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The Open Fuels Standard: Solving the Chicken-and-Egg or Just Plain "Foul"? - Tom Stricker

Abstract

Recent attention has been given to expanding the portfolio of gasoline and diesel alternatives. The result is significant discussion around the “Open Fuel Standard” which would require that vehicles be capable of using a range of ethanol and methanol blends, and encourage or force the sale of other alternatives: hydrogen, electricity, CNG, etc. Academic analysis has suggested that achieving substantial biofuels and methanol expansion is a matter of creating new government policies, mandates, and subsidies to overcome the technical issues of alcohol fuel production and the practical issues challenges of the “chicken and egg” deployment hurdle. Some of these policies fail to fully appreciate the technical, cost, and liability issues that will be imposed on the automotive and fuel industry. Perhaps more importantly, these policies assume that major breakthroughs in clean fuel production methods are inevitable. What can the lessons of less complex fuel initiatives tell us about the merits of the Open Fuel Standard? Is this the most effective pathway for industry and the fuel providers, or will it undermine and divert critical mass from other technologies? Will it provide the opportunity for consumers to select preferable technologies? Why does this particular approach warrant actions vis-à-vis other potential options? The topic certainly merits a rigorous debate and analysis that engages all components of the transportation/energy system prior to legislative action.

About the speaker

Tom Stricker is Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs, and Energy and Environmental Research, for Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

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MIT Energy Initiative

MIT Energy Initiative

Category: Environment/Energy | Updated 4 months ago

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April 20, 2012 14:12
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