Energy Demand

GAC Motor targeting 1M unit sales by 2020, 20% new energy vehicles; entering US market by 2019; transition to electric “may be quite long”

20 Jun 2017   China, Electric Cars

GAC Motor was one of the few automakers, and the only Chinese auto brand, to take the main stage at last week’s Michelin Movin’On 2017 global sustainable mobility summit in Montreal. During his talk, Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, said that his rapidly growing company is targeting sales of 1 million units annually by 2020, with 20% of those being new energy vehicles. Yu said that GAC plans to introduce seven new energy vehicle models—including both electric and hybrid plug-in designs—to the market this year. GAC has already established its first North America R&D Center in Silicon Valley, and plans to to enter the US market no later than 2019. As the fastest growing Chinese automaker, GAC Motor has achieved 85% compound annual growth rate for six consecutive years. In the first five months of 2017, GAC Motor has already blown past previous records with 207,000 cars sold, […]

Tesla Said Close to Agreeing on Plan for China Production

20 Jun 2017   China, Electric Cars

Local plant would allow automaker to bypass 25% import tariff Tesla’s China revenue tripled to more than $1 billion in 2016 Tesla Inc. is close to an agreement to produce vehicles in China for the first time, giving the electric-car maker better access to the world’s largest auto market, according to people familiar with the matter. The agreement with the city of Shanghai would allow Tesla to build facilities in its Lingang development zone and could come as soon as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Details are being finalized and the timing of the announcement could change. Tesla would need to set up a joint venture with at least one local partner under existing rules and it isn’t immediately clear who that would be. Representatives for Tesla at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, didn’t immediately respond […]

What’s Wrong With The U.S. Oil Export Boom

20 Jun 2017   exports, USA

The lead editorial in Friday’s Wall Street Journal was pure energy nonsense.’ “ Lessons of the Energy Export Boom ” proclaimed that the United States is becoming the oil and gas superpower of the world. This despite the uncomfortable fact that it is also the world’s biggest importer of crude oil. The Journal uses statistical sleight-of-hand to argue that the U.S. only imports 25% of its oil but the average is 47% for 2017. Saudi Arabia and Russia–the real oil superpowers–import no oil. The piece includes the standard claptrap about how the fracking revolution has pushed break-even prices to absurdly low levels. But another article in the same newspaper on the same day described how producers are losing $0.33 on every dollar in the red hot Permian basin shale plays. Oops. The main point of the editorial, however, is to celebrate a surge in U.S. oil exports to almost […]

Daimler vs Tesla: The Electric Truck War

19 Jun 2017   Electric Cars

As Tesla prepares to jump into the electric truck market, Daimler is poised and ready to take on the competition. Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has been investing heavily in the global truck business for years. The German automaker now has five commercial truck brands: Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Freightliner Trucks, Mitsubishi FUSO, Western Star, and BharatBenz. Freightliner has 40 percent market share in the U.S. heavy duty vehicle market. In an April Twitter post, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a Tesla semi-truck reveal has been set for September. And that the company’s truck team has done “an amazing job. Seriously next level.” As for a pickup truck, that will be rolling out in 18 to 24 months from April, Musk said. Tesla is preparing to meet demand in global markets like the U.S., Europe, and China, where vehicle emissions rules are getting tighter. Most of these trucks are […]

Analysis: Rising US crude oil exports complicate rebalancing efforts

17 Jun 2017   exports, USA

One reason for the bearish narrative gripping the oil market of late has been that draws in US crude stocks have essentially come at the expense of the rest of the world. US crude exports have surged this year — averaging more than 1 million b/d in April, the second most on record — driven by the significant discount of US crude prices relative to global benchmarks. The weakness of ICE Brent’s term structure compared with NYMEX crude can be seen as a symptom of the glut that has been exported out of the US to the rest of the world that, in turn, has weighed on the oil complex. The recent plunge in oil prices that began May 25 saw crude futures drop roughly $7/b through last week, while the contango widened across time maturities for ICE Brent and NYMEX crude. Moreover, the contango for ICE Brent has […]

Record Breaking U.S. Exports Could Hurt Oil Markets

12 Jun 2017   exports, Prices, Shale Oil

U.S. exports have spiked in recent weeks, upending longstanding trade flows. But while that may be good news for some U.S. drillers, the unusually high level of crude exports are not obviously a good sign about the health of the oil market. At the same time, it is not guaranteed that U.S. producers will be able to continue to ship oil abroad at such a high rate for very long. U.S. oil producers were prohibited from exporting crude oil for decades until Congress scrapped the ban at the end of 2015. For much of last year, exports only rose slightly. But that changed in 2017 – U.S. crude oil exports topped 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) several times in recent weeks, double the rate from a year earlier. (Click to enlarge) The exports provide an outlet for shale drillers but they also put pressure on the global oil […]

