Thursday, August 07, 2008

Who killed the Electric Car?

Last night I finally got around to watching the video "Who Killed the Electric Car?" You can get a used one at Amazon.com for only $8. It is absolutely worth watching. I am going to add it to my "recommended reading" list, too.

To make a very interesting story short, we already have the technology available to be completely independent from imported oil - but the prototypes were crushed, literally, when the car companies realized that the entire auto industry infrastructure from replacement parts, oil change services, and of course, motor oil and gasoline sales, would fall by the wayside. The entire combustion engine industry from top to bottom would have to phase out - and all the profits made from them would vanish. Electric cars have few moving parts, little need for maintenance, and generate little to no profits for the oil industry once sold.

This brought another thought to mind - there have been several stories in the news recently about how, since so many people are being priced out of the gasoline market, that gas tax revenues are way down. This money is used almost exclusively for repairs to roads and bridges, and new construction. My thought was this:

Phone companies have to maintain the phone lines and wireless systems that serve their customers. Water companies have to maintain the water lines, cable companies have to maintain the cables, satellite companies have to maintain their wireless systems, gas companies have to maintain gas lines, and so on and so on.

Why is it that gasoline and diesel companies are not required to maintain roads? They are making multiple Billions-with-a-B of profit, so why are they not required to pay for the road maintenance and new construction shortfalls? After all, without well functioning roads, their products are as useless as they would be if everyone went to electric cars...

...which, now that I think about it, is the same reason they are trying their best to persuade government that no one wants to ride on electric trains, trolleys and streetcars.

These people do not have society's needs or best interests in mind - and why should they? The robber barons have only their own profit in mind, which is why government is supposed to act for the welfare of the people, not the robber barons.

And yet we cannot get what we need, because the robber barons block us at every turn. They refuse to invest in infrastructure that the American people need - and to hang on to their monopoly, some odd conflicts of interest emerge.

DrumBeat: August 7, 2008
Posted by Leanan on August 7, 2008 - 8:29am
Topic: Miscellaneous
5 Years After Blackout, Power Grid Still in 'Dire Straits'

The US power grid - three interconnected grids made up of 3,500 utilities serving 283 million people - still hangs together by a thread, and its dilapidated state is perhaps one of the greatest threats to homeland security, according to Bruce deGrazia, the president of Global Homeland Security Advisors and a former assistant deputy undersecretary for the Department of Defense, who spoke at an electricity industry conference in Shepherdstown, Va.

The slightest glitch on the transmission superhighway could upset the smooth distribution of electricity over thousands of miles of transmission lines and darken states from Ohio to New York in a matter of seconds, bringing hospitals and airports to a standstill.


The oil bigwigs, ummm, I mean the Bush White House has had ample opportunity and more than adequate knowledge of this problem throughout his entire presidency - and yet no mention of it ever passes his lips, and no serious steps have been taken to provide more electricity to the average Joe.

...President George W. Bush made grand promises in the aftermath of the August 2003 blackout, vowing to modernize the nation’s dilapidated electricity grid, and to work with Congress on a comprehensive energy bill that encouraged investment in the country’s energy infrastructure.

Yet, in the five years that have passed since the worst blackout in US history blanketed the Northeast, nothing substantial has been done to overhaul the power grid and Bush has failed to follow through on his pledge....


And, for good measure, Bush was one of the parties in the lawsuit against California for their mandate requiring smog-free electric cars a few years ago.

What a coincidence, you might say - except I don't believe in coincidence.

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