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Hybrid Hype

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Unread postby Aaron » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 15:12:06

As site administrator you darn well know this has been discussed several times before now. You are perpetrating an administrative sin.


And I thought sin was right up your alley Devil... :)

There was a particular point in this article I had hoped to bring out, but nobody has mentioned that part yet. I was hoping somebody might google up some hard subsidy numbers for hybrids. I rather suspect that without these subsidies, hybrids are a nonstarter, as the author alludes to in the piece I quoted.

And yeah... I know there is a hybrids thread or 2 out there already.

Hopefully our Moderators will spank me, and merge them for me...

Or perhaps you can point to an appropriate thread.

I've been a little busy hunting buffalo and fixing our hacked server, which I'm still not done with.

<pant>

So you have a point... but I'm running hard & doing my best.

I'm getting fed up with you guys with nothing new to say and others believing that the size of their posts makes what they say more likely.


I sure hope that was not directed at me...

Can we please have more facts and less bullshit, please?


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The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt, but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise... economics is a form of brain damage.

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Unread postby smiley » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 15:36:29

Volkswagen has designed the Beetle which gets the same mileage as a modern hybrid. And they did that 65 years ago. With 21 million sold the VW Beetle is also a bit more of an sales success as the Prius.

It is not an achievement to built a vehicle which gets the mileage of a Prius.

It is an achievement to waste so much resources and technology in doing so.
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Unread postby FoxV » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 15:53:31

well my hope is that out of the hybrid adventure there will be some good technilogical improvements that will either make hybrids much more fuel efficient to be worth their expense (+200 mpg)

or get electric cars going properly (not that fiasco they tried in CA). Already the battery technology is available for cheap (and powerful) electrics, all it realy needs is the manufacturing to ramp things up (and for people to get over being burned by the last electric effort)
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Unread postby gnm » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 16:16:54

Followed the battery link - Those are interesting in that they are fairly light weight but thier life cycle rating is lower than many available AGM and flooded batteries that exist currently. And I am betting that they are VERY expensive. I just bought a couple of 200Ah AGM's for $700.00 ($100.00 shipping) and that is nearly 1.5 times what I could have got the flooded equivalent for (I hate battery maintenence). I think its a safe bet that these would run you about twice what the AGM's go for per Ah (Amp/hour).

So yeah the batteries are here (if you are independently wealthy!)

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Unread postby dub_scratch » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 16:18:49

FoxV wrote:well my hope is that out of the hybrid adventure there will be some good technilogical improvements that will either make hybrids much more fuel efficient to be worth their expense (+200 mpg)

or get electric cars going properly (not that fiasco they tried in CA). Already the battery technology is available for cheap (and powerful) electrics, all it realy needs is the manufacturing to ramp things up (and for people to get over being burned by the last electric effort)


FoxyV, when are you and other well informed peakers ever going to get it? Improvements of MPG in cars will only waste more energy and create more environmental degradation. We need to get off the car treadmill if we are ever to get a grip on oil depletion. It's not any fun anyway. Just ask people if they would like to drive more or drive less. A 200 mpg car will mean that we will have to dump even more resources into cars, freeways, parking ramps, sprawl, tires, dealerships, etc. And those very resources will not be available for things like renewable energy systems, relocalization and sustainable agriculture. If a 200 mpg car is developed and people use them they way they have in the past, then civilization is toast.

And as far as electric cars, well electricity has to come from somewhere. If people were to plug in their cars tomorrow then blackouts would be common or coal smoke would have to darken the sky.

Electric cars/ hybrid cars are a non solution but the problem. Cities where people can drive less are the best way to deal with personal transport on low energy.
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Unread postby The_Toecutter » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 17:16:18

First of all, that extra price premium is due to the NiMH battery. In the volume the battery is built for these cars, it could go for $150/kWh capacity. But Chevron Texaco owns the patent, and charges thousands per kWh capacity. The pack in the Prius, for instance, is 1.5 kWh. Chevron Texaco has sued companies who copied the battery and made them pay even more in royalties for the patent infringment, driving the price up even more.

