Pollution

Tesla Drivers Don't Be Too Smug: Electric Cars Are Not So Green, Says Study

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Tesla plugged in
svtalk

In a new study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences University of Minnesota researchers report in various scenarios that vehicles using alternative fuels are often more harmful to human health than are conventional gasoline-powered automobiles. From the abstract:

We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or "grid average" electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline.

Air Pollution Vehicle Deaths
PNAS

The AP reported:

"It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean … are not better than gasoline."

Not surprsingly, the study does find that vehicles powered by electricity derived from wind and solar power have the least health effects. Keep in mind, however, that solar provided 0.23 percent and wind 4.13 percent of U.S. electricity in 2013.

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  1. So unicorn are toxic?

    1. No, just their farts.

  2. This is new information for whom?

    We have known this for decades.

    The watermelons have an agenda that has nothing to do with the environment, which is why they push green initiatives that are anything but green.

    1. This is new information for whom?

      Many cogs in the low-information outrage machine do seem to think that electricity, just because it is electricity, is perfectly clean. Alas, this study is unlikely to come to their attention.

      1. If the vehicle does not produces compbustion products onsite then they are not produced at all. It is a seen/unseen fallacy taken to a ridiculous level.

    2. Exactly. But for some smugness and self satisfaction are virtues that outweigh any other considerations.

    3. A lot of people seem to be convinced that solar and wind are much bigger sources of power than they really are. And actually believe that they can become significant power sources replacing fossil fuels.

      Of course, if people would stop being insane about nuclear, EVs could be pretty clean. But making batteries is still a pretty toxic business. Electric cars probably are the future, but not if they run on batteries.

      1. I am going to say it again: If you believe the prevailing science for the origins of oil and coal then ALL our energy (excepting Iceland etc.) is simply solar energy stored for a long time.

        1. If you want to get all energy originalist, yeah. Solar, gravitational and supernova energy is pretty much it.

          1. true, even geothermal is solar…just not our solar.

        2. I am going to say it again:

          Everything in the universe is solar.
          (Possible exception: Dark matter/energy)

          1. Well, stellar.

            Gravitational might be even more technically accurate since that is what makes stars work as well as other non-stellar high energy phenomena like active galactic nuclei. And dark energy has to do with gravity as well.

      2. A lot of people seem to be convinced that solar and wind are much bigger sources of power than they really are. And actually believe that they can become significant power sources replacing fossil fuels.

        Did a back of the napkin a while back. To replace fossil fuels with solar it would take an array approximately the size of North Dakota. To do the same with wind it would take a wind farm approximately the size of SOuth Carolina.

        Electric cars probably are the future, but not if they run on batteries.

        Hydrogen could be your battery.

        1. The problem with hydrogen is that there is no ready supply of it. It takes energy to separate it from other sources like water or (wait for it) other hydro carbons. So the “hydrogen based economy” right now at least would consist of getting our energy from fossil fuels by going through an expensive process of separating the hydrogen rather than just burning them.

          1. That’s why it’s a battery and not a fuel source. You can use nuclear energy to produce the H, allowing you to move it around like you would gas.

            Not saying it’s anywhere near efficient when compared to FF, but a hell of a lot more so than solar/wind powered batteries. And it’s clean, if you worry about these types of things.

            1. I didn’t know you could produce hydrogen from nuclear power. Is it an expensive process once you have the plant up and running?

              1. I meant that we could use nuclear energy to perform electrolysis.

                Yep. Expensive. And it takes as much or more energy to separate the H2 from water as you get out of the H2.

                Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the high cost of nuclear more to do with the regulation than the actual energy production? Joe Fission? Anybody?

                1. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the high cost of nuclear more to do with the regulation than the actual energy production? Joe Fission? Anybody?

                  Fixed costs of nuclear are intrinsically high owing to materials and workmanship (plus sheer amounts of stuff) needed.

                  Its the operating costs where things get empirically fuzzy, given there is no complete fuel cycle (no fast-neutron or salt MSR’s, no Final Destination for waste).

                  The stupidity goes both ways though; nuclear liability exposure is capped by law at $8 billion for an ‘incident.’ So if worst-case scenario happens, say, at Indian Point and all of Manhattan gets Chernobyled, liability is capped at $8 billion – which is absurd.

                  So nukes have artificially low liability insurance, huge artificial legal costs, high real fixed costs, and nobody really knows what a complete fuel cycle would cost.

                  Society, via government, has totally fucked up the ability to even understand the real risks and rewards of nuclear power from perspective of a price.

                  Sorry, that’s all I got.

              2. Electrolysis of water is a way to produce hydrogen using electricity. So nuclear would be a relatively clean way to produce it. Not sure how it compares in efficiency to other ways of producing it.

                As FdA says, H2 is not a fuel source so much as an energy storage medium. But unlike batteries you can fill up in a few minutes. And I think it is more efficient than batteries, but I’m not certain. It also avoids some of the very toxic stuff you need to make batteries.

              3. He’s saying that you produce hydrogen through electrolysis of water. Any source of electricity will let you do that.

                1. It’s sad that H is the most abundant element in the verse, and we gotta obtain it by separating it from water.

                  One of God’s little jokes.

