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Old 08-25-2019, 11:04 PM
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Is voluntarily doing "eco-friendly" actions always a complete waste of time?


I have a sneaking suspicion that it is, even on scales where millions of people are doing it.

Here me out. Here's an analogy: Californians are famously "eco-friendly". They like Teslas and hybrid cars. Let's suppose that every resident of California who can afford one goes out and buys a hybrid or EV solely to protect the environment. (not for the HOV lane stickers or other perks from the CA state government)

Texans are famously the opposite. They love their pickup trucks, especially the F-150.

What happens if Californians actually do this? Well, their collective action would reduce the gasoline consumption of the entire state of California by a huge factor. (the ratio would depend on how many of the cars were hybrids vs EVs).

This would in turn reduce demand for gasoline. Which would cause average gasoline prices to go down. Which would make buying F-150s more attractive to Texans and they would waste all the gas the Californians saved.

Effectively, this voluntary conservation didn't accomplish anything. And if you look at bigger scales - all of China, all of Europe, etc, you realize there's a global market for fossil fuels and any fuel you "save" someone else will buy up and burn instead.

This doesn't mean it's never worth it to save resources by buying more efficient products - but only when it actually saves you money. Definitely not if it costs more than the value of the savings.

It seems to me that we have a tragedy of a commons problem. And anyone who voluntarily doesn't take the biggest share they can is just encouraging others to take more.

Last edited by SamuelA; 08-25-2019 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:40 PM
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This would in turn reduce demand for gasoline. Which would cause average gasoline prices to go down. Which would make buying F-150s more attractive to Texans and they would waste all the gas the Californians saved.
Sentence 1 is true
Sentence 2 is true (assuming no change in demand elsewhere which your next sentence contradicts.

The last half of sentence 3 is not necessarily true. Whether or not Texans would waste all the gas otherwise saved by the Californians depends on the price elasticity of gas.

It is generally recognized that the demand for gasoline is relatively inelastic, which means demand doesn't change much with a change in price. If the demand were completely inelastic the demand in Texan would not budge and all the savings by Californians would remian. As the demand is relatively inelastic, most of the savings by Californians should remain.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:42 AM
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Voluntarily doing "eco-friendly" actions is never a waste of time


Teslas are not "eco-friendly" but that's a different discussion.

Thanks to Californians buying Teslas, Tesla will be motivated to develop more and better and cheaper Teslas (including the Tesla pick-up truck, etc.)

That will give eco minded Texans the choice of buying the electric pick-ups, too. A choice which would not exist if eco minded Californians didn't have the demand for them.

Eventually fossil fuel cars will be outlawed. (It's taking longer than I thought.) That will never happen, CAN never happen if nobody makes electric cars, nobody has electric cars, nobody wants electric cars.

First people will have to make better, more and cheaper electric cars. Then more and more people will WANT them. Eventually practically everybody will want electric cars and only electric cars. Ideally we won't even literally have to "outlaw" fossil cars. Because nobody will buy them anyway.

In any case progress can only happen by people increasingly doing "eco-friendly" actions voluntarily.

You can't prescribe or outlaw actions legally that large numbers of people would not already do or refrain from voluntarily. People would not vote for these politicians or vote them out.

California has relatively strict environmental laws thanks to large numbers of Californians already voluntarily supporting then and voting in favor of them.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:33 AM
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IIRC EIA uses a price elasticity of -0.02 or -0.04 for gasoline. It used to be more elastic in the 90s, but only like -0.08. So yeah, OP flubbed this one.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:44 AM
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By the same logic, if I decide not to shoot up heroin, I’m making the opiate crisis worse. Because by abstaining, I’m increasing the world supply of heroin.

You could use that same logic to justify any vice or denigrate any virtuous action.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:45 AM
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Californians under this scenario will enjoy better air quality regardless of the price of gas, which is a really big deal.

