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Today, the predominant media is filled with positive articles about all the great reasons why you should consider an electric vehicle or EV. If you are swayed by this positive input and are considering buying an EV instead of an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, some of the following may be helpful.


Here are five top reasons to buy and some of the questions you might want to ask yourself:

  1. Annual cost to operate – Is an EV really less expensive to operate? – a – First is the cost of electricity vs. the cost of fuel. In general, the electricity to power an EV is cheaper than the fuel to power and ICE vehicle. If or how much you save is almost entirely a product of where you live and where the vehicle will be driven. In the Northwest, fuel prices are among the highest in the country (just under $4.00/ gallon for regular gas at the end of 2021) and electricity prices are among the lowest (some places as low as $0.75 per gallon equivalent). That means for the average driver who puts 12,000 miles on a car each year and gets 20 miles per gallon, you would spend $450 for electricity to power an EV vs. $2,400 for your fuel, a savings of $1,950 a year. In the Northeast, electricity is more costly and petroleum fuel not quite as expensive so the numbers are not as good. In Connecticut there are places where fuel is about $3.00 per gallon and electricity is almost $2.00 per gallon equivalent. You could save barely $600 per year. (see this article) – b – In an EV you will not have to pay gas tax and this is often billed as an additional operating cost savings. Unfortunately the gas tax is paid at the pump and is already included in the savings calculation so don’t count it twice. – c – Also remember that most states are scrambling to replace gas taxes lost to increases in EV usage and as such have enacted or are considering annual EV road use taxes. – d – You will likely save the cost of 2 or three oil changes each year which pending the type of oil and the type of car could be as much as $200 to $300 per year saved. Very few articles that you read will tell you that this savings will likely be offset by the increased cost of brake replacement. With the EVs extra weight to stop and regenerative brakes (energy captured in braking to add to the efficiency of the EVs power system), brake pads last less than half as long as on ICE vehicles. – e – And few articles will tell you about the increased tire wear (again largely due to the increased weight of the EV). Think of driving an EV as it would be to drive an ICE vehicle that was always loaded with a full load of cargo and/or passengers.
  2. Initial cost to own an EV – Most EVs cost between 20% and 40% more than their ICE counterparts. This means you will pay between $6,000 to $25,000 more for the privilege to drive an EV. This penalty is normally believed to be repaid by lower operating costs and the offset of rising fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. There are numerous government incentives (tax credits and tax deductions) that can often help reduce this initial cost, again much of this is dependent upon where you live.
  3. Good for the Environment – The majority of the articles written about EVs highlight the ‘fact’ that EVs are good for the environment. We are told they have zero emissions (see this article). In general, it is true that the operation of an EV produces fewer emissions than the operation of most ICE vehicles. What you will see in very few articles is the environmental cost to produce the EVs which is far greater than what is required to produce ICE vehicles. To name a few: the environmental cost to mine the lithium for the batteries, mostly controlled by China which has one of the world’s worst records of protecting the environment; the environmental cost to mine the cobalt, also used in the batteries, mostly done in the Congo but the processing is done in China; the fact that EVs are, on average, more than 20% heavier than their ICE equivalents increasing energy use and pollution from producing that much more product; excessive tire wear and road wear caused by heavier vehicles, etc. If you are truly concerned with the environment, you need to ask the questions not being asked in the media to see if you are really convinced that the EVs represent an improvement over ICE vehicles. Do you wonder about recycling of lithium ion batteries? As of today, there is no available, reliable way to reclaim value from LI batteries so what will happen to them when they are replaced? Do you wonder how the electric grid, already taxed to the limit in many part of the country, will hold up to the huge increased demand for electricity to power EV batteries? What will be the environmental cost to expand the power grid to meet the new EV demand?
  4. Lifetime Cost to Own – Much is made in the media about how in spite of the fact of higher initial cost, EVs have a lower lifetime cost to own. Most reports show a lifetime of 200,000 miles of use see this article which I found was the basis of many pro-EV articles that I found) 200,000 miles is the equivalent of 16+ years of driving for the typical American driver. Make sure to ask yourself if you are likely to keep the vehicle that long. “While the average new car buyer holds onto their car for 8.4 years, there is a wide variety of cars that owners are more likely to keep longer,” said iSeeCars. If you change the lifetime cost to own calculation from 16 years to 8, the cost to own picture is not as kind to the EVs. Or, if you add the cost of a full battery replacement, $12,000 to $15,000, almost no EV sold today pencils out to save you much or anything over its lifetime. Most EV manufacturers warranty their batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles. That is a good indication of how many years you should be able to drive before the costly replacement. EV batteries don’t understand miles, or years. They age based on cycles and how you drive and how you charge your batteries will have a big effect on whether your battery system will need replacing in five years or twelve.
  5. Lifestyle and Social Credit – If you do most of your driving in town, the current lack of convenient charging options should not be a big concern. Charging stations are being built in most highly populated areas. And you will rarely be far from you home and its charging station. However, if you live in a rural area and much of your driving is between places not served by charging options, this should be a big concern. I like to equate the geographical reasons in favor of owning an EV to those that favor using public transit. Where there is a dense enough population to support convenient public transit, there is now or will soon be enough charging option available to make EV ownership a reasonable choice. You may want an EV because in your social sphere, ownership of an EV is a symbol of an Environmentally responsible person. If that is the case, an EV may be a good choice but wouldn’t riding public transit be a better choice for the environment?