        2. Another fun back of the envelope estimate to look at is, the amount of electrical capacity required to recharge electric cars, if those cars ever became more than a niche percentage of all the vehicles we use.

          When I did this for Texas, I came up with something like a third of Texas’s electrical capacity would be needed if we half of the existing cars were electric. This at a time when we were freaked about brownouts because the EPA was going to make a lot of old coal plants uneconomical to run.

          As to Hydrogen, it’s supposedly a bitch to work with/store, offers lower energy density than fossil fuels, and would be challenging to crash proof.

          1. That is another thing that people like to ignore when talking about electric cars. We’d need a lot more electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Which involves lots of other things that greenies don’t like.

            Hydrogen has it’s problems that you mention. But still better than batteries. H2 could be produced from electrolysis right at the power plant, eliminating the need for bigger electric distribution infrastructure. Making it safe and easy to transport is a problem, but seems like the sort of problem that can be solved fairly easily. I’ve heard some interesting things about storing hydrogen in metal hydrides.

        3. I mean “battery” in the more conventional sense. Fuel cells are different enough that I think they deserve their own name.

  3. If only someone would invent a car that ran on good intentions. That would be the best!

    Till then, I am happy to drive my car that runs on dead dinosaurs.

    1. If only someone would invent a car that ran on good intentions.

      It exists, but the KKKochtopus won’t let us have it.

      1. It required trapping huge numbers of SJWs and connecting them to sophisticated turbines and a Matrix-like VR environment to harvest the good intentions. The fornt-end capital costs turned out to be more than the value of the total expected output. Though the positive externalities of fewer SJWs was regarded as well worth it.

    2. Not dinosaurs. Plankton.

  4. (scooped in AM links)

  5. But electricity is renewable! Isn’t it? Isn’t it?

    1. From coal-powered car to coal-powered car in only 100 years!

    2. Sure. You can use the same electrons over and over again.

  6. Chemical energy — mechanical energy

    or

    Chemical energy — mechanical energy — electricity — transmission/storage losses — mechanical energy

    Tough to see how the top could be more efficient…

    1. Intentions trump physics.

    2. I feel it in my heart, so don’t confuse the issue with all that logic and stuff.

    3. In theory, it could be:

      Mechanical/nuclear energy — electricity — transmission/storage losses — mechanical energy

      Proggies don’t really care about the efficiency of the process. Their religion tells them that all chemical energy is bad and therefore it must be eliminated at any cost.

        1. Only if you’re okay with being bombarded with neutrons and gamma rays. The problem with direct nuclear power of cars is the shielding required to soak those up.

      1. And nukes are too scary because there was a huge earthquake in Japan. It amazes me how many people think that we learned something new about the dangers of nuclear power after Fukushima. No, we already knew that a giant fucking tsunami could cause problems for an old, outdated design on the coast of the most earthquake prone place in the world.

        1. It was a giant earthquake, followed by a giant tsunami on a facility with a poorly design secondary cooling system… causing a disaster in which zero people died of radiation poisoning.

          1. That’s the other thing. People seem to imagine that Fukushima killed or sickened lots of people. I’m sure some people will die early from cancer because of it. But from what I’ve seen, those numbers are pretty small. Too many people have no sense of perspective.

            1. People seem to imagine that Fukushima killed or sickened lots of people. I’m sure some people will die early from cancer because of it. But from what I’ve seen, those numbers are pretty small. Too many people have no sense of perspective.

              If Fukushima-type disaster had happened inland (no tsunami, but something else caused it), away from the ocean, I don’t know where they would have put all that radioactive discharge they dumped into said ocean – which is about the only thing big enough to eat and dilute that much radiation.

              What’s sad is the whole disaster there could have been ameliorated if the diesel backups had not been inundated. Put them a mile inland connected via cable and this would not have happened.

    4. That’s not necessarily as obvious as you make it out to be. As I understand it, electric generation is still a bit more efficient than and ICE. But once you add in the transmission losses and cost and pollution from battery production I’m sure EVs are worse. And ICEs keep getting better, cleaner and more efficient.

      The only way electric cars will be practical is with nuclear power and hydrogen fuel cells. Or something new.

      1. I wonder why they don’t do diesel-electric cars. Like locomotives.

        1. I think some car makers are working on that. It would be great because you can run the diesel generator at closer to optimum efficiency than you can with direct diesel power. I bet you could get 100 mpg+ with decent performance. Electric cars will be awesome when there is a non-stupid way to power them.

          I still think hydrogen is going to be the thing. It will still probably have to be produced using electricity, but it seems like a much better way to store electrical energy than batteries. And it won’t take hours to fill up, which is a huge problem for EVs.

          1. I dunno why EVs haven’t adopted a Propane Gas/Welding Gas bottle model. I.e, you swap out an empty battery for a full one. You don’t own the battery per se. Then work out a distribution system where a user could easily change battery sets, and let the service station worry about recharging them.

            1. That is an idea that is out there. Don’t know if anyone has done it yet.

              Part of the problem may be that if you want a car with any kind of performance, the batteries probably need to be put in places where they are not so easily swapped.

            2. I dunno why EVs haven’t adopted a Propane Gas/Welding Gas bottle model. I.e, you swap out an empty battery for a full one. You don’t own the battery per se.

