Las Vegas Sun

May 3, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Electric cars are not the answer

Regarding Nicholas Cain’s piece May 27 in favor of government subsidies for electric cars:

Cain says “over 20 years, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids could reduce health care costs by $4.5 billion to $11.2 billion.” Those numbers might be low. We might save more money when medical personnel show up at car accidents to pronounce people dead because smaller, lighter cars equal more fatalities. Funerals are cheaper than Social Security and Medicare payments.

Cain says, some utilities “are offering a month’s worth of electricity for only $50 to $90.” If Obama gets a second term and his promise comes true — “Energy prices will necessarily skyrocket under my cap and trade plan” — rates would increase exponentially!

Lastly, Cain uses the old wive’s tale that we have only 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Saudi Arabia reported in 2009 that they have about 713 billion barrels of oil left in the ground. We have at least 800 billion recoverable barrels in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado in the form of oil shale. We have another 6 billion to 24 billion barrels of oil shale in Montana and North Dakota, 10 billion barrels in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and that doesn’t take into account our offshore oil.

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  1. The writer is apparently unfamiliar with the distinction between a reserve and a resource. Saudi Arabia's oil reserves are economically recoverable while the shale oil reserves of the Colorado Plateau are resources that cannot be recovered under current economic conditions. The shale oil requires major energy input for an oil product to be recovered and consumes 2-5 barrels of water for every barrel of oil recovered. Renewable energy generation is much more economic than recovering oil from shale.

  2. Electric cars have been around for as long as gas powered cars. Over 100 years. Batteries are and have always been the biggest drawback for electric cars. Does Fisker Karma and GM Volt come to mind? As for pollution, the coal needed to power the electricity for electric cars is more worse than gas car emissions. Even Al Gore, the banner waver for environmentalists, and the EPA finally agree with that conclusion.


  3. 55 percent of US consumed oil comes from the USA. 52 percent of the imported US oil comes from Mexico and Canada. The rest from the mid-east. Do the math. Energy program to reduce reliance on mid-east oil is a big myth. Perpetrated by liberals and environmentalists to foster a fake agenda.


  4. The problem at this point isn't where your oil comes from, rather that you use any at all. It doesn't matter where your oil comes from because when someone in the middle east sneezes oil prices jump $20/bbl. Oil as a commodity is priced worldwide, so unless you plan on nationalizing the oil companies to provide cheap gas like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela do, the nation it comes from really doesn't matter when we all pay a high price. Exxon isn't going to give you cheaper gas just because the oil was drilled for domestically. The price of oil has everything to do with geopolitical issues outside of North America.

    I'm getting over 400MPG in my Volt (about half a gallon per week), so I dont even care what gas prices are since I only have to put 6 gallons of gas in every 2-3 months, plus an extra $30 on my monthly power bill.

  5. How ignorant can some be? How do they get from point A to point B? They drive or take a bus and how are those modes of transportation fueled? With fairy dust? And, just where does the electricity needed to charge and re-charge those batteries come from? The stork? More likely, it comes from generators run with fossil fuels. Just like ethanol has proven to be a scam, so are electric powered vehicles. Ethanol has made the politically connected Archer-Daniels-Midland a wealthy company but has cost the rest of us dearly.

  6. You city folk seem to think that Montana, Wyoming and NoDak are perfectly suited sacrifice areas providing unlimited coal, oil and natural gas so you can continue your consumptive lifestyles. The barley in your beer, the wheat in your bread and the rib-eye on your plate depends heavily on clean water, air and soil......none of which seem to be compatible with fracking for natural gas, strip mining for coal and disposing of associated chemical and overburden. You have made it abundantly clear that you won't take nuke waste at Yucca so why should we rurals in other states destroy our environment for you profligacy?

  7. Big oil companies get a bad rap. Why? The liberal elite media and politicos tell us they are gouging the consumers. Wrong. They make on average about 6 cents on each dollar. Compare to other manufacturing companies in the USA which average 8 cents per dollar and more. Big oil companies are no worse than others. But they get all the negative media and press.


  8. Yeah, I'm on their payroll El Lobo. I use gas to drive my Ford Escape and Chevy Camaro.

    I have the answer to your irrelavent misguided untrue questions. Vote Obama out, Romney in, and the USA economy will take off in one quarter with more jobs and consumer spending than the last 3 plus years. Look what's happened to the stock market today. Up several hundred points. Why? Wisconsin election results. No coincidence.


  9. El Lobo:

    Get the news flash. The US is a global economy. We trade with countries across the North American Continent and the world. And they with us. Our economic futures are linked and coupled. That's what the October 1987 stock market crash proved. Did you forget? Don't they teach you that in your school textbooks?


  10. The market is up because program selling has turned into program buying. May was one of the worst months in history with the DOW down a thousand points. The oscillators were deeply oversold and we are seeing a bounce.
    China is spending 10 times what we spend on alternative energy. Europe and Asia are bringing electric cars to market in record numbers. VW is bringing a 240 MPG car to market.
    What are we talking about....OIL...We are falling behind in everything.
    Oil was 140 bucks a barrel a few months before the recession hit. Had it not been for the collapse we would be paying $7 a gallon plus. Prices were approaching $5 a gallon when Bush was in office.

