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April 18, 2012

Comments

Keith

Bill, Diesels have indeed been markedly improved. No doubt about it. Just a couple of improvements are Common Rail Injection and the application of electronics.

Electric cars simply shift the pollution from the tailpipe of individual vehicles to the smokestack at the coal or nuclear powered power generating plant.

A further advantage of modern Diesels is that they can run on a variety of oils, not just petroleum. When they do they become yet more efficient and clean.

The best source of this alternative fuel is industrial hemp. It can be grown on lands that are unsuitable for food crops. Dry arid lands. It requires little water or pesticide. The U.S. Constitution was written on hemp paper and the ships that the Pilgrims arrived in used hempen ropes/lines. This activity was made illegal in support of the new DuPont product Nylon which was in direct competition.

In the end there is no one, currently available, miracle solution. A variety of options each suitable for a particular mode of travel is required. We need to seek balance. It's a new world and a strictly petroleum fueled transportation system no longer makes any sense, never did really.

Bill B.

Keith,

I really like your last paragraph, because it is realistic in assessing a complex situation. "Easy" answers to hard questions are tempting, but complexity usually deafeats generallity.

I have read that there is less pollution produced in making the electricity to move a car a mile than in burning the gasoline to move a car a mile because of the efficiency of power plants. So the electric car may be a win-win, location aside. I hope so. I think it is pretty well established that the ethanol business as currently constituted is a fraud/waste/hoodoo that supports an agricultural lobby group without solving a problem.

European diesels have a good reputation, so I would like to see that tried here IF AND ONLY IF emissions monitoring of cars exists. I do not ever again want to be trapped behind a diesel Volvo that is killing me so somebody is "safer".

And, go hemp! The cowardice and dishonesty that now characterizes our political system is a true shame.

Angelo

Funny----some of my fondest childhood memories involve trips to cities (as small as Wilkes-Barre, PA or as large as New York City) and loving the smell of the buses lined up, running, waiting to go on their routes. I also think diesel engines in cars have come a long, long way in the last couple decades. The tailight above the exhaust no longer turns black after a few years of driving----engines idle more smoothly too. Regarding electric cars---they're simply not ready for prime time----not even close. Hybrids at least offer a gas engine to pick up when the battery charge goes away. Problem with the hybrids (I have a Prius) is cruising range. On the highway, the gas engine kicks in 100%. The gas tank is tiny because the batteries are large. That means a lot of stopping for gas---a bit of a nusiance on a long trip. They are also overpriced. On a pure electric, using heat in the Winter or AC in the Summer radically depletes the power source. Last Winter, Nissan Leafs ended up on the side of the road in a big Winter traffic jam----out of juice because the commute was much longer than usual (in time) and it was cold. I'm an "enviromentalist" in that I am a recycling nut, I turn lights off when I'm not in rooms, I'm modest with my home heat and AC use, I combine trips to save gas/pollute less----I've picked up litter around my houses (in common areas----including old tires, wrappers, bottles, etc.). But I draw the line at the craziness of hating fossil fuels. There's no reason why we can't responsibly burn natural gas, oil, coal----and mine for all of this. As well, the U.S. needs to have a nuclear power program like France has. France has run nuclear power plants for decades---they get about 70% of their power that way----clean, not even close to an accident, efficient. They don't have laws that mandate small businesses or disadvantaged business enterprises from being involved----they don't hire based on meeting quotas of any sort of buckling to political favors/pressure to hire certain contractors. It's an extremely serious process there----knowledge that only the best of the best, from design, to construction, to management, to employees----at these plants----have to be the best of the best, no exceptions. The idea that solar or wind is going to put any sort of dent in our needs is simply false. That's boutique power and it has it's place----and private industry will invest in it if it can become more than that----but until then, we need a program based on what we have in the ground, who our best trading partners are, what works best for our geography, climate, etc.

dorpmuller

This Co2 crap has gone too far. Wait'll your wacko left wing electric car bricks the battery, then that'll teach you when you see what a replacement costs. I'll never have any hybrid-not anywhere near affordable, no place to charge, battery issues, infant technology, on and on.

What's next on the "environmental" list? Farts? Can you imagine how farts contribute to the global warming fraud? Every person, horse, cow, etc., all farting at once in all the world... imagine!!

I alone could power the town after a good vegetarian meal if that could be harnessed!

Angelo

Dormpmuller: Cow farts have already been mentioned by the left as a serious problem. They're railing against the beef and cattle industry because too many cows breaking wind might cause the ice caps to melt. As far as battery replacement goes----I read that someone needed to replace the battery pack on their 2001 Prius. Cost was quoted as $4000.00 and car value was $3500.00 so they didn't do it.

Gary

I read that the Li-Ion batteries in the Leaf cost $16,000 to replace.

David

Here's some info on battery replacement for the Nissan Leaf:

http://green.autoblog.com/2011/09/30/nissan-addresses-leaf-battery-life-replacement-costs/

Neal

A quick note on cost issues.
If you drive a conventional gas car for 100,000 miles and you got an average of 20 miles per gallon that would be 5000 gallons of gas, at a cost of $3.50 per gallon comes to $17,500.
Cost for the Leaf per month in electricity, based on 8 cents per kw, comes to around $20. This is the real world amount for my car. Thats $240 per year. In 8 years I would have spent about $1920. Also no oil changes. Increased miles could raise the cost or shorten the time it takes to get to my 8 year or 100,000 warranty mark.
That still puts me over $15,000 ahead of the gas option and I am saving that money daily.
I can choose to replace the battery if I want or just like any other older car, let it go to someone that will find a way to use it. In the case of a battery car I can buy another 5 to 8 years of life for the car, regardless of the resale value of the car, and I'm not turning an old gas guzzler back out on the road if it was an older ICE.
No one seems to have an issue with the thousands of ICE cars that are cast aside for various reasons. Suddenly a car with a recyclable battery pack is a problem?
There are lots of folks buying old Priusessess and putting all kinds of battery mods in them. And getting 50+ mpg. I can see a Leaf with an upgraded battery made new again.
Not going to touch the CO2 issue, a few electric cars is not going to fix that issue.

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