Plus, having what, 40 million people only buying electric cars would be fantastic for the economies of scale on electric cars. That will drive down prices, and attract others to buy them as well -- because they are just plain better than gas-powered cars in every respect but two: road trips and up-front cost.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:53 AM
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Also, gasoline does not magically flow from CA refineries to the rest of the country. That costs money. Their source oil is different, too.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:58 AM
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In any case progress can only happen by people increasingly doing "eco-friendly" actions voluntarily.

You can't prescribe or outlaw actions legally that large numbers of people would not already do or refrain from voluntarily. People would not vote for these politicians or vote them out.
I agree with the second statement. Maybe it's just the way the first is phrased, but big reduction in GHG emissions almost surely requires individuals being forced to pay for more energy or its uses (like transportation), not 'only' from people doing the actions voluntarily. And I don't count 50%+1 votes to force everyone else to do stuff as 'voluntary'. To me voluntary is people individually deciding doing a thing is to their benefit, not being forced to do it while being*told* it's to their benefit.

But of course it's critical the reduced emission things not be a lot more expensive, or I agree as in second point they won't happen in democracies or can't be sustained. Not necessarily in dictatorships either. A lot of global emissions going forward is about China, and the Communist Party depends for its legitimacy on rising living standards. It will not give that up for semi-abstract purpose of China's contributions to global GHC emission reduction, if that's the trade off: better to hope it doesn't turn out to be. Local 'conventional' pollution in China is somewhat different, that itself could be a threat to CCP legitimacy so there's a more direct motive there for example to push EV's.

I personally believe the chance of either voluntary individual or even 50%+1 or dictatorially imposed big reductions in GHG emissions *globally* is pretty remote. Or maybe eventually, but the idea it's an issue everyone is going to come to grips with *now* if we just hype it a little bit more is not realistic IMO. Adaptation and direct climate engineering will have to be a big part of addressing it I guess most likely.

And the direct effect of Tesla's etc being somewhat popular in CA (taking a monster road trip earlier this year there are a surprising number in LA and particularly SF areas, more even than NY area where I live, but not a whole lot elsewhere and basically none in whole other vast areas of the US we drove) is negligible for global GHG emissions. A 100 fold increase in EV numbers globally (won't necessarily happen but not that far out there) in the next couple decades could cut oil (not all fossil fuel) demand single digit %. That would no longer be trivial, but hardly 'the solution' either.

None of which means a person shouldn't buy a Tesla if they have the money and the economics (subsidized or not) work for them, and/or they just think it's cool. Not my cup of tea as a car, but I don't piss on other people's parades about stuff like that. Who cares if it's a 'waste of time' in terms of the global GHG problem (anything one ordinary person does will be) if the car gives you enjoyment?

Last edited by Corry El; 08-26-2019 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:03 AM
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Teslas are not "eco-friendly" but that's a different discussion.
It is amazing how this item has been able to move effortlessly even among centrists and some liberals, when people are aware of the propaganda coming from powerful interests that has been identified for years.


https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicle...e-ev-emissions
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The specific emissions of any given EV model will depend on the vehicleís efficiency and the electricity that powers it (check out our interactive tool to explore EV emissions in your area). For all Americans, charging the average new EV produces far fewer global warming pollutants than driving the average new gasoline car. In some of the countryís cleanest regions (including parts of California, New York, and the Pacific Northwest), driving an electric car is equivalent to getting 85 miles per gallon.

By the end of their lives, gas-powered cars spew out almost twice as much global warming pollution than the equivalent electric car. Disposing of both types of vehicles (excluding reusing or recycling their batteries) produces less than a ton each.
A short video explanation with cites:

Are electric cars really green? An investigation of Bjorn Lomborg's claims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwMPFDqyfrA&t=1s

Short answer to that: Yes. And like a bad penny, Lomborg has been one of the main 'go to' guys in the media to get the contrarian view.
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:04 AM
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I have a sneaking suspicion that it is, even on scales where millions of people are doing it.

