There was electricity from coal before there was gasoline driven cars. Still they are a big part of the problem. As other people have pointed out we are literally forced to drive. That is not to overlook the damage that big ocean ships and airplanes. I mean, Coal, Oil, Hot Asphalt and kerosene are the Big Four of Death.
Still it is hard to deny the seduction of the gasoline internal combustion engine. I got my first one when i was 14. It was a 90 cc Honda Motorcycle and it meant freedom to me. I could go from small town to small town in central Illinois. Meet new people, make new friends for a Quarter (.25$) per Gallon of gas. In fact I met my first true love who was riding a dirt bike on a back road blacktop, on the Honda.
How was I to know how dangerous they are, and that does not include the ones killed by operating them.
The summer I was eighteen, I visited a parking lot forty-five minutes north of town and got behind the wheel for what I hoped would be the first real rite of my adulthood. I was tall, gangly, excitable. Less than a week earlier, following a brief stretch of test-taking at the Department of Motor Vehicles in San Francisco, I had received my learner’s permit. Learning in those days seemed easy. Tests were easy. Doing—when the matter arose at all—was hard. Behind the wheel, I made a show of adjusting the mirrors, as if preparing for a ten-mile journey in reverse. I surveyed the blank pavement ahead of me and slowly slid the gear-shift from park into drive.
Cars had been my first passion. As a two-year-old, I’d learned to recognize the make of vehicles by the logo near the fender or perched on the hood. I grew to understand the people in my life according to their cars; I learned what sort of person I was from my parents’ two old Hondas, one of which, a used beige Accord, I had gone with them to buy. My father’s lingering bachelor vehicle, a rotting yellow Civic, needed to be choked awake on dewy mornings, and I’d performed that job with relish, pulling out the knob beside the steering wheel, waiting a long moment, and pushing it back. This was the late eighties. Gas prices had fallen, and the roads were knotty with cars from across the world. I no longer remember what, as a small child, I envisaged for my future, but I know that it involved moving at speed behind the wheel.
Now, all those years later, the parking lot was virtually empty of cars, and I felt a flush of reassurance. I was learning in my parents’ highly defatigable ride, a minivan with an all-plastic interior and the turning radius of a dump truck. My teacher was my father, a flawless but not wholly valiant driver, who habitually refused to drive on certain bridges in certain directions, for fear of being, as he would put it, “hypnotized” by trusses passing alongside the road. For reasons lost to time, my little sister was on board, too, in the back. I eased my foot onto the gas; the engine revved for a moment, and the van lurched.
Go there and read and read and read, More next week.
Finding a design as cool as this is like finding a reason to live. Like being given a sack full of candy. It just lights up my life and gives me hope. Hope is a scarce commodity these days what with the drought and the drum beats for war against Iran. Still this is so cool.
It’s 100% recycled and very lightweight, with a frame that’s stronger than carbon fiber.
Izhar Gafni has designed award winning industrial machines for peeling pomegranates and sewing shoes. He’s also a bike enthusiast who’s designed a lot of carbon fiber rigs. But one day, he’d heard about someone who’d built a cardboard canoe. The idea drilled its way into his consciousness, and ultimately, led him to create a cardboard bike called the Alfa.
The Alfa weighs 20lbs, yet supports riders up to 24 times its weight. It’s mostly cardboard and 100% recycled materials, yet uses a belt-driven pedal system that makes it maintenance free. And, maybe best of all, it’s project designed to be manufactured at about $9 to $12 per unit (and just $5 for a kids version), making it not only one of the most sustainable bikes you could imagine, but amongst the cheapest, depending on the markup.
But as the above video documents, the design process was arduous. Engineers told Gafni that his idea was impossible. Yet he realized that paper could be strong if treated properly. As in crafting origami and tearing telephone books, he explains, “[if] you fold it once, and it’s not just twice the strength, it’s three times the strength.”
Apparently there have been some changes in the recent months at this organization but it is easily one of the coolest green sites I have been to in awhile. It is great to be around an organization that talks nothing but green planning. It’s like being in the future.
The Low Impact Development Center was established in 1998 to develop and provide information to individuals and organizations dedicated to protecting the environment and our water resources through proper site design techniques that replicate pre-existing hydrologic site conditions.
Balancing growth and environmental integrity, the Low Impact Development Center (LID), Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to research, development, and training for water resource and natural resource protection issues. The Center focuses on furthering the advancement of Low Impact Development technology. Low Impact Development is a comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining and enhancing the pre-development hydrologic regime of urban and developing watersheds. This design approach incorporates strategic planning with micro-management techniques to achieve superior environmental protection, while allowing for development or infrastructure rehabilitation to occur. This innovative approach can be used to help meet a wide range of Wet Weather Flow (WWF) control and community development goals.
