The Simple Math of CO2 Reduction

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Message 1063106 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 19:10:46 UTC - in response to Message 1062934.  

The Simple Math of CO2 Reduction
by Ronald R. Cooke

The Cultural Economist

Author, "Oil, Jihad & Destiny" and "Detensive Nation"
November 30, 2009

Those who propose draconian measures to curb CO2 production need a math refresher course. Look at the projections. Assuming existing CO2 reduction policies are not changed, by 2030, human activity will account for about 3.3% of global CO2 production (NASA). By itself, the United States is projected to contribute 15.8% of world human emissions in 2030 (IEA/EIA). Therefore:

America’s projected share of total world CO2 emissions in 2030 is 3.3% x 15.8% = 0.52%.

Barack Obama has pledged that by 2030, America will have decreased its CO2 emissions by 42%. How effective will that cut be versus America’s projected emissions? Do the math.

3.3% x 15.8% x 42% = .22% of total world carbon emissions in 2030, and

15.8% x 42% = 6.64% of all human emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels.

There is, unfortunately, a critical problem with Barack’s pledge.

A reduction of that magnitude will definitely trash America’s economy.

Barack Obama assumes Americans are willing to endure the destructive misery of chronic recession in order to reduce total world CO2 emissions by a tiny little .22%, and human emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels by only 6.64%. Barack is telling the world we Americans are willing to turn off the heat , eat uncooked food, and turn off the lights 42% of the time. We will have to drive tiny little cars and trucks. The buildings we work in (or live in) will be insufferably hot in the summer and icy cold in the winter. Curtailing economic activity means more of us will be unemployed and even if we do have a job, it will not pay a living wage. (Unless of course, you happen to be a Washington insider.) More of us will be living in poverty. Health care will definitely deteriorate. In other words, by 2030 America’s economy will look just like Cuba’s economy.

Is this what we want?

I have three questions:

1. Who gave Barack permission to make this commitment?
2. Why is he pursuing a policy of economic self-destruction?
3. Are we willing to trash our economy for a tiny little change in world CO2 production?

There IS a correlation between economic growth and energy consumption. At no time in human history has there ever been a sustained increase in human wealth without a corresponding increase in the consumption of energy. We Americans can increase the efficiency of our consumption (and we are), but we can not sharply decrease our energy consumption without doing serious damage to our economy.

Do our people in Washington care that the proposed CO2 reductions will drive up the rate of unemployment, increase the rate of inflation, and force Americans to accept poverty as a way of life?

Apparently not. . One can only conclude certain persons in Congress and the Obama Administration are either math challenged, or these people have a deceptive agenda that has little to do with global warming.

Hopefully, it’s only a problem of simple math.

TEA

www.moralnation.blogspot.com

References:

Carbon cycle data. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Earth Science Enterprise, Carbon Cycle.

The IEA’s International Energy Outlook 2009, Projects CO2 emissions at 40.4 billion metric tons in 2030. Developing nations, including China, India and the Middle east, will account for 97% of the increase in CO2 emissions from 2006 through 2030. The United States, along with the other OECD nations, will cause only 3% of the increase in CO2 emissions, assuming there is NO change to existing fossil fuels consumption policies.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), Annual Energy Outlook 2009 with Projections to 2030, projects United States CO2 emissions in 2030 at 6.4 million metric tons. Energy-related CO2 emissions in the AEO2009 reference case grow by 0.3 percent per year from 2007 to 2030. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the country's emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels to decrease 5.6% in 2009. Most of this decrease is due to the recession which has reduced economic activity (and GDP).

From the EIA International Energy Outlook 2009, Reference Case.

“Over the 24-year projection period, the average annual increase in non-OECD emissions from 2006 to 2030 (2.2 percent) is seven times (my emphasis) the rate projected for the OECD countries (0.3 percent). In 2030, non-OECD emissions (25.8 billion metric tons) exceed OECD emissions (14.6 billion metric tons) by 77 percent.”

“Coal is the most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, and it is the fastest-growing carbon-emitting energy source in the IEO2009 reference case projection, reflecting its important role in the energy mix of non-OECD countries—especially, China and India. In 1990, China and India together accounted for 13 percent of world carbon dioxide emissions; in 2006 their combined share had risen to 25 percent, largely because of strong economic growth and increasing use of coal to provide energy for that growth. In 2030, carbon dioxide emissions from China and India combined are projected to account for 34 percent of total world emissions, with China alone responsible for 29 percent of the world total.”

“In the IEO2009 reference case, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 0.3 percent from 2006 to 2030.” …. “The highest growth rate among the non-OECD countries is projected for China, at 2.8 percent annually from 2006 to 2030, reflecting the country’s continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels, especially coal, in the projection.”

The US plans to pledge a 17% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, 30% by 2025, 42% by 2030 and 83% by 2050.

http://www.financialsensearchive.com/editorials/cooke/2009/1130.html


I'm going to assume that your numbers are correct, I haven't seen anyone here take the time to check them and I can't be bothered myself. In the end it's neither here nor there.

Imagine a pencil carefully balanced on it's tip, I've borrowed this picture from a site that was actually discussing quantum mechanics, but it's the best illustration I could find at short notice.



This pencil is in what we call and unstable equilibrium. It theoretically will stay balanced until something disturbs that equilibrium.

When the pencil is disturbed even slightly from it's equilibrium, a tiny nudge, the results will be catastrophic (for the pencils equilibrium). It will not move to another angle and stay there, instead it will topple over until it finds a new equilibrium. Most likely lying on it's side.

The climate is also a non-linear system, although much more complicated than our pencil. However, because it is non-linear, a very small change can have a dramatic and sudden result.

A "few" tons of extra carbon may be all it would take to push our climate out of it's equilibrium. This is what the scientists have been trying to tell you. There will come a point when the climate will beyond the point of return, just like the pencil. After that point there will be nothing we can do to put it back. It will continue to "topple over" until it finds a new equilibrium.

Yes, climates have changed in the past, on this scale the results have lead to mass extinctions, famine etc. It would be marvellous for those in the north to grow different crops. It seems to have escaped people's notice that there is more to the planet than just the northern hemisphere. Islands that people live on are already disappearing under the water and people are already dying from famines and floods.
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Message 1063107 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 19:14:21 UTC - in response to Message 1063098.  

Just like the "birthers" this argument will never end. Smoking is bad for you is not "settled science" either I suppose?

Anyway. At least you agree we need to move on past fossil fuels. That is much better than most. And seriously, there is money to be made in it!!

If we can just get over inertia.


By 'birthers', I presume you mean the people that claim that Obama is not legitimately the president by reason of his birth. Well, again, many flames with little effect. Obama may be a natural born citizen of the US, then again he may not. At any rate, that is a matter for the courts of law, not the court of public opinion. And to the best of my knowledge, the courts of law have all ruled that he is. Good enough for me. I have a serious dislike for his politics. Just like I have had a serious dislike for the politics of every US President starting with 2nd-term Reagan. But, Obama is legitimately the President, as was Bush the Younger, and all back before him to Washington.

That said, I can see one good coming out of the 'birther' stuff. In my opinion, everyone needs to submit as part of the public record, proof of being a natural born citizen when they file to become a candidate, before any election. That way, you won't have any crap like this again. A long-form birth certificate would fit the bill perfectly. It establishes both age (another constitutional requirement) and citizenship. I have mine, and would be happy to submit it, should I ever run for that office. I am not a fan of the modern 'short-form' certificate of live birth. They leave too much information out.

Besides, there is plenty to attack in Obama's actions *since* becoming president. 'Birthers', just like 'Goreists', just get in the way of anything meaningful being done about the problem.

Smoking bad for you? It certainly is. And yes, the science is settled on it. Decades ago.

Yes, we certainly do need to move on past fossil fuels into the various alternatives. As soon as possible. And yes, there is money to be made. Lots of it.
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Message 1063110 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 19:41:35 UTC - in response to Message 1063106.  

Good discussion of equilibrium, Es99. However, I am not sure just how applicable it is to our climate. You are correct about climate being non-linear.