              Look up Better Place. They went there, tried that, went broke. Tesla is exploring such options also, I believe.

  7. No shit.

    Maybe next they will tell me I’m more likely to die from falling down the stairs in my own home than be murdered by terrorists.

  8. Intentions trump physics.

    Somebody brought up the stupid “Who Killed the Electric Car?” movie one time, and I said, “Physics killed the electric car” and he looked at me in total bafflement.

    1. But, but, but it’s a conspiracy by Big Oil!

      1. I don’t normally cite “Rational”wiki, but this applies.

  9. So explain to me why I should trust these mortality models any more than I trust climate models (which is none)? Just saying…

  10. Righteousness is no guarantee of safety

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCCWwjb43jw

    Intentions do not trump physics.

    And Ron, please tell me you already realized this before seeing this study. You are too smart to be a member of the golf cart mafia.

  11. “Keep in mind, however, that solar provided 0.23 percent and wind 4.13 percent of U.S. electricity in 2013.”

    How much is provided by hydro and nuclear?

    According to this link:

    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/ov…..urces.html

    The correct answer is about 30% in California, and I don’t believe that includes the Hoover Dam–from which most of the electricity goes to Southern California.

    If you live in Southern California, as many Tesla owners do, the chances of you using electricity from a source other than coal is very high. Only 1% of California’s electricity comes from coal.

    It should also be noted that as natural gas continues to displace coal on price throughout the country in the future (and it’ll probably never be cheaper to dig coal than frack for gas), the use of relatively cleaner natural gas for electricity generation is likely to make electric cars look even better from an environmental perspective.

    So, I see two things to take away from this study.

    1) Coal burns dirty (We already knew that).

    2) Environmental solutions are regional (Didn’t we already know that, too?) Well, just in case…

    1. No, solar isn’t really cost competitive Kwh for Kwh, but it works better in some places than others. Places where geothermal work well are likely to use more geothermal.

      The suggestion that any implementation (like electric cars) isn’t a real fix because it doesn’t fix the entire problem for everyone is a silly canard. We don’t apply that standard to solving any other problem.

      Some people use laptops to access this site. Some people use tablets. Some use phones; some us PCs.

      Some people buy electric cars to help with the environment. Some people buy extra blankets. That different people in different situations need to use different solutions isn’t evidence of a market failure. That companies like Tesla sprang up with solutions to serve the desires of consumers who care about the environment is the market operating as it should.

      Noticing that entrepreneurs solve the problems consumers care about is a big part of the reason I’m a libertarian.

      What if entrepreneurs like Tesla couldn’t offer solutions to the problems that people care about? Isn’t that what the Obamas and Liz Warrens of the world are hoping for?

      1. That companies like Tesla sprang up with solutions to serve the desires of consumers who care about the environment is the market operating as it should.

        Sure it is. But there is nothing that says the market is going to act rationally or always do what is best for the “environment” whatever that is. People’s decisions are only as good as the information they have. In this case, people like you, are operating under the false assumption that buying an electric car is good for the environment. So Tesla uses this false assumption to sell a inefficient car as a brand and social signal that you care about the environment. That of course is perfectly fine on Tesla’s part and just good marketing. The fact that it is good marketing, however, doesn’t make the misconceptions it is capitalizing on any less untrue.

        All Ron is doing and this study is doing is pointing out the false information consumers are relying on it. What they do with that is their business.

        1. “Sure it is. But there is nothing that says the market is going to act rationally or always do what is best for the “environment” whatever that is.”

          I remember when they said there wasn’t any need for broadband. Then Quake III came around, Napster, YouTube, Netflix…

          There is an excellent reason to think that entrepreneurs will emerge to solve the problems consumers care about–to whatever extent they care. There are early adopters who will help finance the heavy lifting to get these kinds of solutions off the ground, and then the entrepreneurs will try to scale it up for general adoption.

          Ten years ago, I was the only guy I knew with a smartphone. Now every second kid in Jr. High has one. If not enough people cared about being connected that way, the entrepreneurs wouldn’t have emerged to service a non-desire, that’s for sure.

          But as long as people are willing to pay for things they care about, entrepreneurs will continue to try to sell them solutions.

          1. There is an excellent reason to think that entrepreneurs will emerge to solve the problems consumers care about–to whatever extent they care.

            Sure there is. But that doesn’t mean that consumers will care about the “right problems” or embrace effective solutions. People in China care about male infertility and entrepreneurs provide a popular solution in the form of powdered Rhino horn. By your logic Ken that should solve the problem since it was a solution delivered by the market.

            Ten years ago, I was the only guy I knew with a smartphone. Now every second kid in Jr. High has one. If not enough people cared about being connected that way, the entrepreneurs wouldn’t have emerged to service a non-desire, that’s for sure.

            Yes, the market meets people’s desires and tastes. That is my entire point. But that is all it does. It doesn’t “solve problems”, it gives the consumer what they want, there is no guarantee that it solves your pet problem. It only will if what people demand solves the problem.

            But as long as people are willing to pay for things they care about, entrepreneurs will continue to try to sell them solutions.

            Sure. But that says nothing about whether those “solutions” are effective. Their being effective isn’t what matters. What matters is people thinking they are effective.

