Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Just when the conditions looked promising for a significant movement to hybrids and EVs, a new roadblock (pun intended) appears.  This, at a time when prices are starting to inch down for the energy efficient vehicles, a necessary move needed for years, it fails to be effective.

This article from a recent issue to Time, http://time.com/3547819/cheap-gas-puts-the-squeeze-on-hybrids-and-evs/, confirms drivers' attitudes and preferences for standard engines now that they are far more efficient than in prior years.  This, plus the benefit of sharply falling gas prices- gallon of regular unleaded is $2.89 here in southeast Florida and about $.15 less in Orlando.  Prices this low, thanks to major discoveries of oil here in the states, serve to maintain the status quo.

There is no mention in the article of the major reasons why even if hybrids/EVs were flying out of showrooms there would be little, if any, impact on trtansportation-related polllution.  First, there are 250 million cars and light trucks on our roads and hybrid/EVs are about 1% of that total.  Second, the average car is more than 9 years old and much less efficient than current models.  Third, pervasive traffic congestion wipes out any MPG gains.  Fourth, too many drivers go much too fast and speed reduces MPG.  A car going 70 MPH, just the speed limit on many highways, reduces MPG by about 21%.

The most effective, near term way to reduce emissions is to take cars off the roads in significant numbers.

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