Of course there are many more important comparisons that you might want to make. aSafety, for instance may be a big plus for occupants of the much heavier EVs. In general, in accidents, the heavier vehicle comes out better than the lighter one. However, heavier vehicles, in general take longer to stop or change direction so are less likely to avoid crashes. b – Cargo, is another issue to consider. Most EVs carry less weight than their ICE equivalent vehicles and some also have far less cargo volume due to space taken up by batteries. – c – Ground Clearance and turning radius are also impacted by placement of batteries and are worth considering pending the type of driving you do. – d – Resale value is a real unknown. There is the possibility that increased demand may make for high resale value. Just as likely is the possibility of low resale value due to battery age or lower demand than projected.

Last, I think we all need to understand that electric power for a vehicle represents a very flexible fuel profile. The electricity may be generated using solar, wind, coal, hydroelectric, biomass, oil, natural gas, or nuclear. In all cases, the electricity must be moved from the point of generation to the point of use. In the transmission of electricity, most estimates are that about 6% of the energy is lost (2% in transmission and 4% in local distribution). So, the price of this flexibility is a loss of efficiency. In fact, EVs are only less polluting if the source of their energy is less polluting. China, the biggest market for EVs and the fastest growing one generates between 70 and 80% of their electricity from coal. Will China’s big change to EVs really reduce the amount of pollution that they produce? Depending where your electricity is made, you may be driving a coal fired car or a natural gas fired car or a solar powered car. No matter where you are, we still don’t know what effect 250,000 more EVs each year will have on our power grid. Nor do we know what the environmental cost (each year) will be from the recycling (or not) of 250,000 or more huge lithium ion batteries. Lots to think about and not many people asking the important questions.

Before you buy your new EV consider all of the costs, not just those that are advertised and which favor EV ownership.

A couple of months ago, I wrote that travel is always educational.  Having just returned from another trip (this one a vacation) I am again reminded how true that is.

While sitting a breakfast with fellow travelers at a B & B, we discovered that two at the table lived in Alaska and one worked at Prudhoe Bay.  The question got around to drilling in the ANWR.  Though I am abbreviating his response and paraphasing what I heard, here is the gist:

Prodhoe Bay is much more ecologically sensitive than the area in the ANWR that is proposed for drilling.  The drilling area at ANWR is basically flat marshland and tundra with extremely small populations of wildlife.  Most of the photos that you see of the area are of the mountains away from the proposed drilling areas.  There is no environmental reason not to drill in ANWR, just political reasons.