The World’s Top Oil Consumers

7 Jun 2017   Energy Demand

No doubt when faced with the question “Who’s the biggest oil guzzler in the world?” one would immediately think about the U.S. or China. Or perhaps India. Few of us, however, would say Gibraltar. Yet on a per-capita basis, Gibraltar is the world’s top crude oil consumer, with an average daily consumption rate of 861,06 barrels per day per 1,000 people as of 2014. In case anyone’s interested, the top 5 list also contains tiny nations such as Montserrat, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Nauru. The reason these countries have made the top 5 is that they are indeed very small, so the per-capita data paints a kind of misleading picture, although to be fair, the top 10 list features nations such as Singapore, at #3, Kuwait, at #7, and the United Arab Emirates at #10. Yet the big ones—the U.S., China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Russia—are further down […]

An Energy Shock from the High Seas

7 Jun 2017   Transportation

Circle January 2020 on your calendar for what could be a major disruption to the energy market and a jolt to the global economy. The origin of the problem isn’t some oil cartel’s machinations, a looming war or even a technological shift—it is a bureaucratic body that few people have heard of: the International Maritime Organization. Just 30 months from now the cargo vessels that are the lifeblood of global trade will be required to…

EIA cuts 2017 world oil demand growth forecast

7 Jun 2017   Energy Demand

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday cut its 2017 world oil demand growth forecast by 20,000 barrels per day to 1.54 million bpd. In its monthly forecast, the agency cut its oil demand growth estimate for 2018 by 10,000 bpd to 1.62 million bpd.

The Seismic Impact Of Self Driving Cars On Oil

6 Jun 2017   Electric Cars

All self-respecting automakers today have an electric car project. Most are either working on or considering an autonomous vehicle, too. E-cars are hot. Self-driving ones are even hotter. And according to one new report, they may take over roads much sooner than most analysts project. RethinkX is a freshly set up think tank that will issue a series of reports on major disruptions in technology, starting with transport . According to the authors, co-founders James Arbib, a venture capitalist, and Tony Seba, an entrepreneur, autonomous cars will be the dominant form of transportation in the U.S. by 2030. That’s in stark contrast to most forecasts, which see the evolution of self-driving cars as much more linear than it actually is, Arbib and Seba argue. That’s because driverless car technology is a tech disruption, and tech disruptions take much less time to unfold, Seba says. In the report, Arbib and […]

Volkswagen’s Electric Effort Charges Up Detractors

6 Jun 2017   Electric Cars

Several state officials and auto makers are pillorying Volkswagen AG’s plan to sell battery juice to Americans driving electric cars, contending the project more resembles an unfair government-backed windfall than penance for cheating on emissions tests. The German auto giant will build an extensive network of charging stations in the U.S. in coming years, part of a $2 billion, decade-long promotion of environmentally friendly transportation in a market where electric cars are unpopular. The commitment is part of a…

Move Over Tesla, Europe’s Building Its Own Battery Gigafactories

30 May 2017   Electric Cars, Europe

Battery-making gigafactories are about to arrive in Europe, challenging a lead Tesla Inc. is building at a plant in Nevada and opening the way for a quicker shift toward green power for both cars and utilities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday is scheduled to break ground at a 500 million-euro ($543 million) plant to assemble lithium-ion energy-storage units for Daimler AG , which produces Mercedes-Benz and Maybach luxury cars. The facility 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Berlin highlights a push by both major automakers and power companies into energy storage. The technology is crucial to drive the next generation of green vehicles and to hold electricity from wind and solar farms for when it’s needed most. With two dominant industries moving in the same direction, the cost of batteries is likely to plunge quickly, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “As battery costs fall and their energy […]

Who Will Lead The Transportation Transformation?

13 May 2017   Electric Cars

A moment of truth is at hand, not just for Tesla, not just for electric vehicles, but for transport generally. It is by no means clear that Tesla will ever earn any money, real money, the kind of money that makes your market cap worthy of industry leadership. Earnings matter and the time has come for Tesla to produce the goods , not just the Model 3. (Click to enlarge) The good news is that even if Tesla were to go out of business (which is neither a prophecy nor a preference) EVs are going to replace internal combustion engine autos; the only question is when? I like to think it will happen by 2030, hence: 0 to 60 in 15 Years (where 60 is percent-market-share). This claim is not as ridiculous as it sounded a year or so ago. Indeed, Bloomberg New Energy Finance just published the illuminating […]

Exclusive: IEA to review oil demand outlook after China, India signal auto policy shifts

The International Energy Agency will review its electric vehicle (EV) use and oil demand forecasts after India and China recently signaled new policies in favor of electric cars and vehicles using other alternatives to gasoline. In its current policies scenario, last updated in November 2016, the IEA expects vehicle demand for oil to rise until 2040. But after the world’s two fastest growing oil markets, China and India, indicated they are likely to take radical turns away from gasoline, the IEA says it will need to review its forecasts. “We will therefore revisit our analysis of future EV market penetration on the basis of these new announcements for the next World Energy Outlook 2017, to be released on 14 November,” an IEA spokesman told Reuters. In […]

Are US drivers losing their reputation as gas guzzlers?

