August 16 News: German EV goes 1,014 miles on a charge; EPA Won’t Tighten CO Standards; Global Oil Use Hits All-Time High

Report: German electric vehicle goes 1,014 miles on a charge

Recently, the Schluckspecht E took to Bosch’s 2,945-meter (1.83-mile) test track in Boxberg, Germany. Some 36 hours and 12 minutes later, the all-electric Schluckspecht came to a halt. In that amount time, the Schluckspecht reportedly covered 1,631.5 kilometers (1,013.8 miles).

Since 36 hours is far too long a time to for one person to spend behind the wheel of the cramped Schluckspecht, four drivers took turns at the helm. At appropriate intervals, the drivers would swap in and out of the Schluckspecht, but at no time during the lapping of the track did the vehicle’s 23-kWh lithium-cobalt battery pack get recharged.

The Schluckspecht was developed at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with Frauenhofter Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. The electric vehicle sports extremely aerodynamic bodywork, two hub-mounted electric motors and an optimized battery management system that evenly divides the load among 14 individual lithium-cobalt battery packs.

EPA won’t tighten carbon monoxide standards

The Environmental Protection Agency opted Monday not to strengthen existing air-quality standards for carbon monoxide, a move that was met with immediate frustration by clean-air and public-health groups.

The EPA said a “careful review of the science” showed that the existing standards protect public health and the environment. The standards, which were set in 1971, allow 9 parts carbon monoxide per million to be emitted over an eight-hour period.

“[Carbon monoxide] levels at monitors across the country are quite low and are well within the standards, showing that federal, state and local efforts to reduce CO pollution have been successful and are providing important public health protections to all Americans,” the EPA said in a statement.

At high levels, carbon monoxide emissions, which most commonly come from motor vehicles, can block oxygen from reaching the heart and brain.

The American Lung Association blasted the EPA’s decision Monday.

WRI: global oil consumption hits all-time high

After falling 1.5% between 2008 and 2009 due to the global financial crisis, global oil consumption recovered by 3.1% in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 87.4 million barrels per day, according to a new Vital Signs Online report from the Worldwatch Institute. The 3.1% increase more than makes up for the brief decline in consumption caused by the economic crisis.

About one third of this growth came from China, which now uses more than 10% of the world’s oil. The United States, Brazil, Russia, and the Middle East accounted for an additional 48% of the increase. Meanwhile, consumption in the European Union decreased for the fourth consecutive year, falling 1.1%. The gap in oil consumption between countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries narrowed, with the two groups respectively accounting for 52.5 and 47.4% of total oil consumption in 2010.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries (excluding the former Soviet Union) each accounted for almost 42% of global oil production in 2010, with the former Soviet Union responsible for 16.8%, up from 10.7% has taken the top producing spot from Saudi Arabia in the last two years.

Obama to automakers: ‘You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks’

The country’s automakers should ditch their focus on SUVs and trucks in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, President Obama said Monday.

“You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks,” Obama said during a town hall forum in Cannon Falls, Minn. “There is a place for SUVs and trucks, but as gas prices keep on going up, you have got to understand the market. People are going to try to save money.”

Obama has positioned the revival and reshaping of the auto industry as a major part of his administration’s push to improve the economy and create jobs.

“When I came into office they were talking about the liquidation of GM and Chrysler, and a lot of folks said you can’t help them, and it’s a waste of the government’s money to try and help them,” Obama said Monday. “But what I said was, we can’t afford to lose up to a million jobs in this country, particularly in the Midwest.”

Green groups challenge EPA on biomass climate exemption

Green groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to exempt, at least for now, biomass power plants from greenhouse gas permitting rules that began phasing in this year.

EPA in January announced it would delay permitting for power plants and other facilities for three years. But the groups challenging the decision on Monday cited threats to forests, especially in the Southeast.

“The South is already seeing a huge uptick in the number of new and retrofitted facilities that will burn woody biomass, which will create increasing pressure to cut native, standing forests for fuel,” said Frank Rambo of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is representing Georgia ForestWatch and Wild Virginia in the lawsuit.

Oil Spill in the Anacostia

An oil spill investigation is under way in the Anacostia River.

Oil seeped into the river near the 11th Street Bridge and quickly spread as far north as New York Avenue Monday night.

The D.C. Department of Environment along with the Environmental Protection agency and the Coast Guard were called at about 6 p.m. and remained on scene most of Monday night trying to contain the spill.

Booms were placed near the 11th Street Bridge and Benning Road to stop the oil from traveling any further north.

Officials are still trying to determine where the oil came from and just home many gallons were spilled.

Field tests showed that the substance is petroleum based. They are now saying that the spill is 3 nautical miles long.

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