Class Warfare Blog

June 16, 2010

You Want an Energy Plan? I’ve Got an Energy Plan!

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 5:59 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This is not as hard as people think.

Think about the total amount of electricity Americans use every day. Used by every electric tool, light bulb, toaster, hair dryer, TV, computer, cell phone, . . . , everything. If you want numbers, in 2007 it was 783 GW (summer) and 640 GW (winter). (GW is Gigawatts, giga being “tech speak” for “billions of.”) So, do you have that in mind (not the number, the idea of the total amount)? Okay, that’s also the amount of electricity wasted every day by the electric grid, the set of lines used to move our electricity around. We waste half of all electricity we generate, just in the way we distribute it. The companies who jointly share responsibility for the grid are using technology many decades old and haven’t invested much in upgrading this system.

If we were to upgrade “the grid” to current standards, we would need only half of coal and natural gas, etc. we are using today to generate electricity. But there is a better use for that energy. Keeping the amounts of electricity generated the same, how many all-electric cars do you think can be powered by that much electricity? (Keep thinking about the amount that would be made available—the total amount of electrical power we are using now for all purposes would be doubled by just not throwing away half of what we generate.)

The average distance of a car trip is 27 miles. The average range of electric cars is about 160 miles. What this means is that half, actually way over half, of the car trips taken each and every day could be made in all-electric vehicles with no need of recharging until you got back home. This means that close to half of all of the gas and diesel fuel used in vehicles each and every day could be saved! tale that OPEC!

If you aren’t aware, the first cars in the U.S. in the early 1900’s included many all-electric cars. This is old technology which is made even better using current technology (consider the Tesla, for example, all-electric and 160 mph). GM actually made a good electric car in the early 1980’s but recalled all of them and crushed them because they created a new standard in low maintenance, long lifetime vehicles. Interestingly, the Federal Government essentially owns GM at the moment. I wonder if they could dust off those blueprints?

None of this plan involves any dangerous materials. And none of it involves a single extra gram of carbon being released into the air. None of this involves a major expansion of unknown or even new technology. People were begging GM to buy the cars they were recalling and crushing 30 years ago. Many hundreds of thousands will buy them now.

Nationalize “the grid.”

Fix the grid.

Make adequate electric cars for short run drivers and families with more than one car.

That’s the plan.

It doesn’t cover everything but it covers a lot and the benefits continue into the future.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: