Darwinian Evolution is defined as: “descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations” – From Merriam-Webster
In Automotive Evolution we might say the following: automotive technologies descend with modification and enhancement from earlier preexisting forms and technologies : cumulative inherited change of traits occur within a population of automobiles/automakers through time leading to the appearance of new and often more evolved/advanced automotive forms : the process by which new automotive systems and/or collections of systems – as dictated by necessity and/or markets – lead to novel and more advanced automotive systems and/or collections of systems developed from preexisting forms through successive generations often (but not always) leading to more superior technological adaptations : those forms and technologies deemed inferior by function/markets are quickly weeded out of the population by the process that drives both automotive and Darwinian evolution – Natural Selection. Those forms and technologies deemed superior and that perform at or above their design will survive and their technological traits will be passed down to future populations.
Recently, I made the EVolutionary choice and I EVolved my automotive system.
In late September 2019 I purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt.
Yep. The days of the BlueWaterLeaf are over.
My trusty old 2012 LEAF “Elektra” served me well for a little over six years but due to her failing battery chemistry and resulting limited driving range of only around 45-50 miles – natural selection prevailed and I was forced to automotively EVolve.
The old LEAF found a new home with a wonderful couple in a nearby town. Since they only drive around 25 miles per day I believe it will serve them well for many years to come.
For my needs, I require a vehicle that will travel more than 50 miles per day and sometimes upwards of 200 miles at a time. I also needed a vehicle that I can afford to fuel, maintain, and pay for as a company vehicle. Now that we have EV’s I feel that it is not logical nor is it a good use of funds for a small nonprofit organization to pay large amounts of money for fossil fuel powered vehicles and their fuels. Essentially, using a fossil fuel powered vehicle for a nonprofit – or any business for that matter – is like lighting generously donated and/or hard earned money on fire, then tossing it out the window. It is not only a garish waste of funds but it also pollutes the environment – the very thing my organization is working so hard to protect, conserve, understand, and share.
So, after extensive research and planning, I decided to purchase a new 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV – Premier edition as a replacement outreach vehicle for my small, non profit organization Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) – www.earthshinenature.com
I have owned the Bolt EV now for four months and during that time I have driven the little EV close to 6500 miles! It is a remarkable car that makes the old LEAF seem, well, – like ancient technology – or, in keeping with the EVolutionary theme – an earlier form of life.
I really loved my LEAF but the primary reason I decided to go with a Chevrolet over another Nissan was mainly due to the ongoing terrible experience I had with Nissan HQ. Despite my detailed record keeping, sticking with the car’s dealer defined maintenance/warranty schedule, countless service visits/inquiries/emails/phone calls with Nissan HQ about my LEAF’s battery degradation issue, and even working tirelessly to promote the LEAF to many people online via this blog and in person via my nonprofit programming through EV education classes, and through the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club at EV car shows during National Drive Electric week – all of these things lead up to many people I knew and many I did not who then purchased Nissan LEAF’s for themselves. Despite all this Nissan still refused to stand by their product and would not offer to replace my car’s degrading battery. Then, to make matters worse – just when I was about to consider the purchase of a new battery for my LEAF – Nissan raised the price by thousands of dollars as if trying to force owners of the first generation LEAF’s to upgrade to a newer car!
On top of all this madness, Nissan opted to forgo the implementation of an active battery management system that would extend the useful life of their EV batteries in favor of keeping the costs down so they could then sell more new LEAF’s using an out-dated technology while making a higher profit.
All these reasons pushed me over the edge so I decided that I was finished with Nissan and chose to look elsewhere. I looked at Tesla, Hyundai, Kia and then Chevrolet. Chevrolet already had several years of EV experience with the Volt and the Bolt’s technology was a few years old therefore giving them some time to weed out any major issues with the newer Bolt. Chevrolet also opted to go with a battery management system similar to Tesla’s that would keep the battery at the optimum operating temperature extending its driving range and its useful life. The bolt also has amazing driving range second only to Tesla (at the time) – at 238 it was a massive improvement over the old gen one LEAF which would only travel 73 miles before needing a charge. Another big deciding factor for me was the fact that at the time I was shopping there were some really nice end of model year deals on the Bolt so, for all these reasons, I chose the Bolt EV.
So far I love the little EV – although, it does have a few odd issues that need mentioning. These are issues that I believe need some real attention from Chevrolet – so let us get those out of the way first.
1: Ultra reflective dashboard deck. The windshield facing side of the dashboard (in my car) is light colored so it reflects sunlight onto the underside of the windshield making it almost impossible to drive without visual discomfort from the “flashing” reflections. This creates an unsafe and uncomfortable driving experience. During the test drive I did not notice this phenomenon – possibly due to the sun angle at the time – or I would have chosen a vehicle with a dark colored dashboard. To remedy the situation I purchased a custom fit charcoal black, non-reflective dash cover from Covercraft.com and the problem was solved.
2: Thin driver’s seat bottom cushion. I am a relatively thin person so the narrowness of the seats do not bother me as they do for some people. However, the thin cushion and adjacent plastic framework of the seat near the seat adjusting levers puts pressure on my left outer thigh region as I exit the vehicle. Over time this fact began to cause my left upper leg to ache. I fixed the issue with a simple pool noodle slipped over the plastic piece. It worked for me but GM should really work to remedy this problem as it may be a deal breaker for some buyers especially those who do not want a pool noodle flopping about in their new car.
This added pool noodle cushion ended all discomfort and is removable if need be.
3: Cargo space. For many people the Bolt will be perfect in size for town runs etc but I needed more carying capacity so I opted to install a roof basket.
This allows me to carry much more cargo when I take long trips and even lumber 🙂
Or bales of straw for the chickens 🙂
And even more lumber and conduit 🙂 !
Things I LOVE about this little car.
238 miles of range – and more depending on conditions! WOW! It is a real car!!
Range anxiety is a thing of the past!
Cool UI. I love all the data and functionality the UI provides and it is pretty.
One pedal driving – SO COOL!!! (and the brakes will last MUCH longer!)
Awesome stereo system with the option of SiriusXM.
Roof rack ready.
The three level cargo area.
Arm rest/drink holder in the rear seat.
Heated seats and steering wheel.
USB charging ports everywhere.
Qi/wireless phone charger.
Wonderful windshield wipers that really work well.
Deep, multi-level storage in center console.
Sliding sun visors.
Built-in rear-view mirror backup camera.
Surround view camera.
Automatic Emergency Braking.
Lane keep assist.
The hulkingly huge 60 kWH battery that lets me go for days without needing to charge.
The insanely low cost to fuel and operate.
In fact, lets look at some numbers on that last topic.
I am not bragging but I feel that I need to share this very revealing automotive data with you should you be considering EVolving up to a Bolt or other EV.
I have calculated the fuel costs to drive the car the 6500 miles I have traveled up to this point.
Are you ready for this?
Are you sitting down?
Here it is.
Those costs come primarily from the five “quick charge” sessions I needed during these first four months of ownership. Those sessions resulted in a total charge of $77.95 or and average of $15.59 per charge.
The remaining $41.76 comes from multiple “Level 2” charge sessions on the road and from several overnight “Level 1” and “Level 2” charging sessions at home.
In summary, during the last four months, I have driven an average of
1,625 miles per month. 406.25 miles per week. 58.03 miles per day.
At a cost of –
$32.60 per month. $8.15 per week. $1.16 per day.
119.71/6500 = .0184
So that breaks down to be $0.0184 cents per mile for the Mighty Bolt’s electron fuel.
$0.2 cents per mile! I will let that sink in for a moment.