            1. “Sure there is. But that doesn’t mean that consumers will care about the “right problems” or embrace effective solutions.”

              John, you’re doing the same thing Obama and Liz Warren are doing. Ultimately, it’s just trying to impose your own qualitative preferences on other people.

              Obama says that people’s qualitative preferences on healthcare are wrong–so he and the government has to step in and make it right.

              Sometimes, I don’t like people’s qualitative preferences. But that’s no reason to think that people don’t care about the right problems. They care about what they care about. If you’re not selling what the market is buying, it isn’t the market that’s wrong. Obama will not accept that.

              Given, there are people out there who are trying to do something and going about it the wrong way. People buying Teslas because they care about the environment is not a good example of that–not unless you know the person in question, what they were trying to accomplish, etc. People buy Teslas for all sorts of reasons. Wanting to support and encourage the development and implementation of a fossil fuel free alternative is one of them. Wanting a cool car with new technology that everyone’s talking about is another.

              Wanting to drive around while minimizing their release of CO2 into the atmosphere is another, too. And if they’re living in Southern California, they’re not being irrational in thinking that’s what they’re doing. They’re probably right!

              1. People buy Teslas for all sorts of reasons. Wanting to support and encourage the development and implementation of a fossil fuel free alternative is one of them. Wanting a cool car with new technology that everyone’s talking about is another.

                I live in Santa Monica, and made a killing in Tesla stock after seeing all the grapenuts clamoring for one of the things.

                Cars are industrial fashion at Tesla price-points, and a whole bevy of lefties with lots of money had no vehicular upgrade from their Prius from a social perspective – no Mercedes to move up to from the Honda.

                Then Tesla comes around. Its not that its electric, its that you can tell yourself its electric while whizzing around in a car that doesn’t look like birth control on wheels, or gets blown off the line by every bubble-gummer in a Civic DX – which up until the Model S was the price one paid for eco-cred rides.

                Just about every Prius driver I know (and Prii are Santa Monica’s Model T) has, if not plans, at least dreams of someday getting a Model S.

              2. Wanting to drive around while minimizing their release of CO2 into the atmosphere is another, too. And if they’re living in Southern California, they’re not being irrational in thinking that’s what they’re doing. They’re probably right

                That is not “irrational” I suppose. But it is certainly erroneous and ignorant. If you really believe in Chinese folk remedies, you are not irrational for paying for them. The problem is not your rationality, it is your perception of the effectiveness of the remedies. The same is true here. The problem is not the decision making itself, it is the assumptions behind the decision making.

        2. “People’s decisions are only as good as the information they have. In this case, people like you, are operating under the false assumption that buying an electric car is good for the environment.”

          Make no mistake, using an electric car with electricity from hydro is good for the environment. It just may not be good for the environment everywhere–yet.

          The second mistake you’re making is that you’re making assumptions about other people’s qualitative preferences. There are people out there who care more about…CO2 emissions, sustainable farming, getting the word out about libertarianism, or protecting the world from Xenu–than they do about their money. You’re in no position to make assumptions about the relative value of their qualitative preferences and whether they’re worth the money.

          The market will serve those qualitative preferences to whatever extent they emerge–which no government policy ever can. I like to ride under the stars across Death Valley at 2:00 in the morning at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Thank God for motorcycle companies that facilitate that. Who can tell me objectively what my qualitative preference is worth–without looking at a market price signal?

          The same thing goes for people that care about the environment, John.

          1. “People’s decisions are only as good as the information they have.”

            If I only get one idea across to you this week? It’s that you’re wrong about that.

            Price signals make people react to information that they themselves do not possess.

            If civil war breaks out in Nigeria, and the price of gasoline spikes as a result, the yokel down the street may not know anything whatsoever about what’s happening in Nigeria, but he cuts back on his gasoline consumption anyway in reaction to price signals. This makes more gasoline available to people who want it for more valuable purposes…

            Individuals making choices for themselves in a market are so much smarter–so much more benevolent–than government experts (or you) can ever be.

            You should not say that people’s decisions are only as good as the information they have. That is fundamentally false, and it probably shouldn’t be used as a premise for anything ever.

            1. Ken, that is completely unresponsive to my point. If I can make one point here today it is that you don’t understand how markets work very well. Markets work on millions of individual decisions. When markets “fail” it is when the consumers making those decisions have erroneous or insufficient knowledge.

              If Tesla is selling cars based on the promise that buying them is good for the market, people believing that promise and acting on it, doesn’t make the promise true or false. It just means consumers believed it. That is it. There is nothing magical about a market and there is no rule that says markets have to accurately reflect any reality beyond the tastes and perceptions of the consumers who make up that market.

              People could decide tomorrow that owning a parrot improves their health and the price and demand for parrots would go through the roof. That, however, would not make owning one better for your health. IN the same way, people thinking buying Tesla’s are good for the environment just drives Tesla sales. It doesn’t make it true or improve the environment.

              1. “When markets “fail” it is when the consumers making those decisions have erroneous or insufficient knowledge.”

                Hardly.

                If anything, entrepreneurs fail because they have inadequate knowledge about consumers.

                Given the information available, markets aren’t wrong–and when new knowledge becomes available, the market changes to reflect it. That isn’t consumers being uninformed. They’re more informed about their own qualitative preferences than anyone else can be.

