Power This (OR Increased flexibility?)

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. […] 

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.

One Response to Power This (OR Increased flexibility?)

  1. Claire says:

    Slightly off topic, but what would be completely awesome is if you could trade in your gas/diesel powered car and have either the down payment on the new car and/or the existing amount on your lease (after a certain amount of time, say two years?) paid off by the state/federal government and the car companies. Some kind of subsidy for going from gas to electric – an incentive, whatever you want to call it. I know it will never happen, but it’s nice to dream. Well, ok. They might have some kind of tax incentive, but no one’s going to go for the amount of money I’m talking.

    What might be more practical is the opposite end of the spectrum – people who are nursing old cars along because they can’t afford the down payment and a lease/loan payment every month. It would be really nice to get cars that are less efficient off the road. Now, if you were going to get every “less efficient” car off the road it would mean yanking a whole bunch of SUVs off the road too. I don’t know that most of the owners would mind, gas prices what they are. I wonder how much, if anything, people are getting as trade in value for a 4 or more year old SUV?

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