Posts Tagged ‘DOE’

Heather HunterNew study conducted by the AAA Automotive Research Center shows electric vehicle driving range can be nearly 60 percent lower in extreme cold and 33 percent lower in extreme heat.

ORLANDO, Fla., (March 20, 2014) – Electric Vehicles (EVs) are energy efficient and environmentally-friendly with the added benefit of reducing fuel costs for motorists. But, just as motorists need to know how far the gas in their tank will take them, EV drivers need to be aware of how far their vehicle can travel on a single charge. According to new AAA research conducted with the AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California, electric vehicle range can be reduced by an average of 57 percent based on the temperature outside.

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“Electric motors provide smooth operation, strong acceleration, require less maintenance than internal combustion engines, and for many motorists offer a cost effective option,” said John Nielsen, managing director, AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, EV drivers need to carefully monitor driving range in hot and cold weather.”

To better understand the impact of climate on electric vehicle batteries, AAA conducted a simulation to measure the driving range of three fully-electric vehicles in cold, moderate and hot weather. Temperature made a big difference in driving range for all three EVs.

Vehicles were tested for city driving to mimic stop-and-go traffic, and to better compare with EPA ratings listed on the window sticker. The average EV battery range in AAA’s test was 105 miles at 75°F, but dropped 57 percent to 43 miles when the temperature was held steady at 20°F. Warm temperatures were less stressful on battery range, but still delivered a lower average of 69 miles per full charge at 95°F.

AAA performed testing between December 2013 and January 2014. Each vehicle completed a driving cycle for moderate, hot and cold climates following standard EPA-DOE test procedures. The vehicles were fully charged and then “driven” on a dynamometer in a climate-controlled room until the battery was fully exhausted.

AAA has initiated several projects including mobile recharging units and EV charging stations to support members who drive electric vehicles. EVs provide owners with many benefits, but every motorist needs to be aware of conditions that can impact vehicle driving range. EV drivers need to plan carefully in hot and cold weather. Mapping tools such as the AAA TripTik® Travel Planner pinpoint charging stations to keep motorists on the go.

Additional information regarding AAA’s electric vehicle testing is available on the AAA NewsRoom.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Motorists Can’t Catch Break as Prices Continue Increase

(WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012) Crude oil prices moved higher today, as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices settled up $1.03 per barrel at $108.09 at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. 

While oil prices for much of 2012 have been driven by global news — geopolitical tension with Iran, sovereign debt concerns in the Euro zone, and signs of economic recovery both domestically and abroad — today’s increase came with little news of this variety and was seen as the product primarily of weakness in the U.S. dollar.

WTI oil prices ultimately ended Friday less than a dollar above last Monday’s close, but this slight increase was only following a turbulent week of trading.  Prices have continued to see upward pressure from data showing a recovering U.S. economy and persisting concerns of a possible global supply disruption surrounding tensions with Iran; however several bearish factors sent prices lower at times last week. 

Strength in the U.S. dollar and a Department of Energy (DOE) report that was deemed unremarkable by traders saw WTI crude prices on Wednesday fall more than a dollar per barrel.  Crude oil, priced in dollars, becomes relatively more expensive as the dollar increases in value.  Oil futures subsequently become a less attractive investment, which exerts downward pressure on prices, as was the case Wednesday.

These losses were reversed early Thursday morning, as crude prices initially turned higher on positive news for the U.S. economy provided by jobless reports from the Department of Labor.  This early momentum was quickly reversed as reports surfaced that the U.S. and United Kingdom had agreed to a coordinated release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and many traders decided it was time to sell and quickly moved for the exits. 

The SPR — the largest emergency store of crude oil in the world with a capacity of 727 million barrels — was created in 1975 to protect from the impact of energy supply shortages or disruptions.  The Reserve is maintained by the DOE and can be tapped by Presidential order.  Oil was most recently released from the SPR in June of last year as part of a coordinated release with the International Energy Agency to offset the loss of Libyan crude oil from the global market.  Releasing crude oil from the Reserve into the market would be expected to exert downward pressure on crude prices.  These initial reports were, however, denied by U.S. officials who stated that no release from the SPR was imminent.  This saw crude prices tentatively recover most of their losses for the day. 

By the time the market opened on Friday, traders had shifted back to rally mode and returned their focus to the same bullish indicators that have kept upward pressure on crude oil prices in 2012.  WTI crude ended the week at $107.06 per barrel.

With crude oil prices remaining high, motorists across the country have continued to face rising gas prices at the pump.  The current national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline is $3.84.  This price is four cents more expensive than one week ago, 30 cents more expensive than one month ago, and 29 cents more expensive than one year ago. 

Across the country drivers continue to pay very different prices depending on where they live.  Motorists in seven states and the District of Columbia currently pay an average of more than $4.00 per gallon: Alaska – $4.23, California – $4.35, Connecticut – $4.01, D.C. – $4.07, Hawaii – $4.48, Illinois – $4.16, New York – $4.01, and Washington State – $4.01. While the lowest gas prices in the country are still found in the midcontinent region, led by motorists in Wyoming ($3.43) and Montana ($3.54), the gap between prices in these states and those found in some parts of the southeastern U.S. continues to narrow.

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