Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thomas Alva Edison

When the electric chair was first introduced, it used alternating current. Edison was a proponent of direct current, while his rival, George Westinghouse, supported alternating current. Edison once suggested that the term "Westinghoused" be used to describe a person killed by the electric chair. George did not find that funny in the least.

All right, gas prices are starting to hurt. Well, they are starting to hurt some people. Me, on the other hand, I return forty bottles for the deposit, and I can drive for a week on my fifty mile an hour scooter. Er, fifty miles an hour, downhill.

Any ways, the average lifespan for a vehicle is 13 years or so, with a final mileage of 145,000 miles or so. The average age of vehicles on the road in America is eight years. That means that our current fleet of vehicles has a "half-life" of five years.

The average fuel economy for our passenger car fleet is 22.4 miles to the gallon. The average fuel economy for "other four wheeled two axle vehicles" (trucks and SUVs, mostly) is 18.0 miles to the gallon. That's for 2006, the latest year available.

So, what can be done to dramatically increase the fuel economy of our current fleet, in a hurry? Well, one idea would be to offer tax credits for hybrid conversion kits to the owners of front wheel drive passenger cars. Here is a link to an article on one such conversion kit.

Now, it ain't pretty, and it kills your trunk storage, but it works. For people that have less than a 25 mile commute and at least five years left in the lifetime of their vehicle, this is something to consider. Moreover, if someone lives in say, Phoenix, in a house, if they have solar panels and net metering, they could pretty much eliminate the cost of the electricity that they use to power their car, instead of gas...

1 comment:

catscratch diva said...

That's an amazing idea.