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Re: energy used in making of car

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  • Steve
    Matt, The green cars are viable. Let me try to explain by posting a text I found. Transportation Monopoly: General Motors in 1949 was convicted of having
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 21, 2002
      Matt,

      The "green" cars are viable. Let me try to explain by posting a text
      I found.

      Transportation Monopoly:
      "General Motors in 1949 was convicted of having conspired, mainly
      with Standard Oil of California and Firestone Tire and Rubber
      Company, to replace highly efficient urban electric-transit systems
      with bus operations which would contract never to buy new equipment
      using any fuel or means of propulsion other than petroleum." [Morton
      Mintz, Power Inc., 1976, excerpt by Citizens for Balanced
      Transportation, Lakewood, CO] (Source: Priorities Institute)

      In the 1800s, electric cars were produced beginning with the
      invention of the primary cell in 1800 by Volta and the electric motor
      invented and patented by Thomas Davenport in 1833. Later on, the
      electric cars were developed and produced only to a certain and
      mediocre extent, if I may say. What hindered the develop of electric
      cars and other vehicles was the development of internal combustion
      engines that run on gasoline. Several races were organised in Europe
      notably Paris to Rouen, then Paris to Bordeaux in 1894 and 1895
      respectively. The steam and gasoline powered cars won. In the United
      States, smaller races were organised and in 1895, even in the
      previous day snow storm covered streets of November, six cars
      participated. Several were electric but others were gasoline powered
      ones. Again, the gasoline powered ones won. The problem was that
      electric cars were over-powered by gasoline-powered cars because of
      several reasons: monopoly on one hand and electricity cost more in
      the early 20th century than petroleum. These days it's the opposite.
      (Source: www.econogics.com)

      The problem isn't that "green" cars aren't cracked up to be. It's the
      petroleum industry pushed people to buy gas guzzling vehicles instead
      of buying electric ones that could have been far more advanced than
      now. Look up the September 1969 issue of National Geographic
      Magazine, there is an interesting article entitled The Coming
      Revolution In Transportation - p 301.

      I think that if we really wanted that revolution, we would have had
      some form of The Jetsons realised.

      Steve
      In Ottawa-Hull
    • earthymiller
      ... In fact, battery technology continues to advance, as evidenced by this story in the news today: Hydro-Québec produces battery for electric car
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 21, 2002
        --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Steve" <esdol@s...> wrote:
        > Matt,
        >
        > The "green" cars are viable.

        <snip>

        In fact, battery technology continues to advance, as evidenced by this
        story in the news today:

        Hydro-Québec produces battery for electric car
        Montreal - Hydro-Québec says it's starting mass production of a new
        battery which will play a key role in the development of the electric
        car.

        The lithium-metal-polymer battery will be used in electric cars and in
        the telecommunications industry.

        Hydro-Québec President André Caillé says the new cell's main
        advantage
        is that it carries more energy without weighing more.

        "You can store three times as much energy in that battery as you can
        store in a conventional battery," he says. "Knowing what we know about
        the electric vehicle, that we have to carry the battery, having three
        times as much energy for the same weight is a great advantage."

        Caillé says the target market for the new batteries is worth
        around $2
        billion in sales.

        Here is the URL for the story:

        http://montreal.cbc.ca/template/servlet/View?filename=battery020919

        And here is a link to the official Hydro-Quebec press release (English
        version):

        http://www.hydroquebec.com/4d_includes/of_interest/princ.html#abc

        A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
        cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these arguments
        at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
        uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines or
        personal computers. One of my first reactions on reading the posts on
        these costs was that these seemed to be likely costs attached to *any*
        complex manufactured product. If I were a person attached to the idea
        that the personal auto is the way to go and the personal auto is, and
        ought to be, here to stay, I would *pounce* on this weakness. I am
        not, which is why I point it out as a weakness in argumentation that
        does no real favour to those of us who argue for alternatives to
        automobile-centred cities. I think we are better off sticking to
        arguments that point out disadvantages that are *specifically* due to
        automobile use.