Those numbers are accurate as I keep detailed notes on all charge sessions/energy costs.
My EV’s electric fuel costs are much lower than many EV drivers since I am able to use locally generated renewably produced solar electricity as my EV’s primary fuel source. The largest percentage of my Bolt EV’s electron fuel comes from the classroom solar array my students, interns, volunteers and I installed on my nonprofit office/classroom.
For the average US homeowner without solar who is charging their EV at home using the local power utility energy mix (US average @ .12/kWh), their costs would be a bit higher than my numbers.
The fact remains that no matter an EV’s fuel source – fueling, maintaining, and driving an EV will always be much lower than anything powered by dirty, toxic, nature, life, earth, and future polluting fossil fuels.
It is very interesting and revealing to note that if I had driven those 6500 miles in my only remaining gas guzzler – a 2013 Honda Pilot – I would have needed to stop maybe 15 – 20 times to refill the gas tank (and change the oil and oil filter one and possibly the air filter once) and therefore my gasoline fuel bill (maybe we should call it a conveyance convenience cost) would have been a massive $812.50 or around 0.13/mile! …then add in the cost of the oil/filter change of around $50 and that’s $862.50!!
I do not care who you are, where you are from, or how much money you have to burn but you must logically agree with me – that is a CRAZY STUPID expense for anyone to spend just to get from point A to point B!
In fact, below is a photo of the gas pump the last time I filled up the Honda’s fuel tank…YIKES!
That $47 will push the Honda Pilot around 360 miles but it will also push the Chevy Bolt EV over 2300 miles!!!
6500 miles at an average of 20mpg = 325 gallons x $2.50 (per gasbuddy.com) = $812.50
Or 812.50/6500 = .125 (per mile)
(812.50 (gas) – 119.71(electricity))
That is a fuel only cost savings of $692.79!!
No one can deny the fuel savings of driving electric – but what about the grossly unacceptable downsides of driving EV’s:
THE DIRTY DOWNSIDES OF DRIVING ELECTRIC
Charging: What about the horrible inconvenience of charging my EV while I sleep…It is just so difficult and time-consuming to need to remember to plug in the car before going on to other things…oh the horror!
Stopping: The painfully needling fact that when on a road trip I always need to stop driving every 200 miles or so to plug in my car while I take a break, read a book, surf the net, take a nap, graze on food, have a cold one, get some exercise, go shopping, fish for lunch, fly a drone, watch a movie, spend time with friends and family, ride a zipline, pet a dog, pick some fruit, or just smell the flowers (these are just a few of the terribly inconvenient things I have been forced to do or could do while waiting for my EV to charge)…I just can’t take this intolerable electric car life of any longer!
Gas Stations: What about the hot insanity of never ever again needing to stop at dirty gas stations*? I so greatly miss the ritual of waiting in line for a pump, grasping the infectious germ and “booger” covered gas nozzle, shoving it into my legacy vehicle’s fuel port, engaging the trigger, inhaling deeply of the toxic and highly flammable hydrocarbon fumes while watching other oil addicted users doing the very same – oh and sometimes some of them leave their engines running and/or are even smoking while fueling – WTF!!! All this time our tanks fill up and our bank accounts drain…oh and let’s not forget the great fun of shopping in the station’s store for low quality overly processed foodstuffs…oh how I miss those days. *Ok, so I do occasionally stop at filling stations – but only if they have EV charging stations and/or to use their bathrooms or squeegee my EV’s windshield 🙂 (Read one of my earlier posts about an earlier and most unusual filling station experience.)
Cash Flow: How about the fact that driving electric means you will never again be forever stuck in the endless “subscription to dependency” that owning and driving petroleum-powered vehicles truly is. Therefore, I will be FORCED to stop endlessly paying out loads and loads of cash for gas/oil only to just burn it up over and over again harming our individual lungs and our shared environment. Whatever will I do with all this extra cash???
Health: When my asthma and the seasonal ozone/fossil fuel pollution-induced respiratory inflammation and distress go away – I will shed a great and lonely tear of loss. What will I ever do with all this improved health I just do not know…
Maintenance: Then there is the unbelievable madness of having virtually no maintenance costs/repair downtime on the EV’s motor, battery, brakes, and drive systems…like the LEAF before it, this BOLT EV (and all EV’s) are virtually maintenance-free. I am going to really miss the time-honored ritual of raising the hood and/or crawling under my vehicle on the side of a busy road – in the rain, mud, ice, snow, and boiling summer heat (been there done all that many, many times) – to fix some failing component such as a faulty belt/hose/fuel line/fuel tank/plug wire/radiator/thermostat/clutch/carburetor/alternator/exhaust/intake manifold/”johnson rod” and on an on…and/or wiring up a broken exhaust pipe/muffler…and/or adjusting some broken or maladjusted linkage/shaft in 20-degree weather then bashing my knuckles on a cross member etc…or having my old beater car towed to a repair shop and then waiting hours or days for it to be professionally repaired and then receiving the huge charge $$$$$$ for all those frequent repair/labor costs…again, what will I ever do with all this extra money and time? Note: I really do love working on older, classic cars – especially with my dad. However, working on a classic car at home in the garage or in the driveway/yard on a nice day is a totally different animal than what I described above – which is a fresh hell I would not wish on anyone.
Efficiency: Oh, and what about the insanely stupid fact that EVs produce a portion of their own electron fuel through the process of regenerative braking thereby extending their driving range by hundreds to thousands of free driving miles each year and therefore lowering my fuel costs even more…how will I ever adapt to all this egg-headed science nerd tech geek madness saving me loads of money and making my life easier, faster, stronger, better?!
Sound of silence: How about the unbearable and unbelievably smooth, quiet ride? I just cannot handle all this calmness, comfort, and serenity. Oh, how I miss the endless internal combustion engine drone drowning out the silence and/or the nuances of my favorite songs, audiobooks, and podcasts. Then there are the random noises, sudden jerks, squeaks, rattles, bangs, parts falling off (yes, that really happened), and body wrenching lurches that used to assault my ears, muddle my thought processes, and often torque my spine in all my previous legacy vehicles…
…all this EVolved silence is just so unbearable – oh, the humanity!
Convenience: What about that ridiculous one pedal driving thing! It is just so bizarre and inconvenient to only need to use one pedal instead of two. Not having to step on the brake all the time means my brake pads may last over one hundred thousand miles – how will I ever adapt to all this efficient madness? What will I ever do with all the extra money that I would have spent on bake jobs? My foot really misses stepping on the brake all the time so sometimes I do it out of nostalgia.
Safety: I am not at all comfortable with the increased safety of this car. It will automatically and without asking me to authorize it – put on the brakes to avoid a collision!! What a HUGE compromisation of my freedoms to stop whenever I want to and under my own power and control!!! …oh and then there are all the airbags – they wrap around me on all sides – and then there’s the seatbelts holding me down keeping me from flying through the windshield in an accident – I feel so invaded!! …and what about all the CAMERAS!!! Giving over control to the machines – we all know where that leads!! It all must be a conspiracy…a plot fabricated by the Russians or maybe the Chinese…NO it is the greenies working with the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans and the DUTCH!!!! (To be clear: I am not racist and this was not a racial slur – it was a cheezy reference to an obscure comedy movie series staring Mike Myers.)
I will not stand for all the EV safety madness!!!!
Give me back my 1969 Vista Cruiser!!
That 70’s Show photo courtesy of Carsey-Warner.
Fuel: How about the garishly un-American ability to charge an EV’s traction battery with home-grown electron fuel made on my own soil – be that electron fuel renewably generated by sun, wind, water, landfill gas, cow farts, or even the dirtiest hulking coal-fired power plant.
