When gasoline prices were at their highest, fuel-efficient vehicles were in major demand in the United States. And sales of gas-guzzling vehicles declined.
Back in June 2014, the Consumer Federation of America reported that “drivers expect a median of 30 mpg in their next vehicle purchase.” That was based on a survey conducted by ORC International.
Then, gas prices began their descent.
Ever since, Americans turned their backs on fuel-efficient cars.
The New York Post wrote in February that “pickup truck sales in the five months after fuel prices peaked last June rose an average of 8% from the average sales for the seven months prior to the peak.”
Sales of SUVs jumped even faster…
NPR said in December that “sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury vehicles rose rapidly. Jeep’s sales, for instance, were up 40% on increased consumer demand for crossover SUVs. Meanwhile, demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles shrank.”
Yes, Americans are certainly a fickle bunch.
But anyone with a long-term outlook sees that our addiction to gas-guzzling vehicles isn’t sustainable.
That’s where Audi’s (FRA:NSU) recent research comes in.
The company has designed two alternatives to traditional fuels you’d see at the pump. And both require zero fossil fuels to develop.
Fuel Replacement #1: E-Diesel. Audi’s first innovation is a carbon-neutral replacement for diesel fuel. It takes just three components to create: water, carbon dioxide, and renewable energy sources. A pilot plant in Dresden, Germany is capable of generating 160 liters of this synthetic diesel – every day. The next step is to build a larger plant that can pump out enough fuel for consumer use.
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Fuel Replacement #2: E-Benzin. In collaboration with its partner Global Bioenergies, Audi has also developed a clean replacement for gasoline. It’s made by creating isobutene gas from corn-derived glucose. Audi says its next step is removing biomass from the equation to make it more sustainable.
When built to scale, these fuels could either be combined with diesel and gasoline, or replace them altogether!
Ultimately, when oil prices blast higher in the future, innovations like these could provide a much-needed alternative to fossil fuels.
Executive Editor, Wall Street Daily