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RE: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect



Agreed that would be a viable option if we had the transit systems here that are available in some metro areas.
 
Christopher Klaver
 
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of Anne Woiwode
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:28 AM
To: 'Christopher Klaver'; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: RE: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect

Perhaps one of our greatest problems is that we tend to look at our alternatives in too narrow a light.  Do we need to own a car year round so it is available for use two or three times a year?  My sister’s family lives in metropolitan Boston and does not own a car.  When their travel needs require driving, they rent.  Compared to the cost of the payback below for owning the vehicle, this seems like a sensible tradeoff.  Perhaps we need to think in broader terms about our options when we look at challenges like this.

 

Anne Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter

(517) 484-2372

 


From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Christopher Klaver
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:36 AM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: RE: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect

 

I usually feel more comfortable reading than adding to these boards, but this is one I think I can get into safely.

 

Hybrids still have several significant issues to overcome before they are a viable choice, at least for me.

 

I have five people in my family and a camper I need to tow a couple times a year, and a budget that allows for only one vehicle.  The only hybrids that will fit that are luxury SUVs, both out of my price range and not getting significantly better mileage than the minivan I drive now.

 

According to the news last night (which jives with other figures I've seen), it would take me as many as 32,000 miles to make back the extra money I pay for the hybrid drive train (You have to compare the $25,000 you spent on comparable cars, not all cars.  You can get a lot more car for that $25,000, and in some cases for a lot less, if you drop the battery and motor).

 

And, based on other stats I've seen, that payback period gives me only maybe 20,000 miles of actual savings before the battery fails, a repair I have seen runs $5,000 or more depending on the hybrid.  Given that I can put three times as many miles or more on a gasoline engine before having to replace it, that makes the gasoline engine alone the better deal, even if gas prices go up.

 

The hybrids we have now are fine for people who want to spend their money that way, but they have far to go before they are a practical choice for the average family.

 

Christopher Klaver

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of The Henry's
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:25 PM
To: William Tobler; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect

You wrote:

They cost more, a lot more, have a lot of dead weight, and the batteries and electronics are environmentally amongst the dirtiest of technologies for manufacturing and disposal.

Do a cost analysis on hybrids - it is virtually impossible for a consumer to save enough on fuel to pay for the hybrid hardware.  Of course as the gas price goes way up to create more Corporate profits for the oil companies, this gap will narrow.

 

I disagree.  Our 2007 cost just over 25G out the door.  You pay much more for most other new vehicles that don't get near that kind of mileage.  If it's time to buy a new car, why not choose one that will save you lots of money on gas, therefore emitting much less CO2  and put less money in big oils pockets?  Just trying to do our part...  I heard they worked the kinks out several years ago.  Even the roof has aerodynamic grooves now.

 

Kathy

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 2:20 PM

Subject: Re: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect

 

"Toyota is a corporation and will do and make whatever provides the best return".  Exactly.  Ditto for Ford and GM.  It is consumer driven.

Whatever consumers want big-time, if it is technically possible, they will build it and price it to survive.

 

Regarding hybrids - Hybrids are an outstanding choice for those who do a lot of stop and go driving.  This is because the braking energy is largely recycled, the engine is usually smaller because the electric motor is available to provide reasonable acceleration away from the stop light, and shutting off the engine (instead of idling) is easily implemented.  However, for predominately highway driving, hybrids are not a good idea.  None of the above benefits are realized, the vehicle is heavier, and there is more spinning hardware.  So, all other things being equal, hybrid technology will result in significantly less mpg for those who drive mostly on the freeway.  To maintain decent highway FE requires other compromises, which is fine if the consumer doesn't care.

They cost more, a lot more, have a lot of dead weight, and the batteries and electronics are environmentally amongst the dirtiest of technologies for manufacturing and disposal.

Do a cost analysis on hybrids - it is virtually impossible for a consumer to save enough on fuel to pay for the hybrid hardware.  Of course as the gas price goes way up to create more Corporate profits for the oil companies, this gap will narrow.

 

The first rule to achieve fuel economy is lighter (rolling resistance and braking energy) and smaller (aerodynamic losses). The next rule is to get rid of the parasitic losses, which mostly come from the creature comforts.

For those into RV pastimes, weight and power is the customer want and demand, and low FE is an unavoidable consequence.

 

Now, once upon a time, Ford used to make 3 door hatchbacks called Escorts.  I drove them for years and it was my car of choice.  They were fun, peppy and extremely practical.  You could actually go to Home Depot and buy some stuff and bring it home.  I always got 45MPG on my commuting, and 54MPG on highway trips.

 

Our European CEO, Jac Nasser did away with it and mandated that corporate resources be funnelled into the Premium Automotive Groug (especially Volvo, Jaguar, LandRover) and only into big SUVs and super trucks.  He specifically starved North American car for resources.  In my opinion, a going out of business decision, but he was loudly hailed by Wall Street and Forbes as some kind of genius.  The executives that didn't agree, found their careers ended.

 

Although I agree that super high paid executives is an ugly thing, in the end it is chump change in terms of corporate dollars and has nothing to do with Toyota's success.  IMHO, the "Board of Directors" form of business is a significant evil; you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.  This gets in the way of engineering talent and ideas, of which there is plenty at the old Big-3.

----- Original Message -----

From: RC

Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 1:02 PM

Subject: Re: E-M:/ USDA Report Highlights Ethanol-Corn Domino Effect

 

Toyota did announce that they were transitioning to all, or mostly, hybrid in the future...

Toyota is a corporation and will do and make whatever provides the best return for their investor's dollars... Funny that their HUMONGOUS truck was recalled recently...

Whatever...

I'm not here to argue Toyota's motives. Yes they don't have the legions of retired workers that the US big three want to die already but they also don't pay their leaders extremely high salaries either, from what I've heard... Recalls are a political football. Would anyone be surprised that they are under reported?

Robert Cowling
Michigan Environ-Mental-ist