                If what you’re saying is true–that you can see better solutions than the market does–for each of its participants, that there are objective ways to value options that are better for everyone? Then you, Obama, and Liz Warren should all go start a central planning hedge fund–and beat the market.

                You know which solutions are better than the market does? Put your money where your mouth is–and use tons of leverage! Do it all on margin!

                1. God you are fucking dense Ken. Just because collective wisdom is sometimes right, doesn’t mean it is right all of the time. There is a huge market for utterly useless Chinese folk remedies. A hundred million Chinese really can be wrong.

                  The point is not that central planner are any better. The point is that sometimes people collectively think stupid things, like C02 harms the environment or Rhino horns give you an erection. The solution to that is not to have government make the decisions for them. The solution is to publish studies like this that makes people better informed.

                  You utterly confuse what markets do. They meet people’s preferences and desires. That is it. The market only solves problems to the extent the people in the market prefer a solution. If they prefer a useless solution for whatever reason, the market is going to give them the useless solution.

                  1. “Just because collective wisdom is sometimes right, doesn’t mean it is right all of the time.”

                    You’re claiming that you can survey the facts, and that you can be right about the available information–when the market is wrong?

                    Despite the fact that market participants, in addition to having access to the same information you do, also have access to their own individual qualitative preferences–that you don’t?

                    You and Obama should go bowling. You guys would hit it off great!

                    P.S. It’s no surprise you think you have this supernatural ability to know and understand the market’s qualitative preferences than they do themselves–that virus is in the same family that causes social conservatism, too.

                    1. You’re claiming that you can survey the facts, and that you can be right about the available information–when the market is wrong?

                      Sometimes yes. Sometimes people collectively prefer useless things. If the collective decision of the market was always right, then Chinese folk remedies would be effective medicine. That is not an endorsement of central planning Ken. It is just reality.

                      For centuries people thought leeches cured disease and the market supplied leeches and barbers to use them. They still were ineffective and killed people. The collective decision that they worked and were the best thing didn’t change that reality. In the same way, millions of people deciding electric cars are good for the environment and demanding them, in no way effects or necessary reflects the underlying reality of whether they do or not.

                      You are really confused about this Ken. Collective decision making via the market produces the best results over the long run and in the aggregate. Individual and short term results may vary.

                    2. P.S. It’s no surprise you think you have this supernatural ability to know and understand the market’s qualitative preferences than they do themselves–that virus is in the same family that causes social conservatism, too.

                      Ken, if you are going to respond to my poiints, try understanding them first. I have no magic ability to understand the market’s preferences. If I did, I would be wildly wealthy. My point is that the market’s preferences are just that “preferences” and reflect nothing other than the collective preferences of the people in the market. There is no gaurantee at all that those preferences reflect reality since people often believe silly or superstious things. So just because the market says people who care about the environment want to buy electric cars in no way means that those cars are actually good for the environment. It just means people think they are. It is entirely possible and in fact seems to be the case, that those cars are bad for the environment and the people buying them are acting on the erroneous assumption that they are just like the people buying Rhino horns are acting on the erroneous assumption it helps with erections. At some point, the truth will win out and people will act differently. But that doesn’t make their actions right now any less stupid and counter to reality.

          2. Make no mistake, using an electric car with electricity from hydro is good for the environment. It just may not be good for the environment everywhere–yet.

            Only if you ignore the toxic effects of producing and disposing of batteries.

            1. No doubt, some people care more about the toxic effects of disposing of batteries–more than they care about CO2 emissions.

              Other people care more about CO2 emissions–and who can say they’re objectively wrong about their own qualitative preferences?

              1. Other people care more about CO2 emissions–and who can say they’re objectively wrong about their own qualitative preferences?

                Because we are not debating a subjective preference. We are debating an objective fact that can be measured. The people who think CO2 is worse for the environment than battery acid are as pig ignorant and superstitious as the people in China who think Rhino horns solve infertility are.

                It is not that there “preferences” are right or wrong. It is that the assumptions driving those preferences that are wrong.

                1. “The people who think CO2 is worse for the environment than battery acid are as pig ignorant and superstitious as the people in China who think Rhino horns solve infertility are.”

                  We’re talking about people caring more about one thing than another.

                  I know some animal rights people. One of them devotes her free time to rescuing dogs. The other devotes her free time to stray cats. Which one of them is right, Brainiac?

                  1. We’re talking about people caring more about one thing than another.

                    Yes, based on the erroneous assumption that C02 causes radically harmful global warming. The preference is only as rational as the assumptions behind it. People in China care a lot about Rhino horns because they think it works like Viagra. Their assumption that it does, is objectively wrong. Calling it a “preference” and pointing out that it makes them feel good doesn’t make the assumption any better. It just explains their decision making.

                    1. Some people in China, I am sure, care more about using traditional methods, for various reasons, than they do about the efficacy of Western medicine.

                      And I’m sure that colors their choices.

                      What I fail to see is why a choice that’s more effective but not preferred is better. Hell, my grandmother, who was quite rational, decided that instead of undergoing chemo, she’d rather make her peace with God. Even if you think belief in God is irrational, that doesn’t make her preference is wrong.