Of course, this is one person’s take on the situation, but he is closer to it than I, or most of the commentators I have read, will every be.  It is always fun to hear from non-traditional sources.  We all tend to learn most of our news from one side of any argument.  Whether it is Fox News putting a conservative spin on the events of the day or the vast majority of the news media giving the Northeast progressive spin, what we get is rarely the unvarnished truth.  This one person’s commentary may not be highly informed, but when he tells me he has been there many times and the photos we see are a distortion for political purposes, I log that in my memory and see things slightly differently the next time I view photos of majestic mountains and teaming wildlife in the ANWR.







The 20 – 40  series was intended to provide guidance  in choosing the correct candidate prior to the November Elections this year.  The idea was to cover 20 important issues in the 40 weeks until the election.  We are now down to just under 16 weeks to go.   So far we have addressed 8 of the 20 issues:

Health care was #1, Jobs was #2, Taxes was Issue #3, Agriculture was #4, Government Spending/National Debt was #5, Commerce was #6, Energy was #7.  We also did #20 – Your Issue goes here.  On that one we got one response that I want to pursue – Innovation, a subject near and dear to my heart and one that I think will be very significant for our future as a nation.  We also threw in an extra issue – Legalize Drugs.

Issue #8  is Environmental Policy.  This is a tough one for me.  I revel at the beauty of nature.  I love to wade a beautiful mountain trout stream and catch and release native fish.  A walk on the beach or a hike in a mountain meadow both restore my energy and reawaken something in me that is good.  I also know that a huge part of the Environmental lobby has little or nothing to do with protecting our environment from damage.  Much of the it is pure and simple power politics.

If you don’t want the new prison in your back yard, I am sure you can find an environmental group that will carry your banner to save the endangered purple stemmed ragweed that has been found on the site.  This silly weed  (that may have been introduced to the site for political purposes) is found all over the world but somehow was designated as endangered.  Is this really about protecting the purple stemmed ragweed or is it a NIMBY maneuver?

What I want to see in a candidate is a recognition of the fact that like most issues, the field is populated by both good and bad groups.  I want a candidate to differentiate and not grant the politically correct “pass” to every environmental cause and group.  Earth First, for example appears to be more about gaining publicity and taking (often violent) action than about caring for our natural treasures.  The same can be said about many factions within such groups as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defense Fund and many others.

I remember well the lessons learned as a Boy Scout.  Among the most meaningful was the credo that you must always leave your site cleaner than you found it.  That works well in life in general.  A favorite piece of mine is the Oath of the Athenian Youth (the Ephebic Oath), the last line of which is traditionally translated to say, “Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”  I don’t think that was ever meant to mean “nothing will change” or “nothing will be torn down to build new.”  I do think it meant that we be mindful of what we have and think long and hard before we diminish one thing to build up another.

I also think a candidate must have both a healthy respect for all of the bureaucracy surrounding the ‘environmental movement’ today and a skepticism about the need for all of it.  For me, I would think our Environmental Impact Study procedures could be reduced by half and still fill the function they were originally intended to fill.

In my view, any ‘politician’ who campaigns primarily on “Environmental” issues is suspect.  Mr. Gore was a prime example.  In my view he was wrong on many things, but none so much as “Human Caused Climate Change”.  I do not believe that humans have no effect on our environment.  I do contend that radically limiting human activity in the name of “controlling” climate change is a huge power grab and makes a farce of science.

I want a candidate who is not afraid to say that not everything in our environment is sacrosanct.  Sometimes weeds need to be eradicated to allow crops to be grown to feed people.

Let’s help Congress make the decisions that will prepare our country for the future.  Let’s look at 20 key issues that Congress and members of Congress are likely to address in the next few years. Let us help define these issues for each of the candidates running for Congress as they approach the 2010 Election less than 40 weeks from now.