I get requests for guest posts and links all the time. Some are just pretend commercial sites. If they are on topic and interesting sometimes I give them a link or even a post but the legitimate ones I always put up. This one came in while I was posting about nuclear power and I couldn’t figure out a way to work it in. So here is an interesting guy, Evan Collins take on all electric vehicles. www.all-electric-vehicles.com www.facebook.com/allelectricvehicles
All Electric Vehicles: My Search for the Perfect Electric Car (or hybrid, scooter, bicycle, or motorcycle!!)
Have you ever thought about Switching your Transport to an Electric Vehicle?
If you’re like me or the people I know, probably not! … at least not up to recently.
You may have noticed that, as of today, electric vehicles account for a TINY percentage of all the cars, motorbikes, scooters and bicycles on sale.
The thing is, it seems to be becoming more widely believed that electric vehicles will be the main type of transport around the world within 10 years.
Hi there, my name is Evan Collins. I’m a Mechanical engineering student and live just outside Cork City in Ireland.
Like most guys (and students) my age, I don’t have much of my own money … but I do need to get around!
I got my car licence a couple of years back and that’s what led to me to talking to you here today.
You see, my parents have insured me on their little Peugeot 207 diesel – and while that’s great – I have some ideas of my own for the future when it comes to car ownership.
While I’m not exactly a dedicated environmentalist, I have come to realise that if I want to get my own set of four-wheels – one that I can actually afford in the next couple of years, then I’m going to take a different approach.
Here’s what I’m going to do:
Research all of the pros and cons of electric vehicles – what’s on the market now, what will be in a couple of years time?
Test-drive what is around now (now I like the idea of that!)
Come up with the best recommendations
AND share this information with all of you guys through this website
I reckon the journey will be worthwhile, with lots of chances to test-drive some cool wheels – and maybe even get a chance to buy one (a Tesla would be nice)!
Of course, with electric vehicles, the theory is that they will save loads on fuel and running costs, as well as lowering environmental impact – and I suppose they will, but I aim to have the coolest set of wheels in town!
So, is it possible to find a lively, good-looking, fuel-miserly set of electric wheels at this moment in time? If not, when? One year from now? Two years? By the time of my pension?
Stay with me here – have a look around – see what happened next. And then make your own mind up!
A hidden premise of mine is that we will have an energy crash in the future and when that happens most electricity will be diverted from the residential market to municipal and national security needs. After that food production and other necessities. Still people have their own electrical generation capacity. Enough to charge batteries so there will be a lot of “light” vehicles around. I don’t think many Volt sized cars will be workable but heh compared to a horse, 40 or 50 miles an hour is not bad.
Practical transportation for errands and short commutes.
Electric bikes are part of a wide range of Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) that provide convenient local transportation. Generally designed for one person and small cargo capacity, electric bike range, speed, and cost are moderate. For most of us, the majority of our trips are less than 10 miles – within the range of most e-bikes. Clean, quiet, and efficient LEVs offer the advantages of an extra car without the burdens.
To learn more about the range of electric bikes, kits and LEVs, visit our introduction page. Or, click on your favorite type of vehicle below.
by Kim Gudeman, CSL Green GPS technology May 3, 2011 – 3:14pm
A new software interface reduces energy consumption in transportation systems.
Green GPS, developed by computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, works like general GPS navigation, except that in addition to calculating the shortest and fastest routes, it also projects the most fuel-efficient route.
“Currently at least 30 percent of total energy in the United States is spent on cars,” said Principal Investigator Tarek Abdelzaher, associate professor of computer science and researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. “By saving even 5 percent of that cost, we can save the same amount of total energy spent on the nation’s entire information technology infrastructure.”
The technology runs on cell phones, which links to a car’s computer using an inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless adapter that works in all cars manufactured since 1996. The car’s onboard diagnostics system uploads information about engine performance and fuel efficiency to the phone, which uses the data to compute the greenest route.
A grant through the National Science Foundation to Abdelzaher and Robin Kravets, also a member of Illinois’ computer science faculty, is funding a large-scale deployment of the service via the University of Illinois’ car fleet. The Office of Naval Research is funding research related to the technology’s networking component. Researchers — including Dr. Omid Fatemieh, graduate student Hossein Ahmadi and research associate Hongyan Wang — also are collaborating with IBM through its “Smarter Planet” initiative.
