Commercial Vehicle Blitz
February 29, 2024
Multiple Fuel Lines
March 14, 2024
Commercial Vehicle Blitz
February 29, 2024
Multiple Fuel Lines
March 14, 2024
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Critical Mass on Vehicle Fuel Choices

(Too) Many Choices

The Way to Yes

Here’s how it goes, we think:

Human Progress: First we swam, then crawled, then went from moving around on all fours to walking on two feet.

Watching Movies Progress: First we went to the movie theater, then went from videotapes to DVDs. Now we can push buttons on the remote, and they’ll stream it right into the TV set. No need to rewind the tape anymore.

Transportation Progress (on Wheels):

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Horse & Buggy
  • Train
  • Gasoline- and Ethanol-Powered Vehicle
  • Natural Gas-Powered Vehicle
  • Battery-Powered Vehicle
  • Renewable Diesel-Powered Vehicle
  • Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle

Now there’s a gaggle of emerging alternative fuels, including:

  • Biobutanol
  • Dimethyl ether
  • Methanol
  • Renewable Gasoline

Those are all fascinating. We’ll get to them down the road. In the meantime, that does seem to be a lot of choices. Maybe too many choices?

It’s to be seen if the market can accommodate so many different ways to power us from station to station. Keep in mind that access to fueling centers is a key component of any given success. Our gas stations are everywhere. And while an impressive percentage of Europe is fairly well covered for, say, hydrogen fuel stations, the United States has those stations appearing at a much slower rate.

Critical mass for one or two of those emerging alternative fuels always seems just around the corner. So, how do new technologies turn the corner and win or share the market?

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is this big plate of spaghetti that we throw at the wall to see what sticks. Bummer that, because some of the stuff that doesn’t stick is really very cool. (Some others, not so much. And then there’s the wonderfully wacky stuff.)

As always, the best choice isn’t always the one that wins. Example: Betamax was apparently the better technology, but VHS had a larger marketing budget, so VHS videotapes were how we watched our movies….until the next best thing came along.

That’s how it sometimes seems to go with our vehicles and the way we power them.