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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-29-07, 11:14 PM   #1
donrhummy
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What do you guys think of this look at increasing energy needs?

I think it's a good, fair, well researched look at the problem.

http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/27/0432/3533
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Old 01-30-07, 08:49 AM   #2
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good one !
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Old 01-30-07, 05:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
I think it's a good, fair, well researched look at the problem.

http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/27/0432/3533
I guess I am a little overwhelmed by the article. It's like a small book and very technical.

But just this one general comment: I see a lot interest in the US with Green Tech. Silicon Valley is raising lot of venture dollars to implement some of these types of ideas. Undoubtedly some of them are good; others are pipe dreams.

But what's happening here is that the US is looking for a technology fix to solve climate change (and peak oil and the global oil-political fiasco). I think the real answer is that we already have the technology to deal with global warming. We have bicycles and feet for transportation. We have simple simple techniques that would reduce CO2 emissions in the household. Our grandfathers lived in a society that undoubtedly used a lot less energy... so I'm arguing that...ok... let's look at technology, but don't forget that we also need to change radically as a society.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gerv
I guess I am a little overwhelmed by the article. It's like a small book and very technical.

But just this one general comment: I see a lot interest in the US with Green Tech. Silicon Valley is raising lot of venture dollars to implement some of these types of ideas. Undoubtedly some of them are good; others are pipe dreams.

But what's happening here is that the US is looking for a technology fix to solve climate change (and peak oil and the global oil-political fiasco). I think the real answer is that we already have the technology to deal with global warming. We have bicycles and feet for transportation. We have simple simple techniques that would reduce CO2 emissions in the household. Our grandfathers lived in a society that undoubtedly used a lot less energy... so I'm arguing that...ok... let's look at technology, but don't forget that we also need to change radically as a society.
Uh, sure, but...which is an easier fix that has the bigger impact on the environment: changing electric companies to use wind/solar/nuclear power instead of coal, changing cars to use electric power instead of gas or to get the majority of the 280 million people in the United States to change the way they live and move around (and to make them more physically active)? Seriously.
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Old 01-31-07, 01:07 PM   #5
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Uh, sure, but...which is an easier fix that has the bigger impact on the environment: changing electric companies to use wind/solar/nuclear power instead of coal, changing cars to use electric power instead of gas or to get the majority of the 280 million people in the United States to change the way they live and move around (and to make them more physically active)? Seriously.
I'll take a crack at this one. Any answer to this question is going to be based on speculation, but there is enough information out there to make an educated guess. Here's mine: The typical American lifestyle with heavy car use, heavy use of heating fuel, etc. will be impossible to sustain even if we use the resources we have more efficiently. Getting americans to voluntarily reduce their energy use a lot probably won't happen, but energy prices will eventually rise so that people in developed countries everywhere will involuntarily reduce their energy use. Many things that are now done by machines will continue to be done by machines; some will not because with higher fuel costs human labor will be cheaper.
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Old 01-31-07, 06:35 PM   #6
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I'm at this site all the time. I've got my eyes on a potential energy crisis all the time. Similar sites are peakoil.com and energybulletin.net.

I've thought about it a lot and I've decided that as much as bicycles can energy in the US, people are not going to bike more unless they're forced to-- a la the '70s during the embargo.

If you read up on peak oil, you'll see that once peak sets in, the crisis will seem to have no end. I think the crisis will be defined by people moving out of the exburbs and low density suburbs and into more densely populated areas or areas with good transportation infrastructure (rail, water). If this is the case, I think you'll see people forced onto bikes-- not necessarily because of the lack of fuel but because there's no room for cars.

The real question in my mind is what's the optimum population density? A great majority of the people in the US will not tolerate being packed in like people are in Tokyo Japan (there's even no room for bikes-- where people usually walk and take the train). It won't be too long before driving everywhere (like you have to in most suburbs) becomes too expensive. I think the new-urbanist planners have the right idea. Too bad you can't reformat cities as easily as you can a hard drive.
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Old 01-31-07, 07:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
Uh, sure, but...which is an easier fix that has the bigger impact on the environment: changing electric companies to use wind/solar/nuclear power instead of coal, changing cars to use electric power instead of gas or to get the majority of the 280 million people in the United States to change the way they live and move around (and to make them more physically active)? Seriously.
I think your view of society is too pessimistic. After all, most folks don't throw their trash in the street and a good majority are willing to recycle paper, plastics and so on. This is a behavior that these people learned and, in the same way, the folks who now dump tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere may come to the realization that their current behavior is unhealthy or unhygenic. But if we continue to say it will never happen, then... guess what... you're right...
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Old 01-31-07, 10:45 PM   #8
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I think your view of society is too pessimistic. After all, most folks don't throw their trash in the street and a good majority are willing to recycle paper, plastics and so on. This is a behavior that these people learned and, in the same way, the folks who now dump tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere may come to the realization that their current behavior is unhealthy or unhygenic. But if we continue to say it will never happen, then... guess what... you're right...
Incorrect. People recycle and don't throw trash all over the street because they were FORCED to do so. If you don't recycle (in most places where they have recycling) you get fined. As for throwing trash all over the place, in reality people do it all over the place in NY city (and some in Boston/LA) but only when they're sure they won't get caught. They don't do it in front of their building with their building trash because they'll be fined, but I see people litter all the time.