                    2. I think I see why you think efficacy is more important than personal preference, but it has to do with your personal preference for efficacy over respecting other people’s personal preferences.

                      I think a lot of the things Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Catholics, and others believe and practice are silly and stupid, but I understand that what’s important to me may not be important to them. You understand that, right?

                      I don’t really understand why some guys are sexually attracted to other guys, but I wouldn’t presume to make qualitative choices for other people that way. Would you?

                      Market preferences aren’t really any different. I don’t understand why so many people spend money on the shit, say, Nicky Minaj puts out, but I understand that the market isn’t wrong about what it cares about–just becasue I don’t like the music it likes.

                      Maybe the market should care about other things more or less–doesn’t mean the market is wrong about what people care about. The market works in the real world the way it is. It doesn’t really operate in the way the world should be.

                    3. Ken,

                      You have utterly missed my point. You manage to have a basic grasp of things and then completely miss the fucking point of it.

                      Maybe the market should care about other things more or less–doesn’t mean the market is wrong about what people care about. The market works in the real world the way it is. It doesn’t really operate in the way the world should be.

                      That is the the point I have been driving through your thick skull all afternoon. The market reflects what people want and nothing more.

                      So the fact that people think that electric cars help the environment and this creates a market for electric cars doesn’t mean they are in fact good for the environment. The market reflects preferences not objective reality.

                      So electric cars are bad for the environment. The fact that a bunch of people operate under the mistaken assumption they are good for the environment and the market reflects and cators to their preferences, doesn’t change that. That is my entire point. You seem to have this bizarre idea that because people think something and demand a product based on that assumption, the assumption must be true.

                    4. “So electric cars are bad for the environment.”

                      Are you putting that out there as a universal rule?

                      They can be bad for the environment to certain people in certain markets in certain ways.

                      They can also be very good for the environment to other people in other markets in other ways.

                      Establishing the infrastructure to move away from fossil fuels can be good for the environment over the long haul, too.

                      Again, you seem to be projecting your preferences onto the market and making universal claims based on them that are unsubstantiated.

                    5. Are you putting that out there as a universal rule?

                      At the current rate of technology, all things considered, yes that is true. The environmental effects of producing and disposing of batteries and producing the electricity to run them is on the whole much worse than whatever small benefit they give in reduced smog and C02.

                      As for the rest of your post, those are all debatable points. Whatever the truth of them, the fact that some people like electric cars and think they are good for the environment says nothing about the answer to those issues. The questions you pose are not market questions but factual ones.

                    6. “The environmental effects of producing and disposing of batteries and producing the electricity to run them is on the whole much worse than whatever small benefit they give in reduced smog and C02.”

                      And you imagine that universal rule to be true–regardless of anyone’s qualitative preferences?

                      Even if they care more about greenhouse gases than they do about cleaning up batteries?

                    7. And you imagine that universal rule to be true–regardless of anyone’s qualitative preferences?

                      I suppose someone could prefer the knowledge of having less CO2 to not having acid leaching into their groundwater. That is however not a very convincing or rational preference.

                      You have been reduced to arguing that everyone’s preference is equally valid at all times Ken and that is nuts. Some people prefer the placebo effect of Rhino horns. That preferences doesn’t change the fact that they don’t have any medicinal value.

                      And lastly, people are not making a preference here. They are acting on the false assumption that C02 causes catastrophic environmental damage. And that assumption is in my opinion utterly counter to reality.

                    8. I am not bothered by the fact that you don’t really understand what markets do very well. A lot of people don’t for whatever reason. What makes you so annoying is your ignorance combined with your fucking smug psychoanalyzing about how “a lot of Christians…” and your utter fucking refusal to understand that I am in no way saying that people should be forced to make one choice or another, I am just pointing out some choices are based on idiotic beliefs.

                      You are a smug economic illiterate Ken. Stop being so smug and think a bit more and you might be more literate.

                    9. What about “a lot of Christians”?

                      And I’ll take “smug” as a compliment from you, John. That’s as close as you’ll ever get to admitting that you learned something.

                    10. I didn’t learn anything from this conversation other than the fact that you understand economics even less well than I thought you did. You are so poor at it, you can’t even understand my points properly let alone understand markets.

                      You seem to operate under the delusion that markets are infallible and anyone who says otherwise must endorse central planning. Ken, you are truly a faith based Libertarian.

                    11. I think markets are vastly superior to any other option in conveying people’s qualitative judgements–and their ability to convey those qualitative judgements is an essential part of what makes markets so much better than all the other options.

                      If you’re claiming that you can tell what other people care about and how much better than a market can, then I think that’s laughable. And when I see an entrepreneurial company like Tesla serving the qualitative preferences of the market, that seems like a great example of libertarian capitalism to me.

                      This is the way problems are actually solved. Not by experts, politicians, or John telling us what we should or shouldn’t care about–or how much we should care.

                      That you’ve, apparently, given no thought to the how markets broadcast qualitative preferences doesn’t surprise me. You’ve made it very clear over the years that you don’t care what people want anywhere near as much as you care that they want what you want. Again, you and Obama should go play miniature golf some Saturday night. You two would get along great.