Second of all, 200+ mpg cars aren't likely unless they are pure electric. The ICE is not efficient enough to let cars as we know them today achieve that kind of mileage. 120+ mpg for a midsize hybrid that seats five comfortably can be done with extreme reductions in aerodynamic drag. Plug-in hybrids that get 300 mpg or some such nonsense might get that on gasoline not counting in the other energy consumed. But you have to account for the other energy consumed, and that 300 mpg plug in hybrid looks to be more like 90-100 mpg on a 'tank' to wheels basis, both gas tank and battery pack being the point where energy consumption will be measured from. 33.8 kWh of energy in one gallon of gasoline. A pure electric car made from the size of a Prius could do 200 wh/mile or so at 60-70 mph 'tank' to wheels(In this case, the fuel tank being the battery). That's 170 mpg. Factor in all of the energy losses associated with producing and delivering the electricity, that 170 mpg is more like 70 mpg coal to wheels, slightly better than the Prius was as a pure gas car. Improve the power plant efficiency and reduce transmission losses and efficiency goes up accordingly. However, the fuel for that gas Prius, the gasoline, is not a fair comparison t\with the electric vehicle if you do 'tank' to wheels on the gas car for efficiency and 'powerplant' to wheels on the electric. It takes energy to get that oil and turn it into gasoline, ship that oil, ect. That electric car is going to be much more efficient overall than that hybrid can ever hope to be.

Third, most electric cars would charge during offpeak hours to meet 95% of their needs. Knowing this, we can supply 100 million pure EVs with our current grid, perhaps even up to 150 million. Taken from another post of mine: A midsize EV with an aerodynamic body like a Prius converted to pure electric(not plug in hybrid, but gas engine and shit removed) will have an energy efficiency of about 200 wh/mile at 60 mph. 12 kW. The average American drives about 32 miles per day, 12,000 miles per year. So, using a fully electrified Prius as the average(aerodynamic and smaller sports cars and compacts will do better, SUVs and trucks worse), with a 12 kW power demand on average(Half of the driving is done 30 mph in the city, not 70 mph on the highway), were looking at an average of 200 wh/mile, 2400 kWh consumed per year per car average 'battery pack' to wheels. Count in charging losses of 92% and battery losses of 95% and overall consumption from plug in your garage is 230 wh/mile. To count in the occasional long trip using quick chargers which aren't as efficient, we'll make that 250 wh/mile from the plug. So that's now 3000 kWh per car per year. 200 million cars would mean 600,000,000,000 kWh of electricity consumed. According to the CIA world fact book, America as a whole consumes 3.7 trillion kWh per year from the plug(ie. after all transmission and power plant inefficiency losses are accounted for, power consumed). Guess what? 600 billion divided by 3.7 trillion is an increase in electricity demand of only 16.2%. Most of this will be consumed during off peak rates where the grid is only making use of 50% of its capacity or so. So unless all those cars are charging during on peak, we won't need such a drastic increase in generating capacity.

Fourth, Jevon's paradox is not a rule, but a special case that just so happens to be extremely prominent with our current economic system. People are encouraged to consume instead of save. As we are now, most who have spare money simply spend it instead of save it. That doesn't mean they will always spend. Those who grew up in the great depression are likrewise another extreme that saves instead of spends. The corrollary to Jevon's paradox provides an example based exactly on our current economic system of continuing growth. The reality, as us peak oilers understand, is that we don't have the resources for continuing and unlimited growth. Change the economic system and eliminate the need for growth, and you've made some headway with the problem of both PO and Jevon's paradox. The technology is ready, but is humanity?
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Unread postby dub_scratch » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 18:19:32

The_Toecutter wrote:Fourth, Jevon's paradox is not a rule, but a special case that just so happens to be extremely prominent with our current economic system. People are encouraged to consume instead of save. As we are now, most who have spare money simply spend it instead of save it. That doesn't mean they will always spend. Those who grew up in the great depression are likrewise another extreme that saves instead of spends. The corrollary to Jevon's paradox provides an example based exactly on our current economic system of continuing growth. The reality, as us peak oilers understand, is that we don't have the resources for continuing and unlimited growth. Change the economic system and eliminate the need for growth, and you've made some headway with the problem of both PO and Jevon's paradox. The technology is ready, but is humanity?


The People who "encouraged to consume" are encouraged to drive cars. They are one in the same. If we continue driving cars, even energy efficient ones, it will mean resources & energy will get sucked away in the process (aka Jevon's Paradox). In our society today cars are not a means to an end but an end in itself. By that I mean cars exist for the purpose for us to devour commodities. There is no reason to expect anything different after PO. Once oil decline sets in the very idea that we should continue driving would be extremely stupid. If we our successful at maintaining traffic jams & car crashes, it would not likely be for long. And then when we are really compelled to dump cars, there will be no chance for us to do anything. Every car built is a wind turbine NOT built. Every freeway built is a hydro site NOT built. Think about it.

We would be far better off getting rid of cars so we can devote our time and resources to more important things.
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Unread postby The_Toecutter » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 19:22:05

The People who "encouraged to consume" are encouraged to drive cars. They are one in the same. If we continue driving cars, even energy efficient ones, it will mean resources & energy will get sucked away in the process (aka Jevon's Paradox). In our society today cars are not a means to an end but an end in itself. By that I mean cars exist for the purpose for us to devour commodities. There is no reason to expect anything different after PO. Once oil decline sets in the very idea that we should continue driving would be extremely stupid. If we our successful at maintaining traffic jams & car crashes, it would not likely be for long. And then when we are really compelled to dump cars, there will be no chance for us to do anything. Every car built is a wind turbine NOT built. Every freeway built is a hydro site NOT built. Think about it.

We would be far better off getting rid of cars so we can devote our time and resources to more important things.


As much as I agree with you on cars being a means to keep consumption high in the present, it doesn't necessarily need to be such in the future. If there are traffic jams given the amount of roads we have today, that is a telling sign alone that there are far too many cars on the roads. Cutting car use to 1/3 of its current levels would really help things a lot, espeically if bicycles and public transit became the main source of transportation replacing cars. An electric car consumes no where near the resources a gasoline car does. Similar up front costs to a gas car in mass production(electric car costing slightly less up front), but lasts over 500,000 miles and never needs expensive engine repairs or maintenance. Plus by killing car use by 2/3, cars would then pretty much be sustainable if they also lasted in excess of 30 years.

We just might be better off getting rid of cars altogether, but in the case of a soft landing, it's not bloody likely to happen, especially since they can be sustainable. Cars have to be built with efficiency, longevity, and liesure use in mind, and not with high consumption, constant replacement of costly parts coupled with short life, and primary mode of transport in mind.

When I think of sustainable auto use, I think of Cuba, only using renewable energy to power them and with much greater efficiency, and far lower consumption associated with the vehicle.
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Unread postby DriveElectric » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 19:36:52

dub_scratch wrote:FoxyV, when are you and other well informed peakers ever going to get it? Improvements of MPG in cars will only waste more energy and create more environmental degradation.


Not really. Read a few more threads here in the Energy Technology forum and you will learn a lot about what is going on. There are numerous solutions that are feasible.

dub_scratch wrote:We need to get off the car treadmill if we are ever to get a grip on oil depletion.


Google the following words: PHEV, Vectrix, biodiesel, cellulose ethanol.

dub_scratch wrote:It's not any fun anyway. Just ask people if they would like to drive more or drive less.


Personally, I don't think it is fun to be crammed into a city with 7 million people, high crime, etc. The higher the population density is, the higher the crime rate. That lifestyle just sucks.

I'd rather have my Vectrix electric scooter and live in the suburbs.

dub_scratch wrote:A 200 mpg car will mean that we will have to dump even more resources into cars, freeways, parking ramps, sprawl, tires, dealerships, etc. And those very resources will not be available for things like renewable energy systems, relocalization and sustainable agriculture.


Really? Prove it.

dub_scratch wrote:If a 200 mpg car is developed and people use them they way they have in the past, then civilization is toast.


If a 200 mpg car is developed, then biofuels easily meet our fuel demands. It has been estimated by that biofuels can meet only about 1/3 of our current fuel demand. That is often cited as the reason why biofuels are not a silver bullet. But with 200 mpg, that is an increase of approx 8x. Oops. I guess biofuels can get the job done.

dub_scratch wrote:And as far as electric cars, well electricity has to come from somewhere. If people were to plug in their cars tomorrow then blackouts would be common or coal smoke would have to darken the sky.


Why?

dub_scratch wrote:Electric cars/ hybrid cars are a non solution but the problem. Cities where people can drive less are the best way to deal with personal transport on low energy.


Move to Los Angles and enjoy your new urbanism lifestyle. Try Compton. I hear the schools are good there and great neighbors.
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Unread postby dub_scratch » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 22:05:05

DriveElectric wrote:
Not really. Read a few more threads here in the Energy Technology forum and you will learn a lot about what is going on. There are numerous solutions that are feasible.


Oh yea. We've been on the verge of some new breakthrough with energy & cars for about 60 years. Empty promises for techno futurism gets doled out over and over again. And yet when shit like nuclear fission "too cheap to meter" or corn ethanol that is suppose to break foreign oil dependence, or supersonic jet travel for the masses, or flying cars, or nuclear fusion, or whatever the hype of the day ends up like farts in the wind, those very promises end up forgotten. FORGOTTEN! Just go thru a stack of old Popular Mechanics to see it for yourself. Oh but the DriveElectric guy wants us to trust that his techno hype will come for real this time. He's got the research in a lab somewhere to prove it!

Its interesting that today we are no longer promised flying cars. Now it's teeney-weeney electric cars that will keep the same game going (if we are lucky). Looks like we've passed some peaks along time ago. What's next Mr DriveElectric? Electric motorscooters?



Google the following words: PHEV, Vectrix, biodiesel, cellulose ethanol.



Google these following words DriveElectric: Pemintel, EROIE, "Agricultural oil dependence", Soil degradation, water scarcity

Personally, I don't think it is fun to be crammed into a city with 7 million people, high crime, etc. The higher the population density is, the higher the crime rate. That lifestyle just sucks.

I'd rather have my Vectrix electric scooter and live in the suburbs.

What? No electric pogo sticks?
If a 200 mpg car is developed, then biofuels easily meet our fuel demands. It has been estimated by that biofuels can meet only about 1/3 of our current fuel demand. That is often cited as the reason why biofuels are not a silver bullet. But with 200 mpg, that is an increase of approx 8x. Oops. I guess biofuels can get the job done.

And as far as electric cars, well electricity has to come from somewhere. If people were to plug in their cars tomorrow then blackouts would be common or coal smoke would have to darken the sky.

Move to Los Angles and enjoy your new urbanism lifestyle. Try Compton. I hear the schools are good there and great neighbors.


Your one of those Randal O'toole shills disguised as a environmentalist? How is that dickhead O'toole, anyway. Too bad I embarrassed him on his preservingtheamericandream list when I caught him in a lie. He stopped replying to me and then they kicked me off that list.

I hate the suburban lifestyle with a passion. It's full of fat, ugly, angry and boring people who hate their lives but are too stupid to know why.

Speaking of Suburbia and LA, I left shitty-ass suburban Detroit and now live an awesome urban car-free life in Santa Monica Caly. The women here are gorgeous unlike those fat dogs in Detroit. Not problem with crime though and no time stuck in traffic.

Now, DriveElectric, I will end this post so you can go back to your exciting evening of Fox News TV watching and internet porn masturbation. I know that is the past time of boring, ugly, filthy, rotten suburbia.
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Unread postby The_Toecutter » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 22:23:04

Dub, it may be to your benefit to stop with the insults. Those are in violation of the forum rules.


Just go thru a stack of old Popular Mechanics to see it for yourself. Oh but the DriveElectric guy wants us to trust that his techno hype will come for real this time. He's got the research in a lab somewhere to prove it!


It isn't just research. There exist thousands of on-road examples nation-wide that function and operate, that weren't built in factories or laboratories. There also exist examples of projects that are in progress, one of them being my own. Take a look at a few of them.

http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/

Google these following words DriveElectric: Pemintel, EROIE, "Agricultural oil dependence", Soil degradation, water scarcity


EROI is excellent for industrial hemp. It may not yield as much per acre as palm, but it can be grown on desert land unsuitable for other plants, needs no fertilizers, needs no pesticides, and yields a much higher EROI than any plant out there. Hemp also would help prevent further soil erosion, and is not water intensive like soy or canola would be. Water scarcity can be drastically reduced by lowering environmental pollution which renders unfit for consumption fresh water, and by eating less meat, which livestock is a much heavier consumer of water than food derived from plants. Cutting industrial processes by increasing efficiency also cuts water used in industrial processes.
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Unread postby dub_scratch » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 23:04:04

The_Toecutter wrote:EROI is excellent for industrial hemp. It may not yield as much per acre as palm, but it can be grown on desert land unsuitable for other plants, needs no fertilizers, needs no pesticides, and yields a much higher EROI than any plant out there. Hemp also would help prevent further soil erosion, and is not water intensive like soy or canola would be. Water scarcity can be drastically reduced by lowering environmental pollution which renders unfit for consumption fresh water, and by eating less meat, which livestock is a much heavier consumer of water than food derived from plants. Cutting industrial processes by increasing efficiency also cuts water used in industrial processes.


Hmmm. . . . . . OK everybody, lets switch to a vegiterian diet in order to keep having so much fun being stuck in traffic jams. What a deal! And while we are at it, we'll keep pouring our national wealth on all the good stuff we love, freeway ramps, parking lots, parking garages, collision shops, emergency rooms, lawyer offices. Oh, and forget that solar PV collector too. You just won't be able to afford it after forking over the few bucks you have for one of these sustainable bio-hybrid-hyper-ethanol-diesels. You'll just have to sit in the dark between driving times.

Somehow Mr Toecutter, I think your promises for bio-fuel happy motoring will fall short-- way short-- of what you are expecting. I guess it's just that damn past 50 years of failed techno-visions that have made me so skeptical. I've heard it all before. And when it fails what then? Will we all have to become starvitarians so we can keep our beloved solo driving habbits?
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Unread postby mgibbons19 » Wed 06 Jul 2005, 23:22:31

This thread has suddenly become quite troubling. Mostly because both sides are making good points while being fairly onoxious toward the other. Could cars be made better? yes, certainly. and toejam's electric cars are a really cool example. But what's implied here that is negative about cars is twofold. First, their true costs are not realized. The parking, paving, EMTs, freeways, and so on are all publicly funded so the average citizen has no idea what his/her car is costing. Esp since they try very hard not to add up in their heads the lease/loan costs, gas costs, toll costs, maintenance costs, and insurance costs. These costs add up to so much that they must be depressing to the average American. Better just pay it and don't think about it too much. After all, a car here is a necessity.

Secondly, cars set up a market for space that is also not realized by the general public. Freeways in town = less good town. Parking all over town = negative urban space. Cars require so much space in cities that their accomodation destroys cities. But the average citizen experiences this only as "they need more parking here" and "this neighborhood is really friggin scary" without ever seeing that the two are connected.

Implied in this second point is that cities don't have to suck. They can be beautiful. They can be comfortable. They can be scaled intimately but not cramped. The suburbs may be a great solution to 1898 Manhattan, but why are we building in reaction to 1898 Manhattan? Simply because the average American (myself included) has a knee-jerk reaction to cities as evil.

This is the point that is missed with the name-calling and vitriol. Money spent on more freeways more parking lots more strip malls more bestbuys more walmarts represents money not spent on grassroots retail, on responsible individual homeownership, on pleasant neighborhoods with pleasant parks and so on. Money spent on widescale mileage incentives is not money spent on light and heavy rail.

Ppl will always travel 20 mins to work. The tail end of the curve will always travel 60+. It doesn't matter if it's on foot for 1-4 miles of walking or its in helicopters for 20-200 miles away. This is why we cannot solve the problems with technology. Because the market equilibrium is a balance of time and space - not technology.

And this is why, even though I am a biker, toejam's point is essentially correct. Cars as recreation, for the well to do, or mechanically inclined, are not a problem. Cars as the entireity of our transportation and urban infrastructure is the problem.

Sorry for the long post, but this is one of my pet issues, and both sides deserve a fair and respectful argument.
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Unread postby dub_scratch » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 00:22:54

mgibbons19 wrote:Sorry for the long post, but this is one of my pet issues, and both sides deserve a fair and respectful argument.


Don't be sorry, mgibbons19. That was a beautifully well put observation. Thanks for giving me hope that there are people who can see the forest beyond the trees.

I like to think it all in fun, but perhaps my vitriol reflects a bit of frustration with many Americans, especially intelligent well intentioned ones I run into. I cannot figure out how so many of these folks can go to Europe, to the amazing towns like Barcelona or Prague and see that urban life is so much better there and then come back here and insist on keeping this unproductive system of car dependence. Do they not see the negative effects beyond motor fuel consumption or tailpipe emissions? Do they not know why wealthy Western Europeans use half of the petroleum on a per capita basis? Do they not know that Europeans work less because they spend so much less on motoring than we do?

But we have this mess of a system and I guess we'll keep tinkering with it until the whole thing collapse and we have to start over. What folks like Toecutter do not realize that everything he is working for in regards to tinkering with fuel economy and fuel substitutes is in service of a collapse., albeit a slow one. I just wish that we as a society would realize this and decided instead to skip this last dreadful step, step back, take a good look, see that we don't need this, and get rid of it. I did and I absolutely have no need for anything like a biofuel car.
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Unread postby JohnDenver » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 01:19:22

dub_scratch wrote:I just wish that we as a society would realize this and decided instead to skip this last dreadful step, step back, take a good look, see that we don't need this, and get rid of it. I did and I absolutely have no need for anything like a biofuel car.


I'm with you dub, keep up the fight. We gotta keep punching the car proponents until they go down. Cars are a virus.
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Unread postby bentstrider » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 02:54:59

JohnDenver wrote:
dub_scratch wrote:I just wish that we as a society would realize this and decided instead to skip this last dreadful step, step back, take a good look, see that we don't need this, and get rid of it. I did and I absolutely have no need for anything like a biofuel car.

I'm with you dub, keep up the fight. We gotta keep punching the car proponents until they go down. Cars are a virus.


While I get you two are saying, I'm going to keep my '68 Chevy 1/2 ton on hand up until the day some punk-ass trick blows it up(the only way to kill it).
I only drive this thing about twice a week, or when I feel like going 50+miles(very rarely).
Everywhere else, I ride a bike or walk it.(walking especially helps when the wind is acting like a wall on bike rides!)
As for my truck, I tend to agree with bio-fuels.
I'll conjure up some of my own shine like po' folks did in Georgia many years ago. This got some of them through that 70's gas crunch.
Hell, I see moonshine and hemp-oil, along with consume-able tobacco and alcohol as the grease of tommorrow's gears.
As for hybrids, they're worth, but 2 bottles of piss if it weren't for the battery!!
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Unread postby Starvid » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 03:21:56

Hehe, it's quite funny that some of you believe that more efficient cars will increase our oil problems. I sure hope you people drive Hummers! :lol:
Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
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Unread postby The_Toecutter » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 03:44:19

Hmmm. . . . . . OK everybody, lets switch to a vegiterian diet in order to keep having so much fun being stuck in traffic jams. What a deal! And while we are at it, we'll keep pouring our national wealth on all the good stuff we love, freeway ramps, parking lots, parking garages, collision shops, emergency rooms, lawyer offices. Oh, and forget that solar PV collector too. You just won't be able to afford it after forking over the few bucks you have for one of these sustainable bio-hybrid-hyper-ethanol-diesels. You'll just have to sit in the dark between driving times.


That's hardly what I'm saying at all. I'm not seeking to keep dependence on the car itself. I'd like to see the car no longer the main option for transport, but for it to take a backseat for liesure purposes while bikes and rail take their place as the main form of transportation. Besides, you don't need to sacrifice prime land to fuel an electric car, either, and biofuels for cars or not, we will need to reduce our excessive meat consumption as the amount of land and energy it consumes is also not sustainable. Factory farms are the worst of it, aside from being dangerous to the environment and highly energy intensive per calorie of meat, they also breed dangerous strains of bacteria resistant to practically all medicines we have developed along with threats such as mad cow disease by not meeting feed guidlines and feeding ruminates parts of other ruminates...

Somehow Mr Toecutter, I think your promises for bio-fuel happy motoring will fall short-- way short-- of what you are expecting. I guess it's just that damn past 50 years of failed techno-visions that have made me so skeptical. I've heard it all before. And when it fails what then? Will we all have to become starvitarians so we can keep our beloved solo driving habbits?


The problem with these failed technovisions is that they relied on technology that didn't exist in their time, but would have purportedly become viable in the future. What I am referring to is technology that is from both the past and the present that has been repeatedly and successfully demonstrated outside of laboratories and factories in both past and present tense. To think we'd have to starve to continue our driving habits is ludicrous, but depending on how we approach the peak crisis and how much we reduce the amount of driving done and by eliminating an outright need for an automobile, we don't have to be faced with that option.

But what's implied here that is negative about cars is twofold. First, their true costs are not realized. The parking, paving, EMTs, freeways, and so on are all publicly funded so the average citizen has no idea what his/her car is costing. Esp since they try very hard not to add up in their heads the lease/loan costs, gas costs, toll costs, maintenance costs, and insurance costs. These costs add up to so much that they must be depressing to the average American. Better just pay it and don't think about it too much. After all, a car here is a necessity.

