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Car politics: "coal rollers," "Prius people," & the middle-man

#1

I realized something today, that I am not the overtly wasteful to be overtly wasteful type (coal rollers in massively oversized pickups, for example) nor am I the often snobbish, "my carbon footprint is smaller than yours" type, (the majority of Prius owners). I know that I am generalizing a bit, but I kind of take a middle stance on the issue of a car's impact on the environment. I don't really concern myself too terribly much with the carbon output of my vehicle, other than making sure it passes emissions tests. I still find both extremes on the issue ie. "coal rollers," and "Prius people," irritating however.

I will be perfectly frank. I do give some amount of care to the environment in terms of resource use and species protection. I recycle all of my plastic and cardboard products, and glass products even though that necessitates me taking the glass to a special recycling dumpster by my local grocery store. I also support the less radical animal and species protection organizations. I don't feel like me giving up my 20 to 22mpg vehicle is going profoundly impact the environment in a positive way, nor would buying a Prius. I also do enjoy the fun and adventure that my vehicle enables, that a Prius simply cannot. When I occasionally catch flak for what I drive, I tell the person that I enjoy the "smiles per gallon," and that I meet emissions standards and my carbon footprint is what is likely considered to be average in a developed nation.

I like to take the middle-ground when it comes to most issues, whether it's politics, product opinions, and on the environment. I only take a side when I am extremely passionate about a particular issue and feel that I personally identify with one side of the issue. What's interesting, is that the middle ground is often the most precarious place to be, as people in both camps will criticize your opinion.

I got the whole premise for this post while seeing a Toyota ad implying that people who dislike the Prius want to create the biggest carbon footprint possible. I was irritated simply because it felt like Toyota was playing into the snobbish and "holier than thou," mentality that many (again, generalizing a bit) Prius owners exude. I simultaneously dislike people purposely burn obscene amounts of diesel for the sole purpose of producing black smoke from their trucks. Thoughts?

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#2

On the note of recycling:
https://youtu.be/AAnG9Cb7IBQ
(sorry, it's the only version on Youtube I can find - they put a frame around the video and sped the video up a tiny bit to - I assume - circumvent Youtube's Content ID)

and on the note of the rest of this thread:
In general I feel the same. Honeslty, if I had to take one over the other...at least as far as those people's personalities go, I'd rather stick around the diesel blowers than Prius owners (heh, that rhymed...).
I don't really have much to contribute to this thread, I just wanted to make my post seem somewhat on topic.

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#3

The phrase, 'If you sit on the fence too long you get knocked off,' comes to mind, but when it comes to issues that you're talking about, there is no black/white answer. I find myself toeing the middle ground a lot on a lot of issues as well, because a lot of times the 'best answer' is a little of both sides.

As to your coal rollers versus green team; some of those coal rollers could be running biodiesel, though highly doubtful. That is one of my 'dream' cars..big ol truck running biodiesel. Confuse the hippies and the rednecks all at once. I drive a 1987 Mercedes 300TD, a turbo-diesel station wagon. It will roll coal, but only in certain situations. I bought it for $350 and have put a fair amount into replacement parts, but IMO, is more environmentally (and economically, fugg a car payment) conscious than buying a brand new car.

The thing with hybrid cars and their 'greenness' is that they all use batteries. Many of which are nickle metal hydride. Nickle mining is not pretty. Then there are all of the other rare earth elements that are needed for all the other electronic witchcraft. Full electric cars are another issue of their own, since the majority of the country still gets its electricity from coal. I still think the future for cars is hydrogen fuel cells. Unless more solar/wind power actually gets built.

I think more than worrying about your car, try and use less energy overall. I can't remember where I read it, but there was an article about how individuals simply reducing their energy use can have a bigger impact than large scale projects. Switch to LED/CFL's in your home, turn off your lights, use cold water to wash your clothes, hang dry your clothes, just try to use less overall. Long term, I think it would be cool for municipalities to start assisting homeowners in getting wind/solar setup for their homes. If you can get a big enough community to all be generating wind/solar energy for their own needs, they could pretty much cut the energy companies out. Maybe have enough money to upgrade some of the electrical infrastructure..since it's in a pretty sad state of affairs. And the town could sell the money to the power companies as well. Basically like how municipalities are installing their own fibre networks. It's quasi socialist, and is kind of weird because I really don't trust the government to do much of anything right, but I just think it's the best way to get widespread coverage in a community without the power companies.

