Category Archives: Energy

My First Electric Car

We recently bought a used Nissan Leaf. I am still waiting to see what charging it will cost, but I have a hard time believing it will be more expensive to run than the overly complex machinery built into the average internal combustion engine. Hopefully this story is correct.


I had no idea that I would need a postscript to this post, but I really didn’t know that the Koch’s were this stupid.  They’ve decided to go to war with Elon Musk over the future of the electric car.

The oil and gas industry may have thought it had killed the electric car, but sales — boosted by generous government subsidies — rose dramatically between 2010 and 2014, and energy giants are worried the thing may have come back to life. 

Time to kill it again. 

A new group that’s being cobbled together with fossil fuel backing hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles, according to refining industry sources familiar with the plan. A Koch Industries board member and a veteran Washington energy lobbyist are working quietly to fund and launch the new advocacy outfit.

Elon Musk, of course, wasted no time and no snark when it came to responding to this threat.  As the linked article rightly notes, electric vehicles are not the only vehicles that receive subsidies.  Oil fueled vehicles, plastics (everything) is enabled by heavy subsidies to the oil and gas industry.


As the Tweeting Elon Musk linked article at the Guardian explains

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

The Koch’s may object to subsidies for all industries, but I don’t see them rejecting them personally. They are more than happy to cash those government checks themselves in spite of their ideological opposition to them.  Nothing cures the hurt of grave violations of your personal beliefs quite as well as millions of dollars of infused cash.


The October bill has arrived and, given the difference between last October and this October temperature-wise, the increase in electric consumption for last month was > 300 KWH which amounts to just over $80 in additional electricity.

Given the fact that in regular drive mode I can beat any sports car off the line, and that maintenance costs are near zero for the vehicle aside from replacing batteries and maintaining the moving parts in the front-end, I consider this car to be an excellent enhancement in city mobility.  I think I’d like to have two of them, one for each child. 

What’s Going to Replace Gasoline?

I’ve blogged on the subject of Alternative Fuel in the past. Others are now running polls on the subject. Here’s the results of one of them:

When asked, “what will be the next best automobile alternative to petroleum?” here’s how nearly 16,000 people responded:

  • 33% chose hydrogen fuel cells
  • 21% chose biofuels
  • 21% chose electric (battery)
  • 17% chose unknown/no opinion
  • 2% chose compressed natural gas
  • 2% chose liquefied natural gas
  • 1% chose liquefied petroleum gas

As you can see, not are there a lot of possible options, but we’re pretty well divided between those options. Each alternative fuel has its pros and cons, but it unfortunately it appears that it’s the lack of definitive information that’s making it difficult for us to settle on “the next” fuel.

read more | digg story

Why bother to ask the average Joe what he thinks about it, it’s like asking him to decide whether we need to irradiate food (oh, wait, we did that. Turned out well, didn’t it?) or stem cell research needs to be pursued (ditto on that one) perhaps we should leave it up to the experts.

Aside from which, saying they are all untested is not factually precise. Biodiesel is currently in use in several areas around the world, and there are even vehicles produced now that can burn it. You can just pour straight vegetable oil into most diesel engines and they will run just fine.

Personally, my next vehicle will probably be a diesel, one that is set up to run a variety of fuels right from the manufacturer (Mercedes Benz already offers one) would be preferred.

There’s also the distinct possibility that we’ll invest in an electric car for day to day commuting. There are several places in town that either offer or retrofit vehicles themselves to run on electricity.

I’m also not counting out the introduction of compressed air technology, two versions of which were featured on Beyond Tomorrow recently. These options aren’t even mentioned in the poll.

So, which direction should we take? All of them. The only way to test which fuel is best is to subject them all to market forces and see which fuel system is successful in a open market place.

…and that means getting the government and it’s associated popularity contests completely out of the picture.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Got into yet another discussion about alternative energy the other day, specifically concerning the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? (which I haven’t seen, but wouldn’t avoid seeing if I had the chance)

It wandered off that subject and onto the subject of Stan Meyer and water power.

The discussion jogged some of the old gray matter and I remembered a video I was sent a few months back demonstrating this guys technology http://hytechapps.com/aquygen/hhos so I decided to dig and see if they were the same person. They aren’t, but the tech seems similar.

I don’t know how real any of this is, but there is some good reading (for those who are interested) here: http://waterpoweredcar.com/stanmeyer.html and here: http://www.waterfuelcell.org/

For those interested in getting down to the brass tacks of the subject, go here: http://www.waterfuelcell.org/moreinfo.html

The video that was linked concerning Stan Meyer’s invention is more than 10 years old; which begs the question why we haven’t seen any further developments in the technology, if it is for real.

I’ll leave it to the conspiracy theorists to come up with the answers to that one.

Liberty Dollar News Alert-Where do we go from here?

Simply re-posting the Alert.


Time To Step Up And Demonstrate Real Support For Real Money The Liberty Dollar

Breaking News…We are hearing from our efforts to leverage Congressional Inquiry that the US Mint has received much more response from the public than anticipated following their web posted warning on September 14, 2006. It’s time to really let them know how much you value the Liberty Dollar by calling or faxing the US Mint! To make a call use (202) 354-7227, for sending a fax use (202) 756-6200. After reading this special News Alert please call or fax the US Mint and in a very positive way ask if the statements listed below are NOT true. Do not be nasty or attacking; this gets us nowhere. Always be respectful. Also, please distribute this widely to everyone on your mailing list.

On With Other News…

Over the last six weeks we have heard a lot of support for the mission, goals and cause of the Liberty Dollar and precious metal backed private currency…Reporters, Editors, Talk Show Hosts, Calls and e-mails from listeners and readers who had never before heard of the Liberty Dollar are committing to “fight the good fight” for the right to choose their method of payment for goods and services. Liberty Dollar Merchants, Associates and Regional Currency Offices, taken aback from a malicious media assault, have been gnawing on what it all means and how to move forward.

It’s time to regroup, shake off the debris of fear and exchange your Federal Reserve Notes for the Liberty Dollar. This is the support we need now. Circulating (as in bartering), Accumulating or Collecting; The three most effective ways to do good, have fun and protect your purchasing power.

If any of the following statements were illegal or a federal crime, would there not have already been arrests? Liberty Dollars are exchanged, given out, presented and accepted hundreds of times a day throughout the country…lots of opportunities to make an example out of someone.

But once you wade through the citations and legalese of the US Mint’s warning(s), it becomes very clear: THE LIBERTY DOLLAR CANNOT BE PASSED AS “CURRENT MONEY” OR GOVERNMENT MONEY. NO ONE SHOULD ACCEPT THE LIBERTY DOLLAR THINKING IT IS GOVERNMENT MONEY. This, of course, would contradict the goal of the Liberty Dollar!

  1. Merchants CANNOT be prosecuted for accepting the Liberty Dollar KNOWING that it is private currency!
  2. Merchants CANNOT be prosecuted for giving out the Liberty Dollar in change if the customer KNOWS it is private currency!
  3. Users CANNOT be prosecuted for presenting the Liberty Dollar to a Merchant when the Merchant KNOWS it is private currency!
  4. Regional Currency Offices, or anyone else, CANNOT be prosecuted for exchanging Liberty Dollars for Federal Reserve Notes when the customer KNOWS it is private currency!
  5. NO ONE CAN BE PROSECUTED FOR HAVING POSSESSION OF THE LIBERTY DOLLAR!

If any of these statements were false, then having or using any of the hundreds of local or community currencies such as the Ithaca Hour, Disney Dollar, Berkshares, Barter Bucks, etc., would be a crime.