11 May 2017   Transportation, USA

The oil market is getting nervous about the depth of US drivers’ love of the road. Data show that domestic petrol use has softened in 2017. Last week, a majority of hedge funds and money managers swung their gasoline bets towards lower prices, the first sign of negativity in months. A closer look reveals a more complicated picture, however. Drivers may have started the year in low gear but the data are deceiving, a government statistician says. On Tuesday, Washington upgraded its forecast to say US gasoline consumption will match the record levels of 2016. The direction of US petrol use has important consequences for crude after it fell below $50 a barrel. At more than 9m barrels a day, it makes up nearly a tenth of world oil consumption. US figures are updated more frequently than elsewhere, drawing extra attention from traders. Several organisations have reported lower gasoline demand. The American Petroleum Institute, the oil trade group, stated falls of 2.6 per cent in January, 3.8 per cent in February and 1.7 per cent in March from the same months of 2016.

DOE: China alone accounted for 42% of global plug-in vehicle sales in 2016

About 756,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were sold in the world in 2016, with 95% of those sales in China, Europe, the United States, Japan, and Canada, according to figures compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE). China alone accounted for 42% of sales (316,800 units). China’s 2016 PEV sales grew by 53% from 2015’s 207,000 units—most of which were all-electric vehicles (EV) (244,400 units, or 77%). PHEV sales reached 72,400 units in 2016 in China. By comparison, US PHEV sales in 2016 were 72,900 units, slightly outpacing China; however, US battery-electric vehicles sales were only 86,700. All of the European countries combined had 11% PEV sales growth from 2015 to 2016 (209,300 units), with an EV share of 44% (91,300 units). The United States PEV market grew by 40% during the same time frame, with over half (54%) of sales being EV in 2016. Japan’s PEV market […]

Demand for bigger vehicles spell bigger profits for carmakers

3 May 2017   Transportation, USA

Revenues and profits at carmakers have been boosted by a shift towards larger vehicles as low fuel prices and a flurry of new products convince motorists to ditch traditional saloon cars for sport utility vehicles. A barrage of results from some of the world’s biggest auto groups has confirmed that the trend towards SUVs is showing no signs of stopping. All-but one of the European or US carmakers that reported first-quarter trading figures last week noted a rise in “mix”, an industry term used to describe the type of vehicles being sold. Higher mix equates to larger vehicles, particularly SUVs. The demand for SUVs raises questions over the future of saloon vehicles, which are known as sedans in the US and much of the rest of the world. “There is a longstanding trend showing how the sedan body-type is slowly disappearing from the European roads,” said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics. Ford booked an additional $428m of profit from rising “mix” in North America and Europe in its first-quarter results last week. Just over one in five vehicles sold by Ford in Europe, a market historically dominated by smaller cars and saloons, were SUVs, the company said.

The Electric-Car Boom Is So Real Even Oil Companies Say It’s Coming

26 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

Oil major Total SA says EVs will drive 30% of car sales Outlook is more bullish on EVs than most forecasters Electric cars are coming fast — and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA , one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade. The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline.” Couse’s projection for electric cars is the highest yet by a major oil company and exceeds BNEF’s own forecast, said Colin McKerracher, head […]

Why EV’s Aren’t Winning The Race From Hybrids Yet…

25 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

The Ford Fusion Hybrid knocked the Prius out of the top spot for the first time in U.S. sales during January and March. That’s reflected more market competition and an overall hybrid sales decline in the U.S. since gasoline prices took a dive in 2014 and stayed down. Compared to that pivotal year, U.S. hybrid sales were down from 43,790 in March 2014 (right before the oil price drop) to 32,012 units sold in March 2017. Sales for the Prius liftback, which had been the flagship green car in the U.S. and globally for the past decade, dropped about 50 percent during that period. Pressure has been on Toyota and other automakers – especially Japanese rival Honda – to join the electric vehicle race. Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai had been leaning toward hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over EVs as an alternative technology. But growing sales of EVs in China […]

Will Autonomous Cars Transform The Energy Industry?