It is all domestically produced American made energy that does not require dirty deals, endless wars, and the terrible loss of our brave loved ones in the service just to keep it flowing into our tanks.
Nor does all this locally grown renewable energy destroy the very environment that gives all of us clean air, clean water, healthy food, diverse wildlife, our own lives, and a healthy future.
Driving electric vehicles powered by renewable energy is obviously such an un-American, un-patriotic sacrilege that our founding fathers must be spinning like oil-soaked V8 crankshafts in their graves!
Ok, so for those of you that somehow missed it – I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV and I absolutely LOVE driving electric. I was attempting to be overly and intentionally sarcastic and humorous with my previous outline of EV shortcomings. From my point of view and over six years of EV driving experience – there really are no EV shortcomings.
Driving electric is simply a better way to drive.
Despite my sarcastic attempts at humor aside and despite all the mostly manufactured EV shortcomings you may encounter from the deniers, doubters, Luddites, and FUD generators – and those with money/politics tied up in the legacy automakers and fossil fuel economy – I fail to see how anyone can rationally dispute the massive cost savings of driving electric vehicles as daily driver commuter vehicles and soon, much, much, more…and all this before we have even looked at the significant reductions to toxic air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions saved by driving electric vehicles especially when they are charged by locally grown renewably generated 100% energy secure electricity – but that is another long-winded data-rich topic for yet another blog posting on yet another day.
How much does it cost you to drive your fossil burner 6500 miles?
So, suffice it to say that I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV.
I will keep you posted on my newly EVolved EV life with the “Mighty Bolt” EV and hopefully I will be able to offer you some insight into the world of the Electric Vehicle, renewable energy, and maybe, if you have not already, you will take the necessary steps toward your own automotive EVolution.
SPECIAL THANKS to Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute, Jim Hardy, Catherine O’Neil, Marian O’Neil, and the Blue Ridge EV Club, my awesome students, and everyone who worked with me to make all of this possible – you know who you are!
Note: I do not work for, receive compensation from, or own stock in GM, Chevrolet, Tesla, or any electric vehicle or electric vehicle supply equipment company or renewable energy technology or company. I do however support all of these technologies, companies, and ways of life as long as they stay focused on their goals and work to help more than harm and because they are all working toward a better, cleaner, more energy secure, lower ecological footprint, science-focused way of life that supports everyone everywhere.
Over the last few weeks, there have been several reported instances from all over the USA of a minority of pickup truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Supercharger stations (aka Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)/Electric Vehicle charging stations. This relatively small number of incidents has generated much attention on various social media outlets and from EV owners groups/clubs and other automotive-focused news outlets and on YouTube.
At first, I was hesitant to write anything about any of these instances because, in a way, writing about them is drawing attention to the small number of individuals who commit these crimes. However, I decided that – as a previous truck, 4WD, and current sport-utility vehicle and EV owner – it is my obligation to report on these thoughtless incidents and put these narrow-minded knuckle-dragging dunderheads in their places with the facts before they destroy the reputations of respectable pickup truck owners everywhere.
For background I will share a few of these incidents below;
This is the first high profile incident that gathered nation-wide media attention – and from my home state no less.
The revealing thing is that the entire parking lot was practically empty…
It seems obvious to me this was an intentional act directed at Tesla and/or EV’s in general. The other obvious thing is the driver of the truck either did not care or was possibly not aware they were openly advertising who they were with the conspicuous company magnetic sign on the truck door – what a great invitation by EV owners (and others) to report their team member’s thoughtless EV charger blocking action to the company…oh and what a great reason to NEVER use the services of that company in any way. Good work Navarro & Wright, what a great way to make a name for yourself…
In another thread on Twitter, Nascar driver and Tesla owner Leilani Munter garnered some notice when Elon Musk and many others spoke up about this issue;
Recently from not far from my home a Hummer driver intentionally blocks two Tesla Superchargers as a “prank” – what a total wanker.
From this blogger’s point of view these actions do not appear to be accidents since the Tesla Supercharger stations are;
1 – Very visible being lit up with red lights on a white background.
2 – Well marked as TESLA charging stations…not Ford, not Chevrolet, not Dodge, not Toyota, not Jeep – but Tesla.
3 – Tesla EVSE stations are most often located in remote parts of the parking areas so as not to take up available parking spots for all other vehicles near the entrances of the nearby establishments where they are found.
In other words – in order for you to block a Tesla Supercharger charging station with your vehicle you would need to either;
1. Drive a Tesla and know where the station is because you have been there before – or you have used your Tesla’s navigation system to guide you to it for a charge.
2. You do not own a Tesla and have made a premeditated decision to locate the Supercharger station for the purpose of blocking it with your non-electric vehicle for whatever bizarre load of jollies that action would give you and/or your childish comrades.
3. You are a new Tesla owner/driver/borrower/renter who is unfamiliar with Tesla/EV charging etiquette and are unaware that after the car finishes charging you should kindly move it to a nearby standard parking space so the next person will have access to the charging infrastructure.
4. You are a Tesla owner on the bleeding edge of the lunatic fringe of Tesla/EV ownership. Perhaps you feel that – because you have the means to own a Tesla, that you are somehow above/better than everyone around and you now have the right to park your car in the charging space for as long as you like. If this is your reasoning – then you, my friend, are an entitled little bully and are no better than those who block charging access with their garish toy trucks. In my experience this type of Tesla/EV owner is rare, yet I have heard reports that they do exist.
So, aside from the occasional parking accident by the un-observant or uneducated – there is no real reason and no real excuse for parking a non-Tesla vehicle in a Tesla or any other electric vehicle charging station.
Misunderstandings Do Happen
As stated earlier, sometimes EV owners who are new to the world of EV’s and have not learned the appropriate EV charging etiquette might mistakenly leave their EV parked in an EV charging space for much longer than needed after the car’s charge is complete – I did this a few times early on in EV ownership and quickly learned my lesson. Most of these infractions are innocent mistakes that can easily be remedied with gentle education of the new EV driver either with a few words or an informational card/flyer left for when the driver returns.
However, some entitled EV drivers seem to be treating EV spaces as a pass to free parking, not at all caring about the other EV drivers who need to stop and fill up their “electron tanks” so they can get on down the road. In the following photo, we see a Tesla parked and not charging in an EV only charging space – how rude.
This is the same as filling up your gas tank, hanging up the gasoline nozzle, and walking off leaving your vehicle blocking the pump.
I have observed this practice on several occasions and when I do I always leave a nice note in the hopes of educating the parking perpetrator on the errors of their ways. In the above case, part of the error may be in the wording of the signage on the wall beyond the Tesla and it reads – “Electric Vehicle Parking Only.” This wordage may give some EV newbies the idea that they are able to park their EV here even when it is not charging. That is just not the case. and is bad planning on those who chose the signs for this site. Luckily, many charging stations now have signs that read “EV Parking only while charging.” Along with this fact many EVSE units will continue to charge you money if your car remains plugged in after the charging session has ended as an expensive reminder to be courteous and move your car so the next person will be able to charge.
Most EV’s and EVSE come standard with internet connectivity. This allows them to be easily configured to send a text to your mobile device when your vehicle has finished charging, therefore, you have no excuse not to move your car thereby opening the space up for the next EV needing a charge.
Bad Parking Planning
On several occasions, I have encountered non-EV’s blocking charging stations – most frequently (in my experience) at this downtown EV charge point supplemented with solar power.
