The promise of plug-ins

Written by Stan

Topics: Coal, Oil

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RAN members often ask us why we’re so crazy about plug-ins (a.k.a. Plug-in Hybrids, a.k.a. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, a.k.a. PHEVs). A new report from fellow environmental non-profit NRDC (a.k.a. Natural Resource Defense Council) and EPRI (a.k.a. Electric Power Research Institute) lays it out pretty well. Why we’re so crazy about acronyms is a different question. Anyway, to quote the summary:

PHEVs offer the potential for reducing both emissions and fuel consumption, simultaneously addressing the issues of global warming and the nation’s dependence on imported oil.

Climate change and extractive industries (such as drilling for oil and mining for coal) are two of the largest threats to pristine ecosystems and their inhabitants all over the world, as well as being significant problems on their own. While we would never disagree with those saying that dusting off that old bike in the garage accomplishes the same stuff (and I ride zero-emission mass transit to work each morning myself), it’s undeniable that plug-ins are the route that automakers must take if they are serious about cutting vehicle emissions drastically and quickly enough to curb climate change. You can help us convince them over at FreedomFromOil.org.

One of the best reasons to plug in is that while oil can never be clean, the electric grid can only get cleaner over time. That’s why RAN’s Global Finance campaign is busy stopping new coal-fired powerplants and keeping banks from funding them altogether.

My personal transportation hero is Dave Raboy, a friend of RAN’s who fuels his all-electric truck (nothing hybrid about it!) with residential solar panels (his story is available on the NYTimes website, subscription required). He’s justifiably proud of the fact that since he bought his truck it “has cost me nothing to run. No maintenance, no oil changes, no gas.”

Update: Even the San Francisco Chronicle is raving about plug-ins today.

18 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Luke says:

    It’s also easier to clean up and develop efficiencies in a central power-making location, rather than keeping track of emissions and efficiency on millions of individual vehicles.

  2. David says:

    I just don’t get why RAN just keeps supporting the idea that we can all keep driving personal vehicles happily ever after. Hybrids have been on the road for almost 10 years, and are still a niche vehicle that only make up about 3% of sales. Emissions from cars have gotten worse in that time because thinking that there is some “silver-bullet” techno-fix distracts us from looking at the real problems.

    That EPRI report looks at PHEV’s getting phased in over many decades (they cite only a 60% use by 2050!) and we just don’t have the time to wait. They’ll reduce emissions, but not remotely enough, and on a timeline that is useless. By 2050 we should be off fossil fuels entirely. 100%. This isn’t radical thinking, this is what a 90% reduction in emissions will need to look like, and personal cars just aren’t going to be in that equation.

    Besides what fuels our cars, the infrastructure required to keep us all atomized in personal vehicles is a huge environmental concern. Beneath every foot of concrete used to live an ecosystem. Every dollar spent on private autos and highways is a dollar not spent on rail, transit, making bicycling work, and on redesigning urban centers to replace mobility with accessibility.

    I know Freedom From Oil gives lipservice to supporting alternatives like bikes, mass transit, and better urban planning. But everything you do seems to be about encouraging more cars and finding ways to make giant automakers more profitable. Automakers are responsible for the mess THEY and WE are in. They closed down municipal rail systems, they hooked us on oil, and they created SUV’s and Hummers.

    Do people realize that if we simply put serious resources, incentives, or mandates into carpooling we have essentially just doubled fuel economy? Put 3 people in a car and we’ve tripled it? I know carpooling isn’t a sexy campaign but that would do much more for reducing emissions and oil usage, and would actually follow RAN’s motto to “Challenge Corporate Power” from the automakers.

  3. Kristen says:

    I agree with David in that it is frustrating the large environmental NPOs like RAN are only reinforcing the status quo that people NEED to drive cars instead of focusing efforts on redesigning society and re-focusing our investments on sustainable transportation such as biking, walking and transit.

    Pollution caused by automobile use is often misrepresented – and holding up electric car owners in esteem reinforces this idea by making them into “green heroes”. Hybrid and electric cars are not the green solution when considering that on average cars produce 1/3 of the lifetime pollution in production alone and that hybrids and electric cars are often more polluting upon disposal due to their batteries. Before a car is ever driven it has already produced 15 tons of CO2, the pollution equivalent of driving a conventional car 35,000 miles. Besides the pollution that goes into making new cars, there is additional pollution from road building, runoff from roads that pollute fresh water supplies, and loss of biodiversity due to collisions and habitat fragmentation.