20 Apr 2017   Transportation

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) concluded that by 2030 a quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. will most likely be in autonomous vehicles. BCG’s core message that the automotive industry “is on the brink of a major transformation” and that “for millions of Americans … the next vehicle they purchase may be the last car they ever own” did not surprise us. When back in 2015 we began researching current developments in the automobile industry in order to assess how these could eventually impact the transportation industry’s crude oil demand, it quickly became clear to us that the future of driving is autonomous. As we documented in “The Second Automotive Revolution: Implications for the Oil Industry”, self-driving cars will simply offer a better value proposition than the conventional car. Most people see the act of driving as a necessary waste of time and […]

EIA expects natural gas to be largest source of U.S. electricity generation this summer

Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects that electricity generation fueled by natural gas this summer (June, July, and August) will be lower than last summer, but it will continue to exceed that of any other fuel, including coal-fired generation, for the third summer in a row. The projected share of total U.S. generation for natural gas is expected to average 34%, which is down from 37% last summer but still exceeds coal’s generation share of 32%. Based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), EIA estimates that average U.S. population-weighted cooling degree days in the summer of 2016 reached the highest level on record. NOAA projections for this summer indicate cooling degree days will be 11% lower than last year. These milder expected temperatures lead to forecast U.S. summer electricity generation of 1.16 billion […]

China’s Electric Vehicle Market Is Unbeatable

14 Apr 2017   China, Electric Cars

Ford Motor Co. just announced an ambitious electrification strategy for China. The global Mondeo sedan will see the Mondeo Energy plug-in hybrid launched there early next year, followed by an all-electric small SUV a few years later that will go about 280 miles on one charge. The Detroit automaker sees 70 percent of all Ford nameplates coming with an electrified option to China by 2025; that will include all of its products manufactured jointly through Ford’s state-mandated joint venture partner, Changan Ford JV. Ford will be adding manufacturing facilities to meet the targets. Ford is taking a more tepid approach to the U.S. market with a small number of electric models for sale. Ford CEO Mark Fields has also asked President Donald Trump to take a more conservative approach to federal fuel economy and emissions guidelines than enacted by the Obama administration shortly before leaving office. Tesla reported making […]

Global Shipping Fleet Braces for Chaos of $60 Billion Fuel Shock

Little more than 2 1/2 years from now, the global fleet of merchant ships will have to reduce drastically how much sulfur their engines belch into the atmosphere. While that will do good things — like diminishing the threat of acid rain and helping asthma sufferers — there’s a $60 billion sting in the tail. That’s how much more seaborne vessels may be forced to spend each year on higher-quality fuel to comply with new emission rules that start in 2020, consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates. For an industry that hauls everything from oil to steel to coal, higher operating costs will compound the financial strain on cash-strapped ship owners, whose vessels earn an average of 70 percent less than they did just before the 2008-09 recession. The consequences may reach beyond the 90,000-ship merchant fleet, which handles about 90 percent of global trade. Possible confusion over which carriers […]

Tesla overtakes Ford as investors bet on electric dream

4 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla, the upstart electric carmaker, surpassed US motor pioneer Ford in market value on Monday, as investors look to a future beyond the internal combustion engine. Shares of Tesla, founded in 2003, rose 7.3 per cent to a market capitalisation of $48.7bn, gliding past the 100-year old Ford, whose shares fell 1.7 per cent after disappointing March sales results to a market value of $45.3bn. While it is symbolic for a Silicon Valley start-up to surpass the valuation of a company that helped make motor cars ubiquitous in early 20th century America, car market analysts point out that Tesla achieved the feat based on global deliveries of only 76,000 cars last year — compared with Ford’s global sales in 2016 of 6.6m. “The stock market has always treated Ford like an industrial stock while Tesla has been considered a tech stock,” says Michelle Krebs of Autotrader.com. “Let’s remember — Ford earns money — lots of it. Tesla does not. The real test for Tesla comes when it launches the Model 3, the high-volume, mainstream-priced electric vehicle that is supposed to help the company achieve profitability.” While Tesla’s stock market value surpassed Ford’s for the first time, the electric carmaker had already surpassed its rival in terms of ithe broader measure of enterprise value. Based on enterprise value — a more complete measure of companies’ respective values, since it takes account of their net debt or net cash positions — Tesla is worth just under $60bn, while Ford is worth $39.1bn.

Tesla Global Vehicle Sales Rose 69% in First Quarter to 25,000

3 Apr 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla Inc. on Sunday said its global sales rose 69% in the first quarter, its best quarter of sales yet, putting the auto maker on a path to meet its goal of 50,000 deliveries in the first half of the year. The Silicon Valley electric-car maker said it delivered roughly 25,000 vehicles—about 13,450 Model S sedans and about 11,550 Model X sport-utility vehicles—in the quarter, compared with a total of 14,820 a year earlier. …

Is Gasoline Demand On The Rise?