                    12. think markets are vastly superior to any other option in conveying people’s qualitative judgement

                      No question that they are. That however does not mean they are perfect or that people cannot and do not collectively do dumb things.

                      If you’re claiming that you can tell what other people care about and how much better than a market can, then I think that’s laughable.

                      That is not what I am claiming. I am claiming people are acting on the objectively wrong assumption that CO2 harms the environment. And that is not laughable unless you are a AGW cultist.

                    13. You’ve made it very clear over the years that you don’t care what people want anywhere near as much as you care that they want what you want.

                      No Ken, they can want what they want. Them wanting it in no way requires me to think those preferences reflect any reality other than that is what people want. The fact that millions of people think electric cars help the environment in no way means I have to agree with them or not think they are objectively ignorant for thinking that way.

                    14. And when I see an entrepreneurial company like Tesla serving the qualitative preferences of the market, that seems like a great example of libertarian capitalism to me.

                      Maybe it is. What it is not, however, is an example of the market doing anything to protect the environment. It is just an example of the market catering to people’s ignorance. All fine and good I suppose but nothing more than that.

                      This is the way problems are actually solved.

                      No problems are solved by people solving them. So if people believing dumb things is a problem, the way to solve that is to publish information like this to debase them of that. The fact that the market indulges their ignorance has nothing to do with it.

                      That you’ve, apparently, given no thought to the how markets broadcast qualitative preferences doesn’t surprise me.

                      Ken, have you even read anything I wrote. My entire point has been that markets broadcast collective preferences. Jesus Tap Dancing Christ how can you not understand that? The point is those preferences are not necessarily based on truthful information. They can be based on bullshit and the market will still cater to them.

    2. Is that number still accurate with San Onofre being decommissioned?

      1. My understanding is that they have decided to decommission San Onofre, and they’ve started the decommissioning process, but as of now, I believe it is still generating power.

        Once it’s really decommissioned, I think it’s safe to assume that whatever replaces that power probably won’t come from coal–since there isn’t much in they way of coal resources anywhere nearby.

        That capacity will probably be made up for by natural gas–that’s certainly the cheapest solution. And this study is showing that the main reason why electricity for cars isn’t better than gasoline is because a significant portion of the electricity generation in this country comes from coal (from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere back east.

        Like I said, from that link I gave you, about 1% of California’s electricity generation comes from coal. Different regions generate electricity differently. Specialization and exchange doesn’t break the Econ 101 model. People in different regions generating electricity from sources depending on their comparative advantages is what Econ 101 is all about.

        So, Tesla isn’t that great of a solution, right now, for people in Philadelphia? Okay. That hardly means it isn’t a solution for people in Southern California.

        1. My understanding is that they have decided to decommission San Onofre, and they’ve started the decommissioning process, but as of now, I believe it is still generating power.

          San Onofre’s been shutdown for a couple years. There was defect in new heat exchangers provided by Mitsubishi, and plant was shutdown to remedy this…and the enviro-pukes pounced while the plant was down and got it on the de-comm route.

          I will forever miss The Tits.

          1. Very well, but the point stands that whatever that capacity is being replaced by, whether by regulation or simply the fact that natural gas is both more plentiful, locally, and cheaper than coal, chances are that nuclear power isn’t being replaced by coal.

            1. Very well, but the point stands that whatever that capacity is being replaced by, whether by regulation or simply the fact that natural gas is both more plentiful, locally, and cheaper than coal, chances are that nuclear power isn’t being replaced by coal.

              California will be stuck buying power wherever they can get it. With San Onofre off-line, that’s around 2GW off the grid. Who would fart around with the eco-pukes for five years or whatever in court before first shovel of dirt can happen? Check this out:

              http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitin…..jects.html

              There’s one natgas plant under construction, 624MW (the solar plant under construction’s capacity is peak, i.e. not reliable base load). Every other project (including a Tesla one) is blocked, axed, or its licenses expired.

              No, California will buy power to make up for its own diminishing output. And if brown-outs threaten, political jobs get existential; which means green clowns disappear real quick and they’ll buy their power from a puppy boiler if need be.

              What California is doing is not upgrading their energy infrastructure, California is slowly becoming dependent for energy on facilities outside their regulatory reach.

  12. Here, enjoy the anti-Tesla.

  13. Chemical energy — mechanical energy

    or

    Chemical energy — mechanical energy — electricity — transmission/storage losses — mechanical energy

    Hardly a eco-puke here, but there are some advantages to getting energy from central power station. For one, the conversion of heat into mechanical energy via steam (or gas) turbine in a power plant is far more efficient than typical reciprocator in a car. Converting that into electricity is well over 90%. Also, the transmission/storage losses are, typically, in single-digit percentages using high voltage AC to get power from plant to house.

    There are also scaling factors in the geometry of heat engines that make bigger=more efficient, just by containing a greater volume of combustion in less area that loses the resulting heat (this is also why, aside from the grinding friction, Wankel rotaries are so inefficient – the geometry of the rotor and housing).

    And, of course, an electric system is not bound by the Carnot cycle so its power delivery from local storage (battery) is far more efficient. How much more efficient? A base Tesla Model S (two-ton 300hp car) can go ~150 miles (real world driving) on sixty kilowatt hours of energy; which is about the thermal energy of two gallons of gasoline.

