Commuting by Skateboard at UC Davis

Lots of people travel to class and work at UC Davis by bicycle, some walk and some drive their cars. But there is another, growing class of commuters: skateboarders. Kevin Fang and Susan Handy at the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies have conducted the a survey of skateboard commuters, based on interviews at UC Davis, and they reported the findings in the journal Transportation recently.

Worker on skateboard

Skateboards offer the speed of bicycles with the access of walking. A new UC Davis survey shows a significant use of skateboards to commute to work or class. (UC Davis photo)

Shale oil fracking, conventional crude drilling produce similar greenhouse gas emissions

By Kat Kerlin

It requires roughly the same level of greenhouse gas emissions to extract shale oil as it does to extract conventional crude oil, according to a pair of studies by UC Davis and Stanford University released this week by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The research analyzed the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas and the Bakken play in North Dakota. These plays are shale formations with low permeability that must be hydraulically fractured to produce oil and gas.

The Eagle Ford Shale in Texas is one of the largest oil and gas producing regions in the country.

The Eagle Ford Shale in Texas is one of the largest oil and gas producing regions in the country.

UC Davis plans joint research with Brazil

FAPESP, the São Paulo Research Foundation and UC Davis announced May 12 the launch of a new program to strengthen collaborative research in physical sciences, engineering, biomedical sciences and agriculture within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed by the two institutions in 2012.

The announcement was made during the opening of FAPESP Week UC Davis in Brazil, a two-day event attended by 26 scientists from UC Davis and institutions in São Paulo State to present research findings in a range of knowledge areas. The event is a follow-up to FAPESP Week California, held in November 2014 at UC Davis and UC Berkeley in the United States.

Honda Smart Home Open House is March 25

There will be a community open house at the Honda Smart Home in West Village on campus next Tuesday afternoon, March 25, noon to 4 p.m.. If you’ve been wondering what this zero-net energy smart home is all about, this is your chance to tour the home, talk to project leaders and learn more about it.

The house is on N. Sage Street in West Village, a block north of the village square.

The event is free and open to the public.

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Review of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard shows shifts in fuel use

The latest progress report on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) shows a small increase in use of alternative transportation fuels, which include biofuels and electricity. Among alternative fuels, the report finds a decrease in ethanol made from corn and an increase in biodiesel made from waste materials.

“Status Review of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, January 2014 Issue” finds that in 2013 the LCFS played a stronger role in incentivizing the use of biofuels from a variety of sources, including corn oil, canola, and biodiesel and renewable diesel from waste. It also finds slight increases in the use of electricity for transportation under the program, and that fuel suppliers in the program have generated excess credits.

Do you mind if I plug in my car? The etiquette of going electric

As children, we learn to wait in line, take our turn and share. As adults, we usually try to live by these basic rules. For today’s plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) drivers, however, the rules and norms for mundane chores such as recharging the car are not yet clear.

Plugging in a car is a new behavior that occurs in a new social setting. Forget the gas station: PEV owners depend on home chargers and away-from-home charging stations to fuel their cars. At home, who plugs in the car and when are easily decided. But away from home, UC Davis researchers say, PEV drivers are unsure of the rules and want charging guidelines that everyone understands and uses in order to feel confident and comfortable.

Rocket team flies high in Alabama

The UC Davis SpaceED rocket team has returned from the NASA Student Launch Projects competition in Huntsville, Alabama. They didn’t bring back prizes on their first trip to the competition — but they did bring back some great experiences, despite a few obstacles. Here’s a report from team coordinator Daniel Berman.

Watch a video of the launch on the team’s Facebook page.


We were pleased with our experience in Alabama. Getting there proved to be quite the challenge with our flights from Chicago being cancelled and having to spend a night in Houston. When we did finally arrive we had missed the introductory meetings and United lost our baggage that contained our payload electronics for about a day.

Great new apps on the move: Mileage and music

Jason Moore and Tai Stillwater, two researchers at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, have developed a neat little smartphone app that monitors fuel economy as you drive. They have already been awarded $2,000 in phase one of the White House Apps for Vehicles Challenge and are in the running for $34,000 in phase two. Vote for Drive5 here and help them to their goal!

UC Davis team places second, collects $1,000 in ‘chemical car’ competition

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) yesterday announced that the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez took top honors at the international Chem-E-Car competition in Minneapolis Sunday, while a team of UC Davis students placed second.

The winning team’s car, “CoKi Stroj” uses pneumatic pressure to run and a color changing reaction to stop. Coki Stroj defeated 31 other shoe-box sized cars bedecked with cougars, tiger tails and school logos.

The UC Davis car, “Stroeve,” was powered by an aluminum air battery with an iodine clock stopping mechanism.

Andy Frank named to Auto News “Electrifying 100”

(Contributed by Paul Dorn)

UC Davis professor Andy Frank has been selected for the first-ever “Automotive News Electrifying 100.” The Electrifying 100 consists of 100 of the most influential people behind the vehicle electrification movement. Frank’s contributions — which we have repeatedly covered on Egghead — will be acknowledged at a gala event on June 13 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The gala is presented as part of Automotive News’ Green Car Conference, presented June 13-14 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan.