Category Archives: Transportation

Air travel may get much more expensive, or could be limited only to the elite

Aviation could face a historic rupture in its growth trajectory as it grapples with pressures to reduce its impact on climate change. The technology shifts proposed will require major investment with success uncertain.

For the flying public, all outcomes in the years ahead point to an increase in the cost of flying.

Yet that distant net-zero emissions target is so radical, and the proposed technology solutions so uncertain, that aviation risks falling far short.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury recently warned that if the industry’s new push for climate sustainability fails, governments could force a reduction in air travel by banning some of the flying that is routine today — a major step back after more than 100 years of passenger flights.

….

Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, flying is already being curbed by government policy. France in April banned domestic flights between cities with a train connection of less than 2.5 hours. Various government agencies and organizations around Europe have imposed similar bans on short-haul flights for employee business travel.

Source: As climate concerns threaten air travel, aviation industry banks on technology solutions | The Seattle Times

Additionally, some countries already charge carbon fees on airline tickets.

Costs of charging an EV

Study says EV charging can exceed costs of fueling costs:

The study has four major findings:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers – even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

Source: Which is more expensive: charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?

Specifically, they have included the costs of adding charging stations at home, the costs of additional taxes on EVs (my state charges EVs several hundred dollars per year that is not charged to ICE vehicles, to make up for loss of gas taxes), and the costs and time of driving extra distances to find commercial charging stations, and then waiting for a suitable charge to complete.

Other studies have found that EV maintenance costs much less than ICE vehicles. There are no engine tune ups, oil changes, gasket changes, spark plug changes, and EV mechanical parts are simpler than ICE vehicles.

If I had an EV, my home and local charging cost would be zero since our solar PV array already produces sufficient power annually for all local driving activities.

With a few exceptions, most existing EVs would not be suitable for the type of cross country driving I am prone to do, but all would work well for local and regional travel. I live in the eastern half of Oregon where it can be 100+ miles between very limited charging stations, for example. A day’s drive to a common destination to our east is about 12 hours of ICE driving today – throw in a couple of EV charging stops (at least) and it likely becomes 14 hours of driving, putting it in the realm of not being safe due to fatigue.

Future EVs may have 400-500 mile ranges and faster charging options. Probably see these among more makers by about 2025.

California sea ports among least efficient in the world

Have you noticed that the media is incapable of using the word infrastructure without prefacing it “crumbling“?

English should be like German and just combine the words into one: crumblinginfrastructure!

President Joe Biden is fighting for massive federal funding to modernize crumbling infrastructure – including seaports. Government control, 24/7 operations and automation help make many non-U.S. ports more efficient.

Source: California ports, key to U.S. supply chain, among world’s least efficient, ranking shows | Reuters

The media loves the word “crumbling” – how it sounds is great and it instantly produces a vision of collapsing bridges, pot holed roads and breaking concrete.

Auto makers might drop AM/FM/HD radios from future vehicles

Tesla has dropped AM/FM radios from cars, effectively. If you have an older Tesla and do the $1500 “infotainment” upgrade, it removes AM/FM/Sirius XM radio features and you have to pay $500 to add them back. Tesla’s theory is that everyone wants to listen to streaming Internet radio via their cell phone.

Tesla’s are apparently not driven in places that have no cell service. I have no cell service over most of the eastern half of my rural western state.

The question is: Will other automakers follow Tesla’s lead and also eliminate AM/FM radios?

Many EVs have already gotten rid of AM radio, while some say they will continue to have them – for now.

Source: Radio’s Car Radio Paranoia 2: What If Eric Rhoads Was Right?

California, already short of electricity, is faced with more shortages as they shut power plants

The State is short of the power demanded during some summer periods. Under state de-carboning rules, they are shutting gas power plants – plus their only nuclear plant. This puts the state in a bind as it also sees demand increases from increasing population and EVs.

The state is contending with the coming loss of gas-fired power plants and its last remaining nuclear facility in a planned transition to renewable energy.

Source: California Scrambles to Find Electricity to Offset Plant Closures – WSJ

If you’ve got the cash (i.e. the elite), probably best to install solar PV and a large battery bank to keep the lights on.