Pete Varney, who oversees some of the approximately 500 vehicles used by the Urbana-Champaign campus, hopes research will help maximize fuel efficiency for the fleet. The units will be installed on up to 200 vehicles, including full-size vans that could be carrying 1,000 pounds or more in tools and equipment.
“The less money we can spend on fuel, the more money we can direct toward maintaining other things on campus,” said Varney, director of Transportation & Automotive Services.
In addition, researchers are developing a social network of drivers who can share information about their cars. In the future,
For more see the rest of the article. More Tomorrow.
Why are there four million fewer vehicles on the roads in 2009? Think gas prices, transit, tweeting teens and a car-to-driver ‘saturation point’
From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Jan. 04, 2010 9:18PM ESTLast updated on Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2010 2:45AM EST
Americans’ infatuation with their cars has endured through booms and busts, but last year something rare happened in the United States: The number of automobiles actually fell.
The size of the U.S. car fleet dropped by a hefty four million vehicles to 246 million, the only large decline since the U.S. Department of Transportation began modern recordkeeping in 1960. Americans bought only 10 million cars – and sent 14 million to the scrapyard.
The decline in sales from previous years came despite 2009’s cash-for-clunkers program, in which the U.S. government gave Americans up to $4,500 (U.S.) to trade in their gas guzzlers for new, more fuel-efficient cars – a program that saw nearly 700,000 vehicles scrapped.
And the overall drop in car ownership has prompted speculation that the long American love affair with the car is fading. Analysts cite such diverse factors as high gas prices, the expansion of many municipal transit systems, and the popularity of networking websites among teenagers replacing cars as a way of socializing.
“We’ve reached a sort of saturation point in this country” when it comes to cars, said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental think tank based in Washington.
The institute is issuing an analysis Wednesday that contends the drop in 2009 isn’t a one-time fluke caused by the recession, and that U.S. car ownership is likely to be entering a longer-term decline that will see the fleet drop by another 25 million by 2020.
Big Oil never wanted to be here, in 4,300 feet of water far out in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling through nearly five miles of rock.
It is an expensive way to look for oil. Chevron Corp. is paying nearly $500,000 a day to the owner of the Clear Leader, one of the world’s newest and most powerful drilling rigs. The new well off the coast of Louisiana will connect to a huge platform floating nearby, which cost Chevron $650 million to build. The first phase of this oil-exploration project took more than 10 years and cost $2.7 billion —
Community Energy Systems is a nonprofit 501c3 organization chartered in Illinois in Sangamon County. As such we are dependent on public donations for our continued existence. We also use Adsense as a fundraiser. Please click on the ads that you see on this page, on our main page and on our Bulletin Board (Refrigerator Magnets) and you will be raising money for CES. We say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who do.
I mean unless you happen to live in the 25 lucky towns this model covers. Most certainly not if you want an electric car.
CEOs endorse ‘foothold strategy’ for electric cars
by Martin LaMon A group of CEOs on Monday came out favor of a regional roll-out of electric vehicles in up to eight cities to demonstrate the viability of the technology and incubate the fledgling industry.
There are 13 members of the coalition, including the CEOs of Nissan Motor, FedEx, Pacific Gas & Electric, and battery maker A123 Systems. The coalition was spun out of Securing America’s Future Energy, a lobbying group focused on reducing U.S. imports of oil.
The Electrification Coalition argues that light-duty electric vehicles are the only technology that can cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions in the near term. Its report (click for link) focuses on what’s required to make electric cars available at large scale.
“I think we have the conditions for the mass market. But it’s going to take more time,” said Carlos Ghosn, the president and CEO of Nissan. “The investments to be made are huge. To make 50,000 batteries is a $250 million investment.”
Of all the major automakers, Nissan is the most bullish on electrification. It is releasing an all-electric family sedan called the Leaf in the U.S. and Japan next year. It projects that 10 percent of new cars sales in 2020 will be electric, which is higher than most analysts’ projections.
The shift presents challenges to auto makers that are unsure of consumer acceptance. Utilities and municipalities need to prepare in order to make these vehicles more consumer-friendly but they, too, are unsure what the volume of sales will be.
To take some uncertainly out of the picture, the Electrification Coalition advocates a “foothold strategy.” Six to eight cities would create a number of incentives for electric vehicles, such as preferential parking and public charging stations. They would apply for government incentives and then test out the system to help bring electric cars to “critical mass,” explained David Crane, the president and CEO of power generator NRG Energy.
