Transportation: Vehicle miles driven per capita are dropping

“For decades, the country’s driving pattern moved in sync with the economy. Now, we’re driving less even though the economy has been expanding for more than a decade.”

Source: America’s Love Affair With Driving Takes a Back Seat – WSJ

This trend is important and is apparently invisible. Oregon and Utah have launched optional vehicle gas or license fees based on miles traveled rather than a fixed annual fee. (A problem with this method is they charge you for miles traveled out of state too.)

Some news reports suggest a per mile charge is needed because of better gas mileage vehicles but miss that people are driving driving less.

“The program emerges after states saw gas tax revenues fall continually in recent years, largely because cars are getting better mileage — and because a growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles escape that tax.”

Cars are getting better gas mileage. EVs, though, represent about 1% (or less) of cars on the road and are an insignificant factor at this time.

The real reason is people may be driving less than in the past while vehicles achieve better gas mileage.

Energy: Lifecycle GHG emissions from a hybrid, plug in hybrid and an EV are about the same

This graphic, from the International Energy Agency, illustrates the lifetime CO2 equivalent emissions from different types of vehicles. “BEV” is a battery electric vehicle with a 400 km range, HEV is a hybrid (like Prius), PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  This chart assumes the GHG emissions from electricity generation plants are in line with the global average. (FCEV is a fuel cell/hydrogen based system.)

Notably, BEVs are NOT zero emission vehicles and are, in general, on par with PHEVs and Prius-like hybrids when viewing their overall lifecycle emissions.


Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

The IEA’s model assumes similar sized vehicles in each category, that the EVs have a 400 km range (this determines the battery size), and that local electrical generation emits the global average CO2-equivalent for electricity generation. If the EV range were to be extended by 200 km more, add in the gray zone box above the EV column.

Energy: In many countries, hybrid gas/EVs emit lower emissions than pure electric vehicles

An average battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars using electricity characterised by the current global average carbon intensity (518 grammes of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour [g CO2-eq/kWh]) emit less GHGs than a global average ICE vehicle using gasoline over their life cycle. But the extent ultimately depends on the power mix: CO2 emissions savings are significantly higher for electric cars used in countries where the power generation mix is dominated by low-carbon sources. In countries where the power generation mix is dominated by coal, hybrid vehicles exhibit lower emissions than EVs.

Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

Says the International Energy Agency.

Energy: Unplugging your cell phone charger does nearly nothing for the environment

Few people have any idea about the lifetime energy usage of popular consumer products.  50-75% of the energy and green house gas emissions for many cars occurs during manufacturing. Switching to an EV (for which much of its lifetime energy/GHGs is during manufacturing) may have little benefit to the earth.

When it comes to unplugging your cell phone charger:

Moreover, charging accounts for less than 1% of a phone’s energy needs; the other 99% is required to manufacture the handset and operate data centers and cell towers.

Source: Empty Gestures on Climate Change by Bjørn Lomborg – Project Syndicate

Energy: Over the past decade, U.S. energy predictions were way off

In 2010 the U.S. Energy Information Administration published its forecasts for 2019 on topics such as oil and natural gas production, oil imports, coal fired electricity generation, green house gas emissions and more.

And they were not just a little wrong, they were spectacularly off. For example, they predicted the U.S. would be importing over 8 million barrels of oil per day in 2019; in reality, the U.S. is a net exporter of oil in 2019. These were not small errors!

Continue reading Energy: Over the past decade, U.S. energy predictions were way off has moved to a new server (this one)

On December 18, 2019, my Internet web hosting provider announced they are shutting down in February 2020. I am now in process of relocating my 5 web sites to a new web host (and once this is done, a 6th site located elsewhere will also be relocated).

This post you are reading right now is on the new web host, however, the final appearance of this page and some other key items still need to be updated. These final fixes will occur over the next week or so. For example, this web site is presently using a self signed SSL certificate and access (https) results in a security alert that the SSL connection cannot be verified, or in some browsers, images are missing or the page formats incorrectly. This will be fixed, in due course.

Continue reading has moved to a new server (this one)

Business: Dumpster divers put their found items up for sale on Amazon, often as “new”

Dumpster divers say it’s easy to list discarded toys, electronics and books on the retailer’s platform, where just about anyone can set up shop. So we decided to try.

Source: You Might Be Buying Trash on Amazon — Literally

Another trick is to sell products that have a “best if used by date”, after that date has come and gone. They likely purchased these items at fire sale prices from legitimate vendors who do not sell expired products. The Amazon consumer, however, has no way if knowing that they are buying a product (think food or even OTC medication) that has expired.

Continue reading Business: Dumpster divers put their found items up for sale on Amazon, often as “new”

Transportation: Electric Motorcycles

The link, below, is a year old but still good information. Electric motor cycles for city and off road use are interesting. Many are speed limited (e.g. 45-50 mph) or range limited (e.g. 70 miles), but many are also inexpensive.

Some have swappable batteries. This is important for those who – say – live in an apartment and do not have easy access to charging where they park their bike. Just carry the battery pack inside.

Some have range extension options, such as an optional second battery, or plans for future, larger capacity batteries.

Some of the electric motorcycles are priced inexpensively ($2500-$4500) while some are silly – US $30,000 for an electric motorcycle? Seriously?

Source: Electric Motorcycles coming out in 2019: Here are all the coolest options!

Energy: Comparison of internal combustion engine efficiency versus EV battery packs

How many pounds of Lithium batteries do we need to replace 10 gallons of gasoline? We can calculate this out and find that we need about 1,700 pounds of Lithium-based batteries to replace about 10 gallons of fuel because of the much higher energy density of gasoline.

Read one to learn more … Continue reading Energy: Comparison of internal combustion engine efficiency versus EV battery packs