A common refrain one hears these days from market bulls and reads in long-term analyses is that by 2020, the current glut in supply and decline in prices will be reversed: that the current drought in exploration and capital investment in new production will send available supply plummeting, with a complimentary spike in prices. This was the prediction of a recent IEA report , which guessed that oil prices would reach $70 by 2020. Whether this reversal in the market occurs or not will depend in large part on global demand. In the United States, around 40 percent of crude is refined into motor fuel and gasoline, to feed the American people’s favorite gas-guzzlers. Crude prices picked up this week, rising above $50 thanks to signs that U.S. demand for refined products is strengthening. Higher-than-expected inventory drops, together with outages in Libya, pushed the oil price up. But can […]

Out of road: driverless vehicles and the end of the trucker

30 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

Ramona Saucedo has been on the road for nearly two months, and she’s ready to get back home. Standing in front of a dusty white truck in the parking lot of a Flying J truck stop, she fingers her iPhone as she waits for a call from her business partner, who is checking on her progress. If she stays on schedule, driving 10 or 11 hours a day, she’ll be back home in Tucson next week. “I miss cooking my own meals, believe it or not,” she says with a chuckle.  At 52, Saucedo has been driving long-haul for nearly a decade, and has the heavy-set build that comes from long hours on the road. It’s a job that runs in the family: her father, brother and son were all truck drivers, and Saucedo says she started driving mainly for the pay. At her old job as an office worker she could barely make ends meet, and had to scrape and scrounge if one of her two children needed a little cash. Now, she drives thousands of miles a week and travels all over the country, sleeping each night inside the truck. Money is no longer a problem.  At the truck stop, Saucedo is surrounded by hundreds of drivers who have made similar trade-offs. The United States has more than three million truck drivers, many of whom drive long-haul, or “over the road” as it’s known in the business. As one of the highest paying jobs available that does not require a college degree, trucking can be an economic lifeline. But its future is increasingly uncertain.

U.S. crude oil exports went to more destinations in 2016

29 Mar 2017   exports, USA

U.S. crude oil exports averaged 520,000 barrels per day (b/d), 55,000 b/d (12%) above the 2015 level, despite a year-over-year decline in domestic crude oil production. Even though oil exports have increased, growth in U.S. crude oil exports has slowed significantly from its pace from 2013 to 2015, when annual U.S. crude oil production grew rapidly. Following the removal of restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports in December 2015, the United States exported crude oil to 26 different countries in 2016, compared with 10 countries the previous year. In 2015, 92% of U.S. crude oil exports went to Canada, which was exempt from U.S. crude oil export restrictions. After restrictions were lifted, Canada remained the top destination but received only 58% of U.S. crude exports in 2016. Aside from Canada, European destinations such as the Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, […]

EEStor Announces High Voltage High Permittivity Dielectric, Completed Million Cycle Testing and Initial Energy Density Results

28 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

Breakthrough results on CMBT permittivity at voltage Key energy density results achieved with 100 watt-hour/liter near-term target Independent verification of 1 Million cycle test results EEStor Corporation announced today that it has completed independent third party testing of its Composite Modified Barium Titanate (“CMBT”) dielectric materials at high voltage and has set preliminary energy density targets based on these results. In addition, the Company has successfully completed its one million cycle testing, the results of which are detailed below. Ian Clifford, Founder and CEO of the Company commented: “The heart of EEStor’s technology is its patented CMBT dielectric. Independent test reports released today from MRA and Intertek show the unique performance of our dielectric at high voltages and high temperatures. These results indicate the achievement of an energy density milestone that legitimizes our […]

How Tesla Just Tripled Its Earnings In China

21 Mar 2017   China, Electric Cars

Earlier this month, Tesla Inc reported that its revenues in China topped $1 billion in 2016, more than triple the revenues it generated there in 2015. The Chinese market was only second to the U.S. in terms of revenue generation for Tesla last year. The electric carmaker is not breaking down revenues by items, and has not offered any explanation for the triple revenues in China. The revenue jump could have been the result of China’s license plate-issuing policies in major cities that fast track EV license plates issuing as the country grapples with perpetual pollution and traffic jams. Tesla’s Chinese revenues last year were $1.065 billion, compared to $318.5 million in 2015, and $477 million in 2014, the EV carmaker’s regulatory filing from March 1 shows. According to Reuters Breakingviews ’ Robyn Mak, one of the key contributors to Tesla’s soaring Chinese revenues is the local green-car, or […]

Why Oil Demand May Be Higher Than Expected

17 Mar 2017   Energy Demand, Prices

Investors fretting about too much oil supply may get some cheer from demand, or at least the statistics that consistently underestimate it. The International Energy Agency’s closely watched annual estimates of global crude demand have been revised up for the past seven years by an average of 880,000 barrels a day, according to a Wall Street…

Trump reopens review of US fuel efficiency standards

Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered the reopening of a review of future fuel economy and emissions standards for US cars, in a move that could slow down development of electric vehicles and new efficiency technologies. Regulations confirming standards for vehicle emissions in 2022-25, which were hurried through in the final fortnight of Barack Obama’s administration, will instead be reviewed next year. The Obama administration estimated that the rules would cost car manufacturers in the US $33bn. The new administration’s move, which had been sought by the large car manufacturers, coincided with a visit by the president to Michigan to meet industry executives and workers. Addressing autoworkers bussed to a disused factory outside Detroit which the President said had been used during the second world war to build B-24 bombers, Mr Trump promised to “make Detroit the car capital of the world again” adding: “we are going to restore the originally scheduled midterm review and ensure that any regulations we have protect your jobs.” Jessica Caldwell, analyst at Edmunds, said the emissions targets had forced manufacturers to shift research and development budgets from the trucks and SUVs consumers most wanted towards electric vehicles and hybrids, whose sales are shrinking. “Trump is likely scoring points with the auto executives by promising to rethink these regulations, but he’s making it clear he expects the automakers to return the favor by ramping up investments here in the US,” she said.

EPA re-opens Mid-Term Evaluation Process for light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards 2022-2025

Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that EPA intends to reconsider its final determination issued on 12 January 2017 which recommended no change to the greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles for model years 2022- 2025. ( Earlier post .) EPA will reconsider that determination in coordination with NHTSA as part of a renewed Mid-Term Evaluation process. This process was established as a part of the 2012 final greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025, requiring EPA to determine no later than 1 April 2018 whether the greenhouse gas standards for model years 2022-2025 established are appropriate. In coordination with EPA, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is evaluating its fuel economy standards for that period. In accord with this schedule, […]

U.S. crude oil sales to Asia quickly growing

11 Mar 2017   exports

The growing influence of U.S. crude oil exports to Asia was a topic at a recent oil conference in London. It had been 40 years since crude oil was exported from the United States to points outside North America. Export restrictions were repealed in 2015. Virtually no crude oil was sent to Asia in 2015, but between January and November 2016 the figure rose to 50,000 barrels per day, U.S. Energy Information Administration figures said. Exports to Singapore, China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea have already grown in 2017 as well. Demand for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil is now about 14 percent […]

Oil Trader Vitol Sees `a Lot More’ Growth in U.S. Crude Exports

10 Mar 2017   exports

Vitol Group BV , the trader that shipped the first cargo of U.S. crude after export restrictions ended in late 2015, predicts the country’s oil exports will grow “a lot more” because of rising production in Texas. U.S. crude shipments briefly surged to a record 1.21 million barrels a day in mid-February, up from 32,000 in 2010, when most of the country’s production couldn’t be sold overseas because of a 40-year-old ban. “We will see a lot more growth in U.S. crude exports,” Mike Loya, the head of Vitol in the Americas, said in an interview in Houston. Loya, a 25-year Vitol veteran, said that oil production in the Permian shale, which extends from western Texas into southeast New Mexico, will rise by 600,000 to 700,000 barrels a day in the year through December. “A lot of that is going to be exported,” he said. The export boom is […]

U.S. Refiners Look Abroad As Domestic Competition Increases

10 Mar 2017   exports

U.S. oil refiners are going global. That’s the message that has been coming from the industry over the past year when a lot of refining capacity abroad was shut down for various reasons, making way for imports from the U.S. Bloomberg reports that in 2016, American companies exported 3 million barrels of refined petroleum products daily – a record high – and sector players seem determined to continue expanding their export capacity. Exxon, for example, recently announced a $20-billion investment program for the Gulf coast, to consist of refining and petrochemical production facilities and infrastructure. The output is planned to be exported. Exxon is far from alone in this. According to Bloomberg, many are looking abroad for new markets to take advantage of the cheap supply of crude and gas domestically, which makes the product more competitive internationally. For now, however, refiners seem to be focusing mainly on Mexico, […]

Self-driving car numbers double on California roads

10 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

The number of autonomous vehicles on California’s roads has more than doubled as carmakers and big tech companies race against secretive start-ups to test their self-driving cars. Two new permits granted for autonomous testing on Wednesday by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has taken the total number of companies licensed to drive their prototype vehicles in Silicon Valley’s home state to 27 — more than twice as many as a year ago and up from just seven in early 2015, according to the state’s automotive regulator. The latest entrants to the increasingly crowded market are Uber, whose testing vehicles were forced off the roads in San Francisco in December after it initially refused to apply for the DMV’s approval, and PlusAI, a 15-person start-up based in California and Beijing whose existence has until now been little known beyond a select group of automotive executives and tech investors. Earlier this month Renovo Motors, a Silicon Valley start-up developing “automated mobility on demand”, and Navya, the French creator of an autonomous electric shuttle, were both added to the DMV’s approved list. The group looks set to increase further still as companies from all over the world flock to Silicon Valley to develop their technology and tap its sought-after talent pool. Didi, the Chinese ride-hailing service, opened a new R&D centre in Mountain View on Wednesday to work on intelligent driving, cyber security and artificial intelligence.