        Chris Miller
      • T. J. Binkley
        ... Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains or bicycles or walking shoes -TJB
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 22, 2002
          >
          >A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
          >cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these arguments
          >at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
          >uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines or
          >personal computers.

          Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains

          or bicycles

          or walking shoes

          -TJB
        • Ross or Judy
          Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from creating them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is specifically due to
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 22, 2002
            Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from creating
            them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is specifically due
            to automobile use.

            Electric cars are not much better then gas burners, in one way they are
            worse. If the energy comes from dirty sources, like the coal being burned in
            Alberta, and the car appears to be clean, people will be less likely to see
            the harm of running or purchasing one and will not switch to cleaner modes
            of transport: trains, bikes, velomobiles etc.

            Ross

            > I think we are better off sticking to
            >arguments that point out disadvantages that are *specifically* due to
            >automobile use.

            >Chris Miller
          • Car Busters
            ... These should be cubic metres sorry - thanks for pointing that out. ... is the same as 425 billion litres) Richard.
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 23, 2002
              > By the way, what does "cubic litre" mean? Did they mean "cubic metre"
              > or "litre"? :-)

              These should be 'cubic metres' sorry - thanks for pointing that out.

              (1 cubic metre = 1,000,000 cubic centimetres = 1000 litres, so:
              > 425 million cubic metres of polluted air
              is the same as 425 billion litres)

              Richard.

              ____________________________________________

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              <carbusters@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
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            • earthymiller
              ... arguments ... or ... T. J. Binkley Replied: Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains or bicycles or walking shoes I agree that
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 23, 2002
                To my message several days ago:
                >
                >A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
                >cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these
                arguments
                >at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
                >uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines
                or
                >personal computers.

                "T. J. Binkley" Replied:

                Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains

                or bicycles

                or walking shoes

                I agree that at this level, i.e. comparing the costs of means of
                transportation, the argument is relatively good. But you have to take
                into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
                aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                washing machines or personal computers". I suspect in any case that
                not only SUVs, but smaller cars, even the ones generally preferred in
                Europe, would probably come out unfavorably in the comparison: the
                thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
                manufactured items are.

                As for the next point:

                Ross <rossjudy@s...> wrote:
                > Cars are a huge, uneccessary consumer item. The pollution from
                creating
                > them, including climate change, are a disadvantage that is
                specifically due
                > to automobile use.
                >
                > Electric cars are not much better then gas burners, in one way they
                are
                > worse. If the energy comes from dirty sources, like the coal being
                burned in
                > Alberta, and the car appears to be clean, people will be less likely
                to see
                > the harm of running or purchasing one and will not switch to cleaner
                modes
                > of transport: trains, bikes, velomobiles etc.


                Again, although the current reliance on internal combustion to power
                automobiles (including buses & trucks) undoubtedly is a major culprit
                in the air pollution that is taken to be the major likely cause of
                climate change, heavy industry is no less a villain in this story. As
                is the way electric power is produced in many places, e.g. Alberta, as
                you mention. And this issue is separate from cars as such. If cars
                running on Alberta coal-based electricity are dirty for that reason,
                so is every lightbulb and household appliance using the same
                electricity, and so would every electric-powered commuter train that
                might ever appear in Alberta. The source of the electricity is a
                question entirely separate from the *inherent* disadvantages of cars
                in cities. These disadvantages have to do with the way they behave
                like cancer cells, perverting the way a city grows and functions,
                eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
                that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
                give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
                Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution, but
                keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at least
                severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
                heart of what a city is.

                For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity. People who
                don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the way
                modern life is organised. Much as I would love to, I can't completely
                avoid cars: I have no other effective and rapid means, for example, of
                getting to the airport in Winnipeg (Manitoba) for an early morning
                flight than by taking a taxi there.