Secondly, cars set up a market for space that is also not realized by the general public. Freeways in town = less good town. Parking all over town = negative urban space. Cars require so much space in cities that their accomodation destroys cities. But the average citizen experiences this only as "they need more parking here" and "this neighborhood is really friggin scary" without ever seeing that the two are connected.


I agree with all points made. I feel I need to clarify my views, I'm not contending with anything you have said. The high maintenance associated with cars doesn't need to be that way, and with adequate public transit and bike specific lanes, and reshaping our cities to be built around people and public transit instead of the automobile, we can drastically cut car use. Sure, we may have the grid capacity for over 100 million electric cars today, but I'm certainly not recommending America should have that many or more. I think cutting on-road automobiles down to about 50 million, still affordable to the portions of the middle class that want them, but not necessary, would be a boon, but still keep the racers and hobbyists happy. Our cities are far too dependent on cars and that needs to change. It was the auto industry itself that is responsible for the predicament we are in by tearing down the mass transit and forcing Americans to become reliant on the auto. Suburbia is thus a symptom of corporate greed and government stupidity(Eisenhower), and not due to use of the automobile itself.

Cut the car use and have it no longer a necessity, and we don't need these bigass hulking freeways or anywhere near the amount of road maintenance or parking availability that we see today. Maybe a few high speed audobon-like highways would suffice to compliment highspeed electric rail, but we wouldn't need to have anywhere near the number of roads and highways we have today with cutting the number of on-road cars in the U.S. to 50 million or so. Most of them would likely be sports cars and muscle cars made specifically for sporting and recreational purposes only occassionally(< 20% of the time) being used as a means of transport for long distances. Those that don't have or want them would fare just as well taking trains for either short or long commutes or riding bikes for short commutes since adequate infrastructure for these things would negate the need for a car.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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Unread postby The_Toecutter » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 03:45:31

Money spent on more freeways more parking lots more strip malls more bestbuys more walmarts represents money not spent on grassroots retail, on responsible individual homeownership, on pleasant neighborhoods with pleasant parks and so on. Money spent on widescale mileage incentives is not money spent on light and heavy rail.


Indeed. The end of cheap oil, assuming our society makes it through, would mean a need to return to local economies. The current forced auto-reliance goes directly against this. As a side note, Walmarts love moving into small towns. The price everything just below profit when initially moving in, drive the smaller businesses out of business, then they begin the layoffs and surge their prices up higher than the local businesses would have charged when they were around. Car use as we know it today contributes to this phenominon.

What folks like Toecutter do not realize that everything he is working for in regards to tinkering with fuel economy and fuel substitutes is in service of a collapse., albeit a slow one. I just wish that we as a society would realize this and decided instead to skip this last dreadful step, step back, take a good look, see that we don't need this, and get rid of it. I did and I absolutely have no need for anything like a biofuel car.


Not necessarily true. It is up to our society to correctly use this technology, and not greedily exploit it. Collapse isn't an effect of consumption alone, it is an effect of irresponsible consumption. The same can be said for automobiles. They simply should not be a requirement to go about your day to day business, but that doesn't mean they should be or need to be eliminated altogether, especially if their usage in the future is responsible, accountable to society and the environment.

Some people see cars as a virus, but that is not true. Our unsustainable economic system that relies on unlimited is the virus, and gross misuse of cars is a symptom of this virus.


I hope we do enough to avert a peak crisis so that some semblence of our current lifestyle can be saved, the good things like computers, television, electricity, ect., while the bad things like suburbia, encroachment into wilderness, and endless expansion go away like the dinosaurs they are. But, we could be going back to the iron age, even though it doesn't need to be that way. It's time our society became responsible instead of being so thoughtless as it is today.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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Unread postby JohnDenver » Thu 07 Jul 2005, 04:49:40

The_Toecutter wrote:To think we'd have to starve to continue our driving habits is ludicrous, but depending on how we approach the peak crisis and how much we reduce the amount of driving done and by eliminating an outright need for an automobile, we don't have to be faced with that option.


This is where your approach is all screwed up. Why are we going to reduce the amount of driving done, and design walkable living arrangements when we have all this wonderful technology like high-mileage vehicles and electric cars and hybrids? You seem to be saying that we need some self-control, but how likely is that? It's like switching from Marlboro to Marlboro Light. We'll just keep smoking and still die of cancer.

You have to get off the fence. You can't tout the wonders of efficient vehicles and the importance of car-free living at the same time. It's logically inconsistent.
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