Letters to the Editor

Energy choices

December 13, 2007


To the editor:

In her recent column "Hybrids responsible choice but : " (Dec. 10), Elizabeth Black shows considerable confusion about energy sources. This is forgivable since the media and our own government have subscribed to the same confusion.

She mentions compressed natural gas, electric cars and hydrogen fuel, among other things, as alternatives that might be better than her hybrid, which merely uses less gas. Unfortunately, CNG is a fossil fuel as well. Hydrogen has to be made somehow, and that takes energy. Electricity has to be generated, using energy. Unfortunately, most of that energy now comes from burning coal or natural gas. Despite the hype, this does not solve any problem, but merely transfers the problem and the money. Even with the hybrid, you have to ask whether the extra production of energy pays off when compared with the gasoline saved.

Face it, the planet now can't support as many people as we have in a comfortable lifestyle without massive damage. If you want to help, drive less. If we can learn to produce hydrogen or electricity efficiently from sunlight or other renewable sources, or get controlled fusion energy, the hydrogen or electric car might be a good idea. It's going to take lifestyle changes and a lot more investment in fundamental research, rather than short-term fads, to make the planet livable.

Adrian Melott,



Mkh 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes we all could have been driving electric 20 years ago, and probably well even before that. However we also get in place the massive wind and solar energy resource potential tapped in order to responsibly power it.

kansas778 10 years, 5 months ago

I saw the documentary called "Who Killed the Electric Car," and while it is true that electric cars still use energy often produced by fossil fuel-burning power plants, the difference is that the pollutants are much reduced at the plants than from gas powered cars--even from coal-fired plants. Also the cost per mile is significantly cheaper. If a substantial number of people used electric cars (even if only 5%) it would help out with smog and help to curb gas prices as well. The Hydrogen car is a myth, it will never be affordable or efficient, and I don't know about compressed natural gas, but the electric car is a better choice than hybrid cars, and the technology exists right now.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

If our nation wants to get away from irresponsible government such as invading another country that has not attacked the USA..... WE must change. This is a waste of taxes,human resources and the nations integrity.

Since Saddam was brought down: 1,000,000 Iraq people have died 4,000 USA soldiers have died Approximately 30,000 USA soldiers are permanently disabled Vets are having difficulty getting the med care they need and Bush has VA budget cuts scheduled for 2009-2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1681119,00.html http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0110/dailyUpdate.html *http://www.democracynow.org/2004/6/3/black_gold_controlling_global_oil_from

America must bite the bullet and go for fuel efficiency not only in our driving habits but also in construction codes. When considering public incentives the community should get back a green building and some green space for our efforts ,our tax dollars and our community.

Speakout 10 years, 5 months ago

I think you hit upon the problem exactly, Merrill. While you have used your "since Saddam was brought down" rhetoric several times, which is true, the last paragraph is the meat of your statement. We NEED not only a change of president, but a complete overhaul of congress and its leaders. We are headed in the same direction only different names. Who is running for president that can change the whole tenure of Washington and start to bring the country back together? Where can we find that leadership? Our criteria for choosing a president is foolish. We look only at 30 second sound bites and physical appearance. Who cares if the man or woman is beautiful, can she/he think and lead? Who cares if he/she believes that Jesus is the Lord and saviour, can he/she bring about change in this country that is needed? We don't need people to buy their way into the office and we don't need to have special interest groups padding someone's pocket.
These concepts have ruined the American Dream initialized by our "Founding Fathers". We have taken the road of self importance and made it the mantra of this nation. What happened to our ability to listen to the whole speech or get all the facts? Why must we shoot from the hip and apologise later? Why do we rush into agreements that we later must break? Leadership is not lacking, but our scrutiny of our leaders gets sometimes trivial. Who cares if Mitt Romney is Mormon, can he lead, can he bring this country back together? Who is Ron Paul, since he doesn't have a lot of money does that make him a poor leader or one without vision? And what about Dennis Kucinich? Or others who haven't all the money because they aren't celebrities? Who can step forward to lead?
We need to change our method of selection and get ONLY public financing to work for the candidates where they cannot use their own fortunes to finance a run for president. Can you imagine a real leader who thinks of all Americans not just the ones in his/her party?

jafs 10 years, 5 months ago

It's my understanding that hybrid cars use the gas-powered engine to charge the batteries, thus producing the electricity needed without more emissions - is this not the case?

If so, it seems to me that hybrid vehicles are an excellent idea - they are available right now, effective, and lower both our gasoline consumption and our carbon dioxide emissions.

Of course, we need to re-examine our basic assumptions about what we need vs. what we want and can do without, as well.

Confrontation 10 years, 5 months ago

Elizabeth Black is the last person you should consider a reliable source.

BrianR 10 years, 5 months ago

If the U.S. doesn't develop an alternative energy vehicle, someone else will, then they'll sell it to us. This is an opportunity and the U.S. needs to lead.

ilikestuff 10 years, 5 months ago

Do hybrid cars reduce pollution or merely shift it from one place to another?

Also, I believe it takes more energy to build a hybrid car vs. a similar gas-powered one given they are much more complex.

Additionally, even though hybrids get better gas mileage than conventional cars I don't think they are cheaper to own over time. They cost more, break down more often and depreciate faster. If they cost, on average, $5k more than a similar gasoline car, you'll probably never recoup that money.

Having spoken of some negatives relative to hybrid cars, I'm all for improved and cleaner technologies for cars.




ilikestuff 10 years, 5 months ago

Hi logic,

Here is another reference in Edmunds about the length of time to "break-even" on a hybrid purchase over a similar conventional car. There are also good links to other articles here . Edmunds is a very well respected website in the "automotive world".

The first website, physorg also speaks of this, though I am much less familiar with it.

I hope this helps.



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