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#4

Some places (like Australia) subsidise solar through either direct grants or a higher feed in tariff the higher feed in tariff can be justified by the power grid companies as decentralising the power grid and reducing the need for more central power production and distribution capacity and distribution losses thus saving the cost of production and maintenance on the power companies

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#5

I know there are Federal tax breaks for installing a solar panel, and long term you definitely win out, however it's still a pretty steep initial investment for a homeowner. Either way, more solar/wind/tidal or other clean energy sources really need to be pursued. It's 2016 dammit. We should have spaceships by now, travelling to a moon base and colonizing Mars. But we're still burning coal like it's the Industrial Revolution.

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#6

well technically we haven't reached the technical/informational revolution and probably won't prior to 2020.
we are still industrializing the processes for production until we as a species reach the point that we no longer need to be industrial workers we will continue the industrial revolution robotics is the next step and then when robots can build themselves we reach two significant points in our growth or evolution as a species
1) we make skynet (logan response here)
2) we will be about the evolution and revolution of information based changes as we will no longer need to industrialise the process beyond the data required to have the actions completed by robots. upon the point that we no longer need to industrialise the process we will see (i would assume) a decentralization of power grids as a must, for the ongoing operability of the robotics. This would spur long term investment with a slow/low ROI as continuing functionality would take precedence over upfront costs, after all who needs a solid roof when the robots aren't affected by weather or they benefit from a bit of exposure to the elements. We may see production lines moving outside the closed roof environment with something like a retractable roof you see on sports stadiums being seen as a cost effective measure of protection.

EDIT: here is an example where operability of a site is benifited by adding solar http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/em813/ im sure there are others i just dont have the references off the top of my head sorry.

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#7

I think we have reached a point where most of our vehicle choices are OK. Modern electronic fuel injection engines are so much more efficient and clean than in the past. They make owning a hybrid car like the Prius irrelevant. New Porsche's are so clean it is not possible to commit suicide from the exhaust. I call the Prius and the like 'penalty boxes'. I'm reminded of the South Park episode when San Francisco was covered with a 'smug cloud' from all the Prius drivers. I have driven one and it was terrible.

On the other hand, modifying a vehicle to produce more smoke is stupid, potentially dangerous, anti-social and I wouldn't mind if that option was regulated out of existence.

I am more interested in efficient high performance cars (like my WRX). It blows my mind that even cars like the 460HP Corvette gets 29 mpg on the highway. I also like that the fastest cars are now hybrids, using the best benefits of each system (electricity for launch and a gas engine for speed). I don't approve of electronics and gadgets that are just because they can. For example many BMW's have no oil dipstick. You have to use the computer in the dash. You can't check how much oil is needed or the color or smell. How much does that digital dipstick cost vs. a metal one?

Just this week the Feds loosened regulations on small volume manufacturers of replica vehicles. The biggest caveat is they must have a modern EFI crate motor. Carburetors are not allowed. At this time engines from GM are the only ones that qualify. Most companies are OK with that, but some purists say they will continue to sell their cars as "kits" without an engine so the customer can install an engine that matches the period. Could you image a Ford GT40 with a Chevy motor? Sacrilege!

My point is as long as we are on the road to continuously lowering emissions and getting rid of old smokey engines the Earth will be just fine. Gasoline is the most highly concentrated form of portable energy we have at the moment until everyone can afford to drive a solar powered Tesla.