  11. I was involved in a legal issue with Paine Webber over the 1987 crash. Decades later they still don't have a clue what caused the crash. It was the beginning of program trading.....letting computers buy and sell relative to complex math formulas. These programs combined with a $700 trillion derivatives market are causing nearly all the dislocations that are occurring on a day to day basis.

  12. It's all about politics, keeping "old money" (Bush, et al) rich. Simple as that. If that were not true, then our cars would run on hemp oil. Clothing would be made out of hemp. And we'd write on hemp paper instead of cutting down so many trees for paper. Hemp (non thc pot) cannot make you high. Our founding fathers required you grow it if you moved to the USA. Constitution was written on hemp paper. 1st car, a Ford, ran on hemp oil and was even made out of hemp (super hard plastic). Hemp can be grown anywhere, grows fast, 4 crops per year . Each acre of will net a few tons of hemp. We could be energy independent given the blessed lands we were given that can support millions of acres of hemp without watering, without any fuss. We could build stations around the country to process the hemp into oil then pipe or truck it to refineries to turn it into gas. Why is hemp illegal, if it's not a drug? Oil industry, textile industry, lumber industry have these people called lobbyists that convinced the gov that hemp looked like pot so it should be make illegal. Today, only a few states allow the cultivation of hemp. This is ludicrous! We have the perfect lands to grow hemp but instead we're growing CORN to turn into fuel when so many people are starving around the world? Or can it be that Obama doesn't want $1 a gallon gas (which would be the case) but instead $5 a gallon gas so that people start having to walk or ride bikes, a communist's and environmentalists wet dream! They don't want hemp to make us energy independent. They want high prices, and high prices we'll get. Wait until he's re-elected. Then he'll really go ape chit and start to transform this country. Hope you don't mind walking or riding a bike.

  13. Many good, informed comments are being made, but health care costs depend heavily on the specific price of the care given and the health index of the population.

    Far too many people are over weight, don't exercise, take in too many calories and may develop severe physical problems in middle age. The pharmaceutical costs can easily exceed $1000/month. A $40,000 electric car will have no affect on these issues.

    Furthermore, the energy coming out of a 110 Volt outlet is only 22%-24% of the fossil energy burned at the power plant. When the inefficiencies of charging and discharging the battery, plus inefficiencies in the motor and gear train are taken into account, greenhouse gases are not lowered by the electric car.

    To lower the accident rate, take away the cell phones for starters, don't build smaller electric cars that few can afford.

  14. Yeah Jeffery, Teamster: A 2012 Victory Red Camaro with black racing stripes and 500 HP. Leaves a GM Volt in the dust every time. And $17 K less than the GM Volt.


  15. A mere 30 percent of hybrid car owners buy another one. Only because of the tax credits and tax incentives that the Gov't pours on to encourage sales. Usually at premium prices over gas powered vehicles that never get recovered by usage when compared to the prices and cost of like gas cars.

    For 2012, Consumer Reports recommended the GM $14K Sonic and GM $19K Cruze over the $47K GM Volt. That was before GM stopped production on the Volt to let demand catch up to supply and after the Gov't increased the tax credit on each Volt from $7500 to $10K.


  16. Jeffery:

    If sour grapes and sore losers had a popularity club, you'd be the president.


  17. El Lobo:

    If you're correct on your energy independence and program, tell me why Obama shot down the Keystone XL Pipeline not just once but twice AND STILL. And has closed down all off shore drilling by the USA oil companies? Doesn't Obama think we need more high paying union construction jobs, an energy independence program and less dependence on mid-east oil like you say? What's wrong with Obama's thinking and actions? Surely if you figured it out, as you say you have, then he can too? One of you has to be wrong? Is it him or you? Inquiring minds want to know.


  18. El Lobo:

    The pipeline was studied for 3 1/2 years and passed the State Dept review. Nebraska Gov objected. Then, after Canada Oil agreed to reroute the pipeline around the Aquifer, Nebraska in special session approved it.

    BTW, with all the pipelines that span the USA, none has ever polluted a water source. Ever.

    Be honest. Obama caved to hollywood greeners to get their do re me.


  19. If you want the truth El Lobo, the real concern about the Ogallala reserve is that the resource is being used up faster than it can be rejuvenated. And has been for years. Don't they teach you that in your school textbooks? Oh, I forgot those liberal textbooks don't teach history, they rewrite it.


  20. WRT China: here's my answer to you. China provides the slave labor for the world without the guilt. I would not use China as an example for any other country to follow. Not with their history of human rights violations.


  21. "What impressed me the second most about Carmine's self-description is his righteousness in stating that he has been a teacher and lecturer on both sides of the pond, and, here's the pompous part, that he has never received a penny for his work!"

    You're misinformed. I received compensation for my profession. I taught for free and still do.


  22. BTW, some of my students have been adults and their children too.

    I was a volunteer financial counselor for Prince William County in Virginia for several years assisting adults getting out of debt and arranging repayment plans with their creditors. The program was sponsored by a College in the county. I received no pay and no reimbursment for out-of-pocket expenses.

    Many of the adults were professionals and both husband and wife worked.


  23. Your welcome. Actually for the most part I liked the youngsters better than the adults and focused my community service/volunteering on them as a result. If you teach them at an early age, they learn well and are productive members of society.