When my adult son told me he had saved enough money to put down on a Tesla we were happy in some ways. He was doing it because he supports Tesla’s vision, being environmentally conscience, doing his part. Sure, Tesla sells expensive cars, but think of the money you will save on gas in just a few short years. It’s all for the environment, right? And of course we were proud our son had earned it. Still are.
After two months of having the vehicle parked in our garage getting charge, I come to realize my monthly electric bill shot up 100%, which equates to about $120 dollars a month more than what we were paying previously.
On par with what one might spend on gasoline per month I quickly realized electric vehicles are a lie. The money you think you save on gas you do not, and the raw materials it takes to make an EV requires much more energy than cars without lithium batteries.
On a full tank of gas, which today runs about $32 dollars (at 3.00 per gallon), I can travel 380 miles, 50 miles farther than the Tesla, and the best part is there is a gas station every 50 ft on most popular roadways I jest of course, but there are no problems ever finding a gas station, the closest “free” charging station for a Tesla car is 20 miles away, and it’s only free for a year if you signed up early.
Now, my son is always charging his vehicle (out of my wall) just to be safe in case he needs to go for spin. That feeling, what I call battery-use anxiety, is there constantly.
Imagine if you had that same compulsion to always tip off the cap in your car to keep it as full as possible. But we don’t, do we? And that is the point.
Now, to be fair, the Tesla is a beautiful car, and people who can usually afford them have more than enough income to worry about the electric bill. But the idea that you are filling up for less is moot. The idea that you are saving the environment is also false.
A typical wind turbine requires over 100,000 gallons of gas to build when you factor in trucks, materials, land acquirement, drilling, and lastly, alteration to the natural environment. It will take Rhode Island 30 years to break even on its wind farm’s project outside of Providence, and when all is said and done, the wind farms will only produce 1/7th of the same output current hydrothermal and fossil fuel-fired generators provide to current electrical grids that provide power to places like New York and Boston.
This idea that switching to renewables will produce less carbon is false. It takes the same, if not more carbon to produce less efficient renewable projects.
In solar, it’s the same issue. The raw material extraction, storage and even disposal of said solar panels, plus how you must alter the natural environment and the trifle amount of energy they produce makes it a huge financial as well as environmental disaster.
To date coal and nuclear remain the only energy sources which, on balance, require the least amount of energy versus output. You get much more bang for your buck.
Using the illustration of the bar-b-que, it takes less energy to extract coal to cook a piece of chicken than it does to construct and operate an electric grill, which requires fossil fuels to create electricity. Think of coal, or fuel as energy-concentrate, stored carbon created from natural elements like moss, fossils and vegetation compressed through the process of time.
So the whole green energy movement is based on an illusion, a childish hope. It requires more energy to produce less output, which is the definition of unsustainable. If you use 10 watts of power per hour and you can only generate 2, you are looking at the problem of renewable energy today.
Only after the world has spent billions and billions of dollars trying to “save the planet” by switching to renewables will they realize the folly of their efforts. The planet is still going to do what it wants to do regardless of how we choose to consume and distribute energy. The answer lies is reducing consumption, which we can do by eating less, driving less and buying less stuff, but this goes against the current cultural grain of civilization.
Cheap and abundant energy has been the most effective way to reduce poverty throughout the world. The best way to increase poverty is to make cheap energy more expensive and more difficult to obtain, which is what the IPCC intends to do in its efforts to rid the world of “excess” carbon it deems a threat to the world’s ecosystem, a theory that has yet to be proven outside of a computer software program.
Jim Watkins is a news journalist, host and producer of this site, the Candidly Speaking Podcast and the Coronavirus Update podcast. Follow Jim on Twitter @realjimwatkins1