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#8

I've gotten into collisions with a Prius and later on a pickup, seemed pretty similar to me:)...........kidding

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#9

I'm a firm believer in Diesel technology but the "rollin' coal" dumbasses really piss me off. They are wasting fuel for negative power returns just to satiate their overcompensation for poor self esteem issues. Diesel engines can do some really amazing things and make a lot of power with little to no particulate emissions out of the exhaust if you engineer it so. More importantly diesel electric generators in passenger vehicles with electric traction motors and a smaller Li-ion pack would cut out the need for clunky gasoline hybrid drive trains and massive Li-ion battery packs. You could literally go from New York to Los Angeles on 20 gallons of diesel fuel. The only reason why the diesel generator engine would turn on, is to charge up the batteries when you cannot use the regenerative braking from the electric traction motor. The diesel engine itself would only need to be a 0.6L-1.0L 3 or 4 cylinder.

This technology has existed for over 25 years in the heavy freight locomotive industry. Its time to quit beating around the bush and integrate it into consumer passenger vehicles. Now getting automotive manufacturers to do it? That's another problem.

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#10

I'm not sure if it's coincidence or if someone from Foreign Affairs is on the forums, but I have some reading to do...

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#11

Car politics? All I have to say on the subject is ban all gasoline engines. If I was in power I'd do it immediately.

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#12

Electric engines are not developing for two reasons in my opinion: 1) tin foil hat on oil companies want to make as much money as they still can for now so they hold back on electric cars
2) tin foil hat off produce and despose batteries is pretty complicated and if not done correctly can kill entire ecosystems.
To me the future is in fuel cells cars without batteries but with capacitors instead.

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#13

http://www.cowspiracy.com/

please watch, should be on Netflix
cars aren't enemy, but easier and more lucrative to create new products ("clean" diesels, hybrids, electric, etc.) than to attempt behaviour modification to change the die of Western civilization. Also consider why big animal agriculture isn't even mentioned by majority of environmental groups or even at recent Paris climate conference.

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#14

Problem with current Supercapacitors is they need to be chilled at -64*C to be effective, and the materials are sorta radioactive.

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#15

Really? You would force people to use electric vehicles?

What if they need a vehicle to get to work, and can't afford a new car? There are thousands and thousands of people in that bracket.

But what about people like me? I drive an I6 full-steel-body Jeep. I drive that Cherokee because I love it. It turns on a fucking dime, it's more powerful than an otherwise equivalent V8 suv or light truck. Parts last next to forever. I literally cannot run out of good things to say about this vehicle, but it runs on gas. That's enough to ban me from driving it, in your opinion?

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#16

Vegan diets don't work, unless you want to be a scrawny pip-squeek with no muscle. Meat isn't the problem, it's the way the industry is run that is.

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#17

Yeah, for now. But if no effort is put in developing and improving new ideas things won't go much further than where they are now. Computers were hard wired, not programmable, used a lot of energy, produced crazy amout of heat, were as big as entire rooms and accessible only to who designed it. Now a kid can hold a computer into his hands and make it do almost anything he wants to. I know the subject is different but R&D can make a huge impact in any human knowledge area.

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#18

No. The problem isn't how meat is raised.

If all beef (just beef) were converted to free range, just for the USA, every square inch of north and south America would have to be converted into grazing land. FACT. It's not sustainable.

I'm not advocating full vegan diet merely reducing the amount of meat that we consume.

And I'll assume you're being tongue in cheek about being skinny without meat?
http://www.greatveganathletes.com/

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#19

Uh....

Poultry. Fish. Tofu. Peanuts.

There are many ways to get protein without red meat. I'd have to know. I'm deathly allergic to red meat.

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#20

Grass fed beef is not a sustainable way to feed the US population. There are 314 million people in the US that average 209 lbs of meat a year. It takes about 11.7 acres to produce enough beef for each person. It would take 3.7 billion acres to produce that, but there are only 1.9 billion acres in the US. It takes 23 months for a grass fed fed animal to mature; only 15 months for grain fed. That’s 8 additional months of water use, land use, feed and waste, which is a huge hit on the carbon footprint. So, grassfed beef is even less sustainable than factory farming.
Organic dairy farmer – organic dairy farming can’t meet the world demand of dairy products. A single cow consumes 140-150 lbs of feed a day. that’s 20 tons of grain per week. A cow drinks between 30-40 gallons of water per day. All dairy animals and offspring end up as beef. Dairyman says there is not enough land in the world to produce organic dairy for everyone. 1 gallon of milk takes up to 1000 gallons of water to produce.

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