A mass oscillating on a system of springs might be a more apt analogy. One where not only the mass but also the spring constants are continuously varying in ways we don't fully understand. Hooke's law that one! Ugg.

The position of the mass at any one instant of time is the current climate. Now then, the CO2 emissions may or may not be changing the natural variation in mass and spring constants. Are they having an effect? We don't know enough to say for certain. If they are having an effect, is it a bad one? Again, we don't know.

Now, for what it is worth, most climate scientists have an opinion that yes it is, and yes, it is likely to be bad. But we still don't know for certain. And we can't know it for certain yet. Not until our understanding of the systems involved grows by a few orders of magnitude.

Also, for what it is worth, I developed a similar opinion decades ago. But, I am not 'full of it' to the point of presenting my opinion on this as scientific fact. As far as 'knowing', my answer is, and must remain for the foreseeable future a firm "I don't know."

That said, there are plenty of other reasons why burning OGC for fuel (thus emitting all the extra CO2) is a bad thing. Reasons which don't involve the CO2. Reasons which are based in both settled science and economics. Why do we have to further waste our time on this great-grandmother of religious flame-wars, when what we need to do is already clear for reasons that have nothing to do with said flame-war?
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Message 1063117 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 20:08:46 UTC - in response to Message 1063107.  
Last modified: 3 Jan 2011, 20:10:35 UTC

... Smoking bad for you? It certainly is. And yes, the science is settled on it. Decades ago.


That's a very good example of how the science "wasn't settled", and for a long time, and still isn't if you believe the tobacco industry Marketing. For long time they were trotting out 90 year olds and 100 year olds who had supposedly gained their happy long lives due to the 'beneficial' effects of smoking... No mention made of the many others dead from emphysema and worse along the way...

The science for greenhouse gasses and climate change is over 200 years old. The 'arguments' now are more about what the daily weather might be like for a particular area for new climate scenarios.


Yes, we certainly do need to move on past fossil fuels into the various alternatives. As soon as possible. And yes, there is money to be made. Lots of it.


However, distracting though it might be, the direct connection with CO2 (and methane) production must be 'nailed' so that the industry and practices directly responsible can be 'nailed'.

On a sinking ship, you should plug the biggest leaks first to gain the best chance of survival. I wonder if that is why Big Oil and the energy companies are making such a big distracting fuss?


It's all our only planet,
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Message 1063121 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 20:17:59 UTC - in response to Message 1063110.  
Last modified: 3 Jan 2011, 20:21:37 UTC

Good discussion of equilibrium, Es99. However, I am not sure just how applicable it is to our climate. You are correct about climate being non-linear.

A mass oscillating on a system of springs might be a more apt analogy. One where not only the mass but also the spring constants are continuously varying in ways we don't fully understand. Hooke's law that one! Ugg. ...


Nope. Wrong analogy.

There's both positive feedbacks and negative feedbacks that kick into action at various thresholds. Hence the descriptions of "non-linear" response and of "tipping" points beyond which you get rapid irreversible changes.

One example is ice on water heated by the sun. Whilst there is complete snow covered ice cover, most of the suns energy is reflected away and the ice cover is maintained. However, as soon as you get a chink in the ice exposing dark water, the water absorbs most of the sun's heat. That then heats the surrounding ice to then melt to then expose yet more dark water. You get rapid positive feedback to quickly melt all the ice cover.

There's various other flavours to that scenario if you then add in industrial soot deposits, cloud cover, weather, wave action, and others. HOWEVER, the dominant effect is that snow covered ice absorbs very little solar radiation as heat, whereas the ocean absorbs almost all the incident solar energy to then be warmed...


A better analogy is that of a rugged plain with hollows and peaks and small plateaus at various levels. The hollows and plateaus represent stable climate patterns. Now take a slightly bouncy small ball and jiggle the system violently to see where the ball jiggles to. Tilt the entire plain depending on the level of greenhouse gasses.


There's a website that takes you through the feedback mechanisms as identified a few years ago now. More recent research adds a little more detail but the main features remain the same.

