I’m going to take a moment from my regularly schedule hectic week to reiterate Dave’s point about electric vehicles:
plug-ins are the first thing that will make a serious dent in the amount of gasoline that we burn that can be brought onto the market in the next half-decade or so. As said, that doesn’t necessarily prima facie mean that we’re reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere, but I do believe it puts us in a better position to make improvements.
Think of it as centralizing your energy source… part of the difficulty we face now is that we have a huge fleet of gas guzzling car, trucks, SUVs, etc. on the roads today. Even if there were a panacea, it would take many, many years to convert the nation’s automobile fleet to vehicles that don’t spew tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
If we begin moving to plug in hybrid, or straight electric, cars now, we begin the process of removing street emitted carbon sooner. The electricity does come from somewhere, true. And, yes, it may come from the ever-so-dirty coal power plants. But, as our energy production migrates (hopefully) to renewables (wind, solar, hydro, etc) or, by some miracle, carbon sequestration acheives viability (no, I’m not rooting for it, but someone will), we’ll be ahead of the curve. We’ll just need to transition our power source, not our entire fleet of cars.
It’s all about baby steps… we’ve sat on our hands long enough, we need to do now those things we can do now. Hybrids already exist, although their gains are limited. Plug-in hybrids are immediately feasible, as are electric cars. Let’s start there. Heck, let’s start sacrificing horsepower for efficiency… or at least give the consumer that option.
Additionally, think about this side effect of more electric cars (with giant batteries) from Marketplace:
Ed Legge is spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association. […]
Legge: Plug-in hybrids actually are one way that could give us a giant virtual battery.
Legge says some utilities eventually hope to borrow electricity from electric car batteries during peak energy hours. The cars would recharge at night, when demand is at its lowest.