Here me out. Here's an analogy: Californians are famously "eco-friendly". They like Teslas and hybrid cars. Let's suppose that every resident of California who can afford one goes out and buys a hybrid or EV solely to protect the environment. (not for the HOV lane stickers or other perks from the CA state government)

Texans are famously the opposite. They love their pickup trucks, especially the F-150.

What happens if Californians actually do this? Well, their collective action would reduce the gasoline consumption of the entire state of California by a huge factor. (the ratio would depend on how many of the cars were hybrids vs EVs).

This would in turn reduce demand for gasoline. Which would cause average gasoline prices to go down. Which would make buying F-150s more attractive to Texans and they would waste all the gas the Californians saved.

Effectively, this voluntary conservation didn't accomplish anything. And if you look at bigger scales - all of China, all of Europe, etc, you realize there's a global market for fossil fuels and any fuel you "save" someone else will buy up and burn instead.

This doesn't mean it's never worth it to save resources by buying more efficient products - but only when it actually saves you money. Definitely not if it costs more than the value of the savings.

It seems to me that we have a tragedy of a commons problem. And anyone who voluntarily doesn't take the biggest share they can is just encouraging others to take more.
So many issues, so little time. I think others have pointed out how you are wrong about the price of gas and touched on the fact that if every Californian bought all electric vehicles (from Tesla or other companies) this would actually be a huge driver for electric cars in the country, probably tipping the scales to manufacturers producing as many or more all electric vehicles than ICE as well as pushing other states and/or nations to really push for charging stations. It would be a huge injection of capital into the all electric vehicle market which would almost certainly mean even more investment both in production as well as even more in pushing innovation (faster charging batteries, higher capacity batteries, etc etc).

But, that said, even your premise that this would make Texans waste more gas is, well, horseshit too. There are already a lot of electric cars in Texas. Gas has been cheaper in the US for a while now, yet we aren't seeing any huge push for tons more F-150's, or more gas use. In fact, our use has been fairly static and even dropping over time. And just like in California, more people in Texas are buying electric cars now, despite the fact that gas prices have been low in the US (it was at around $2.10 at the pump on my way in today in fact). So, your example doesn't really work.

As for what I assume was your broader point, do 'eco-friendly' actions (such as, presumably, buying a solar power system, better insulation, or other things) 'always a complete waste of time?', I'd say...it depends on the action. But, generally, any sort of input into the market is going to have a real effect, not a 'waste of time'. For instance, solar power systems are on the rise in the US (not just in California), and due to the government and individuals going this route it's caused more investment and capital in the industry, driving the prices lower. This has definitely had a mixed impact on the market as a whole, but generally it's not been 'a complete waste of time'.

An individuals actions alone aren't going to have a really big effect. But in the aggregate, if enough people join in, it can have a real impact. Sometimes this is negative...such as nuclear energy. Sometimes it's mixed, as I think solar has been. But sometimes it's a whole paradigm shift that can change the world...as I think all electric vehicles will in the next few decades. Or perhaps as new AI and automated driving algorithms. They have the potential to, literally, change our society and our world in fundamental ways. And it all started with some Californian tree huggers with lots of money wanting to buy all electric vehicles to save the planet (ok, not really...but it had definitely had an impact).
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:24 AM
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Short answer to that: Yes. And like a bad penny, Lomborg has been one of the main 'go to' guys in the media to get the contrarian view.
I am not talking about anybody's "claims". I know all those claims and what they're based on and what is true and not true.

Teslas are not "eco friendly" because private motoring is not eco friendly.

Private motoring consumes an extraordinary amount of resources all wasted on pleasures of a single individual.

Walking is eco friendly. Taking electric public transport is eco friendly. Not traveling (so much) is eco friendly. Private motoring is horribly eco unfriendly.

That said, I am not opposed to Teslas or to private motoring. The very opposite, in fact. I am a huge fan of Teslas. I drive nothing else when I drive (or other full-electric cars in a pinch).

We will not stop private motoring nor do I believe we should. I don't believe we should all live in caves. I like long road trips in a Tesla and indulge in those myself every once in a while. I am not arguing against private motoring.