It's still our only planet.
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Message 1063132 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 20:48:55 UTC - in response to Message 1063121.  
Last modified: 3 Jan 2011, 20:51:35 UTC

... There's a website that takes you through the feedback mechanisms as identified a few years ago now. More recent research adds a little more detail but the main features remain the same.


Looks like that page is no longer there. The reports and diagrams are still available as pdf. The presentation is now on YouTube also.

See:

Planet Earth - We Have A Problem - 1- David Wasdell at Taellberg Forum 2008 - part1

There's seven parts. The lead up covers most of what the deniers deny. The feedback mechanisms are shown in:

Planet Earth - We Have A Problem - 3 - David Wasdell at Taellberg Forum 2008 - part3

The pdf of similar material can be found on:

Feedback Dynamics and the Acceleration of Climate Change (This was at the time of the Bali climate talks.)

Note the feedback diagrams and the effects of "tipping points".


It's still our only planet.
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Message 1063156 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 21:50:31 UTC - in response to Message 1063150.  

I do not have time to go through all of this, but you are using about 20 year old techniques, and trying to store all the power locally. Large panels themselves run about 1.50 per watt. Batteries are eliminated by grid connection.
Other renewable forms of energy are incorporated. Wind is (I get so tired of saying this and having it dismissed) The cheapest form of power to add to the grid. This is just installing the additional MW of capacity, and the fueling is Zero. None, nada, zilch. Null.

Home solar is a great supplement. The math gets a touch trickier but it can pay off in 7-15 years depending on situation.

Something to ponder until I or someone else a bit less tired can respond further, a 100 mile square area (not 100 square miles, but 100 miles square)
of conventional photo voltaic (at about 5 year ago efficiency, it was about 22% then) would provide enough electricity to satisfy 100% of the USA's needs.

Okay. I will deal with the fallout when I get home.
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Message 1063175 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 22:32:17 UTC - in response to Message 1063117.  

... Smoking bad for you? It certainly is. And yes, the science is settled on it. Decades ago.


That's a very good example of how the science "wasn't settled", and for a long time, and still isn't if you believe the tobacco industry Marketing. For long time they were trotting out 90 year olds and 100 year olds who had supposedly gained their happy long lives due to the 'beneficial' effects of smoking... No mention made of the many others dead from emphysema and worse along the way...


No the science was settled. Decades ago. The tobacco industry, however, was not given a sufficient alternative so that they would perceive that change was in their own economic best interests. This is an example of what Soft^Spirit meant by inertia in a previous post of theirs in thread.


The science for greenhouse gasses and climate change is over 200 years old. The 'arguments' now are more about what the daily weather might be like for a particular area for new climate scenarios.


The beginnings of the science of GHG/CC, maybe. But it is still not understood well enough to be called 'settled'.


Yes, we certainly do need to move on past fossil fuels into the various alternatives. As soon as possible. And yes, there is money to be made. Lots of it.


However, distracting though it might be, the direct connection with CO2 (and methane) production must be 'nailed' so that the industry and practices directly responsible can be 'nailed'.

On a sinking ship, you should plug the biggest leaks first to gain the best chance of survival. I wonder if that is why Big Oil and the energy companies are making such a big distracting fuss?


It's all our only planet,
Martin


This is interesting. You pull out an example of people addicted to a dangerous item, then move to a discussion of the 'CO2 thing'.

Just like tobacco, energy from fossil fuels is a drug, in a sense.

The supply of drugs, both legal (tobacco), and illegal (heroin, cocaine, etc.) exists because of the demand for it. Yes, some people get rich from it, but the responsibility for the existence of the drug trade rests with the consumer of the drug.

In the fossil-fuel energy racket, those responsible are the demanders / consumers of the energy. Not the 'oil companies'. It is us... All of us...
The oil companies exist to service a demand in the market. Yes, some get rich off of it, but the demand is the culprit.

Our economies are addicted to cheap energy, and oil/gas/coal is one of the cheapest sources.

Now, one difference between the drug racket and the energy racket is that the energy racket has alternatives, they just aren't cheap enough, yet. They currently 'push' oil/gas/coal (OGC). But, if things change, and the OGC companies realize that they could make more money devoting the OGC to other uses, that is half the battle. The other half would be coming up with a cheap alternative, but given sufficient economic incentive, it shouldn't be much of a problem at all. And none of this requires any appeal to the CO2 thing boogie-man.