While these non-EV vehicles are directly blocking one of the chargers, at least they are following the directions printed on the pavement and signs that state “EV Only.” In reality, this type of EVSE blocking will not limit the ability to charge an EV since the power leads are usually long enough to reach an EV parked in the EV only spaces nearby. However, the limiting factor here would be available parking. There are three EV chargers and only two marked EV parking spaces so only 2 EV’s would be able to charge when ICE vehicles are parked in the non-EV marked parking spaces. It seems that common sense would dictate that if you install an EVSE for EV’s, then the number of charge points and parking spaces should be equal.
How some Tesla owners may choose to handle EVSE blocking situations – but it is not at all recommended by this blogger…unless there is no other option I suppose.
Obviously, Teslas do have more than enough power and torque to handle any situation.
Another fun option for Tesla owners to get rid of EVSE blockers – this one is in Chinese but no translation is needed 🙂 Follow the link to view the video
So, what do I, as a previous truck/SUV owner and current Electric Vehicle owner and driver of over 5 years, what do I think of this recent practice of some truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Superchargers with their pickup trucks?
Before I get into my answer I must first note that it is in my humble opinion, based on over 35 years of driving and many more years of life experience, that the perpetrators of these thoughtless acts are a very small percentage of overall truck owners.
So let’s call them the: lunatic fringe.
The vast majority of pickup truck owners I know and have met are good, respectable people that own and drive pickup trucks because they serve a utilitarian purpose in their lives – you know, hauling stuff, pulling stuff, doing work, and having fun outdoors.
These good, respectable truck owners would never intentionally block access to another person’s fuel source and would never think to use their vehicle as a bullying tool/weapon in the attempt to make some sort of misguided personal, political, or anti-environment statement. They just drive their trucks and use their trucks – and that’s it.
I say this because not only is it common sense and fully supported by evidence – but I also have a bit of experience in this area. In my over 35 years of driving, I have owned, driven, and used the following vehicles:
My first truck – a 1978 Chevrolet C-10 step side.
My first 4WD vehicle – a 1965 Land Rover Series 2a 88″ – before the restoration.
After I personally restored it.
On the trail with friends.
It was a wonderful 4×4, and my favorite, that I drove daily and used for the purpose it was intended – an all-terrain, go anywhere utility vehicle – truly the world’s best 4x4xfar (that may change when Bollinger Motors starts selling their game-changing B1 and B2 SUT’s to eagerly awaiting truck-o-philes everywhere 🙂
I sold my first Land Rover as it was just too nice to drive on a daily basis and then purchased a very well used 1966 Land Rover Series 2a 109″ ExMoD Field Ambulance. I modified this classic old aluminum workhorse into an overland camper and drove it for several years as my daily driver and on many on and off road-trip adventures, wildlife study and conservation expeditions. When gas prices started to climb I was forced to sell it to continue paying for my college education…
…then came the 1987 Suzuki Samurai – a wonderful little 4×4 that took me into remote areas for my wildlife conservation work and more.
It was a great little 4×4 that served me well for almost a decade. It was my daily driver, my wildlife study and conservation vehicle, and my firewood acquisition vehicle making use of the custom winch and bumper to often pull trees weighing more than the vehicle out of the woods for later processing into firewood.
And it was fun, fuel efficient, and reliable off-road…but after over 250,000 miles it began to show serious signs of age so it found a new home and along came…
…a 1999 Toyota 4Runner – a great 4×4 that served me well.
And finally, my most recent 4WD is a 2013 Honda Pilot SUV (random internet photo) that we use for hauling the family around and hauling/pulling loads.
As you can see I love the utility of trucks and 4WD vehicles and I would love to have another one day to make my life and my job easier and more productive. As soon as the all-electric trucks, vans, and 4WD’s hit the market – I will be driving one daily as my company/commuting and utility/wildlife conservation outreach vehicle – and that day is approaching faster than you may think.
Back to the Question
With all that out of the way, let’s get back to the original question:
What do I, a seasoned truck/4×4 owner, driver and aficionado of many years AND an Electric Vehicle driver of almost 6 years think of the recent practice of some pickup truck owners intentionally blocking Tesla Supercharging stations?
I could relate to you how unbelievably childish, small-minded, knuckle-dragging, infantile, non-sensical and stupid it is while tossing out many colorful metaphors, however, I will refrain from that level of thinking and offer my answer in the form of the following thought experiment:
What would YOU do, as a gas/diesel vehicle driver looking to fill up your vehicle’s fuel tank with refined hydrocarbons, if you arrived at your filling station of choice only to find an EV driver intentionally blocking your gas/diesel fuel pump with their electric vehicle?
Hopefully, you would think the same way I would: either they had made a mistake or…they may be potentially unstable and may even be dangerous – especially if they insulted and taunted you with vulgar language and gestures as some of the perpetrators are being reported to have done.
Why would you think these things?
The common sense answer:
The evidence is blocking the fuel pump.
Due to the obvious fact that the owner of the pump blocking vehicle is driving a vehicle that does not ever need access to the fuel source it is blocking, then evidence and common sense would dictate the following:
1: They may have blocked the pump accidentally. After they have been respectfully informed of their error, they should not hesitate to move their vehicle to the correct nearby charging point. However, being an EV driver I would highly doubt that this would be the usual scenario as EV drivers do not often make the mistake of blocking petroleum-based fuel pumps if the vehicle they are driving is theirs and if they are at all familiar with it. (If you are driving a vehicle of any kind you had better take some time to read the instructions and become familiar with it – all the more so if it is a state of the art high-speed low drag Tesla aka: Intergalactic SpaceBoat of Light and Wonder or any other EV.)
Similarly, the vast majority of respectable gas/diesel vehicle drivers would never think to intentionally park their vehicles in front of EVSE stations and/or intentionally vandalize EVSE units and/or intentionally taunt/insult drivers whose vehicles operate on fuels other than gas/diesel…until recently that is…
2: They may have committed this pump blocking act intentionally. Furthermore, if they were taunting/insulting you or your vehicle/fuel of choice with rude and/or hateful colorful metaphors, it would be even more evidence that their actions were not accidental and they might not be entirely stable individuals – you know, those on the lunatic fringe.
How should you respond?
The safe approach would be to er on the side of caution and be very wary of their actions because no thinking, rational person with even a gram of common sense and decency would ever commit such a blatant act of intentional bullying unless they had an over-sized, unstable, reactionary chip on their shoulder and/or were intentionally looking for a dangerous confrontation.
Suggestion: before you take matters into your own hands in regards to option 2 you should be absolutely sure the situation was not an accident by a person unfamiliar with driving an electric vehicle – possibly something like in the video below where the driver may have borrowed the car from a friend and/or the owner of the car was playing a joke on them.
Once you rule out an accidental parking maneuver, the next step would be to report the thoughtless, possibly intentional fuel pump blocking action to the nearest authorities, step back to a safe location, and wait for the police/tow truck(s) to arrive to remove the disruptive perpetrator(s) – be they an EV blocking a gas, diesel pump or an ICE vehicle blocking an electric fuel pump.
Those of us that drive plug-in electric vehicles refer to the act of accidentally or intentionally blocking charging stations with Internal Combustion Engine powered vehicles – “ICEing” or being “ICEd.”
For clarity: ICE = Internal Combustion Engine
Most of the time, when an ICE driver blocks an EV charging station it is an honest mistake made by someone either in a hurry or simply not being observant enough to see all the signs denoting the space as EV use only.
These innocent people should be excused from their mistake and politely educated either in person if possible, or if they are not available, with an informational flyer placed under the windshield wiper – many EV drivers carry these for events such as these.