I am arguing against the thought that it is "eco-friendly".

I wish there were some more perspective on such issues.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:04 PM
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I am not talking about anybody's "claims". I know all those claims and what they're based on and what is true and not true.

Teslas are not "eco friendly" because private motoring is not eco friendly.

Private motoring consumes an extraordinary amount of resources all wasted on pleasures of a single individual.

Walking is eco friendly. Taking electric public transport is eco friendly. Not traveling (so much) is eco friendly. Private motoring is horribly eco unfriendly.

That said, I am not opposed to Teslas or to private motoring. The very opposite, in fact. I am a huge fan of Teslas. I drive nothing else when I drive (or other full-electric cars in a pinch).

We will not stop private motoring nor do I believe we should. I don't believe we should all live in caves. I like long road trips in a Tesla and indulge in those myself every once in a while. I am not arguing against private motoring.

I am arguing against the thought that it is "eco-friendly".

I wish there were some more perspective on such issues.
Again I agree with much of that. From the POV of GHG emissions the ostensible goal is reducing them a lot worldwide. The current level of use of EV's is negligible in that regard. Very widespread global use would have some effect but not a huge one. That's not the same as claims that EV's are no use in a head to head comparison of one EV to one ICE. There's a significant reduction per vehicle, but it's insignificant in the aggregate now and the realistic potential withing 10 or 20 yrs is not dramatic. Which again IMO gets back to distinguishing what's a 'waste of time' from how realistic it is to expect sharply reduced GHG emissions worldwide.

Back to original question the main flaw in that specific reasoning was pointed out a couple of times: OP makes a clearly wrong assumption about gasoline price elasticity to think that EV's' effect on gasoline prices would cause an increase in ICE vehicle fuel consumption anywhere near enough to cancel out.

There is a less negligible economic 'backwash' effect of EV's though. Which is that they cost less to run than ICE cars. If they have the same net present value cost over the life, it's more upfront cost and lower running cost for the EV. That will encourage more 'private motoring' at the margin. That's also isn't enough to offset the reduction in emissions per mile, but might cancel out a noticeable portion, especially if the mpge (e for emissions not $ cost) is only mid double digits*. That's still significant emissions to power the EV's. If the grid were practically carbon free you could ignore how much more people might drive EV's because they were cheaper to run, and likewise if decarbonizing the grid resulted in electricity so expensive the EV running cost advantage would disappear. But the latter is back to maintaining realism about what the public will accept.

Also though OP's reasoning is not correct, quoting very low short term elasticity of gas demand isn't exactly correct either. If gas goes from $4 to $2/gal people don't decide to do their existing daily commute twice a day for the hell of it, but if driving costs stay low it affects their decision about the trade off of more living space v. a longer commute in their next place. So will low EV marginal operating costs.

*Note the 68 mpge (emissions 'e') US national average in the link above is weighted by where EV's are now sold, which is so far pretty skewed to places with higher mpge.

Last edited by Corry El; 08-26-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:28 PM
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I am arguing against the thought that it is "eco-friendly".

I wish there were some more perspective on such issues.
As the point that is made on the reports and the video, there is clearly a big difference on allowing more gas powered vehicles vs electrical ones.

Just saying that others can get the impression that there is no difference, particularly when the issue is about releasing less CO2 into the atmosphere.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:39 PM
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Again I agree with much of that. From the POV of GHG emissions the ostensible goal is reducing them a lot worldwide. The current level of use of EV's is negligible in that regard. Very widespread global use would have some effect but not a huge one. That's not the same as claims that EV's are no use in a head to head comparison of one EV to one ICE. There's a significant reduction per vehicle, but it's insignificant in the aggregate now and the realistic potential withing 10 or 20 yrs is not dramatic.
IMHO the numbers from the cites are not insignificant.