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Message 1063181 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 22:43:31 UTC - in response to Message 1063150.  



Electric cars? Has anybody done the math on electric cars? It's still physically impossible to store enough electricity in a light enough batter to get 300 to 400 miles between charges. And you still can't charge that kind of storage battery fast enough to equate the time it takes to fill up at the gas station.



Tesla Roadster. 245 miles per charge. And it is a sports car. Getting close to your 300 to 400 mile range. A full charge takes somewhat less than an hour.

The Tesla Model S (a family sedan) has a 300 mile range (maximum), with a 45 minute empty to full charge cycle.

Now. these two models are somewhat pricy. However, given economies of scale, the price should drop... a LOT.

What is this you said about impossible?
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Message 1063190 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 22:53:06 UTC - in response to Message 1063156.  

I do not have time to go through all of this, but you are using about 20 year old techniques, and trying to store all the power locally. Large panels themselves run about 1.50 per watt. Batteries are eliminated by grid connection.
Other renewable forms of energy are incorporated. Wind is (I get so tired of saying this and having it dismissed) The cheapest form of power to add to the grid. This is just installing the additional MW of capacity, and the fueling is Zero. None, nada, zilch. Null.

Home solar is a great supplement. The math gets a touch trickier but it can pay off in 7-15 years depending on situation.

Something to ponder until I or someone else a bit less tired can respond further, a 100 mile square area (not 100 square miles, but 100 miles square)
of conventional photo voltaic (at about 5 year ago efficiency, it was about 22% then) would provide enough electricity to satisfy 100% of the USA's needs.

Okay. I will deal with the fallout when I get home.


Well, to extend on your remarks...

The answer to fossil fuel replacement is not just one alternative technology. Individually, they all have problems. Together, they are capable today of replacing fossil fuel use. Today. The process has already begun. We just need a few appropriate incentives and regulatory reforms to accelerate the process to completion.

Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, tidal, nuclear... The list goes on.
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Message 1063197 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 23:00:51 UTC

one side note.. I will deal with more later, but you seem to equate the political parties agreeing as being when science is "settled". Fortunately for the scientific community this is not the case, or we would still be studying how the sun revolves around the earth.
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Message 1063204 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 23:16:17 UTC - in response to Message 1063197.  

one side note.. I will deal with more later, but you seem to equate the political parties agreeing as being when science is "settled". Fortunately for the scientific community this is not the case, or we would still be studying how the sun revolves around the earth.



I believe you neglected to state who this was directed at, Soft^Spirit.
https://youtu.be/iY57ErBkFFE

#Texit

Don't blame me, I voted for Johnson(L) in 2016.

Truth is dangerous... especially when it challenges those in power.
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Message 1063207 - Posted: 3 Jan 2011, 23:24:22 UTC - in response to Message 1063204.  

sorry Kong.. that one is all yours. The scientists by an overwhelming margin agree the CO2 levels are a problem, man-made, and the major cause of global warming. The only people who are not in agreement are a couple of scientists employed in the fossil fuel industry, and of course politicians and pundits.


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Message 1063248 - Posted: 4 Jan 2011, 0:57:46 UTC - in response to Message 1063207.  
Last modified: 4 Jan 2011, 1:12:03 UTC

sorry Kong.. that one is all yours. The scientists by an overwhelming margin agree the CO2 levels are a problem, man-made, and the major cause of global warming. The only people who are not in agreement are a couple of scientists employed in the fossil fuel industry, and of course politicians and pundits.



Your statement betrays a profound lack of understanding of the subject.

Ok, let me try this again. Pay attention this time.

1. Look at the scientific method. Once you have that under your belt, you can proceed to the next step. Not before.

2. Experimentation is vital. We can't however conduct a series of controlled experiments on the climate as a whole. We only have one of them, and cannot select with certainty the parameters to alter in successive trials. They are changing naturally. We can't hold some steady while varying others. Won't work. We are then left with 3.