On September 14, just five weeks ago, our website, Liberty Dollar.org, received ten times its normal traffic. Online orders surged for the introductory special, supporter kits and educational materials as well as lots of small orders from new individuals wanting to know just who this Liberty Dollar outfit is.

The wave of curiosity has died down and so has the normal volume that the Liberty Dollar has experienced over the last 12-18 months. I believe the current lull is retrenchment from those stinging from the national media assault as well as caution on the part of the newly introduced that are concerned over legal repercussions. Consider the above statements regarding the legality of the Liberty Dollar. These are the conclusions of NORFED and its Counsel.

Exchange your Federal Reserve Notes for Gold and Silver Libertys and Certificates now. Circulate (barter), Accumulate and Collect…It’s the right thing to do.

Is the US Dollar tanking? Will there be a significant economic downturn? Is a War right around the corner? Is Peak Oil fact or fiction? Will extreme weather knock out your power and communications? What do you want to be holding when significant change occurs? A Federal Reserve Note Or Gold And Silver Private Currency From The Liberty Dollar?

Please visit the Liberty Dollar at: www.LibertyDollar.org or call our National Fulfillment Office at 888.421.6181 or 800.NEW.DOLLAR to reach your local Regional Currency Office.


As a postscript, I’m going to add that I’ve blogged on the subject of Peak Oil, and what you might do to alleviate your reliance on ‘fossil fuels’. But it doesn’t hurt to be holding precious metal, in any case.

Generating Power

Every time I hear someone lamenting “But what will we replace the oil with if we don’t buy it from the Middle East?” I run across some other way that we can generate power without relying on imported oil.

Methods like this one http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com A proprietary system that converts wave energy into electricity. Or maybe you just want fuel for the car? Check out Biodiesel. Want to heat your house? Vegetable oil can be used for that as well (Stumbled across this process just recently. Garbage into Oil. Another obvious process) Then there is always the sexy solar panels and wind turbines.

As an architect, I’ve always been fond of the earthshelter home, myself. Position your home correctly, with just the right amount of soil built up around it, and you have a home that stays cool in the summer and warm in winter, with little or no need for air conditioning. Combine that with rainwater harvesting and a decent photovoltaic system, and you’ve got a potentially self sufficient home.

As I stare at the electric bill that my standard builder home gifts me with each month during the typical Texas summer, I can’t think of a more beautiful dream than to not have to write that check anymore…

Peak Oil

I scared a member off of Liberty List (a Yahoo!Group I once moderated) today by posting the following in response to his query What do you think of Peak Oil?

If such a thing did occur (sudden collapse of the economy due to lack of oil) there wouldn’t be much left that is worth living for, much less investing in. Thankfully, there are replacements for natural oil that are making headway in the marketplace.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel is one example. 

When I first stumbled across the doom and gloom mantra being preached by modern ‘environmentalists’ (I was recycling when recycling wasn’t cool, BTW. I don’t think much of today’s crop) I did some research into the subject of shortages and what has happened through history when they occurred. 

The one that seemed most similar was the period when we shifted from whale oil to crude oil (the IMHO misnomered ‘fossil fuel’) there were similar predictions of doom and gloom, none of which came to pass because the markets simply shifted to crude oil.
I was unable to track down the articles I originally referenced for these facts, they have been covered up by thousands of repetitive articles on ‘Peak Oil’. That fact says more than any number of historical links. It’s the ‘in’ idea of the moment, and that’s all they are talking about. But it isn’t convincing to me. 

“Why would Peak Oil be different?” (not my blog, but a good entry) quotes Steven Levitt:

What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives. If the price of a good goes up, people demand less of it, the companies that make it figure out how to make more of it, and everyone tries to figure out how to produce substitutes for it. Add to that the march of technological innovation (like the green revolution, birth control, etc.). The end result: markets figure out how to deal with problems of supply and demand.

Pretty much sums it up for me. I just don’t have time to contemplate end of the world scenarios, I guess.

Was I coming on too strong?