Putting More Golf Carts On The Road Is Not The Answer

by lewwaters

Few inventions have given people more freedom of movement and mobility than has the car. We Americans are known for our deep abiding love of our cars and can be seen displaying such admiration most summer weekends at various gatherings and shows where folks gather to show off their restored, customized or souped up hot rods. We proudly boast of being “certified car nuts.”

Ever since the oil embargo of 1973 though, our cars have been under assault. The greatest of these assaults seems to be coming from environmentalists claiming how dirty the exhaust is from fossil fuels and how the car is causing the planet to warm up too much. Joining in with the assault is the Environmental Protection Agency as they pass regulation after regulation in the belief they are going to improve how the planet cares for itself and “save mankind” from ourselves.

The Muscle Cars, those high compression, large cubic engine monsters we saw back in the 1960’s are long gone as regulations were set in place to begin lowering emissions from the tail pipe. As the government mandated fuel economy standards were set in place and regulations set on what could be emitted from the tailpipe, we saw Detroit struggling to keep up and build in the technology Congress mandated.

We saw catalytic convertors installed, smog pumps, EGR Valves, lower compression and all sort of power robbing extras placed on engines as the cars themselves began to shrink in size and weight in order to achieve government regulated Fuel Economy Standards. The 1970’s and early 1980’s saw Detroit turning out some pretty awful cars as they tried to compete with smaller imports from Japan and Germany and still provide Americans with the larger cars we wanted.

Technology eventually caught up with legislation and we saw some vastly improved cars coming out of the Big 3. Engineers discovered that replacing old reliable systems like carburetors with fuel injection and computerized engine management, emissions remained very low and some of the power we saw lost before was returned. The cars have remained smaller though, prompting many who sought larger vehicles to turn to full sized pick-up trucks and SUVs, that weren’t under some of the stricter standards seen in the passenger car.

It didn’t take long to see that putting such a mix of larger vehicles with smaller lighter passenger cars was deadly, especially for the smaller car occupants. The governments answer? Place stricter standards on pick-up trucks and SUVs to discourage the people from buying them, knowing the prices will increase just as did the smaller lighter cars as such standards were imposed upon them.

Barack Obama is only too willing to comply as he has announced further restrictive standards be placed on trucks and SUVs that Obama claims “will save businesses billions of dollars in fuel costs, help reduce oil consumption and cut air pollution.” His announcement claims,

“Big rigs or semis will have to slash fuel consumption and production of heat-trapping gases by up to 23 percent. Gasoline-powered heavy-duty pickups and vans will have to cut consumption by 10 percent, or by 15 percent if the vehicles run on diesel fuel.”
“The standards also prescribe a 9 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for work trucks, which include everything from fire trucks and concrete mixers to garbage trucks and buses,,,.”

The folly of such draconian fuel standards at the point in our struggling economy is demonstrated in that 14 Michigan Representatives, including members of Obama’s own party, wrote a letter expressing strong concerns over imposing such standards. Chief among their concerns is “overly stringent standards could add $10,000 to the cost of a new car” and “those higher costs can lead to job loss,” by as many as 220,000 jobs as people hang on to their older vehicles longer, lessening demand and causing auto makers (two of which we recently had to bail out) to lay off workers.

Further assault on our cars is coming from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as they have decided prematurely that ozone standards should be lowered. Ground level ozone when combined with the excessive hydrocarbons, especially oxides of nitrogen at the levels that was once being emitted from the exhaust forms smog when hit by sunlight. Exhaust Gas Recirculation and valve overlap in gasoline engines lowered the combustion temperatures in the cylinder to inhibit the production of NOx (oxides of nitrogen), greatly reducing the hydrocarbons once seen.

The EPA set an ozone standard of 75 ppb (parts per billion) in 2008 and ignoring their own policy of revisiting standards every 5 years, initiated a reconsideration of that standard and proposed tightening it to 70 to 60 ppb in 2010. Since ozone is also naturally produced in some regions of the country, meeting stricter standards would be very difficult in those regions as car owners would be who would have to suffer.

A study prepared by NERA Economic Consulting for the American Petroleum Institute states, “EPA’s assumed causal relationship between ozone and mortality has not been supported by EPA’s science advisors; The health benefits EPA attributes to the tighter ozone standard should are due to a slight reduction in particulate matter (dust), which already is regulated separately by EPA; and The EPA’s own data show that the benefits of the proposed ozone standard will not outweigh the costs.”