In my view the best thing we can do is to choose legislators who will govern with minimal intervention and who will reduce the size, complexity and scope of the federal government.  Many, if not most of our nation’s problems can, in my view, be laid at the feet of a lazy citizenry turning over too many responsibilities to the government.  If instead, we actively work to choose wise and honest people to govern us, we will both fulfill our responsibilities and stand a good chance of improving our situation.

Here is the initial list of issues.  I will bold and link each issue to the post on that issue once it is done.  Feel free to comment and tell me to remove any or add any that are not here:

1. National Defense

2. Energy

3. Communications/Mail

4. Transportation

5. Law/Legal System

6. Agriculture

7. Commerce

8. Health care

9. Taxes

10.  Jobs

11.  Social Security

12.  Foreign Policy

13.  GSEs like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac

14. Government Spending/National Debt

15.  Crime and Punishment

16.  Security/Borders

17.  Rights/Responsibilities/Privileges

18.  Congress and Ethics

19.  Environmental Issues

20.  Your favorite issue goes here.

I hope to post at least one time a week on one of these issues.  I will appreciate your comments.  Pass it around.  The more people we get discussing these issues, the better we will fare in November.

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

I’m in a particularly poor mood today.  I see that Mr. Reid is hell bent on getting his disastrous power grab bill to the Senate Floor this weekend.  I see that Olympia Snow is willing (again) to sell her soul and to sell out her constituents just to grab a little power in exchange for a vote.  It makes me wonder why our elected officials seem unwilling to take on the important issues of the day but have lots of time to play politics.  Apologies in advance if this post is a bit less civil than my usual.

Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Pretend you are a Member of Congress, or a Senator, or the President.  There are lots of important issues for you to consider.

Quick.  Chose one of the following and make it priority 1 (one).  Once you have that, pick number 2 (two), then 3 (three) and so forth.

Education Reform

Energy Supply and Self Sufficiency

Economy – jobs

National Security

National Debt

Healthcare Reform

Environmental Policy

National Basketball League Salaries

Race Relations

National Infrastructure issues

Communications security

Where does Healthcare reform fall on your list?

Now tell me if Congress and the President have their priorities right.  Below are a few comments on some of the issues our government is concerned with today:

Health Care Reform – proposed cost (most analysts say this is VERY optimistic) $100 Billion per year more than now ($420 Billion for Medicare, $216 Billion for Medicaid) and will cover an additional 20 to 30 million people.

Medicare currently covers about 35 million people for an annual budget of about $420 Billion.  that means we spend about $12,000 per person covered.  That also means we are being asked to believe that a government healthcare option will cover 30 Million people for around $100 Billion a year, less than one third what the government pays now for each person covered by Medicare or $3,350 per person per year.

Energy Research and Development – Current Energy Department Budget is around $25 Billion total.  Does this mean that our government, for all its protests about gaining energy self-sufficiency, is about 30 times as concerned about health care as it is about energy (read ‘or about the economy’)?

Jobs were supposed to be created by injecting a Trillion dollars into our economy via the Recovery Act.  It looks to me like some of that money could have better been used to hire some people to run the Recovery.Gov website who could read and write.

Our National Debt is now in the ballpark of $12 Trillion.  That is just shy of our Gross Domestic Product of $14 Trillion.  Borrowing and spending at the rate of the first 10 months of the current government indicates a doubling of our National Debt in the next 5 to 7 years.  Does this not trouble Congress or the White House, or You?  How are you going to pay the $40,000 that you owe?  Or the $40,000 that your wife owes?  Of the $40,000 for each of your kids?

Are you as concerned about the Environment as our Congress?  When was the last time you heard anything come out of Washington about the safety of our water supply?  Our food supply?  How about Air Polution?  Do these things have anything to do with the health of our population?  Are they addressed in our ‘Health Care Reform” legislation which is pending?

