Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Missed Opp in the Photo Opp

This little baby is the C7 Inline-6 Turbo truck engine. More about it in a minute.

Among the many missed opportunities of the past 5 years of the Bush administration, "Coach" Hastert is entirely responsible for this fumble. While Large Dennis had the great idea to host the Transportation Bill signing here at the Caterpillar Montgomery plant, absolutely nothing was said about one of that company's greatest success stories.

Most people know Caterpillar for its heavy equipment. Dozers of all shapes and locomotive ability are commonly referred to as "Cats" the world over. And truthfully, we know that very little heavy equipment sales would emerge from the massive pork-stuffed Bill that signed over $287 billion over to the most irresponsible Congress in history. For instance, how much of that $209 million for the Hastert Highway will go toward equipment? None. That's for "study" over the next three years.

Although it might have been a better piece for the Energy Bill (which was apparently written with only energy companies in mind), Caterpillar could very well be the country's biggest untapped resource for energy savings, and changing the course of our transportation needs.

Not everyone knows that Caterpillar is one of the world's largest manufacturers of high-speed diesel engines.

Now, before you get all hyped up, keep in mind that the C7, pictured above, is a turbo truck engine. Truck, as in heavy. Caterpillar doesn't currently make automobile engines per se. If you want to build an RV or a fire engine or ambulance, that's your baby. Cat has been designing and building diesel engines for over 75 years now. But they remain virtually untapped by Detroit for engine design and manufacturing. Sure, GM is pushing the compressed natural gas engine and a "bi-fuel" gasoline/ethanol model (intentionally sounds like "bio-diesel" but isn't). But there are exactly 7 "AFV" dealers in Illinois, for instance, and filling stations are few and far between. Diesel is being ignored by US automakers.

And we all know how well GM did when they converted gas-burning engines to diesel in the 80s (the blocks cracked at the higher temperatures). We'll watch them continue to lose market share, stockholders, etc. again.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, is kicking Detroit's ass again. This time with the TDI turbo diesel (estimated 42mpg HWY in the Jetta). My friend Ingemar has one of these and tools along very quickly and efficiently on the Autobahn every morning and night. He says he gets roughly 50mpg.

So why don't our leaders talk about diesel, and the easy conversion you could make to bio-diesel? If you look at who our president is and consider his background, and then read the history of diesel technology, it'll start to come in more clearly.

Why does Denny Hastert follow these slothful, backward thinkers who would rather rake in profits from your skin and mine? Is he in on the game?

1 comment:

The Inside Dope said...

Excellent point. Indeed, the Germans have been busily refining automotive diesel technology to the point where they are very efficient and are no longer plagued by the sluggishness and odor of diesel cars produced in the late 70s and 80s.

Why indeed doesn't "The Neckless Wonder"™ push this issue?