The costs? A further study by Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI estimates, “strengthening the ozone standard to 60 ppb could cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion per year between 2020 and 2030, and destroy 7.3 million jobs.”

Perhaps thinking they could combat the negative offsets; our illustrious government has been pushing for more EVs (Electric Vehicles) to be bought by us. While there is some truth in they don’t emit pollution while driving, they have their own drawbacks. One big drawback, Recharging requires more electricity to be generated which transfers the point of pollution to the generating plants increased output.

Careful study has shown recharging at night decreases ozone output, but was “shown to yield the highest amount of nitrogen oxides.” As far back as 1996, it was shown that the benefit of all electric care was vastly overrated.

In November 2010, the American Petroleum Institute submitted a letter to the EPA on their proposed Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy Labels that showed in an attachment that due to increased electrical generation, “sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels could be 10-11 times higher for electric cars than for gasoline-powered vehicles” over the life of the vehicles.

Since the oil embargo back in 1973, our cars have undergone significant changes. Finally, they have gotten better the past few years with the advent of new technologies. But, they still require gasoline, which seems to be the real target today. Every president since 1973 has called for an end to our dependence on foreign oil while keeping our own domestic oil reserves off limit to much of the drilling needed to recover it.

In actuality, we are trading our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign lithium to manufacture battery packs for the electric vehicles that have yet to match the range of our gasoline powered cars.

Things we take for granted in our cars now, heaters and power accessories, shorten the range of the EVs even further, creating more of an inconvenience if we wish to travel, especially during the winter.

Our power grid now can’t handle all of the electricity being generated efficiently. How much worse will it be once we have added hundreds of thousands more EVs to the mix?

The Obama administration was dealt a blow recently as a federal judge “threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.” Hopefully, it will stand and we can see unemployed oil workers returning to work during these dire economic times.

But, the call for smaller lighter cars, trucks, SUVs and improved fuel economy standards remains.

Government wants you in this:

While many would rather this:

16 Comments to “Putting More Golf Carts On The Road Is Not The Answer”

  1. Lew, that’s a great read, and I applaud you for writing it but putting more “golf carts” on the road is EXACTLY THE SOLUTION. Obviously our priorities are different… If the choice is between riding a bus or a golf cart – I want the golf cart.

    Since the last time we discussed oil, I’ve been researching it. All of the listed “reserves” from the Middle East are lies. We have already reached “Peak Oil.” America needs to CONSERVE IT’S RESERVES.

    I have a Constitutional Right to “Freedom of Movement.” I won’t give up that right just because other people have the money and power for excessive consumption.

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  2. Martin, as you probably suspect, I’m a bit of car nut myself and enjoy driving. I dread the day I get too old, but hopefully that is years from now.

    I don’t see those golf carts as any answer, other than to restrict and manipulate us. I have no problem with people who want such little cracker boxes, it’s their life they are endangering freely.

    Personally, forget about reserves in the middle east and look to what we know exists within our borders and offshore that we are barred from accessing. Oil remains our most efficient and economical source of energy and we should use it while so called alternative sources are still being perfected.

    They have a ways to go yet and personally, until I see solar panels or windmills on Air Force One and all of the SUVs used by the Secret Service protecting the the Beast (the presidential limousine), then maybe I give them a little more consideration.

    As was brought out by Michigan legislators, including some powerful Democrats, the increase in fuel economy standards Obama wants now will only cause old farts like me to hang onto my older truck (1998) until it falls apart and can no longer move. The more of us keep our older safer vehicles, the lower the demand and more layoffs at those auto manufacturers we just bailed out with Billions of our tax dollars, so those jobs wouldn’t be lost.

    Bottom line, I feel we should be using more of our own oil while still seeking viable alternatives for household and industrial energy.

    Those little battery powered golf carts, dependent upon recharging lithium batteries, which makes us dependent upon foreign lithium since we cannot mine what little we have still, are going to end up not only killing people, but being very disappointing to the public, especially if they desire to travel more than about 50 miles or so (range decreases with hills, turns, use of heater, A/C and cold weather.)

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  3. Lew, the whole “mileage standards” thing is based upon Leftist hoaxes and Socialist lies, and the ultimate point is “any excuse” to control and restrict the movements of the average citizen. That’s what it’s really all about. “Peak oil” and “pollution” are just phony reasons.

    Just one more example of why we need to get this tyrannical government the hell out of our lives.

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  4. We’re working on that, Jack. And you’re right, even Democrats are opposing Obama’s latest folly over fuel economy standards.

