Posted by: Jack | February 3, 2007

Who Killed the Electric Car?

We just saw this movie at some local Unitarian church and I won’t bore you with a summation of arguments or things I liked/disliked about the film. It was well done and I recommend seeing it.

Moving right along I do want to mention some issues this movie reminded me of. There are obvious “forces” to blame for some of the major problems in our world. Two of these problems which are very pertinent to this movie are pollution and the war in Iraq.  I feel a big problem with the general opinion of these situations is that the blame rests on abstract entities which I referred to above as “forces”. People do get more specific and accuse corporate CEOs and driver’s of SUVs and President Bush but I still feel this is far too abstract save for the last example. Actually in the case of Bush I think too many people might be a bit too specific and forget that there is a whole administration behind him. In the past year or so that has become less of a problem. Anyway, instead of blaming pollution on people who drive gas-guzzlers, maybe we should be seeking out our nearest friend who drives a gas-guzzler and giving them a piece of our mind.

When it comes down to it, every political, economic and environmental decision that is made, is made by a person or persons. Though they are often acting as whatever role for whatever company, they are still human beings and should be forced to feel directly responsible for every decision they make and all the consequences that result.  So in other words, the blame is for all to share. If my best friend makes a critical decision that I disagree with and I haven’t shared my thoughts with this friend, I should feel just as responsible.

And to say one thing about electric and/or hybrid cars: do not fret. Despite current ridiculous trends to buy the biggest, ugliest and most wasteful vehicle available (H2), there is no way that the world won’t steadily make the switch to hybrids. People need only to be exposed to the benefits.  And this will happen. Anyone educated in the workings of modern automobiles (which I am not) can tell you that converting a standard vehicle to a hybrid is not complicated. This means that people will do it. And with the more recent Hybrid/Plug-In car which plugs into any standard outlet in your garage, cars can get up to 180 mpg for the first 60 miles after a fresh charge. This sounds like a statistic that would be used to mislead but think it through and you’ll realize how revolutionary that is. How long do you think you would keep your 15-30 mpg vehicle when your neighbor literally drives up to 60 miles to and from work each day on literally 1/3 gallon of gas. Given a gas tank of 15 gallons and a 30-mile each-way commute, that neighbor would only need to fill up their tank 5 times throughout an entire year. And that would leave some left over for driving on weekends too. At current gas prices thats about $225 on gas all year…for someone who commutes 30 miles to work.

Though pessimists may argue otherwise, this is definitely a downhill battle. We just haven’t reached the steep part yet.

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