    Studies have also shown that people who own electric and hybrid cars tend to drive more miles than those with conventional gas guzzlers because it is cheaper for them to do so. This is turn contributes to negating any positive affect these cars have. If you do the math and consider all the pollution that has gone into just the making of that new hybrid or electric car, you may find it’s more “eco-friendly” to buy a used car instead. Just because emissions don’t come from the tail pipe, doesn’t mean they don’t come from somewhere else.

    Thus, in order to truly address global warming and environmental sustainability we must dramatically reduce car trips. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and consumer of motor vehicles with production reaching 12.2 million units in 2002 (that’s 183 million tons of CO2 produced before these cars and trucks hit the road). Also, approximately 12 million cars are dumped each year5 creating an additional 72 million tons of CO2.

    It’s no surprise that the automobile is the transportation mode of choice when the U.S. spends roughly $47 billion on highways each year. The last federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU passed in 2005) allocated 78% of funds to highway projects yet included less than 2% of funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects. In order to shift transportation mode share away from private automobiles and towards bicycling, walking and transit, we must invest more heavily in these areas. Wouldn’t the energy of environmental NPOs on the green transportation issue be better spent helping convince people to get out of their cars and governments to shift more money into sustainable alternatives such as biking, walking, and transit?

    Sources:
    1 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/aqfactbk/page13.htm.
    2 Report by Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelberg , 1994 “Oeko-bilanz eines autolebens”, Umweltund Prognose- Institut Heidelberg. Landstrasse 118a, D69121, Heidelberg, Germany.
    3 Lester Lave, Chris Hendrickson, Francis Clay McMichael, “Environmental Impacts of Electric Cars,” Science, Vol. 268, 19 May 1995, p. 993-995.
    4 Ward’s Automotive Yearbook. Detroit: Ward’s Report, Inc., 2003, p. 14.
    5 Griffith, Charles, et al.“Toxics in Vehicles: Mercury Implications for Recycling and Disposal.” Ecology CenterGreat Lakes United, University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies, January 2001.

  4. Jim Swanson says:

    All hail the hybrid car!! Lets call it the Coupe de Coup, for the coup pulled off by the automobile industry in the greatest co-optation of environmentalists ever. Can you hear the cackling and uproarious laughter coming from their boardrooms? Somebody earned their bonus.

    Putting RAN’s stamp of approval on a car that relies on the same extractive technologies you claim to be fighting is counterproductive at best. Where’s all that clean electricity coming from? I invite you to take one of your many plane trips to West Virginia, to a community directly affected by mountaintop removal. Go ahead and drink the water.

    It is probably very difficult to resist the guilt appeasement industry, but please use your well-funded energy in a more positive way. We cannot drive our way out of global warming and we cannot carbon-offset our way out of it either. That is, unless warmer weather and a bit more shoreline sounds OK. Then you can bask in the smug self-satisfaction of being a ‘player.’

    (don’t) Drive on!
    Jim Swanson

  5. Stan says:

    Looks like there’s a great discussion going on here. I hadn’t expected this post to be controversial (just assumed that getting the millions of cars on the road off of oil would be seen as a positive thing). :)

    Anyway, since you all are busting out statistics on me (and I’m just the web designer), I’ve invited the Freedom from Oil Campaign Director to join the discussion.

  6. Sarah says:

    This is Sarah, Director of the Freedom From Oil campaign. Thanks for your thoughtful comments David and Kristen. You’re stats on climate are right on and we agree that an ecological U-turn is going to require the massive change that you both call for. However, it’s not true that RAN “supports the idea that we can all keep driving personal vehicles happily ever after” or that we advocate that people “NEED” to drive cars.

    As you can see from our website, our vision is

    “A world with no gasoline stations, no oil-funded dictatorships, no oil wars, no oil spills, and no refineries. We believe everyone should have access to mass transit and a better bicycle transportation infrastructure.”

    To achieve this vision, we need all the change makers, from bikers to urban planners to automakers to electric vehicle drivers. And as you know, RAN’s expertise is in challenging corporate targets to comply with widespread public support for environmental protection. And that’s still what we need out of the auto industry—accountability for its contribution to the oil addiction and global warming and a speedy and just transition away from gas guzzling cars, trucks and SUVs.