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  5. Martin, Oil is a naturally-produced organic product of the Earth. Every year the Earth produces more Oil. Every year we discover more and more Oil. We have no idea how much Oil is on the Earth, and unless we keep looking for it and developing it we sure as heck won’t ever know.

    Not only that, but we can make our own Oil if we so desire. So you should get used to the idea that automobiles will be with us for many, many years unless our tyrannical government isn’t overthrown and finds a way to ban them.

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  6. Jack, there hasn’t been a major oil discovery in 30 years. Am I to assume that Conservatives believe there is an unlimited oil supply?

    We should establish some ground rules when discussing science.

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  7. Gee Martin, I seem to remember a recent huge Oil discovery in the Dakotas, one in the Gulf of Mexico, and one in the Arctic. Maybe we don’t live on the same planet or something.

    Btw Martin, also here on this planet the old Oil wells in Texas and Lousyana are “refilling” with fresh Oil. Maybe it’s “witchcraft” or something.

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  8. Give me some links, Jack.

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  9. Jack, let’s start with this article. It has plenty of links to reliable data.
    http://planetforlife.com/oilcrisis/oilreserves.html

    This one is interesting:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_fields

    Back to my original question: Do Conservatives believe there is an unlimited oil supply?

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  10. Jack, that top link is broken. (Not your fault, I know.)
    The 2nd and 3rd links are “small” finds, as noted in the articles.
    The 4th link does not imply that oil is “renewable” in “in our great, great, great grandkid’s lifetime”.

    First, thank you for providing links. I want to know where and what data people are working from, but evidence still shows that Peak Oil has occured, and that we as a nation had better start planning for shortages.

    You aren’t suggesting we use all of our grandkid’s oil do you?

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  11. Martin and Jack, here is a link to a report from the Congressional Research Services that might be of help to you both.

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=f7bd7b77-ba50-48c2-a635-220d7cf8c519

    The Op-Ed below from Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski might also help shed some light.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/setting-the-record-straight-on-americas-oil/2011/04/20/AFkSD4KE_story.html

    Lastly, another article written in the Kiplinger Letter

    http://kiplinger.com/businessresource/forecast/archive/The_U.S._s_Untapped_Bounty_080630.html

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  12. The top link comes up just fine for me Martin, and I just opened it. It’s to an article about Brazil’s “Sugarloaf” discovery.

    The link you provided about “planetforlife” is from 1998, so you might want to update your research.

    The pessimistic term “peak Oil” is used by some in an attempt to persuade people that we’re “running out” of Oil when we are really discovering Oil all of the time and the Earth keeps producing more.

    No one can truly say we’ve reached “peak Oil” because it’s quite obvious that we haven’t found it all yet. An ocean of Oil could be right beneath our feet but we don’t know because we haven’t discovered it all yet.

    The biggest problem that we have concerning Oil is our own tyrannical government’s senseless “war” against finding and using it.

    It’s obvious that the people who want so badly to turn America into a third-world nation also want to choke off our supply of Oil.

    I guess it all depends on which “camp” you choose to be in.

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  13. Jack, I’m in the Science camp.

    Governments are simply a reflection of the people who elect them. Most of the people you meet are also inherently selfish, egotistical, and arrogant. Either you move into a cave up in the mountains or you find some kind of peace with what we have. A constant mantra against something does not make it better or different.

    Simply stated – there is NO better government than what we got.

    As for oil… I consider myself a scientist. I have no political agenda. If Peak Oil turns out to be BS, I’ll say so. Right now I’m reading the links Lew has provided.

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  14. Okay, I’ve finished reading those links Lew provided…

    The short of it is: “undiscovered” oil is highly controversial. It’s like “undiscovered” gold, or “undiscovered” psychic powers. There’s also “undiscovered” parallel universes, worm-holes, and alien encounters. Personally, I expect all of these things to occur eventually but I’m not planning on putting my kids through college with the money.

    Similarly, the “difficult to obtain” supplies are problematic. I’m reassured that there will always be enough hydrocarbons for plastics, chemicals, etc., but certainly not to burn for power or casual transportation.

    As for the political difficult supplies – if we’re just talking Political Will then GO NUCLEAR! Nuclear is the clear scientific solution, and AVAILABLE NOW.

    Summing up: cheap oil is over.

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  15. The glass is either “half-empty” or “half full”, Martin. Real Science would not say that “peak Oil” has yet been reached. We just don’t know that.

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