right. This is a car designed by a shoe maker. It doesn’t much look like a shoe. More like…nothing you’ve seen before. The car is intended to be “athletic.” No joke. “An athlete training to drive the Nike ONE uses a physical resistance simulator, that mimics the vehicle’s controls, along with the digital simulation within GT4 to train their muscles and mind for specific tracks and competition scenarios,” explains Phil Frank, lead designer, who said his team was inspired by the principals of Nike founder Bill Bowerman. The long term plan is that any movement by the driver would be converted into electricity through nanotechnology using a “Spark Suit.” Frank calls it “the ultimate in convergent technologies.” We agree.