US crude exports hit record levels in January, February

9 Mar 2017   exports, USA

US crude exports hit record highs in January and February, as domestic crude price discounts to Brent and Dubai widened significantly, an S&P Global Platts analysis of government data showed Tuesday. US Census Bureau data showed US crude exports rising by 304,000 b/d to 746,000 b/d in January, which was followed by a report by the US Energy Information Administration showing US crude exports averaging 900,000 b/d in the four weeks ending February 24. Congress’ December 2015 decision to lift restrictions inaugurated a new era in US oil trade, with exports averaging an annual record of 521,000 b/d in 2016. Additionally, rising production from the Permian Basin in West Texas, in combination with a significant buildout in infrastructure to access export markets, has deepened price discounts for US light sweet crudes, allowing US crude exports to take off. “It’s pure economics,” said Tony Starkey, manager of energy analysis at […]

Norwegian transport sector tapped for fast-charging EV stations

A German utility company said it was launching a collaborative effort to develop ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles across Norway. German company E.ON said it was working through partnership with Denmark based e-mobility service provider CLEVER to develop networks for electric vehicles on main European motorways. The partnership said it was now teaming up with the Norwegian and Danish retail gas station chain YX Energi to build dozens of charging stations across Norway. “This network will also connect Norway with the rest of Scandinavia and Europe,” the German company explained in a statement . “The ultra-fast chargers will be installed from 2018 to 2020.” Norway leads Europe with deployment of electric vehicles, with about 100,000 on the road already. In terms […]

Electric cars: China’s battle for the battery market

The headquarters of CATL, China’s fastest growing battery maker, lie on the edge of the city of Ningde, a stone’s throw from ponds where farmers raise carp and a street of cheap noodle restaurants and vehicle repair shops frequented by migrant workers. Inside the vast factory, battery parts move silently on automated conveyor belts. Signs on the walls encourage workers not to waste materials or time, or indulge in “unnecessary bending” for their own safety. The plant looks like lots of others dotted across the country. But with a valuation of $11.5bn, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd, to give it its full name, is anything but mundane. It is set to become China’s Panasonic — a national champion — and a key part of Beijing’s ambitious plan to remake the global battery market and exploit rising demand for electric cars. “We want to become a leading enterprise, like the front carriage of a train, driving an entire supply chain,” says Neill Yang, CATL’s marketing director. His office overlooks cranes and cement mixers, which are building a dormitory and offices to house 20,000 workers.

The EV Myth – Electric Car Threat To Oil Is Wildly Overstated

3 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

At the outset of the 2014 oil collapse, slacking oil demand growth was often cited as a major contributor to the sharp decline in oil prices. In September 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated “The recent slowdown in demand growth is nothing short of remarkable”. The IEA doubled down and expanded on its weak demand thesis in its Medium-Term Oil Outlook report issued in February 2015: The global economy, reshaped by the information technology revolution, has generally become less fuel intensive. Concerns over climate change are recasting energy policies. And the globalisation of the natural gas market, coupled with steep reductions in the cost and availability of renewable energy, are causing oil to face a level of inter-fuel competition that would have seemed unfathomable a few years ago …. the recent price decline is expected to have only a marginal impact on global demand growth for the remainder […]

U.S. Oil Snares New Buyer as China Private Refiner Takes a Taste

2 Mar 2017   exports, USA

U.S. oil that’s pumped in the Gulf of Mexico has found a new buyer in China. Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group, a Chinese independent refiner, has bought U.S. Southern Green Canyon crude for the first time ever, according to two traders who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential. The shipment, due to arrive in April, will follow another cargo of the same grade that will be received by a Japanese processor this month. While supplies from American shale fields have made their way to Asia several times over the past year, the arrival of crude drilled off the southern U.S. coast is a more recent phenomenon spawned by output curbs in the Middle East. The lesser amount of crude leaving from the Persian Gulf has given the opportunity for similar types of oil from the Gulf of Mexico to sneak toward the biggest oil buyers in […]

Battery Pioneer Debuts New Fast-Charging Battery

2 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

The co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging and longer-lasting rechargeable batteries. John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, believes the development of a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is non-combustible with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge could be used for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage. “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” Goodenough said in a statement. “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.” The new batteries have at least three times as much energy density as the lithium-ion batteries currently being used. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, […]

U.S. Oil Exports Hit Record Levels

2 Mar 2017   exports

The bill contained an important provision for oil producers that read “to promote the efficient exploration, production, storage, supply, marketing, pricing, and regulation of energy resources, including fossil fuels, no official of the Federal Government shall impose or enforce any restriction on the export of crude oil.” This provision ended a crude oil export ban dating back to 1975. Despite the huge surge in U.S. shale oil production since 2008, crude oil producers had to sell their product to U.S. refiners, who were free to sell refined products on the world market. Even though the U.S. was (and remains) a net importer of crude oil, the longtime premium on West Texas Intermediate (WTI) over internationally traded Brent crude vanished in response to the shale boom. Meanwhile, refiners were exporting finished products that were more representative of Brent crude pricing. Refiners loved this arraignment, and lobbied to keep the ban […]