    In my experience, the best way to build a movement is to find common ground for collaboration. I do think that electric vehicle drivers are heroes, because they walk the talk (unfortunately i know too many environmentalists who still drive a old guzzler Ford truck or the like). But the folks at the Bus Riders Union in LA and at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (I’m a member) are heroes as well. Let’s build a movement where we can recognize them all and figure out how to get them to work together towards common solutions.

    In that spirit, I’d love to continue this conversation beyond the blogosphere and make sure that we are building strong alliances with all our passionate stakeholders. Feel free to give my direct line a call at 415-659-0520.

    Peace.

  7. Earl Killian says:

    Voltaire’s observation about the perfect vs. the good is relevant here. It would be best if the U.S. addressed its addiction to personal transportation, but if you hold out for that, you might lose the whole planet. In the short term (and we desparately need to start solving global warming in the next 5 years), it is much more likely that we can get people to switch their personal transporation from the planet killing kind to less damaging forms than it is that we can get them to give up personal transportation altogether.

  8. Kristen says:

    But no one is asking them to give up personal transportation (bicycles and two feet meet this definition). My point was that given the TOTAL LIFE CYCLE pollution of ALL cars, it could be less damaging to the planet to buy and drive a used car than to go out and buy a new plug in or hybrid. The greenwashing of these new cars is what needs to be revealed.

    Even more “earth-friendly” would be for the person to bike or walk (or use transit, especially for short trips. According to Environmental Defense, “If everyone who lives within 5 miles of their workplace left their car at home just one day a week and cycled to work, nearly 5 million tons of global warming pollution would be saved every year — like taking about a million cars off the road.”

    But as long as environmental non-profits keep telling people they can still drive and be green (which the above org. is also guilt of), this will continue to reinforce the cultural norm of personal automobile ownership.

    This is not about being perfect, but about uncovering attempts to greenwash cars and focusing our limited energies and dollars towards truly sustainable solutions.

  9. Climate experts tell us that we have 10 years to start to drastically reduce our carbon emissions if we’re to avoid the worst effects of global warming. I doubt that within 10 years we can get significant numbers of Americans out of their cars, but we can put plugs on those cars and significantly reduce their carbon emissions.

    Driving on electricity also makes one much more aware of energy efficiency and emissions. I know that from first-hand experience, and I’ve seen it in other electric vehicle (EV) drivers. I’ve also noticed that EV drivers are much more likely than others to have solar panels on their homes.

    I bike, walk, and take transit (electric!) for 98% of my transportation. My partner and I also share an electric car. We haven’t been to a gas station in 5 years. Solar panels on our home offset the energy needs of our home and car.

    When plug-in hybrids become available, they don’t necessarily have to use fossil fuels as the backup to the electric drive. It could be biodiesel.

    It’s true that today’s U.S. electrical grid is 52% dirty, nasty coal. Dozens of studies have shown, however, that even on that grid, it’s cleaner to drive on electricity than to drive on gasoline. See summaries of 30-some studies on the FAQ page of my website, http://www.sherryboschert.com. I’m about to add the NRDC study and a dozen or so others that support these findings.

    This is not an either-or battle (support biking and transit, or support electrifying cars). We need ALL these solutions to deal with global warming at the speed it demands. That’s one of the themes of my book.

    Full disclosure: I’m on the steering committee of Plug In America, I’m president of the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association, and I’m author of the book Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America.

  10. Paul Scott says:

    I agree that the electricfication of the petroleum based vehicle fleet isn’t going to solve the problems as described by David and Kristen above, but EV advocates have never claimed to be solving those problems.

    Before I ever got involved with the EV movement, I was, and am still, a population activist. That is the forum for the important questions of sprawl and lack of workable mass transit, etc. All of the world’s big problems stem from overpopulation.

    I live in Santa Monica, and before that I lived in Eugene. To get any appreciable percentage of the drivers in either community to take mass transit or ride bikes is close to impossible, at least until we fully internalize all the costs of using oil in the price at the pump. That day is approaching, but given the selfishness of Americans and their unwillingness to allow a carbon tax, it’s still a ways off.

    For the 230 million vehicle drivers in the U.S. driving on petroleum, we have to offer an alternative to this horribly polluting energy source. Electricity does just that.

