EERE Network News
October 19, 2005
News and Events
In a competition to design, build, and operate energy-efficient solar-powered houses, victory was earned on the road. While scoring well in most of the 10 contests, the University of Colorado used excess power to drive its electric car the farthest, clinching a win in the 2005 Solar Decathlon.
Hybrid vehicles and advanced diesels are the top fuel-economy models available for the 2006 model year, according to the 2006 Fuel Economy Guide. DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have published the guide and made the information easily available on a Web site.
The Toyota Prius may be one of the least likely cars to run out of gas on the highway, but some owners have had them suddenly run out of steam. Toyota will start a voluntary recall in late October for certain 2004 and early 2005 Priuses because a fault can unexpectedly shut down their engines.
If you're sending a sport utility vehicle loaded with computer equipment and automated controls across the Mojave Desert on its own, it's good idea for it to achieve good fuel economy. That's one reason why a team from Louisiana entered a modified Ford Escape Hybrid in the DARPA Grand Challenge.
DARPA, the Defense Department's research branch, is known for encouraging "out-of-the-box" thinking through projects like its Grand Challenge. A new National Academies report says that DOE should do the same for energy research in order to help keep the United States technically competitive.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is guaranteeing a loan of $16 million to help finance a 20-megawatt biomass power plant near Snowflake, Arizona. The project is the first loan guarantee made through the USDA's Rural Development Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program.
If you heat with natural gas, you can expect your winter heating bill to go up 48 percent this winter, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Those using heating oil and propane will also see large price increases, while electricity users will suffer only a 5 percent increase.