As an EV driver I encounter ICED EVSE stations frequently – in a recent incident, I was sitting in my EV while it was plugged into a Level 2 EVSE and charging during a heavy rain shower. As I sat there in the rain reading a book and charging up the LEAF I watched as an ICE driver pulled hastily into the parking space opposite mine, jumped out, and ran off into the rain. It seemed to me that the driver had absolutely no idea that he had parked in an EV charging location. He was in a hurry, whipped into an open space failing to notice the signs, the two EVSE units…and the EV parked and charging 10 feet away.
In another recent incident I stopped in a local parking garage to plug in my EV only to find both charging spaces ICED…despite the fact that there were several empty parking spaces in the garage…
…and despite the signs and EVSE (charging station) on the wall in front of them – there they sat blocking access to the charging stations and neither of these vehicles were plug-in electric vehicles. I left respectful notes on their windshields and then later encountered the owner of the Prius. She was very nice and seemed totally unaware of her mistake. Hopefully in the future she will be more observant and leave the EV spaces for the EV’s (If you want to get technical: it’s not like there is a shortage of non-EV parking spaces, it is the other way around – there are plenty of standard parking spaces with EV charging locations remaining in the minority – which means blocking them creates an even bigger negative impact – so please, use some common sense here and just don’t do it.)
I believe what happens in many ICEing events is that many ICE drivers are just not very observant of anything outside of their comfortable, daily frame of reference. They are unfamiliar with EV’s and they do not use the EVSE charging network so they do not see the signs and the equipment – they just find an open slot, park their car and run. Maybe someone needs to come up with an ICE vehicle detector that, when deployed in EV charging spots, will detect the hydrocarbon-based fuels/lubricants/exhaust gasses used in/produced by ICE vehicles and, when detected, trigger highly noticeable strobe lights and illuminated signage indicating to the ICE vehicle driver their mistake. If their mistake is not rectified, the system would automatically either: identify their vehicle sending them a pricey ticket and/or notify parking authorities so they can move the blocking vehicle, and in repeat offenders/intentional blockers – place a wheel lock on the vehicle and have it impounded.
This past winter I encountered yet another form of ICEing…with real ice.
The evidence suggested that the snow removal crew chose to pile up the snow in both of the marked EV charging spaces. This is as irresponsible as blocking the spaces with an ICE vehicle especially since there was ample space nearby on the grass surrounding the parking area to pile the snow where ALL drivers – no matter the fuel that powers their vehicles – would then have access to parking. Yes, it may have been an accident, but due to the perfect blocking of the only two EV charging spaces in the parking area – I cannot help but wonder if the individual(s) that did this did it on purpose possibly as some sort of statement against EV’s, their charging infrastructure and/or the people that drive them. Hmmm, I wonder if these snow pushers also block “handicap” spaces with huge piles of snow…
Accidental ICEing aside, the thoughtless act of intentionally blocking electric vehicle charging stations with ICE vehicles (or blocking gas pumps with EV’s for that matter) should never be excused and should always be reported to the authorities as soon as possible in the attempt to stop the madness before it gets out of hand.
Speaking of intentional ICEing, I would like to share a couple of unusual examples with you. The first one is an absolutely bizarre case. Apparently the owner of this highly modified and obviously entirely powered by fossil fuels “street-rod” – complete with huge engine, visible gasoline tank, and dual exhaust pipes – has attached a fake J-1772 charge connector to the side of his vehicle to try and gain access to electric vehicle charging locations.
Does he actually believe this ludicrous tactic will work? It is no different that if I parked in a handicapped parking space, hung a fake handicapped tag from my rear view mirror, hopped in a wheelchair and rolled off thinking I was somehow the smart one…riiiiight.
Then recently another “ICEhole” has been intentionally blocking a local EVSE and leaving threatening notes to EV drivers as seen in the below photos.
In the first photo he is parked in a spot where ICE vehicles may park – but only if the rest of the parking lot is full as the below sign reads…
…and it hardly ever is…
…so it is obvious to everyone that he is parking in this location intentionally as an instigator/bully. Another problem I have with this image is how far over he parked into the EV only space to his left. It seems as if he parked this far over on purpose with the intention to instigate a response from the EV owners that use the charging station on a regular basis.
The sign in the adjacent parking space reads as follows:
The true revelation of his intentions came in the form of a venomously worded, hand written letter stuck on the inside of his windshield…
It is obvious that the owner of this vehicle has intentionally ICED this EVSE space even when there are several open parking spaces in the parking lot where the EVSE is located. Why? What are his motives? A few weeks later the Jeep owner even went so far as to again park in the same space and affix another childish sign to his vehicle…
While he would be legally parked if the entire parking lot were full and the space he has chosen to park in was the only one available – that is not the case as there were several open spaces in the remainder of the lot. It seems that Mr. Ledford has intentionally chosen to park his vehicle in this spot in the attempt to instigate a response from EV/PHEV owners. Evidence suggests that he is a bully pure and simple and is looking for a confrontation.
In this type of situation the best action is to report the parking perpetrator to the authorities. However, before reporting the perp, it is probably a good idea to attempt to covertly get a photograph(s) of his/her vehicle and its license plate and the perp’s themselves if possible so you will have evidence to hand over to the authorities. In my opinion, it is not ever a good idea to confront these types of people as they are often aggressive and volatile and may even be intoxicated and/or have dangerous or deadly weapons in their vehicles or on their persons and may even retaliate later with childishly destructive tactics that small-minded bullies often exhibit.
IMHO the best bet in these situations is to just step back to a safe place and watch the action happen when the police, tow trucks, and news crews arrive.
EVSE Vandalism Issues
Intentional EVSE blocking is not the only issue. Most recently a Tesla Supercharger in Utah was vandalized when some lowlife intentionally tried to drill out the charge connector and cut the charging cable – WTF, really people? How would you like it if I intentionally tried to cut your gas/diesel hose or intentionally vandalized the fuel pump handle that you needed to fuel your vehicle? Grow up people – or crawl back under your rock and stay there.
I have encountered EVSE vandalism on a few occasions in my area. This is one of the most recent – a quick charger’s screen was damaged by an unknown assailant. The crack pattern of the glass suggests a blow from what may have been a hard object such as possibly a rock or hammer or maybe even a fist. The height of the screen from the ground and distance from the parking space places the EVSE’s screen too far out of range for this to be an unfortunate parking accident. This suggests to me that this may have been a deliberate act of vandalism.
In many of these places, those ICE drivers who block an EVSE will receive a hefty fine. Raleigh, NC is a great example where EVSE ICEr’s are fined $50 for blocking a charge point – thank you Raleigh! In my opinion, this should be the rule everywhere and any fines collected could be used to improve roads and infrastructure for everyone no matter what they choose to drive.
And now, from one of my favorite YouTube personalities, Robert Llewellyn of Fully Charged Show , comes this great video illustrating that the phenomenon of ICEing EVSE stations is not just a quandary in the States…
Hmmmmm….all this EV charging station blocking makes me wonder if – way back in the early days of the internal combustion engine – did some horse and wagon owners who felt threatened by the gas-powered future, seek out and block fuel pumps?
I seriously doubt it because I am pretty sure they had something called common sense and morals so they did not waste there time on creating more needless drama.
A bit of a tangent for a bit of a comparison.
Blocking EV charging points is similar to the uncaring, malignant practice that some call “coal rolling.” This is a practice where some truck owners – a very small percentage overall and yet another lunatic fringe group – illegally modify their diesel pickup trucks to – on-demand – emit clouds of black diesel smoke through over-sized exhaust pipes.