    As for those who still claim that coal will drive the EVs, please take the time to read the NRDC/EPRI report and get educated. First of all, if you have a problem with dirty coal electricity, and you should, then why are you using that same dirty electricity to run you house? You should immediately sign up for renewable power from your utility, or buy a solar PV system for your house. Once the energy that runs your house is renewable, then your car will run on the same clean energy.

    But that aside, the NRDC report clearly shows that a worst case scenario for electricity is still cleaner than the best case scenario for gas cars. In terms of the environmental effect, EVs are vastly superior to gas.

    But there are many other reasons to go electric that are equally as important.

    Once you go electric, you no longer give money to the oil companies. The billions they make in profit will no longer contain YOUR dollars. You will no longer enable them to use your money to lobby government to benefit them at your expense. Multiply yourself by millions of others and you begin to get a sense of why the economic consequences of going electric are so important.

    No longer will you be giving money to the Saudis who are using some of the oil money to buy bullets that kill our soldiers. We are sending hundreds of billions out of our country every year to buy foriegn oil. All of our electricity is local or regional. Buying kWh to run your car is equivalent to paying well under a dollar a gallon for gas.

    Let’s keep this discussion on the right track. If you want to talk about overpopulation, there are plenty of good forums for that.

  11. Earl Killian says:

    Kristen cites a 1995 Science Policy Forum piece (not a journal article), which I just read. I do not know if Lave’s claims in that piece were correct in 1995 (they did generate many subsequent challenges), but they are certainly not true or relevant now. I suggest Kristen go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm and do a side-by-side comparison of the 2002 Toyota RAV4-EV and 2002 Toyota RAV4 2WD automatic. Many of the data from this page are generated by a sophisticated Wells-to-Wheels program called GREET from Argonne National Labs, so this addresses the pollution elsewhere concern. Note that the RAV4 is 2.05 times the greenhouse gas emissions of its EV counterpart. The EV uses 0.3 barrels of oil, vs. 14.9 barrels per year for the internal combustion engine (ICE) version. The EV air pollution score is 10/10 (Best); the ICE is 2/10. One reason for the tremendous advantages of the EV version of the vehicle is its 4.9 times greater efficiency (112 MPG equivalent vs. 23 MPG). Amtrak passenger trains only get 39 MPG equivalent (44 MPG for U.S. commuter rail). Five years after the 2002 RAV4-EV, we should be able to do even better.

    Lave also cites battery disposal as an issue. According to Wikipedia, lead acid battery recycling rates are 97%. I would expect relatively more valuable nickel and lithium in advanced batteries should eventually be recycled at even higher rates. Lead mining has been falling since the 1970s even as total use has increased, which is again an indication of the success of recycling.

    Kristen suggests buying a used car instead of a hybrid. Given that a Honda Civic generates 1.4 times its own weight (1.3 tons) in excess CO2 each year (6.3 tons minus 4.4 tons = 1.9 tons), compared to a Honda Civic Hybrid, I think this is a horrible idea for the planet’s climate. If the Honda Civic hybrid were a plug-in, the CO2 produced would be even less.

  12. Todd Edelman says:

    Why do these discussions almost always focus on the energy use of cars (specifically, their energy source for movement) rather than all the other negatives of personal automobilisation? (For example: Huge amount of space needed for movement and parking, enabling of suburbanisation – and all the energy that takes, from construction of infrastructure to continuing absurd size of refrigerators because the stores are so far away to get to by foot so if you go less often it makes sense to buy more at once, encouragement of obesity, “counter-socialization” – e.g. Oh there’s our neighbour in their car powered by baby poop, if they weren’t moving so fast we could say how much we like that, drunk driving, speeding, roadkill, tire-road surface noise, mobility elitism – people who can afford cars vs. people who can’t, and so on.)

    The problem with energy and cars is not that there is a big oil addiction, but more so that there is a big personal automobile addiction, mainly in cities and their suburbs. And, like I said, it goes way beyond energy, too.

    But, IF electricification of cars is a good way to save energy for mobility, than the best thing to do – in addition to electrifying our transit vehicles – is to apply this technology to shared cars, while at the same we – as quickly as possible – transition away from cities in which people feel they need any kind of cars, to ones which are inherently car-unnecessary AND car-unpleasurable. (In regards to transit vehicles, sometimes liquid fuel or gas from waste is a good alternative to electrification).

