JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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VW eco-scam, official corruption, is killing diesel

News is out that diesel cars which don’t comply with pollution standards will be banned from some roads in Germany on “high pollution” days. Depending on how often those  bad news for diesel industry and owners. How useless is a car that you can’t drive when you need it? Stuttgart is being called the “Beijing” of Germany for air pollution. Residents are suing the Mayor for “bodily harm”. The same thing happened in Oslo — governments told people to buy diesel to reduce carbon pollution, but they are now banning diesel cars on some roads on some days too.

This may apply to as many as 90% of diesels on German roads. Sales of diesels fell by 10% last month. The pain level in this depends on how often those high-pollution days are. See the current Stuttgart air-quality monitoring – it’s OK today, but if I read this air pollution road map from 2008 correctly, it suggests some roads are over the safe limit  60, 80, even 180 days a year. In 2014 fine particulate matter exceeded safe limits on 64 days a year.

Corruption always has a price but in this case the owners of diesels are paying for [...]

“Green” cars cause real pollution, and now scamming fuel economy too – Half the CO2 “cuts” imaginary

Carbon markets = corruption

Fake markets are easy to scam, because no one really wants or cares about “the product”. Fake markets are dangerous tools. Judging by the way people act, the point of carbon markets is to feed bureaucrats and bankers, not to change the weather.  If that’s true, it’s entirely predictable that yet another scandal has run for years, and no one “noticed” or acted to stop it. Not only were diesel cars scamming the lab tests for pollution, but other cars were built to exploit loopholes (that may be legal) in the lab tests for fuel economy as well. The audacity is remarkable — real car CO2 emissions are often a gobsmacking 40- 50% higher than reported, even in top brand, expensive cars.*

As much as two-thirds of CO2 cuts since 2008 may have been imaginary and made by cars that were only fuel efficient in the lab. CO2 “pollution” doesn’t hurt anyone, but misleading fuel economy figures may have cost owners €450 a year more in fuel to run. The companies known to get suspiciously good results on fuel economy (so far) are BMW, Mercedes, Renault and Peugeot. Companies using software to get around other pollution [...]

How to save billions of gallons of gasoline

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have looked at drag-reducing devices on semi-trucks, and say they can conserve billions of gallons of fuel plus tens of billions of dollars. This not exactly rocket science.

Boat-tailed bullet (left)

The researchers estimate that trailer-skirts and boat-tails (see the pic below) could reduce drag on trucks by as much as 25%, which means they would save about 13% on their fuel bill. Apparently only a few percent of US trucks use these devices at the moment, and the researchers claim they can make up to a 19% improvement in fuel economy.

If these work that well (and are not too expensive or painful on carrying capacity), the free market will take care of this pretty quickly.

Boat tails means a tapered shape at the back of the vehicle. They are already used on bullets (and boats, obviously). There are pics of “boat-tails” on trucks below, but my favourite shot is this boat-tail on a car. A DIY masterpiece. It’s a “Pontiac Firefly (Canadian Geo Metro). The maker Darin Cosgrove says  “the Firefly squeezed out 64 miles per gallon during testing.” I can’t see mums rushing to go food shopping in it though. [...]

Green plan causes air pollution, may kill thousands in the UK, thanks to dirty diesel

A Greenpeace Bio-diesel Campaign, November 2000

Golly — who would have thought that policies based on a logical fallacy and a pseudo-religion would be a bad idea? It’s not just bad, it’s deadly. For the last ten years environmentalists and greens told Europeans to buy diesel cars, not petrol, because they produce less CO2. So British people, and a lot of Europe too, did exactly that — lured by generous tax breaks, pushed by the guilt trip if they were thinking of buying a petrol car. The car fleet of the EU was transformed. Back in the early nineties, hardly anyone owned a diesel, but now, as many as half of all new cars in the UK are diesel, and some extra 45 million diesel cars have been bought across Europe. But clean energy turned out to be dirty fuel, with diesels producing tons of small dangerous particulates, black carbon, and other real pollutants.

It’s so bad, the UK is not meeting air pollution standards, and more importantly, by at least one estimate, some 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to diesel pollution from cars.

Diesel pollution is becoming such an issue in London that Boris Johnson is [...]