In the first phase, the plan calls for getting 50,000 to 100,000 light-duty plug-in vehicles on the road per year in certain areas starting next year and then expand to 25 cities. Its report sets a target of having 25 percent of new vehicle sales be plug-ins by 2020, which is 5 million vehicles. A jump to 90 percent of new vehicle sales being plug-ins by 2030 would represent roughly 17 million units, according to data from consulting company PRTM.
For consumers, batteries should be owned and financed separately from the car itself, Crane said. Because batteries are an expensive component that makes it more expensive than a comparably-sized gasoline car, auto makers, including Nissan, are looking at ways to keep monthly car payments roughly the same by leasing batteries.
Course, if you want to get around all this hemming and hawing and get going today there is ZAP:
ZAP is a leading distributor of affordable, efficient, 100% electric vehicles in the United States and has established a network of licensed automobile dealers throughout the United States. Plans for European distribution are underway as well. In January 2009, ZAP unveiled a high performance electric roadster called the Alias which is planned for deliveries in late 2010. ZAP launched the XEBRA in 2006. Our first automotive product comes in a four-passenger sedan version and a two-passenger utility pickup truck.. Almost all EVs sold are LSVs. With speed restricted to 25 MPH. Xebra Zapcars and Zaptrucks are licensed to go up to 40 MPH to fill the growing demand for electric vehicles in use for urban, in-town driving. Other vehicles sold by ZAP include the XL truck, the Zapvan Shuttle, and ATV called Dude and the always popular Zappy3 scooter line.
I know at first this story won’t seem to have much to do with the post that follows, but I wanted to lose weight one day. I did not need to. I am 6’3″ and 180 pounds. (blush on my drivers license it says 165) So I cut back on ye old intake. All I really wanted to do was drop 5 lbs. to 175 because my pants were getting a little tight in the waste (sorry waist). In a couple of weeks I got down to 176 lbs. I got distracted. An environmental issue got hot and I just lost track. When I got back to thinking about how much I weighed, I got on the scales and I weighed 180.5 lbs. In a week even though I cut down some I was at 182! In was then that I became very aware of the theory of “set points” and what happens when you disturb them…
Anyway you must remember the No Impact Guy…I did a post on him last year:
Instead of edicts – depriving you of your car or forbidding drinking your latte from a paper cup – the No-Impact week brought to you by Colin Beavan and Huff Po is instead the opportunity to try out lifestyle strategies that just may be more fun than you thought.
With the shape of the earth and our complex society, we need lots of people coming up with lots of approaches.
I look at No-Impact week as carbon-cleansing experiment in which I get to see which of my lifestyle choices actually contribute to my happiness.
Meanwhile, we’ll be having online video conversations every night of the week starting on Sunday at 5 PM EST, so tune in below. Sunday’s chat will be with Wood Turner of Climate’s Count on the topic of consumption and Monday’s (at 9PM EST) will be with Bill McKibben of 350 and Betsy Taylor of 1Sky on the topic of trash.
Hope to see you there.
He had his own blog and organization that the Huffington Post helped start:
What is No Impact Project?
The No Impact Project is an international, environmental, nonprofit project, founded in the spring of 2009. It was inspired by the No Impact Man book, film, and blog.
To empower citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact through lifestyle change, community action, and participation in environmental politics.
The No Impact Project was conceived by Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, following the success of his blog, book, and film, which chronicle his family’s year-long experiment living a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City. Central to his thesis is the notion that deep-seated individual behavior change leads to both cultural change and political engagement. Living low-impact provides a clear entry point into the environmental movement. This thesis is the bedrock of the No Impact Project.
Promote behavioral change
Enable the public to experience their own No Impact Experiment
Engage people who are not already tree-hugging, bicycle-riding, canvas-bag-toting, eco-warriors
Then Colin turns things upside down. For his next book, he announces he’s becoming No Impact Man, testing whether making zero environmental impact adversely affects happiness. The hitch is he needs his wife, Michelle—an espresso-guzzling, Prada-worshipping Business Week writer—and their toddler to join the experiment.A year without electricity, cars, toilet paper, and nonlocal food isn’t going to be a walk in the park
No TV? Toilet paper? Perceived sacrifices end up being nothing of the sort
When the year was over, Conlin and Beavan didn’t want to set any more rules for themselves. After all the restrictions, they wanted to finally let it all go and see what felt right.
Mostly, they stuck to buying their food at the farmer’s market. But if they were short on groceries after a late night at work, they would stop at the supermarket — despite the packaging on the food on the shelves, despite the distance it had traveled.