    Sarah, is it really fair to compare the heroism of electric vehicle drivers to that of cyclists and transit riders? I don’t think so, because I think any kind of personal cars – and everything connected with them – are not a sustainable model both for Americans and the whole world.

    Americans use so much energy that just reducing a car’s energy use is not nearly enough to reduce their carbon emissions so they can say they are “carbon heroes” or whatever. They need to go way beyond (below) this.

    We can go on about what we can expect typical American people to do, but we cannot accept this. We need to push and push and push them to do much better. They need to be Global Heroes, not just American ones.

    Partial disclosure: I have a small consultancy called Green Idea Factory which is a member of World Carfree Network.

  13. Earl Cox says:

    I agree that it would be nice to go with efficient public transit powered by clean sources (diesel buses don’t count in my mind), however, I don’t see anyone with a plausible action plan to make this happen throughout most of the US. The EV/PHEV plans are plausible because they only require defiance of the status quo industry (Oil and Internal Combustion), not the status quo American lifestyle at the same time.
    As soon as someone comes up with a realizable plan to provide adequate public transportation in the US, I’ll happily support it as well. I’m currently looking for a way to start pushing for LA to clean up it’s pathetic mass transit system but don’t yet see a path.

  14. Earl Killian says:

    In response to Todd: The reason to concentrate on energy is that energy use from fossil fuels is destroying the ecology of the planet faster than any other damage we do. That doesn’t make the other damage unimportant, but it makes the damage from fossil fuels the first priority. James Hansen estimates we need to keep the CO2 content of the atmosphere under 450ppm. We’re at 383ppm, and adding CO2 at 2ppm each year. If business as usual continues, then the 2ppm will increase over time, so there’s less than 30 years to get the numbers down dramatically. In fact, we need a 90% reduction by 2050, and probably 20% by 2020.

    The reason fossil fuel use is so problematic is because the numbers are so staggering large and unlike many pollutants, greenhouse gases last a long time (CO2 remains in the atmosphere 200-1000 years), so each year we add enormously to what we have done in the last 100 years. In 2005 the U.S. drove 2.8 trillion vehicle miles at 19.8 MPG (4.5 trillion passenger miles). The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were about 1.2 pounds/mi, or 1.7 billion tons total. Thus a relatively static (though large) vehicle infrastructure produces an enormous yearly *addition* to the previous ecology damaging base.

    Now imagine there are 1,000 activists willing to work 15 years on the “car problem”. They can (1) do nothing; (2) try to get people to walk/bicycle, or (3) try to make the energy use of cars more efficient (e.g. plug-in hybrids).
    In scenario (1), vehicle miles traveled increases to 3.9 trillion and stays at 1.2 pounds per mile, so 2022 GHG emissions are 2.4 billion tons. In (2), VMT only increases to 3.8 trillion miles as the result of activism (100 billion miles saved), and GHG intensity stays at 1.2 pounds per mile, so 2022 GHG emissions are 2.3 billon tons. In (3), GHG intensity reduces to 0.9 pounds per mile, so 2022 GHG emissions are 1.8 billion tons. Scenario 3 saves half a billion tons of GHG emissions over scenario 2. Now you might quibble with my numbers, but I don’t think you can come up with a way to make activism have greater impact than working on efficiency.

  15. Kristen says:

    Todd’s point was also a good one – and I think that land use is just as or even more important of an issue here. Car culture spawns sprawl, sprawl spawns car culture… If we continue to allow communities to be built in such a way that places people far away from school, work, shopping and play, they will continue to rely on personal motorized transportation and all the nasty things that come with it like deforestation, habitat fragmentation, loss of biodiversity, etc. And, deforestation as I’m sure you know is a MAJOR climate change culprit.

    On how effective bicycle/pedestrian/transit advocates can be I would set the possibilities much higher – in San Francisco the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition helped raise bicycle trips by over 100% in 10 years (from roughly 1% of all trips to work to 2%) – Mayor Newson recently set a goal for 10% of all trips to be by bike by 2010 – this may be a ambitious, but look at European cities who have made the investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure where some cities boast 30-50% of all trips by bike. Yet, in this country we continue to invest roughly $47 BLIION a year on highways that continue to divide communities, severe ecosystems and reinforce the destructive car culture. Also, when you calculate the GHG emissions saved by non-car drivers, note that there is a negative correlation between levels of biking, walking, and transit and car-ownership (see US Census data). Considering the reduced demand for cars would make your figure much greater (figuring all the lbs of CO2 saved by NOT MAKING NEW CARS in the first place)

    full disclosure: I don’t own a car, I do ride a bike, walk and take transit – and I work for wwww.thunderheadalliance.org the national coalition of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations

  16. Darell says:

    Great discussion, and I agree with many of the seemingly differing opinions. We’ve all after the same goal. We just don’t all agree on how best to get there.

