DO WE HAVE A CHOICE?

A Maryland DOT report discusses the future of automotive transportation, fuels, and powerplants. A number of other studies are quoted in the report, including such comments as: mass transit systems cannot at present compete with the automobile in terms of travel time and flexibility and often not in terms of cost either; new rail rapid transit systems consume much more energy in their construction than do highways. As for synthetic fuels, they cannot compete with natural crude at present prices; in addition, the OPEC countries could, in the short term, destroy such a new undertaking, simply by lowering the price of crude. Methanol seems to be better suited as a fuel for utility gas turbines than for automobiles, and could thus release liquid petroleum-based fuels for automotive use. Engines other than the Otto-cycle will probably not appreciably penetrate the automotive market much before petroleum shortages become severe. In the long term (after the year 2000) fuel cells, hydrogen, or very advanced electric propulsion may dominate transportation, especially if energy economics favor production of electricity from nuclear power or natural sources such as wind power.

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 26-31
  • Serial:
    • Automotive Engineering
    • Volume: 86
    • Issue Number: 7
    • Publisher: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
    • ISSN: 0098-2571

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183246
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 12 1978 12:00AM