Living Car Free - Commentary: Kicking the oil habit
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05-31-06, 01:08 PM
Looks like Robert Redford is taking up the call to find real solutions to the oil problem. Damn liberals.:D
05-31-06, 01:42 PM
when people stop talking and start doing it..!
weren't people doing this in the 70's crisis..
I say make every major downtown amercia car free! (light public transport)
They're pushing the ethanol option.
The story behind the story, the dog that isn't barking, is that there is a developing consensus across the whole political spectrum that it may not be possible in the future to rely on oil to power our automobiles.
This may be the first milestone on the road that eventually leads to the passing of car culture.
ethanol wont be a replacement for oil, not on any scale
05-31-06, 04:45 PM
Yeah, ethanol doesn't seem to be a likely solution despite the buzz
"Replacing a year's worth of U.S. gasoline consumption with sugar cane-based ethanol would require a swath of farmland a little smaller than California. Replacing that gasoline with less efficient corn-based ethanol, which the United States produces lots of, would require farmland the size of Texas."
05-31-06, 06:21 PM
If we legalize hemp for personal
cultivation and 'use' as well as
commercial production, we wouldn't
have to worry about transportation.
People would just stay stoned and
home tending their gardens everyday!
But I am in favor of Car Free Cities and
opening at least one lane of every freeway
to bicycles in each direction in these great
United States. Light Rail, ethanol, 60 mpg
COLA standards, diesel cars running on
canola oil, it is all good.
That, and solar heating and power for
homes with wind power where appropriate
to further lighten the dependence on oil
All of this WAS possible 30 years ago
but BIG OIL and Detroit in cahoots with
Ronnie Rayguns defeated the idea of energy
independence in favor of World DOMINATION!
Anybody seen the recent articles about hybrid vehicles? Here's one:
Apparently the overall energy cost over the lifetime of a hybrid vehicle is more than some SUVs.
None of the things Redford mentioned are really solutions, they are just stop-gap measures. Cars aren't environmentally sustainable even if they ran on sunshine and moonbeams. There's a lot of energy involved in making cars and providing their natural habitat of streets and parking lots.
Do we really want to run cars on plant matter? I can easily imagine a future where half of America is starving but the rich are riding around in armor plated Hummers, happily burning ethanol. After all, it wasn't the potato famine that killed so many Irish way back when, it was the fact that they were too poor to buy the food that was available.
unless a replacement is found for fossil fuels with the same energy density and handling properties, cars are a dying dead end phenomenon, it just isnt sustainable on any scale of any size, the laws of physics and thermodynamics dont get rewritten just cause we need them to :)
hybrids are bad idea, even electric cars wont work either
only long term sustainable solution ive seen thus far is something thats been around for about 100 years, electrified rail transport for mass transit combined with bicycle and foot traffic, all of these combined mean an end to the current american way of life as it stands now
hybrids are bad idea, even electric cars wont work either
I dunno, I think electric cars might work. Not with batteries, but with overhead wires like the ones used for Seattle buses. If, when the price of oil skyrockets,* we still manage to have consumer goods that come from far away I think it'll require trains and large trucks both running off of overhead wires. I also think that when goods from far away become too expensive, people are going to get over their fear of nuclear power and demand that nuclear plants be built rather than learn to live without non-local foods and manufactured goods. They'll also want nuclear plants just so they can have lights, computers, cooking appliances, cooling appliances, etc.
*due to a decrease in world supply and an increase in demand in Asia
Electric cars are ok on a small scale, but I really cant see the 200 million vehicles on the road in the US being replaced with them. Batteries are a big big problem, not only disposal, but lifespan, range, and traffic accidents. Imagine a car with 1000lbs or more of batteries getting in a bad wreck. Electric using external supply is doable as youve mentioned, and its even better on rails, steel on steel is about as low as you can get friction wise and still be able to haul stuff well. We are just going to have to sacrifice a modicum of independence, may be like pulling teeth to get some folks to do it, but faced with the alternatives I think it will be ok :)
Electric cars do work, there are thousands on the roads in America alone. They've been working longer than gas cars. Ask the owners. (http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/ev-list-archive/)
-Lead batteries are actually the most recycled product in the U.S. Disposal isn't a problem: Turning dead batteries into new batteries is a thriving business.
Ya, thousands, among 200+ million gasoline/diesel cars, things change dramatically with scale. Sure, batteries can be recycled, but you start talking about fleet replacement of all the cars on the road and this gets really out of hand. The efficiency losses alone mean the same answer as any of the other alternatives, less driving and less energy usage.
06-02-06, 10:39 PM
There are many other things that can be done, not saying that it wont take time to adjust or that there are no inherent problems butó
Urban HP limits, like motor boat hp limits on small lakes.
Living closer to work or the places that you have to go frequently.
Giving strangers rides.
Electronic control systems that let cars track a foot behind each other to cut down on wind resistance.
More subterranean housing construction. Cut heating and ac.
Electic mowers and lawn gear
None of these can make up for millions of years of production that make fossil fuels so attractive. What ever takes the place of oil will be much more expensive, and take a long time to mature as a technology. Even Robert Redford is selling a bill of goods, but he has not realized it yet. The oil optimists and pessimists agree that the oil will peak from now, to 2020. I cant see how with growing demand that there is 40 years left.
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