Like a certain Hobbit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to take a closer look at Smaug. Sorry, smog. The EPA is on a bit of a kick in thinking about cleaner air standards, which makes sense since the winds of change are blowing. Europeans are taking a closer look at diesel emissions and health organizations are understanding just how bad exhausted air can be (think more asthma and cancer).
One recent report from Nature Geoscience will have ethanol advocates convinced that Big Oil's political influence goes far beyond the reach of US borders. That publication, according to Nebraska's Grand Island Independent, says that greater use of ethanol as a light-duty vehicle fuel actually boosts smog levels. That runs counter to many other reports on the subject, though ethanol's environmental prospects have, like everything else related to the subject, been a subject of debate.
The results in general show positive air quality results due to the use of PHEVs regardless of charging scenario with the nighttime charging scenario showing the best results on average by a small margin. This further supports efforts to develop regulation to encourage nighttime charging; an example would be variable electricity pricing.
It wasn't all that long ago that the auto industry was under fire for its use of ozone-depleting chemicals in its air conditioning systems. To curb those fears, the older R-12 refrigerant was replaced with R-134a refrigerant. Interestingly enough, CO2, long associated with harmful automobile emissions, is being touted as a desirable natural replacement for the chemical substances used today. In fact, the German Automotive Association has already chosen to use CO2 as the next source for automotiv