California’s port shipping container problem may be self inflicted wound

California passed it’s AB5 law that changed the classification of many workers from independent contractors to being required to be hired as full time employees.

Many in the trucking industry had operated as “owner-operators” who operate their own trucks under contract to others.

The effect, according to many, is that many industries were no longer able to hire independent contractors. There is a summary of some of the issues in this Reuters article: No SCOTUS review of California law’s impact on trucking industry | Reuters

It is quite possible – and perhaps likely – that the shipping capacity problem was directly created by the California legislature – a problem that many warned of before the Act became law.

There have been many court cases on AB5 and I do not know where, collectively, the effect of those cases ends up in terms of impacts on the trucking industry.

This sure looks like the goal is to control the people

This Nature item advocates taxing EVs by weight, saying because batteries are heavy, models say EVs will result in more highway fatalities (all things being equal – but what if they have better automated collision avoidance?)

The goal, it says, is to reduce the weight of vehicles. Okay on that goal, mostly.

But then it veers off to suggest a need to tax people on distance traveled to discourage us from traveling at all.

Have been reading many history books lately – and this seems reminiscent of “know your place peasants” thinking – where the elite will travel all they want. This is primarily about controlling the people.

Adding travel distance to the fee would also incentivize people to drive less. Oregon is piloting such a programme, giving owners the option to base their registration fees on the distance they drive in a year (at a rate of roughly 1.1 cents per kilometre) in lieu of fixed annual fees. Travel data can be collected by on-board devices; some insurance companies already offer policies that are based on total mileage and other driving habits.

Source: Make electric vehicles lighter to maximize climate and safety benefits

The goal, it says, is to encourage everyone to walk, ride a bike or use “public transport” and oddly says riding a bike is “safer, more convenient”.

First, based on the data, bikes are not safer. Because we mostly do not collect data on crashes and most injuries, we have no hard data on which to evaluate this claim. Estimates are about half a million bike related injuries are treated at ERs in the U.S. every year (yet only 1-2% of the population today commutes by bike). Those injuries are the only ones likely to be reported. Estimates are that there are 1-2 million bike related injuries every year that are self treated or treated by the family doctor. Now, increase the number of bicycle commuters from 1-2% to 10-20% – what do you think will happen to the number of injuries?

Second, as someone who has suffered a fractured skull, and later broke two bike helmets in crashes that knocked me out and broke other bones, the government may push everyone to bikes without considering the range of health impacts.

Bike crashes are the largest cause of traumatic brain injuries seen in ERs in the U.S. Brain injuries can become lifelong injuries too.

Continue reading This sure looks like the goal is to control the people

How the elite travel in a Covid world: Book two trips and cancel one

Sophisticated global travelers now book two trips around the same time – just in case Covid restrictions cancel one of them. Then cancel the one they don’t take. Geesh.

Hoping that COVID-19 would be more under control by the time of her trip, Corbin booked a surprise trip for her mother to India, Nepal, and the Maldives for February 2022. As COVID worsened in India, she became worried that the trip wouldn’t be safe by then. “I decided to book a backup trip to a closer destination,” she says. So she’s booked a trip to Costa Rica for the same month.

Source: Travelers Hedging Bets With Double-Bookings

Only those of us who are travel inexperienced brain injured idiots find this amazing. I had no idea this is how it is done…

“Flight shaming”: Global travel should be banned.

Saving the planet requires that we stop gaping and gawking at travel blogs and vacation selfies. Instead, everyone who cares about the environment should shame those who clamber onto an airplane every chance they get.

This is what counts as discourse from an “intellectual”. Let’s take mask shaming to a new level – and scream at anyone who posts a vacation photo online! And yell at those who view travel items on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.

In addition to “Flight shaming” there is also “overtourism” where some popular destinations now have more tourists than some desire. I wrote about that topic previously – proposed solutions are to limit the number of visitors to those who pay more (the elite?). They want fewer tourists each of whom spends more money. One way may to be set minimum stay duration (e.g. 5-7 days). Some destinations have added tourist taxes and new requirements such as health insurance bought from an in-country health insurer (not your usual travel insurance).

Continue reading “Flight shaming”: Global travel should be banned.