    I’ve tried preaching the part of getting people out of their cars. And I actually PRACTICE what I preach, and it still doesn’t work. And it makes me wonder – how may of the people here who are frustated with support of cleaner vehicles over the support of non-vehicle use are actually practicing what they preach? Do you drive a car of any type? At all? I’m so tired of seeing giant single-driver SUVs at “No War for Oil” rallies. If you are serious about change, be that change.

    I ride my bicycle for the vast majority of my tansportation, to the tune of over 500 miles/month on average. If I must go farther or faster, I drive my solar-fueled EV. If I need to go farther than 100 miles, I take a Prius. This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

    I don’t mention my transportation stuff to be smug (as I’m so often accused) I mention it to demonstrate that I’m a non-vehicle advocate who advocates EVs. To my thinking, an EV is the easiest way to give people the transportation freedom that they still think they need now, while leaving the smallest footprint. While we’re doing this, we need to also be working on ways to reduce private automobile use, of course.

    People here have asked where all this “clean” electricity comes from. While others have answered that quite well, I’ll add that electricity is the MOST versatile flex-fuel we have. We can make it out of just about anything. We can make it at home where we use it. I maintain an EV site, and on my Rav4EV owner’s page (http://evnut.com/rav_owner_gallery.htm) We see that the majority of the owners who bothered to send me picture and information have SOLAR POWER. This is no scientific study, but I think it is still very telling. EV drivers are heros if only because they’ve proven that we still can have our high-speed mobility without feeding the oil machine.

    - Darell, the EVnut.
    Disclosure: I’m a bicycle riding, EV driving Prius owner.

  17. The biggest advantage of plug-in cars? The omnipresent, lowly plug allows drivers to literally plug into renewable energy. A standard Prius hybrid, even with vastly improved mileage, still ultimately depends on the gas pump for 100% of its energy and momentum. The plug becomes an “enabler” allowing the vehicle to be powered by a potential plethora of renewable sources. Forty-eight percent of electric vehicle drivers have installed grid-connected solar arrays on their homes or businesses. Our cars, then, essentially become household appliances that essentially move down the freeway on “gallons of sunshine.” At the present time, the most available and directly renewable energy source for plug-in transportation is the installation of roof-top solar arrays. However, as a larger percentage of the power plant pie is filled in with wind, geothermal, wave action and other futuristic, non-fossil fuel sources, we will be able to plug into a plethora of clean “fuels.” But first plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles must be available to take advantage of renewable energy. Of course it takes energy to produce any car; it takes energy to build and maintain roadways that slice like a knife through beautiful vistas and inner city blight alike. That is the unfortunate reality. But it is an irrefutable fact that people at this stage in our history are simply not going to give up the convenience of the private, instant transportation provided by that gas guzzler in the garage. Given that fact, lets hit this with everything we’ve got! Mass transit, yes. Electric mass transit, even better. Bicycles, the best! But instead of endlessly fussing and fuming about how destructive cars are, let’s demand a cleaner, cheaper domestically produced CHOICE for people. Electric transportation isn’t the whole solution, but the technology works now with an energy source that is literally already set up; no new infrastructure required. I and many others can speak to this since we have not had to pull up to the pump for years. It is an honor and a priviledge to know that my fueling source does not require that any young man or woman had to die in a foreign country so that I could “step on the gas”. I want a significant number of Americans to have the same choice that I, by some miracle, have had. Public policy should not require that we have to keep our “ears to the ground” in an eternal quest for black, oily fossilized gallons of dinosaur juice. Let’s change our focus. How about gazing upwards to the lasting and ultimate energy source that has always been available to us. Plugging into the sun certainly beats plugging into an Exxon pump any day of the week. I want Americans to have this chance along with the choice of well-planned mass transit and less urban sprawl. The problem is a multi-faceted one. Electric transportation is a huge part of the solution.

  18. Graces says:

    Cool. Well I’ve got this bookmarked then :)

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