Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Emote Your Greenieness

Ok, so now that we have pointed out logically the issues with electric vehicles (EV) let’s move over to the emotional side of the argument. We’ll still use facts and logic, but we are going to throw in some touchy-feely stuff so the liberals and progressives can feel at home here on PACNW Righty.

I will never argue that doing the right by the environment is a bad thing, unless doing the right thing for the environment is wrong in every other aspect of our lives. Recycling is a GREAT thing. There is little to no impact on the individual and it just makes sense to recycle. We are a planet with finite resources; why not use things over and over again? Cleaner air and water are also good goals to pursue. The impact on an individual’s health is positive. And the economic impacts, while there, are not always felt directly.

This push for greener cars is going to have a direct impact on the individual. It is going to years (maybe decades) before the EV is affordable for most. $43K to $50K for what is essentially a subcompact hatchback is not affordable. At this price range we are talking about vehicles such as Cadillac’s and well equipped trucks and SUVs. In other words; family cars and entry-level luxury models. When young people are starting out, they are looking at cars priced in the $10K to $15K range. Not many of these cars could be considered good for a family much larger than a toddler or two. Want to fit two teenage boys in the back? Forget about it!

How about those that cannot afford a new car? How about that single mom working a low paying waitress job that the left is always fond of throwing in our faces as an example of how evil we are? Can she afford to purchase a Leaf or a Volt? This would be a great car for her, if it were affordable. But she would struggle to purchase a used hatchback in working order. Even if there was an EV available, chances are it will need a new set of batteries (at $25K+).

If President Obama and his minions decide they need to force folks into the EV market by artificially inflating the price of gas through taxation (or stupidity), they are going to hurt those they supposedly champion. If gas gets to $10 a gallon, do you think the single mom is going to be able to afford fill up her tank so she can get to work? Not a chance. She certainly won’t be able to get an EV, so she’ll be stuck with a gas-powered car, trying to fill it up at $10 a gallon.

Switching gears here, let’s look at the environmental impact of the EVs.

[According to] Jeff Doyle, director of public-private partnerships here at WSDOT, “People are choosing electric because it costs about 2 cents per mile, compared to 12 cents or more with gasoline.” (Source: WSDOT Blog)

Is it going to remain at 2 cents, or will increased demand cause an increase in the costs? When demand exceeds supply the result is almost always an increase in the price. Right now, the PACNW probably has the capacity to fold the EVs into the power grid. But how about in the future when more and more of these cars are plugged into the grid? Here in the PACNW, this really won’t be much of an issue in the short term, we have generating capability through hydro and other means. But the generators of this hydropower sell the excess to places like California and Nevada. If the demand increases in the PACNW, will we cut off California?

The environmental impact will come in the form of increasing the electrical generating capacity. More dams will have to be built (there are some who want the dams to come down). Or will there be more nuclear power plants built at billions apiece? Some estimates put the cost per kilowatt generated at triple the more traditional power generating methods. Is the generating technology of wind and solar good enough to meet to expected demand? Don’t forget, there are many environmentalists who are fighting the building of wind and solar farms. While the reasons against these farms might be valid, the resistance from the left is a little mind-boggling.

Also to be considered is the cost and impact of the batteries needed to run the EV. I have already covered the costs in my previous post, but not the environmental impacts. The impacts are staggering. (Source: E How.com)

Mining: If there is a sustained impact to the environment that gets the greenies knickers in a know, this is probably first and foremost. Mining can tear up the earth, the slag left behind in the process is toxic and not easily rendered inert, and other processes can leave a mining area unusable for generations.

Processing: To make lithium batteries requires a tremendous amount of energy and also pollutes the water used during the cooling process and releases toxic gases.

Manufacturing: Another part of the process that is highly energy intensive as well as a producer of byproducts that need proper disposal.

Disposal: if not done properly (translation: expensive process to reclaim), then the hazardous materials contained in a battery (whether lead-base or lithium) will leach into our air and water.

The environmental impacts and the mass production of electric car batteries will result in large volumes of metal contaminated waste and place as much demand onto the power grid as traditional vehicle equipment manufacturing. Direct environmental impacts may result in reduced fishery habitat near mine sites, decreased air quality and associated lung ailments near processing facilities, and higher energy costs near factories. Indirect environmental impacts may result from increased fossil fuel used to meet factory demand. (Source: EHow.com)

The issues mentioned above are a problem, whether you support a quick transition to EVs or a more deliberate approach. No matter how you slice it, there are obstacles to overcome. For the more pragmatic among us, we like to let the technology catch up to the brilliant ideas. For the progressives, throwing money at the problem and increasing the costs are the only answer. If we follow the latter route to the end game, the increase in costs is going to be tremendous. Imagine what it will cost for a mining company to take immediate measures to mitigate the impacts mining has on the environment. What about the costs incurred for processing and manufacturing in low environmental impacting methods?

It is fortunate that we live in a day in age when news and information is so readily available to everyone. If you are interested in a subject matter, it is right there at your finger tips if you choose to do a little due diligence (research). For the leftist and progressive who wish to dominate our lives because we are too stupid to make our own decisions with their magnanimous guidance, this is troubling. No longer are they able to control the narrative through there minions in the main stream press. You can now find out if these people are blowing smoke up your shorts. While this may have the effect of stagnation, it is certainly better than the opposite. It is true they were unable to pass the health care bill despite the majority being against it. But we were able to stop cap and trade and other global warming initiatives in their tracks because we have this access to information.

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