    On a Carbon Clown’s objective scorecard, I would guess a Tesla powered by a coal plant to be worse than a gasoline car, a Tesla run off oil-fired plant to be about the same, and if run off a natgas plant to be significantly better.

    1. I appreciate your comment with the back of the envelope calculations. Also, as I understand it, concentrating the energy production at a single point makes it easier to mitigate the resulting pollution.

      Of course, a Tesla powered by a nuke plant would be cleanest. Or, now that solar power is becoming more popular, more cars could be powered, at least partially, by local solar panel systems. (There is, of course, the environmental effects of solar panel production…)

    2. And, of course, an electric system is not bound by the Carnot cycle so its power delivery from local storage (battery) is far more efficient. How much more efficient? A base Tesla Model S (two-ton 300hp car) can go ~150 miles (real world driving) on sixty kilowatt hours of energy; which is about the thermal energy of two gallons of gasoline.

      But that is just the system inside the car. That means the car is efficient using the energy once it has it. It does not however produce its own energy. It gets it from the grid and stores it on board in its batteries. So all of the inefficiencies that are avoided internally still exist when the car is charged.

      1. The original notion of the article was the adverse environmental impacts of electric cars.

        I was just mentioning the inherent efficiency of an electric car energy-wise as a footnote to the original comment I responded to (chemical energy – mechanical energy, which I believe he meant to mean heat energy – mechanical energy regarding a heat-cycle engine).

        Sorry about the confusion.

  14. That companies like Tesla sprang up with solutions to serve the desires of consumers who care about the environment is the market operating as it should.

    Sorry, but you don’t get to use firms built on cronyism, tax breaks, and political favors as examples of the market operating as it should.

    1. Sorry, but you don’t get to use firms built on cronyism, tax breaks, and political favors as examples of the market operating as it should.

      One could argue the market is operating exactly as expected given the politically fixed nature of said market, and Elon Musk has figured this fixed market out.

      So far, the dude has financed a car, solar utility, and space vehicle company on government loans, cronyism, and contracts. Very bipartisan too (Tesla’s loan and SpaceX’s original contracts came from the Bush administration).

      Obviously this is scummy from ideological viewpoint; however if I was Musk I don’t know if I would act differently, after all somebody is going to get these checks.

      Its not like the government would shut this shit down, so may as well hand the check my way if you have to hand it out. I can see rationalizing that, even if I was fresh out of the Rand Institute. Take the money the takers already took, right? You’re just getting a refund, think of it that way. Besides, you actually do something useful with the money and actually build things people want.

      I imagine if Musk has a conscience (doubtful but possible) such rationalizing goes on quite often. But he is a creature that was bound to happen in today’s USA.

      1. The rationalizing probably comes in the form of “this is big, important technology that is too expensive for the private sector to get going without government help, therefore it is okay for me to take the help because I am going to leave behind this amazing technology that will benefit people for generations”.

      2. Sure, sure, Musk is a very successful tax parasite/rent-seeker/crony.

        That doesn’t make his businesses exemplars of markets in action. It makes them exemplars of crony rent-seeking.

        1. Sure, sure, Musk is a very successful tax parasite/rent-seeker/crony.

          Musk is more than that, or he would have gone the way of Mr. Fisker and his Karma (basically a tarted up Chevy Volt fastback).

        2. I don’t know about any of the stuff you’re talking about, but I don’t begrudge anybody a tax break. If he got a tax break nobody else did, then the problem is that everyone else is paying a tax they shouldn’t–not that he’s not paying his “fair share” of taxes.

          Regardless, the point I was making was about people’s qualitative desires being served by entrepreneurs. Even what the government does is valuable to the people who willingly pay for it. If this guy is rent-seeking, no doubt, the lack of interest in his product at a more expensive price would be a better estimation of consumers’ actual quality preferences…

          But what John was effectively arguing wasn’t just that he knows what Tesla’s customers want better than Tesla; John was arguing that, effectively, Tesla’s customers don’t really know what they want to do either–because they don’t have the ingenious information that John has.

          In other words, the principle that the market knows what it wants better than John is the same regardless of whether Tesla is rent seeking.

    2. That too. They didn’t even serve a market. They served the tastes of a very few people and were only able to do so thanks to the largess of the government.

  15. Tesla is still a thing? I thought they died when two Roadsters were reviewed on Top Gear (the real one) and they both broke.

    1. That was the Danish Zenvo.

      The second one caught fire, not unlike the Tesla.

  16. I looked at the paycheck which had said $7434 , I didn’t believe that my mom in-law realy bringing in money in their spare time at their computer. . there brothers friend has been doing this for only 16 months and just paid for the morgage on there place and bought a top of the range Aston Martin DB5 .
    You can join just easy ——- http://www.jobsfish.com

  17. On the contrary, Tesla owners can take heart, according to this study. The study in fact says electric cars are green, depending on the sources of the electricity. And the authors say implicitly that they are not pre-determining the sources of electricity in 2020…7 years from your stats from 2013. And here I thought you always believed in human advancements in technology.

    “Our findings thus reinforce the benefit of pairing EVs with clean electricity.”

    That is their conclusion, which is one that Tesla is proving to be just one more step toward achieving.

    Hope that wasn’t too smug,

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