                The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
                last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people into a
                multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
                going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general public
                with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use, before
                this is likely to change. The Carfree Cities site and the book are
                important steps in this direction, again because of the global
                approach they take to the problem and the thoughtful way in which the
                carfree solution is proposed.

                Another way of doing this is encouraging the media to talk about these
                issues. A couple of days ago, for example, I proposed a story idea to
                This Morning, the CBC Radio One mid-morning program: they could do a
                series on the impending "Hubbert Peak" in oil production and the
                fallout from the ensuing cycle of oil price increases. I suggested,
                among other things, that they could look at the question of what we
                would want to keep the dwindling supplies of petroleum for:
                manufacturing useful materials, or continuing to burn it away in
                wasteful private automobiles (let alone SUVs!)? I suggested that a
                social consequence of the Hubbert Peak that they could look at would
                be a likely reversal of urban sprawl due to the increasing decline in
                urban use of cars. I think it's important to bring these kinds of
                ideas into the public forum, and it can be done in subtle yet
                convincing ways.

                Cheers,

                Chris Miller
              • Car Busters
                ... But these are equally valid things to question. As a transport activist, I like to keep the issue focussed on cars, or planes or whatever, but as a
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 24, 2002
                  > I agree that at this level, i.e. comparing the costs of means of
                  > transportation, the argument is relatively good. But you have to take
                  > into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
                  > aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                  > environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                  > washing machines or personal computers".

                  But these are equally valid things to question.

                  As a transport activist, I like to keep the issue focussed on cars, or
                  planes or whatever, but as a (occasionally) thinking human being,
                  I'm not going to pretend that the rest of the consumer lifestyle
                  (refrigerators, washing machines, and personal computers
                  included) is not causing any problems. Hence I believe that it's
                  absolutely legitimate to bring in the environmental costs of cars
                  when talking about cars. If we are questioning their necessity, we
                  need to look at *all* the pros and *all* the cons, there should be
                  nothing excused just because most complex manufactured goods
                  are also guilty and we're used to them.

                  Richard.


                  ____________________________________________

                  CAR BUSTERS
                  Kratka 26, 100 00 Praha 10, Czech Republic
                  tel: +(420) 2-7481-0849 - fax: +(420) 2-7481-6727
                  <carbusters@...> - <http://www.carbusters.org>
                  ____________________________________________


                  World Car-Free Days: September 13-27!
                  <http://www.carbusters.org/carfreeday>

                  Car Busters Worldwide Contact Directory
                  Register your group on-line now:
                  <http://www.carbusters.org/directory>
                • billt44hk
                  since i raised thisissue simultaneously on abt 3 of the groups i subscribe to let me just report that the proposition that more energy is expended in
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 24, 2002
                    since i raised thisissue simultaneously on abt 3 of the groups i
                    subscribe to let me just report that the proposition that more energy
                    is expended in manufacturing a car than it uses in the rest of its
                    life-time is challenged by a participant in a parallel debate on
                    urbancyclist_uk:-

                    Ian says:

                    That's something that I often see in print and a while back I did
                    some
                    searching to check if it was true. Basically, it isn't!

                    This is a good analysis http://www.ilea.org/lcas/macleanlave1998.html

                    For those without the time to follow the links only 10% of the energy
                    used in the total life of a car is in manufacture. However, because a
                    lot of these processes are "old industry" the manufacturing stage
                    does
                    account for over 50% of the total "toxic releases".
                    Fuel and the fuel cycle account for nearly all of the energy use and
                    nearly 50% of the toxic releases.
                    This is calculated for a car life span of 14 years and does not take
                    into account energy used or toxic releases during recycling.
                    For something that includes recycling you need to look here
                    http://www.cleancarcampaign.org/standards.shtml
                    Regards
                    Ian Oliver

                    Personally its all more hair-splitting than i'm prepared to spend
                    energy on unravelling, or to search for ultimately 'true' data,
                    because the energy issue isnt my main bugbear abt cars -say they were
                    made from recyclables/renewable sources if that were possible, and
                    ran non pollutingly and silently on solar power, as long as they
                    continued to level their speed and intimidating threat against me as
                    I try to walk or ride a bike, and entail the same space-grabbing
                    highway robbery, ie inequitable land use, then I'll still be
                    campaigning against the damn things.