The majority of people will only make the change if they're forced to.
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Old 02-01-07, 10:56 AM   #9
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The majority of people will only make the change if they're forced to.
I would have to agree. What do you think it will take for most suburbanites to park their cars? What about downsizing their houses? Well, the house part won't matter much. By the time they accept what is happening their houses will be worthless.
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Old 02-01-07, 12:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jondoh
I've thought about it a lot and I've decided that as much as bicycles can energy in the US, people are not going to bike more unless they're forced to-- a la the '70s during the embargo.
You are being over optimistic then. I was pedaling then. Not one person I knew of started bicycling instead of driving back then, even with having to deal with gas lines etc. You'll pry steering wheels out of peoples cold dead hands before you get them to bicycle.

I was taking a community college illustration class at the peak of the crisis. I pedaled 12 miles in to class because not only was I out of district, but I was in the second district away. Everyone else in class drove like 4 miles max and I was the only one with a perfect attendance record. Giving up their car is more than most Americans can deal with it. People are no more likely to give up their car than their TV. How likely is that? Ron Cobb expressed it so well.

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Old 02-02-07, 06:54 PM   #11
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You are being over optimistic then. I was pedaling then. Not one person I knew of started bicycling instead of driving back then, even with having to deal with gas lines etc. You'll pry steering wheels out of peoples cold dead hands before you get them to bicycle.
ArtKansas, I still remember that the crisis did cause many people to drive much smaller cars... at least until the invention of the SUV. Of course, even if they were driving Toyota Priuses, that probably would not buy the planet that much extra time. Perhaps we could invent a "pedal" car with a derailleur drive?
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Old 02-04-07, 11:49 AM   #12
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good article
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Old 02-04-07, 12:14 PM   #13
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ArtKansas, I still remember that the crisis did cause many people to drive much smaller cars... at least until the invention of the SUV. Of course, even if they were driving Toyota Priuses, that probably would not buy the planet that much extra time. Perhaps we could invent a "pedal" car with a derailleur drive?
It's true, people were trading in their LTD's for a Pinto back then.

Pedal Cars like these?
http://www.velomobileusa.com/

http://home.mindspring.com/~kb7mxu/trikes5.htm

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Old 02-04-07, 09:54 PM   #14
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I want one of those!
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Old 02-04-07, 10:19 PM   #15
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The go-one is sweet. And only $13,950 Canadian for the base model! With Tiagra!
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Old 02-04-07, 10:58 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
It's true, people were trading in their LTD's for a Pinto back then.

Pedal Cars like these?
http://www.velomobileusa.com/

http://home.mindspring.com/~kb7mxu/trikes5.htm

I bet that thing steams up pretty good when you are on a long ride. You probably need an ice scraper too if you rode it in temperatures like we are seeing today... 3F! Unless it comes with electric defrost.
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Old 02-04-07, 11:21 PM   #17
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It's true, people were trading in their LTD's for a Pinto back then.
Been there, done that. Big gain in gas mileage, 11 mpg to 22 mpg. LOL At least it was a Pinto station wagon, room to haul the bike if I had to.


That pedal car looks very claustraphobic to me, and a minor speed bump for some "Truckzilla" type. As for now, give me the wind in my face any day.
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Old 02-05-07, 07:30 PM   #18
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If they got the ventilation right, the canopy shouldn't fog up.

The cockpit of the velomobile is very similar to a glider. With an air intake up front and vents in the back to establish airflow, you can be remarkably comfortable in a wide varienty of temperatures, and canopy fogging isn't an issue.

Just don't close the vent when it's cold, or you'll ice over pretty fast.
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Old 02-07-07, 01:39 PM   #19
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And only $13,950 Canadian for the base model!
That's about the same price as the cheapest economy cars, and twice the price of a high-end motorscooter, isn't it?

Quote:
A great majority of the people in the US will not tolerate being packed in like people are in Tokyo Japan (there's even no room for bikes-- where people usually walk and take the train).
They won't tolerate being packed in until it turns out to be far more affordable than any other option. People often adapt when it's the only way to survive-- sometimes before then, but sometimes not.
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