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicle...e-ev-emissions
Quote:
For all Americans, charging the average new EV produces far fewer global warming pollutants than driving the average new gasoline car. In some of the countryís cleanest regions (including parts of California, New York, and the Pacific Northwest), driving an electric car is equivalent to getting 85 miles per gallon.

By the end of their lives, gas-powered cars spew out almost twice as much global warming pollution than the equivalent electric car. Disposing of both types of vehicles (excluding reusing or recycling their batteries) produces less than a ton each.
BTW I do agree that the less cars there are it would be better, but if someone does want to continue with their personal transportation they can do so, provided that they do not ignore that they will still have to support or contribute to larger changes elsewhere.
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:32 PM
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By the same logic, if I decide not to shoot up heroin, Iím making the opiate crisis worse. Because by abstaining, Iím increasing the world supply of heroin.

You could use that same logic to justify any vice or denigrate any virtuous action.
This is brilliant. A new War on Drugs! Iím taking drugs off the street! (And into my arm.)
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:37 PM
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Think a bit more about your example: If Texans burned all of the gas that Californians saved, then there would still be the same total amount of consumption of gasoline. Which would mean that there wouldn't be a change in price after all. Which would mean that Texans would only consume the same amount of gas that they do now.

What would actually happen would be that a new equilibrium would be reached. Gas prices would drop some, and Texan consumption would rise some, and the net result would be more gas consumed in Texas, but less consumed overall.

As for Tesla, the current Tesla is not a practical car. It's a sexy sports car that gets a lot of attention. But the lessons learned in making that sexy sports car, and the advances in technology, can be used to make other cars which are much more practical. Which is exactly what the company plans to do.

Nor, of course, is the Tesla the only all-electric vehicle on the market. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt are already moving into the practical-commuter niche, and there are plenty of other plug-in hybrids.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:03 PM
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Private motoring consumes an extraordinary amount of resources all wasted on pleasures of a single individual.

[ . . . ]

We will not stop private motoring nor do I believe we should. I don't believe we should all live in caves.
Do you believe that we all live, or should live, in cities?

You may only drive for pleasure, but there are quite a lot of people driving cars out of necessity, because they have no public transportation available, but the society is currently set up so as to require most people who don't live in cities (and some who do) to cover long distances routinely.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:17 PM
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A 100 fold increase in EV numbers globally (won't necessarily happen but not that far out there) in the next couple decades could cut oil (not all fossil fuel) demand single digit %. That would no longer be trivial, but hardly 'the solution' either.
You're probably right about it being <10% difference, because the entire transportation sector is currently only producing 15% of all CO2. We'd have to make all vehicles in the world (including airliners and ships) 3 times more efficient on average to reduce total CO2 emission by 10%.

But why should the transportation sector alone bear the burden? If you wanted to cut total CO2 emission by 20%, you don't eliminate one industry, you make each industry cut their CO2 emission by 20%.

The market share of plug-in vehicles (plug-in hybrid + pure electric vehicles) is currently 2.1% and increasing around 70% per year. If that rate continues, in less than 10 years, all new cars sold will be plug-in vehicles. While that won't literally be true, it's not unrealistic to think that in 20 years, a majority of cars on the road will be plug-in vehicles. That should easily reduce CO2 emission by over 20%.

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Old 08-26-2019, 06:18 PM
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Do you believe that we all live, or should live, in cities?
80% of Americans already live in urban or suburban areas. Of course most of those areas currently don't have public transport, but expanding public transport should get as much effort & funding as expanding the use of EVs.

Last edited by scr4; 08-26-2019 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:20 AM
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Do you believe that we all live, or should live, in cities?

You may only drive for pleasure, but there are quite a lot of people driving cars out of necessity, because they have no public transportation available, but the society is currently set up so as to require most people who don't live in cities (and some who do) to cover long distances routinely.
The biggest thing I believe is that I don't get to tell other people how they should live.

I think it's well established that lots of people living in cities is more "eco-friendly" or less eco-hostile than everybody all spread out.

But that's not the same thing as believing everybody "should" live in cities.