While the amount of garbage they produced increased from a single quart every four days to five gallons, this was a far cry from the 90 gallons they produced before the experiment. Their refrigerator is back on, but their freezer is gone.
They started buying olive oil and some seasonings, even though they’re not made nearby. They began saying yes when friends invited them out to dinner. And they started using toilet paper again — but now it was made from recycled paper.
Neither of them wanted to bring back their giant, 46-inch TV. But once a week or so, if they’re in the mood, they’ll watch a drama on a laptop.
It was an obvious choice to keep the rickshaw bikes they’d come to love — three-wheelers with space for groceries and a seat for Isabella. But now, when it rains, they sometimes take the subway.
The air conditioners once seemed like a necessity. But take them away, and the heat and the lack of electronic entertainment drove the family outside, where they spent most evenings at the fountain at Washington Square Park. They cooled off in the mist of the fountain, looked around at the virtual circus of performers who have made the public plaza their stage. They talked with neighbors.
No longer hunkered down in their family’s lonely bubble, they were out in the city. They loved
So there are HUGE journalist temptations here. MSNBC take the “regaining there balance” approach like they were some extremists and now they have come more to the middle of the road. There are other approaches…like to “laugh and say they were destined to fail”. Or like they do with Ed Begley jr. and twitter like his wife, “isn’t he just the oddest sort”
But fresh off my bout with weight loss I say “way to go” on a tough test, and congratulations on not rebounding too far.
There are 2 reasons for a product to run its course in a capitalist society. 1. the resource runs out like carrier pigeons in the wild or whale oil, 2. they become unfashionable or unsaleable. You could think of this as Peak Raccoon Skin or Peak Hats. If people quit buying the stuff, the manufacturers have to quit making it. Many times the manufacturers don’t even admit that their way of life has ended they simply vanish…Can anyone say Pet Rock? The immediate effect of the recent Cash For Clunkers program was to immediately and permanently decrease the demand for gasoline in the US.
By Toby Shute October 6, 2009The jury’s still out on peak oil, but the concept of peak gasoline has some very credible proponents.
Last Thursday, ExxonMobil(NYSE: XOM) CEO Rex Tillerson argued that U.S. gasoline consumption peaked in 2007. In his words, “motor vehicle gasoline demand is down, is headed down, and is going to continue to head down.”
This isn’t a new position for the prominent oil patch poobah. Back in April, TheWall Street Journal cited Exxon’s belief that U.S. light duty gasoline demand will drop by 22% by 2030.
Tillerson isn’t alone in the peak-gasoline camp, either. The government’s own estimates indicate that gasoline consumption peaked in 2007, at 371.2 million gallons per day. Cambridge Energy Research Associates has concluded that 2007 was probably the peak, barring a collapse in the oil price.
The main drivers (ahem) of this trend are the dovetailing desires for reduced oil dependence, lower emissions, and better fuel efficiency. The high oil prices of 2008 — and even today’s prices, which are quite high by historical standards — have been a major force to shift consumer preferences toward more compact and efficient vehicles, including hybrids. Lithium-ion battery whiz A123(Nasdaq: AONE) certainly has high oil prices — and government greenbacks — to thank for its recent warm reception on Wall Street.
A parallel development is the army of venture capital-backed science projects seeking all manner of petroleum alternatives to stick in your fuel tank. Renewable fuel standards — optimistic, given current funding levels –hold out the promise of a robust end market for these products.
Sunoco idling Eagle Point plant, furloughing 400 workers
Philadelphia Business Journal – by Peter Key Staff Writer
Sunoco Inc. said Tuesday it is indefinitely idling its Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J., and furloughing all 400 workers there.
The Philadelphia-based oil refiner and gasoline retailer also said it is halving its quarterly dividend to 15 cents from 30 cents, starting with the first quarter of next year.
Sunoco (NYSE:SUN) said it decided to idle Eagle Point in response to the margin pressure faced by refiners from the sagging economy, weak demand and increased global refining capacity.
The company said it will shift production from Eagle Point to its refineries in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, Pa. It said it will be able to produce the same amount of refined products at those two refineries that it had been producing at them plus Eagle Point and still meet demand.
Sunoco said it will keep Eagle Point idle until market conditions improve and will consider other options for the refinery, including using it to produce alternative fuels.
The company said it will continue to pay its contribution to medical benefits for the Eagle Point employees for the duration of their furlough. It also will offer them a voluntary severance program that includes job-placement assistance and retraining.
Sunoco said it expects to incur pre-tax charges of $475 million to $500 million, most of which will be noncash, from idling Eagle Point. It will record most in the recently ended quarter and the rest in the current quarter.