Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hybrid Theory

While I am certainly not an environmentalist in the neo-politik1 sense (that is one who associates with movements like veganism, and groups like ELF and Greenpeace), I do consider myself an environmentalist in the traditional sense (that is, one who appreciates nature and wishes to preserve it).

That, and some reading I was doing led to do some curiosity reading into hybrid cars and alternative fuels. During my reading, I came across the cartoon below, which got me thinking about possible drawbacks of alternative energy sources.

The first useful piece of information I was able to find was this Popular Mechanics .pdf, which, since I had already been biased by the cartoon above appeared to be making a case for electric cars. However, as I looked at the chart, I could not help but notice that an electric car would take 1 ton of coal to produce the electricity required to travel the same distance as a gasoline powered car would take 4.5 barrels of oil for.

I'm no expert on natural resources, but one full ton of coal seems a bit disproportionate to 4.5 barrels of crude oil considering we consume millions of barrels per day. Do we even have that much coal? Seems to me, we could run out of that just as easily as we could oil.

It certainly goes beyond that! If I recall the historical information on coal correctly, we moved away from it for two reasons: 1. It was not as efficient; 2. Oil, bad as at is, is better on the environment.

In some regard at least, there is a happy ending. No, sadly I have not found a truly efficent alternative energy source. However, I did find the full Popular Mechanics article that the earlier .pdf accompanied, and it does an excellent job of explaining not only the various alternative fuels, but also the pros and cons of each. If you have the chance, give it a look. It's a good read.

That being said, what are your opinions on alternative fuels? Are you willing to spend more for cleaner fuels? If cost was not a consideration, which fuel source would you use?

1 "neo-politik" is a self-invented term for new interpretations of politic movements, issues, etc. which too numerous to name here, but are often highly distorted from the original meanings of the terms.


Blogger Charles said...

In defense of electric cars and their impact on the environment, I submit that the statistics on the coal are a bit misleading. Without arguing about the amount of coal it would take to produce that amount of energy (I don't have the statistics to argue it either way), let me simply point out that coal is only one source of power. What is important is that electric cars can run on any source of electricity. So the easy way to make them more efficient is to change to a different, more environmentally friendly source of power.

Check out Who Killed the Electric Car for some interesting ideas.

September 19, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Moderately Thinking said...

I try not to comment on my own blog, but since there's no email address for you on your blog, I just wanted to tell you I'll check that DVD out if I can find it at Blockbuster.

Thanks again contributing with your thoughts.

September 19, 2006 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever you have written makes a lot of sense. It is an insightful post. Keep writing!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

August 07, 2009 1:21 AM  

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