Goodenough and UT team report new strategy for all-solid-state Na or Li battery suitable for EVs; plating cathodes

2 Mar 2017   Electric Cars

A team of engineers led by John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed a new strategy for a safe, low-cost, all-solid-state rechargeable sodium or lithium battery cell that has the required energy density and cycle life for a battery that powers an all-electric road vehicle. An open-access paper on the work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science . The cells use a solid glass electrolyte having a Li + or Na + conductivity >10 -2 S cm -1 at 25 ˚C with a motional enthalpy ≈ 0.06 eV, which promises to offer acceptable operation at lower temperatures. Using the new glass, the cathode consists of plating the anode alkali-metal (e.g., (lithium, sodium or potassium) on a copper–carbon cathode current collector at a voltage of more than 3.0 V. […]

Conditions right for U.S. oil exports

1 Mar 2017   exports, USA

A global market looking to balance OPEC output declines and an expected increase in U.S. pipeline capacity could make oil exports attractive, analysis finds. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that total crude oil production at just over 9 million barrel per day, showing the regional market is gaining ground despite crude oil prices at about half their peak from 2014. Total crude oil exports, meanwhile, passed 1 million barrels per day for their highest level ever. A 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports was overturned by President Barack Obama during his second term in office. U.S. oil transport is limited by the pipeline capacity feeding southern ports, though if the Dakota Access Pipeline is completed, that could move up to […]

U.S. Crude Exports Surge to a Record

24 Feb 2017   exports

Another week, another record for U.S. crude exports. Producers and traders shipped out 1.21 million barrels a day of U.S. crude in the week that ended February 17, the most in Energy Information Administration data going back to 1993. Domestic output increased to 9 million barrels per day last week, the fastest pace since April, while U.S. refiners used the least crude since October 2015. Shale output has surged and tankers loaded in the Middle East during the last days of all-out production by OPEC nations arrived this month in the U.S., swelling stockpiles to a record. Prices for West Texas Intermediate crude have averaged $2.24 a barrel below global marker Brent this year, making U.S. oil more attractive to refiners around the world. Local refiners are using as much domestic crude as they can and the remaining incremental production is being exported, Gary Morgan, director for Clarksons Platou […]

The US is transitioning into a natural gas exporter

24 Feb 2017   exports

The United States is on track to become a net exporter of gas next year, driven largely by the growth of liquefied natural gas exports, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The U.S. started exporting LNG last year, courtesy of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, and the country is increasingly piping more natural gas to Mexico while, simultaneously, importing less gas via pipeline from Canada. The U.S. was still an overall net importer last year. The nation is projected to become a net exporter of total energy products shortly after 2020, the Energy Department said, which was a virtually unheard of proposition just a decade ago. Cheniere’s first LNG export facility at Louisiana’s Sabine Pass near the Texas border came online a year ago. Houston-based Freeport LNG Development’s export terminal is slated to start shipping LNG in 2018. Three other LNG export projects will be completed or under construction by 2021, […]

Driving Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq line-up; cost-effective efficiency and dynamics

22 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

The Ioniq Hybrid offers up to the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg / 4.05 l/100 km) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge / 25 kWh/100 miles). In addition to efficiency and value, a key design goal for the Hyundai team was driveability: specifically, a fun-to-drive, “segment-appropriate” driving experience. During the media launch last week in Santa Barbara, California, Hyundai provided production versions of the hybrid and battery-electric vehicle, and a pre-production version of the plug-in hybrid. Based on relatively short drives in all three variants, we conclude that Hyundai nailed its goals. In […]

Royal Dutch Shell places bet on hydrogen cars going mainstream

22 Feb 2017   Electric Cars

With the constant din of traffic noise from London’s M25 orbital motorway and the smell of diesel wafting in the air, Cobham service station in Surrey does not feel like a frontier in the clean energy revolution. Yet, it is here that Britain will get its first public filling station for hydrogen-powered cars on Wednesday as part of a bet by Royal Dutch Shell on a technology vying with battery-powered electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels in road transportation. Shell is already part of a public-private consortium planning 400 hydrogen filling stations across Germany by 2023, together with partners including its French rival Total. The Cobham facility marks the start of a wider effort to support growth of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in north-west Europe. “We see more carmakers putting focus on hydrogen and the first vehicles are beginning to arrive in key markets, particularly Japan, Germany and California,” says Matthew Tipper, head of new fuels at Shell. “That gives us confidence to begin building out infrastructure.” Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have so far struggled to gain momentum in the race with battery-powered cars to become the dominant challenger to the internal combustion engine. The faltering progress was epitomised by Toyota’s recall last week of its entire global fleet of 2,800 Mirai hydrogen vehicles to fix a software glitch.