What about National Security?  Are we more or less likely to suffer another 9-11 type attack today than we have been over the past half dozen years?  Are you at all concerned about the Taliban taking over Pakistan or at least gaining access to one of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?  I am.  Does it make sense that the President is doing nothing to lead our armed forces and diplomatic service to resolve this problem?  For a candidate who said his predecessor was doing everything wrong (and was not concentrating on Afghanistan which was the war we should be fighting), to be 10+ months into his Presidency and to have done nothing to indicate he wants to lead us in this vital area strikes me as either cowardice or incompetence.

Education is a hot topic.  Are we losing the ‘battle of the mind’ to Asian countries?  Are we ignoring our most valuable resource, our children?  Is education something that should be left to the states?  Our Congress doesn’t seem to care since it seems to only have time for health care reform legislation.  I guess they must since their leader says, “….health care is the single most important thing we can do for America’s long-term fiscal health. That is a fact. That’s a fact.”  B.H. Obama to the AMA, June, 2009

In my not-so-humble opinion, the only thing that makes Health Care rise to the top of Mr. Obama’s agenda and Mr. Reid’s and Mrs. Pelosi’s is political power.  What you think is important is unimportant to them.  Health care reform is their ticket to even more power and control.  Little things like jobs and national security will take a back seat until they have their Health Care Reform (read power).

Have you called or written to your Senators to let them know how you feel?  They need to know.



First, I need to tell you where I stand on the issue of Global Warming or Global Climate Change or whatever is today’s politically correct term.

I find most Global Warming faithful to be very closed minded about the subject.  If you mention anything that does not fit their belief set, most ‘warmists’ will attack you as stupid or ‘right wing nutcase’ or similar.  I think name-calling usually masks their fear that something in which they are so invested may not be exactly as they have been led to believe.  Most seem afraid to let in any data that may not fit their world view.

I think that anyone who intentionally spoils his surroundings is stupid.  I think that anyone, given a choice between two options should choose the one that has the fewer negative impacts. We should look at our environment with a prejudice toward helping, not hindering natural balance.  In medical school, young doctors are taught “first,do no harm.”  Wikipedia states that “another way to state it is that ‘given an existing problem, it may be better to do nothing than to do something that risks causing more harm than good.'”  We need to consider the possible harm of our actions.

We also need to weigh the costs of the actions we take.  To accept Global Warming Theory and take all the actions recommended by Mr. Gore, is, in my view, acting without consideration of the costs or the facts (as often opposed to the current pop-science).  I think we need to strike a balance.  If we continue to pollute the earth, we will destroy much of what has sustained us for centuries/millennia.  If we destroy our economies to protect nature we will have no extra funds with which to protect nature.  It’s Catch 22.

Now, the question:  Is it Global Warming or should we see this as a Global Warning?  I will write more on this at a later date but thought the following links had some interesting data that you don’t see often in the press:

The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill? –  ““This is the quietest Sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” says NASA solar scientist David Hathaway. But this is not just a scientific curiosity. It could affect everyone on Earth and force what for many is the unthinkable: a reappraisal of the science behind recent global warming.”

The Artic  – concludes that “Global Warming” is not Global but Regional

Ice at the North Pole – Not So Thick  –  shows photos of thin ice at the north pole over the past 50 years (like the one at the top taken at the North Pole in 1959) .

I also thought this was interesting.  –  

The monthly Weather Review reported []: “The arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions , and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface. … Ice conditions were exceptional. In fact, so little ice has never before been noted. … In Arctic Norway… where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often moraines, accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea they have entirely disappeared.” But the year was 1922:

 My guess is that most of us think what we want to think and filter what we hear so that our beliefs are rarely challenged.  The severity of the reaction of most “Warmists” to anything that challenges their world view continues to make me believe their minds are closed more than those they accuse of “ignoring the facts.”  I would be much more comfortable if more people were open to the possibility that what we are now told is “Global Warming” might be a cycle over which we have little or no control.  Maybe we could all use this as a warning that regardless of “Warming” or not that we should “first, do no harm.”

This was written on April 27 for posting on May 13.  It was not posted until May 21.

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