I also believe in people having choices over their own affairs.

Now I do happen to believe that everybody absolutely should stop consuming fossil fuels in the scale and manner it's happening today. That's absolutely not a matter of choice. It'll just take time until "everybody" agrees. It's just basic moral values. It may not happen in my lifetime but it will happen. Because using fossil fuels in the manner and scale of today REALLY IS horrible. It's clear as day. Just like "everybody" today agrees that dog fights and war crimes are horrible.

At least we won't have to give up driving. Just driving on fossil fuels.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:47 AM
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As the point that is made on the reports and the video, there is clearly a big difference on allowing more gas powered vehicles vs electrical ones.

Just saying that others can get the impression that there is no difference, particularly when the issue is about releasing less CO2 into the atmosphere.
Thanks, yes I was indeed anticipating what impression others can get when I call something "(not) eco friendly".

It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when complex subjects are reduced to "eco friendly", "healthy", "all natural" etc.etc.etc. all those facile buzzwords.

Needless to say I agree with what everyone's saying here, except the OP.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:52 AM
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80% of Americans already live in urban or suburban areas. Of course most of those areas currently don't have public transport, but expanding public transport should get as much effort & funding as expanding the use of EVs.
I agree with this. And I've got no problem with this reply, as long as it's understood that some people need to live outside cities for their own mental health, that some people need to live outside cities for their necessary work, and that separating humans from natural systems carries its own ecological risks:

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Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
The biggest thing I believe is that I don't get to tell other people how they should live.

I think it's well established that lots of people living in cities is more "eco-friendly" or less eco-hostile than everybody all spread out.

But that's not the same thing as believing everybody "should" live in cities.
What I was objecting to was this:

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Originally Posted by Frankenstein Monster View Post
Private motoring consumes an extraordinary amount of resources all wasted on pleasures of a single individual.
It's not all "wasted on pleasures of a single individual", which is a phrasing that would apply to driving for the fun of it, or to driving in an individual car when public transportation is available, safe, and not massively more time-consuming, and permits transport of whatever items the individual genuinely needs to move.
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Old 08-27-2019, 09:55 AM
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In a broader picture, I don't know if it makes a meaningful difference if I alone work to reduce my footprint and increase beneficials, such as more plants in my yard. What I do know is that when I walk to work, I don't use gas or put more particulates and heat into the atmosphere. I also know that the sides of US highways used to be strewn with litter, and that this decreased radically after Lady Bird Johnson campaigned against it. I know that, generally speaking, we no longer use leaded gas or leave the engine idling while we run into the 7-11. I know that growing my own vegetables means I'm not ingesting or spreading whatever we learn next is just as dangerous to the body as DDT. I know that by planting native flowers in my yard, I foster bees and hummingbirds, among other species. That in bagging my groceries in a reusable sack, I'm cutting down on plastics in the waste stream. Etc. I also know that more people being conscientious is additive and creates a culture where, for example, manufacturers think more about how they're packaging. This is good, since industry and agriculture are big contributors to eco-unfriendly practices, and usually don't change their practices without economic and cultural pressure. If I don't do what I think is right, I'm allowing others to determine the course of the world.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:04 AM
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What I was objecting to was this:

It's not all "wasted on pleasures of a single individual", which is a phrasing that would apply to driving for the fun of it, or to driving in an individual car when public transportation is available, safe, and not massively more time-consuming, and permits transport of whatever items the individual genuinely needs to move.
You're right, I chose those words poorly, in particular the words "wasted" and "pleasure" in this context. I should have spent more time considering better words and phrasing. Sorry about that.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:56 AM
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A friend of mine purchased a Model 3. They start at $35,000 which puts it out of the range of most Americans. But then I discovered it's gas mileage equivalent is 124 per gallon so I did some bar napkin math on to see what I would have saved on my 2007 Mariner had it been electric.
$10,000 so far. That doesn't include the cheaper maintenance or anything else. Just gas.

Many people will switch to a different technology when it just makes financial sense. The selfish decision will soon be to own an electric car, it won't have much to do with saving the earth.
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Old 08-27-2019, 12:56 PM
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Many people will switch to a different technology when it just makes financial sense. The selfish decision will soon be to own an electric car, it won't have much to do with saving the earth.
When I added "geo" (ground source heat pump HVAC) to my previous house, I was irritated at all of the green-scaping that geo companies were trying to promote. I thought it would be much more effective to argue the cost benefits. My current house's HVAC went belly up last year, but my yard is tiny and vertical doesn't break even as fast as a horizontal field.

When I had my Fusion energi, I chose it because it was cool and cheap, not because of any "green" efforts. When I can finally order my Mustang inspired BEV crossover vehicle, that's going to be because it's fun, not because of any effect on the Earth.

(FWIW, I don't hate the Earth, but statistically, there's nothing that I can do to affect it for good or bad. I prefer to make meaningful differences, such as helping to clean up rivers.)
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:29 PM
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If you do something that lowers your standard of living in the name of being "eco-friendly", then you probably are wasting your time. If you don't use your AC in the summer, and just sweat through it, then the slight effect that you have on the cost of energy only means that others can use more. If you ride a bike instead of drive, then the savings on gas are being passed on to people who drive more. Basically, "Oh, you don't want that, more for me."

Any idea that starts with the notion that people will voluntarily reduce their standard of living has failed as soon as it is uttered.

Doing eco-friendly alternatives, OTOH, is a different matter. Tesla's are cool cars, and there is still a bit of early adopter costs to them, but once they and other EVs are a regular feature on the dealer showroom (okay Tesla's aren't sold by dealers, but anyway...), they will probably end up costing less to own and operate, and sound like their more fun to drive as well.
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:34 PM
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If you do something that lowers your standard of living in the name of being "eco-friendly", then you probably are wasting your time.
"Savings" isn't the right metric for "eco-friendly." Yes, the market matters, but I find this formulation puzzlingly reductive.
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:55 PM
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"Savings" isn't the right metric for "eco-friendly." Yes, the market matters, but I find this formulation puzzlingly reductive.
I'm not entirely sure what you mean. I didn't talk about savings at all. I was just replying to the OP that there are things that you could do that are futile in the name of being "eco-friendly", but that buying EV cars would not be one of those.
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Old 08-27-2019, 01:56 PM
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Teslas are not "eco friendly" because private motoring is not eco friendly.
It has to be taken in context. Teslas are more eco friendly than other similar sized ICE vehicles. Teslas are not more eco friendly that world wide mass suicide.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:04 PM
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I agree with this. And I've got no problem with this reply, as long as it's understood that some people need to live outside cities for their own mental health, that some people need to live outside cities for their necessary work, and that separating humans from natural systems carries its own ecological risks...

Sure, as long as we are not unfairly favoring rural dwellers by letting car drivers emit CO2 for free, subsidizing oil producers, using disproportionate amount of tax funds for rural road construction & maintenance, using disproportionate amount of diplomatic power & military funding for securing our supply of oil (would we have spent $2 trillion on the Iraq war if Iraq wasn't in the middle of an oil-producing region?), etc.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:05 PM
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You're right, I chose those words poorly, in particular the words "wasted" and "pleasure" in this context. I should have spent more time considering better words and phrasing. Sorry about that.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Sure, as long as we are not unfairly favoring rural dwellers by letting car drivers emit CO2 for free, subsidizing oil producers, using disproportionate amount of tax funds for rural road construction & maintenance, using disproportionate amount of diplomatic power & military funding for securing our supply of oil (would we have spent $2 trillion on the Iraq war if Iraq wasn't in the middle of an oil-producing region?), etc.
Those rural roads get your food to you. Just saying.

But I'll accept all that (I'm in agreement on most of it already) if you guys will start taking care of your own trash. If it all had to stay in the same area where people create it, I think we'd see a whole lot less of it in a really short time.
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