3. A divide and conquer approach, where we study the system, construct a model that works when we have it all under our belts, and play with that. In this case, the system is too complex, and too many assumptions made to simplify it. There has yet to be a model that could successfully model the past, much less the future.

This reminds me of the joke I heard during my time in the physics dept. at university. When asked to model the path taken by a cow in ballistic flight, the physicist begins with 'first, we assume a spherical cow'. The physicist in the joke made a simplification that greatly reduced the complexity of the air resistance terms in the equation of motion he was constructing, and in so doing likely invalidated it.

There has yet to be a model of the climate that works. We don't understand many of the underlying factors well enough. Also, we don't understand well enough the way all the underlying factors interact with each other and the environment to produce climate.

4. We cannot conduct trials of controlled experiments on the system as a whole. We cannot yet construct a correct model of the system to enable experimentation on that. Maybe at some point in the distant future, we can, but not today or anytime soon. The science cannot yet be 'settled' in this case.

5. What are we left with? The only thing we have left are the opinions of the involved scientists. You mention some scientists having certain opinions because of who pays them (the fossil fuel companies). I think it is a bit more widespread than that. Scientists, being human, of course have biases. And a bias towards who is providing their funding is a big one. This is what makes repeatable experiment such a key component of the scientific method. It is one way to help screen out bias. We cannot yet conduct reliable, repeatable experiment on this. Therefore, it is all opinion.

6. These climate scientists and their opinions. They may be right. They may not be right. Nobody can say for sure. We don't *know* it. We just think that it is the case.

7. I have seen and had access to much of the data available at the time. I have done some analysis on it. I think they are right too. However, my thoughts on the subject are just opinion, just like theirs.

8. If we hope to successfully influence 'public opinion', we must appeal to settled science. We cannot appeal to opinion, and hope to succeed. This is why I say that this whole CO2 thing mess is a pile of organic fertilizer. Seriously, there are other reasons to stop burning OGC as fuel. Valid ones.

Edit: you mentioned politicians. Scientists and politicians are different. Vastly different. Perhaps we would be a lot better off if politicians mostly were scientists instead of being mostly lawyers. That is to say professional seekers of truth instead of professional liars.
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Message 1063252 - Posted: 4 Jan 2011, 1:09:01 UTC - in response to Message 1063244.  

You assume I own my home Guy. I do own property, just not a house at the moment.

but http://www.affordable-solar.com/asgpower-5040w-kyocera-solar-home.htm is one sample grid connect kit, including inverter.

Oh yes and prices are volatile. When tax rebates are approved (by state or country) prices go up. That old supply and demand thing.


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Message 1063255 - Posted: 4 Jan 2011, 1:16:39 UTC - in response to Message 1063254.  



Electric cars? Has anybody done the math on electric cars? It's still physically impossible to store enough electricity in a light enough batter to get 300 to 400 miles between charges. And you still can't charge that kind of storage battery fast enough to equate the time it takes to fill up at the gas station.



Tesla Roadster. 245 miles per charge. And it is a sports car. Getting close to your 300 to 400 mile range. A full charge takes somewhat less than an hour.

The Tesla Model S (a family sedan) has a 300 mile range (maximum), with a 45 minute empty to full charge cycle.

Now. these two models are somewhat pricy. However, given economies of scale, the price should drop... a LOT.

What is this you said about impossible?


Honda Civic, about 30MPG, less than $20,000 new. After 100,000 miles at $3/gallon of gas--less than $30,000 for the life of the car. (plus oil changes, and maintenance)

Telsa? $101,500 (minus $7,500 tax credit), plus how many miles per kilowatt hour at 8 cents per kilowatt hour? How many miles before you have to replace the batteries? (plus maintenance)

Not the mention the power grid being at max already in places like California.

When gas reaches $24/gallon, these telsas will start to look apealing.


The 100K Tesla is more along the lines of a ferrari for comparison.

There is a sedan that should be out soon, less than half the cost.
If you want low cost, the Chevy volt (about 60 mile range on battery, plug in-able to charge off peak) that does have an internal combustion engine, which many people would only need to run on long trips.


Janice
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