Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Natural Gas Cars Are Better than Electric

We feel good about ourselves in my town, yes we do. We have installed six electric car refueling stations. If you could see us right now, we are giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. We are thinking globally and acting locally!

In case you weren’t sure, that was sarcasm. What kind of bizarre logic thinks this is a good way to spend taxpayer money? No one, I mean no one, is going to use these things. First, do you know long it takes to charge an electric car? I'll answer that: four to six hours. I’d like to know who’s going to sit around for that long while their car charges. The town, perhaps realizing this, is putting them places like train stations so people can leave them to charge while they commute to the city. But…think. Someone arriving at the station has presumably spent the night charging their car, so it’s already full. Okay then, for argument's sake, let’s say that they forgot. They plug their car in and head to the city. Then what? No one else can use that pump for the whole day?

One wonders if anyone bothered to actually count the number of electric cars in town. I personally know of one. Oh, I know the argument, if you build it, “they will come.” Except they won’t because there are good reasons no one is buying electric cars and their makers are going bankrupt. The technical term is they suck. Long recharging times, poor range, and big price tags. No wonder consumers only bought 23,000 Chevy Volts last year, despite a passel of incentives from the government. (Not just money, either, but things like access to HOV lanes. In my town, you get cheaper parking.) The massive Ford F150 pickup, on the other hand, sold 763,000 units last year.  

But nothing will match the smug self-righteousness of a someone driving a Nissan Leaf fifty-five in the fast lane, usually right in front of you. He's saving the world, so you can damn well wait.

Do greens ponder, I wonder, where the electricity to power these cars comes from? Usually, it's from from coal-fired plants, something we’re not supposed to like one bit. In our case, though, most of it comes from a nuclear plant. While I love nuclear power, the green crowd detests it, even though it is carbon-free. Are you following this?

What we should be doing is building out the infrastructure to support cars that run on CNG, or compressed natural gas. Here's one you can buy right now:

 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas

Natural gas is abundant, sourced in the U.S., and amazingly cheap. Right now, the average price per gallon in the U.S. is $2.12. Cars using it require less maintenance. It also runs cleaner than regular gas, which should make the greens happy, but it doesn't. They immediately think of "fracking," and Yoko Ono has told them that fracking is bad, so it must be.

The U.S. should be building out its natural gas infrastructure now. It actually won't be that difficult, because there is already a whole network of natural gas pipelines. What we need is to get it to the pump, like in the picture above. Right now, you can see if there are any pumps near you here. There are currently 660 stations selling CNG. The nearest to me is 15 miles away, so unfortunately, a CNG car is not an option for me yet.

Is it for you?

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