Air Quality Matters – 2014 in review: Stationary sources – Part 4: Fuel production

Getting right to fuel production matters – from: “It’s not what’s in auto exhaust but what isn’t that matters” (Nov. 13):

“In ‘To encourage greater usage, should ZEV buy incentives be made part of the sales deal,’ I referenced the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) ‘Charge Ahead California Launches Campaign: Diverse coalition aims to put one million electric cars, trucks, and buses on California’s roads’ press release.

“In the NRDC release itself, meanwhile, is the pronouncement that, ‘Cars, trucks, and buses are the single largest source of air pollution in California and are responsible for 34 percent of the state’s soot and smog-forming pollution.’”

Outside the state, I would presume it to be more of the same, considering vehicle exhaust may be equally or less clean than that which emanates from California cars, trucks and buses. As for vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines sold elsewhere in the U.S., personally I can’t see said emissions being any “cleaner” than that emitted from Golden State vehicles considering state vehicle emissions standards no doubt are among the highest if not the highest in the nation.

In “To encourage greater usage, should ZEV buy incentives be made part of the sales deal” (Apr. 15), I explained: “Meanwhile, [the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Peter] Lehner added: ‘California is part of an eight-state coalition, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, which recently agreed to work together to get 3.3 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025. And the recently signed Pacific Coast Climate Action plan, issued by the governors of California, Washington, and Oregon, and the premier of British Columbia, also calls for scaling up electric vehicle sales.’”

Noble missions both. But what about for all those on- and off-road vehicles that are non-zero-polluting – how can these be made cleaner-burning?

Two Cycle Diesel engine with Roots blower
Two Cycle Diesel engine with Roots blower

Several ways come to mind: “… [I]ncorporating application of improved automotive-emissions-filtering-system technologies” and “greater attention aimed at efforts to improve vehicle efficiency (miles-per-gallon) ratings which can be accomplished through increased utilization of cleaner-burning fuels, fuel blends and with regard to advancements made in motor-vehicle-engine design.”

This information, too, was presented in the “It’s not what’s in auto exhaust but what isn’t that matters” post.

Meanwhile, on the oil and natural gas fuel production end, exploration, drilling, extracting and refining (in the case of oil) of such keeps on keepin’ on with seemingly no let-up in sight.

And, on this in “Gasoline prices down: What’s ‘up’ with that?” (Dec. 3) I opined: “America being the world’s leading fuel-producing nation is just a temporary condition. The change in fortunes so to speak is mainly on account of technology – for example, the employment of hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) oil-extracting methods – utilized in tapping shale oil from subsurface deposits which in this country at this point in time, seem more than plentiful. Oil that, at best, is: ‘bottom-of-the-barrel’ grade – the lowest of the low in terms of quality – you tell me.”

Meanwhile, from: “California’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases picking up steam?” (Mar. 23):

“… California Senate Bill 4, passed only recently, in effect, grants conditional drilling rights to the vast (and I do mean vast) oil reserves of the Monterey Shale formation – the state’s modern-day Mother Lode. The impact on the environment – air and water – that tapping into this so-called ‘gold mine’ will have, that is, in the grand scheme of things, at this time remains unclear.”

Rounding out the “Air Quality Matters – 2014 in review: Stationary sources” series will be commercial, industrial and residential inputs.

Image above: Pearson Scott Foresman

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