These “coal rollers” then often use their illegally modified vehicles to intentionally target pedestrians, police officers, bicyclists, runners, groups of people on the sidewalk, and people who drive hybrid and electric vehicles. They intentionally align their vehicle’s often grossly over-sized exhaust orifice in the direction of their target and flip the switch vomiting copious amounts of dirty, toxic, diesel smoke all over their innocent targets. If you are interested in seeing evidence of this stupidity – just input “coal rolling” or “rolling coal” into a YouTube/Google search and you will find the video evidence shared by the polluting perpetrators…and you will also find some great memes revealing just how ridiculous the act of coal rolling truly is, such as this one.
For whatever bizarre, childish, testosterone soaked, insecurity driven reasons, this small number of fringe dwelling truck drivers seem to be proud of their illegal atmospheric littering escapades and wish to share their madness with the world.
If a combination of common sense, the law, and natural selection have their way (and they will), then their actions suggest that it will not be long before these polluted perpetrators will be weeded out of the population and the bones of their illegally modified machines will soon be covered in rust fossilizing in the junkyard – or better yet, melted down and recycled into a Tesla, Bollinger, Atlis or any other EV, a bicycle, wind turbine, or solar array.
The act of intentionally modifying one’s vehicle with a driver operated “defeat device” thereby allowing it to bypass the factory emission controls for the purpose of emitting visible clouds of smoke, and then intentionally targeting people with that hazardous particulate-laden smoke (diesel exhaust is a documented carcinogen by the CDC, the WHO, and the ACA*) is not only illegal in many areas but is an uncaring, thoughtless act of bullying that should not go unpunished. Recently, I was instructed by a State Patrol officer that targeting and “rolling coal” on a person(s) is considered a form of assault and should be reported to the authorities by calling 911 and reporting the incident making sure to get the make, model and, if possible, the license plate number, road name and direction of travel of the offending vehicle.
It is possible that these intentional charging station blockers (and “coal rollers”) may suffer from personal or peer group driven insecurities such as toxic masculinity and possibly even what some may call “short man syndrome” – or both. They may be using their huge, overly modified, often garishly loud, black smoke vomiting toy trucks as an attempt to compensate for some emotional or even physical quality in which they perceive themselves to be lacking.
Another good possibility is that many of these pickup truck drivers are simply just children. Children who have only recently felt the call of their surging primal hormones driving them to make a place for themselves within their world and to seek out a mate in the only way they know how.
In their world, all the other young males (and some young females) in their tribal cliques drive large, noisy, dirty pickup trucks. This being the only courting technique their childish minds can interpret must mean that it is the preferred and accepted way to entice a mate into their arms and beds. In other words – driving a large, loud, jacked up, overly modified, polluting truck and insulting others with venomous vitriol might just be the mating call of their sub-species.
I speak from some short-lived experience in this area. When I was a teenager I briefly fell into a similar clique where I tried to fit in and impress by modifying my first truck with a roll bar, light bar, lift kit, loud stereo, and “glasspack.” (No, not on any planet or in any universe was it the truck pictured above) Needless to say, it did not work for me – in any way. This was primarily because of my extreme geek factor/nerdiness that was of such an outward and obvious magnitude that no amount of expensive modifications to my vehicle, myself, piles of money, or purchased trinkets would have ever made me “cool” and popular with the “in” crowd. At the time I was just trying very hard to fit in – somewhere – anywhere – and I had fallen to peer pressure. Lucky for me, after about 6 weeks my brain won the fight and I grew out of my fitting in phase. The glasspack came off and the stock muffler went back on in favor of the stereo because enjoying my music was far more important to me than the garishly flatulent exhaust noise. I also removed the lift kit as it ruined the truck’s handling and reduced my fuel mileage. I also later sold the roll bar since all it really did was take up space in the bed. Some people grow up, some never do.
It is also possible, although remote, that many of these folks are just envious and jealous of the awesome Tesla’s and other EV’s and they secretly want one really, really bad – but they could never admit that fact to their fellow pickup truck driving tribe members. To do so would mean ridicule and possibly even exile from their tribe. So to save face they take out their misplaced frustrations in the only way they know how – they block Tesla charging stations and insult the very thing they are secretly in love with and pining away for. It is very much like the jealous little bully in the sandbox breaking the other children’s toys because they are not his.
Don’t be the bully.
Tribalism aka Us vs. Them
Another motive that may drive these individuals to act is simple tribalism. Related and intertwined with the previous motives, tribalism is like the proverbial tick – dug in deeply. Like the tick, they may be so “dug in” to their tribe and their us vs. them outlook on life that nothing will ever be able to tear them out of their ancient tribal tendencies to do a thing. All the others in their tribe are doing that thing so that obviously must mean that thing is the correct and acceptable thing to do – even if all the evidence is against it. You know the type: “My people have always done it this way and I do not believe all the evidence against it so I’m just going to do it anyway!”
Fear of Change.
Also tied to the previously mentioned topics, the fear of change is very powerful and it keeps many from ever progressing. Some of these individuals may do these things out of fear of inevitable change, fear that their comfort zone will be violated. Fear that the comfortable status quo will be disturbed. Fear they will lose their toy trucks to new technology, or maybe fear that “the government” will try to take them away and force them to drive electric cars. The fact is that no one, especially the government – is going to force anyone to drive an electric car – it is more the opposite. The way the system is currently set up favors and promotes the status quo. It promotes vehicles that run on fossil fuels even though all of the available evidence suggests the continued rate we are burning through fossil fuels is harming the very environment we all rely on for our very survival – but that is another story for a different day.
Your Vehicle Is A Tool – Not A Weapon.
A rock, a stick, a knife, a gun, a snowball, a brick, a spoon, a ham bone, a sack of ‘taters, and yes, a car or pickup truck – are only as dangerous and/or potentially harmful as the person controlling them.
Hopefully, if that person has been lucky enough to receive the following;
good and positive moral training as a child from parents and mentors
respect and trust of their elders – but not blind trust or blind faith – those are very dangerous
an unbiased and well-rounded education with a focus on the importance of facts, evidence and critical thinking skills
quality time outdoors in nature learning how all things are connected and developing a respect for all living things and for the environment that gives us all life
an understanding of the scientific method and how to use it
a purposeful separation from lunatic fringe/extremist – hate, religious, and political groups and training in how to recognize them
training into how to use the internet appropriately in order to take advantage of the powerful research tool that it is, while intentionally avoiding the deep quagmire of dead-ends, lies, filth, misinformation, manufactured FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and divisive hate that is also the internet
the appropriate science-backed training in the appropriate use of their chosen tool(s)
the appropriate licenses and certifications to operate that tool or tools in accordance with the laws set by their state/national governments
a good dose of common sense
Then hopefully, that person, when they are released into the wild to wield any of the before mentioned tools – including pickup trucks – will use them wisely for the purpose intended and not ever as weapons of hate or malice to be directed at others – even if they do not agree with their driving, energy or life choices.
No matter the motive, the truth of the matter is this: electric trucks (and cars, sport utility vehicles, airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles, buses, boats, bicycles) are here and more are coming fast – and they will eventually replace the majority of fossil burners simply because they are better, faster, safer, stronger, more reliable, less expensive to fuel and maintain, and more convenient than the old smoke spewing, oil leaking, dinosaur juice burners of yesteryear. Yet, even with all those facts we still must deal with human nature, and tribal-focused brains that evolved during the stone age. With human nature and stone age brains, we are forced to contend with all of the above factors which work together to slow the forward march of progress…
Luddites and complacency aside, nobody will ever take your beloved truck (or car) away from you (unless you intentionally break the law for your own personal gain – then you deserve to have your vehicle impounded and your license revoked).