                    Bill T
                  • Will Stewart
                    T. J. Binkley ... Yes, we have to understand the significance of our choices with regard to our impact on others. Of course, purchasing new refrigerators etc
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 24, 2002
                      T. J. Binkley

                      wrote:

                      >>A cautionary word about the critiques of the environmental cost of
                      >>cars before they are even driven: I would not consider these arguments
                      >>at all convincing unless it can be shown that these costs apply
                      >>uniquely to *cars* and not, say, to refrigerators, washing machines or
                      >>personal computers.
                      >>
                      >
                      >Better that these costs were compared to the manufacture of trains
                      >
                      >or bicycles or walking shoes
                      >
                      Yes, we have to understand the significance of our choices with regard
                      to our impact on others. Of course, purchasing new refrigerators etc is
                      also another form of impact that shouldn't be ignored, it's just outside
                      of our focus area. And it's one area that is not covered by
                      www.energystar.gov

                      I think a calculator may have been shown before, but here is one just in
                      case;
                      http://www.airhead.org/

                      Will Stewart



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • T. J. Binkley
                      ... It s a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far in an argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                      Message 10 of 16 , Sep 24, 2002
                        Chris Miller wrote:

                        >... But you have to take
                        >into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that cars
                        >aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                        >environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                        >washing machines or personal computers".... the
                        >thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
                        >manufactured items are.

                        It's a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far in an
                        argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                        alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines or
                        personal computers".

                        >(Cars) ...behave like cancer cells, perverting the way a city grows and
                        >functions,
                        >eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
                        >that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
                        >give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
                        >Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution, but
                        >keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at least
                        >severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
                        >heart of what a city is.

                        Nicely put.

                        > For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity. People who
                        >don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the way
                        >modern life is organised...

                        So how then does one facilitate the transition?

                        >The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
                        >last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people into a
                        >multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
                        >going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general public
                        >with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use, before
                        >this is likely to change.

                        Alas, most of "the public" seems fairly indifferent to *clearly reasoned*
                        arguments.

                        I think a faster approach will be to make appeals to the building
                        community; based on the innate familiarity and desirability of the
                        human-scale environments we want to see more of. There's money to be made
                        here. Build it--even a small portion of it---and they will come.

                        -TJB
                      • Matt Hohmeister
                        I d also like to look at the financial aspects of owning a car, compared to other major consumer products: A house is probably the only thing a typical person
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 25, 2002
                          I'd also like to look at the financial aspects of owning a car,
                          compared to other major consumer products:

                          A house is probably the only thing a typical person owns that costs
                          *more* than their car. If you have a lifestyle change [new job, new
                          child, elderly relative moves in, grown child moves out, etc] and
                          want a different house, you can sell your house for the price you
                          paid for it [losing any interest you paid, of course] and buy another
                          house. The house itself can last 100 years, if not more.

                          Someone I know replaced a 25-year-old fridge for $600. The old one
                          was still working perfectly; they just wanted a new one. They
                          immediately had lower electric bills, and the new fridge will take
                          about 10 years to pay for itself.

                          Let's look at a car. You might pay $15,000 or more for a new car, and
                          the car is likely to start falling apart after 20 years, if not
                          sooner. I once had a new Honda dealer tell me that I will want to
                          replace the car in 5 years because my "lifestyle will change", and I
                          might want to consider a lease. How dumb is it that something will
                          cost $20,000, only to be sold back at little value in 5 years for a
                          replacement?

                          Also, I have never been told that I "should seriously consider a new
                          fridge", or that I'll "never get a girlfriend if I keep that old
                          fridge". *grin*

                          *rant over*

                          --matt

                          --- In carfree_cities@y..., "T. J. Binkley" <tjbink@d...> wrote:
                          > Chris Miller wrote:
                          >
                          > >... But you have to take
                          > >into account that opponents could turn around and remind you that
                          cars
                          > >aren't the only manufactured item that probably has hidden
                          > >environmental costs before it is even used. Hence "refrigerators,
                          > >washing machines or personal computers".... the
                          > >thing is to find out what the relative costs of different complex
                          > >manufactured items are.
                          >
                          > It's a valid point. Still, I doubt an SUV-lover would get very far
                          in an
                          > argument of this sort. Real cities offer several healthy,
                          convenient
                          > alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines
                          or
                          > personal computers".
                          >
                          > >(Cars) ...behave like cancer cells, perverting the way a city
                          grows and
                          > >functions,
                          > >eventually infesting it with a tumorous network of asphalt pavement
                          > >that strangles the natural social and physical uses of a city that
                          > >give it its life. This is the central problem of cars in cities.
                          > >Internal combustion can be fixed, getting rid of (most) pollution,
                          but
                          > >keeping cars in cities will always lead to them destroying or at
                          least
                          > >severely impairing the human scale of living that is the absolute
                          > >heart of what a city is.
                          >
                          > Nicely put.
                          >
                          > > For many people, cars *are* in fact an absolute necessity.
                          People who
                          > >don't use them are at a major disadvantage, simply because of the
                          way
                          > >modern life is organised...
                          >
                          > So how then does one facilitate the transition?
                          >
                          > >The problem is that the choices that were made toward the middle of
                          > >last century turned out to be bad ones that locked most people
                          into a
                          > >multiply dysfunctional, urbicidal transportation system and it is
                          > >going to take a lot of work, including sensitizing the general
                          public
                          > >with *clearly reasoned* arguments against perpetuating car use,
                          before
                          > >this is likely to change.
                          >
                          > Alas, most of "the public" seems fairly indifferent to *clearly
                          reasoned*
                          > arguments.
                          >
                          > I think a faster approach will be to make appeals to the building
                          > community; based on the innate familiarity and desirability of the
                          > human-scale environments we want to see more of. There's money to
                          be made
                          > here. Build it--even a small portion of it---and they will come.
                          >
                          > -TJB
                        • Chris Bradshaw
                          ... Hold it! Have we forgotten that cities predate refrigerators and washing machines? About a century ago most people relied on corners stores to keep food
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 29, 2002
                            "T. J. Binkley" wrote:

                            > . . . Real cities offer several healthy, convenient
                            > alternatives to cars. Not so for "refrigerators, washing machines or
                            > personal computers".

                            Hold it! Have we forgotten that cities predate refrigerators and
                            washing machines?

                            About a century ago most people relied on corners stores to keep food
                            refrigerated until the day it was prepared. Corners stores could still
                            make a comeback.

                            As for washing machines, laundromats could be located within the corner
                            stores, so these machines, too, could be shared, reducing the
                            manufacturing costs-per-user. Apartment buildings and cohousing
                            projects also do this kind of sharing now.

                            The corner store, itself, is a casuality of the car society.

                            We at Vrtucar (Ottawa's carshaing company) are looking at putting
                            together a turn-key unit for existing corner stores: the owner would
                            replace his own car/van with a shared one from us (they need a vehicle
                            for the store, as so little is delivered today to such small outlets),
                            which could produce them revenue at other times when used by carsharers
                            living nearby. At the same time, their business would increase as those
                            who used the shared vehicle would see the real cost of every driving
                            trip, making the items bought with only a walk far cheaper.

                            Chris Bradshaw
                            Ottawa
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