Your favorite old car and truck and all the previously produced petroleum burners will always be around (if you take care of them) and will always be available for you if you want them – just like horses, buggies, and wagons are still available – nobody took them away. These beautiful, classic cars and trucks of yesteryear will always have a place in history and they should as they are a beautiful part of the complex story that brought all of us to this day in time. They are a testament and a tribute to all the inventors, engineers, makers, scientists, doers and adventurers who had an idea for something better, worked hard to make it happen – and then changed the world. Yes, their creations were based upon and relied upon the internal combustion engine and petroleum-based fuels – back then they were the only viable power-plant option. It is a scientifically supported fact that these fossil fuels and the machines they powered have allowed the human species to expand across the globe at an unbelievable pace, light and heat our homes, farms and cities, grow more food to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, develop better health care, science, and systems that allow us to live longer than ever before, explore the depths of the oceans, and the far reaches of our solar system and even peer into outer space and back into deep time almost back to the “big bang.” In many unique ways, these vehicular creations and these ancient fossil-based fuels may be the very reason – or at least have played a key part – in the very existence of many of us alive today – including the author of this blog post. We all owe an undeniable debt of thanks and gratitude to fossil fuels and to the beautiful vehicles of yesteryear.
However, as with all things, as with all seasons, change is the way of things. Now is the time for change, the time for growth, the time for progress – it is time to stop burning things for fuel to move us around. Like the horse and wagon before them, the majority of these beautiful, earlier modes of transportation worked well for a time, but eventually faded away because something better, faster, stronger, lower maintenance, less stinky and less polluting, was invented – think how fast the Ford Model T displaced the horse – and how the majority of the population quickly accepted the change and adopted it because it was the best option.
The transition from internal combustion to electric transportation will be very similar.
Another thing to ponder is this; how long before our gas/diesel burners (if you are still driving one by ~2025) become a wonderful weekend novelty like the horse and wagon/buggy/Ford Model T is today?
How long before they become a cherished piece in a museum collection…or worthless rusting, forgotten hulks covered in weeds in backyards?
How long before ICE drivers are treated the same way litterbugs (and smokers) are often treated today and end up catching all sorts of flack from those around them every time they drive their old fossil burner because everyone around them is aware, accepts, and understands that toxic emissions from driving fossil fuel powered vehicles harm all life forms and nature – the very life support system that gives all of us life?
How many years will it be before insurance companies start raising their rates on older vehicles because those older vehicles lack any modern autonomous safety features – such as automatic emergency braking, back up cameras, “Autopilot” and “Sentry Mode” – features that make newer vehicles so much safer to drive for the driver and for everyone else on the roads – thereby making older vehicles a dangerous liability to drive – for the driver and others around them – which therefore means it is now much more expensive to insure and to drive the older cars?
If you do not believe autonomous “autopilot” safety features will become popular on vehicles or if you do not trust them – think again and watch this amazing video of the evidence.
When will ICE powered vehicles become as obsolete as the slide rule, the film camera, the 8 track, VHS, and cassette tapes, Blockbuster video, Kodak, phone booths, CRT computer monitors and console TV’s…in other words – when will they go the way of the dinosaurs that power them?
A recent article by Zachary Shahan of Clean Technica predicts that the EV disruption has already started and the major disruption will begin very soon. A great comparison between the EV and other disruptive technologies can be seen in this chart.
It will not be long dear reader, it will not be very long….
…this is not a question of if, it is a question of when.
A great example of the fast-growing trend in vehicle electrification is the simple fact that many young, forward-thinking companies (and even the legacy auto-makers) are working hard to bring more than capable fully electric and hybrid-electric cars and now trucks and 4×4’s to market including but not limited to…
Erroneously enough, it seems that some of these EVSE blocking folk may be committing these acts as some form of misguided political statement. There is some anecdotal evidence suggesting some of these individuals may feel that owning Tesla and other electric vehicles are somehow anti-American. If this is true, then it is obvious – these people have not done the simple online research revealing Tesla as an American car company. Tesla’s vehicle and battery factories, parts suppliers, shops, and service facilities create a manufacturing, delivery, and customer care chain employing tens of thousands of hard-working Americans in hundreds of cities, towns, communities, and truckers on the roads (soon to be driving Tesla electric Semi trucks.)
You may also be surprised to learn that Tesla now rates as the
MOST AMERICAN car company.
Furthermore, all of Tesla’s cars (in this country) and all other EV’s in this country – run on American generated electricity produced on our soil by Americans operating American power generating facilities.
Many EV drivers, including this blogger, charge their EV’s at home/work with “homegrown” renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar arrays thereby making them 100% energy secure and practically free to drive. Read my last post about how I power my EV with solar produced electricity and came to the conclusion that my EV (a 2012 Nissan Leaf) costs me only one cent/mile to power and drive!
In other words – any electric vehicle used in this country – no matter it’s manufacturer – is charged by electricity produced from fuels primarily sourced within this country by hard working Americans operating American power plants.
The same cannot be said of fossil fuel powered vehicles whose fuels of choice were – as of 2017 – around 19% sourced from foreign lands* at great cost to our countries safety, security, and future.
The bullying bozos blatantly blocking Battery-Electric Vehicle charging stations and rolling coal on EV’s and innocent pedestrians with their garishly modified vehicular dinosaurs while attempting to make some sort of macho, tribal, hateful, nationalistic, political, and/or anti-environmental statement against “anti-American electric cars” – are powering their toy trucks on fuels that a percentage of has been procured in faraway lands with governments and policies often hostile toward our way of life.
Seems like someone did not do their research.
On top of all this madness – just keeping the fuel flowing into the tanks of their stinky little trucks (and all of our fossil fuel powered vehicles and systems for that matter) has required decades of war*. It has required the sacrifice and the deaths of tens of thousands of our brave and beloved children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and lovers who were and are often fighting to protect oil rights and resources to keep your (and my) fuel tanks topped off with petroleum-based fuels because, for the last 100 years there has been no other option – but that is about to change.
While I will always 100% support our brave servicemen and women in the military, and all of my friends and family members who are serving and have honorably served – and some who have paid the ultimate price – I am not at all OK with, and will never support sacrificing my loved ones and friends lives just to protect the flow of oil so I can think I am free when in fact I, and all of us, remain addicted to the fossil fuel machine.
IMHO – to be truly free one must be as self-sufficient as possible. If we are relying on imported energy sources while sacrificing our loved ones to acquire and protect that energy – we are not self-sufficient and we will never be truly free.
To be truly self-sufficient and truly free, our country needs to work toward the ultimate goal of sourcing all of our energy needs from our home soil.
Being self-sufficient also means to respect and care for that which gives you life. To me, this means using energy resources that do as little harm as possible to the very environment that provides all of us with all of our survival needs. To me, this means we need to focus on developing the amazing untapped potential of ALL available renewable energy sources available to us and keep fossil fuels as a strategic reserve and a backup power source for the lean times. If the USA continues burning through almost 20 million barrels of petroleum per day not only will we quickly exhaust these finite fossil fuels and be forced to scramble to get renewable energy sources online and operational while millions suffer, but we will also speed up the destruction of our health and shared environment with fossil fuel pollution speeding up atmospheric pollution, planetary warming, and weather weirding due to anthropogenic climate change.
Common sense and scientific evidence say that now is the time to start making a system-wide switch to renewable energy sources.
We need to move toward 100% renewable energy now.
We know what we need to do.
We have the technology.
We have science on our side.
But do we have the personal and political will power to do it?
Sadly, to keep the costs at the pumps down so the fossil fuel addiction can continue to flow to consumers unabated, and to keep EV and domestically produced renewable energy adoption low – the fossil fuel supported powers and bribed politicians in government keep funneling our hard earned money into supporting the fossil fuel producers and pushers with massive subsidies to the tune of tens of billions of our tax dollars annually*! The massively powerful and insanely wealthy fossil fuel machine, working with uncaring, bribed politicians and policymakers on both sides of the political fence, are funneling loads of money into organizations that work to manufacture loads of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – in the peer-reviewed scientific evidence presented to us by the vast majority of the planet’s climate and environmental scientists. Evidence that has collectively revealed that we humans are changing the climate, the natural processes, and the stability of our atmosphere – thereby bringing about anthropogenic climate change and the sixth mass extinction of life on planet earth – and we just sit back and let this happen.
Furthermore, the acquisition, shipment, refining, distribution, and use of petroleum-based fuels has resulted in countless oil, gas, and fuel leaks, spills and other accidents that have created massive impacts to our shared environmental life support system, loss of human life and wildlife, loss of health and livelihoods for countless people and families, oh and those nagging and worsening air pollution and climate change issues…just to keep the oil and gas flowing to feed the status quo so the cash can continue to flow into the deep bank accounts of the filthy mega-rich oil barons and corrupt politicians who are working together to enrichen themselves while destroying our shared futures.
All this madness trickles down and the lunatic fringe – in petroleum production, government, and those in their charging station bocking little toy trucks – who remain free to target and assault those of us working to make good and lasting changes in the world by adopting and promoting the following;
promoting and using “homegrown” renewable energy
promoting domestic energy security through the adoption of domestic renewable energy resources
teaching preparedness and self-reliance through the scientific method
accepting science supported evidence and expert guided change
driving a much more energy secure, less polluting, lower maintenance, cheaper to drive, electric vehicle built in the USA and powered by American electrons.
The problem with the small number of fringe-dwelling, macho-driven, small-minded individuals that choose to intentionally block and vandalize charging stations, insult EV drivers for childish, thoughtless “reasons,” (and roll coal) is that they do not think – they just act on their primal, fear-driven, toxically tribal emotions without any actual evidence based facts or reason to back up their childish actions.
I could go on but I believe you now know what I think about this issue.
In closing – I have offered examples and explained ad nauseum the many reasons why the thoughtless practice of intentionally ICEing/blocking/vandalizing Tesla and other EV charging stations is ill-advised. However – while I may have explained it, I cannot understand it for you. That challenge is up to you and I hope you have the intellect and the common sense to do so…and to never intentionally block access to another person’s fuel source.
Yes, when it comes to the internet the truth is out there, somewhere…but to uncover it you often find yourself digging through stacks and heaps of total lies, outright fabrications and willful small-minded ignorance.
And now for a lesson in the realities of the internet.
Recently a friend of mine found a meme* online that disturbed her, knowing that I had some experience in the matter she asked me if the meme was accurate. As I was already familiar with the meme I responded that it was a pure fabrication trumped up by an organization with an agenda and something to loose.
I could have left it at that but no, I cannot. I must dig deeper, citing the sources and the science behind the matter in order to reveal and support the truth and lay the lies it to rest for anyone that may read these words. Sadly, in this day and time of crooks, villains, charlatans, snake oil salesmen and outright lairs, I and others like me must stay vigilant and work to expose the real truths behind this terribly inaccurate meme and other lies that the “merchants of doubt” spin on an almost daily basis. (The term Merchants of doubt is from the book and must see documentary by the same name – Merchants of Doubt.)
In the world of the internet and TV, and to some extent the movies, there are many people today who sadly believe what they see without doing any further research at all. This trend is dangerous and as the great Carl Sagan once said;
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counter-intuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.
And as Mr. Spock once said: “Humans are illogical beings, they believe what they want to even when they know it to not be true.”
To find the truth we cannot stop there because in the world of scientifically accurate journalism (which we desperately need more of) we need to dig much deeper in order to find the concrete truth and cite the sources as we go…so let’s do this thing.
PLEASE NOTE: It is most important to not just view and accept the following photograph at face value because it is horribly inaccurate and an outright lie. Therefore, the author of this blog (and others) are exposing the below meme as 100% erroneous, unsupported, and fabricated, illogical nonsense and supporting this exposure with scientifically supported resources to validate it.
The meme in question is below.
This meme was obviously designed to;
1. Attack people and organizations who either drive and/or support Electric Vehicles (EV’s) and/or renewable energy and attempt to tarnish the science and fast growing good reputations behind these transportation and energy sources with a poorly researched graphic.
2. Spread manufactured outright lies and disinformation propaganda designed by individuals and/or organizations with ties to the fossil fuel industry, in the attempt to spread doubt with the goal of negatively and falsely influencing uneducated or uninformed people into continuing to support fossil fuel companies by driving petroleum powered vehicles, using electricity produced from coal and other fossil fuel sources, and voting for candidates that support these outdated, dirty, polluting, finite, technologies.
3. Or all of the above.
As you will see by my research in the following paragraphs, images and videos, this meme is 100% inaccurate and garishly untruthful and while I have done the research, anyone reading this, with a half a neuron’s worth of research ability, is capable of finding the same information that I found online by initiating a simple Google search.
My revealing findings and facts of oil sands and/or lithium mining can be found in the following photographs from various sources and the associated links to detailed information on the subject matter.
To begin with the images below show the realities of tar sands mining.
To get at the oil sands the mining company must first remove the “overburden.” This “overburden” as they call it was once a thriving boreal forest ecosystem. Please tell me how that is a good thing in any way.
I believe the photographs and articles effectively show that Alberta oil sands extraction is one of the most environmentally destructive and toxic mining operations on earth.
The erroneous meme in question seems to have originated from a Facebook group called Saskatchewan Proud (SP). From what I can deduce after visiting the SP Facebook page they seem to be an organization that is against anything related to renewable energy. They seem to be working to sow doubt, disinformation, and falsehoods in the feeble attempt to protect their poisonous and destructive way of life. I also believe they are fearful of the growing support and adoption of electric vehicles (EV’s) and renewable energy sources by individuals, businesses, municipalities, and governments all around the world and they see these trends as a threat to their toxic and destructive livelihood. They are right in that the growing renewable energy sector will end our dependence on fossil fuels but I fail to see how that is a bad thing that requires the creation of lies and propaganda. If they know what is good for them (and from the visible evidence on their Facebook page it appears that they do not or that they are living is denial or both) they would leave the fossil fuels in the ground and embrace the renewable energy resources found all around them in the beautiful land called Saskatchewan.
If they are not careful they will one day find themselves fat, rich, and sick living in their own self-created version of hell on earth.
But you still may ask “Where does Lithium come from?”
I have dug up the truth.
Yes, Lithium must be mined from the earth just like any other natural resource however, it has a much lower environmental impact than almost any other type of mining.
Below are a few very good short videos on the subject of Lithium mining and its use.
When Lithium is applied and used in batteries for computers, phones, tablets, cameras, and other mobile devices, and electric vehicles – it does not give off any toxic pollution, in other words it’s end use is 100% emissions free. That fact can never be applied to fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuels in any way.
Nissan produced a great video a few years ago eluding to this fact.
Also, once a lithium battery reaches the end of its usable life, it’s components and chemicals can then be recycled into another battery or application–try that with fossil fuels, it is just not possible–the end results of burning fossil fuels is only a ride down the road, trail, rail, waterway or airway in return for the undeniable toxic and deadly byproducts listed below –
Wars and lives lost in the dirty deals and twisted politics relating to the expensive acquisition of the raw materials (oil and coal). If you need an example think Gulf War.
2. Environmental degradation, destruction, human suffering, and death (think Exxon Deepwater Horizon) from the mining and extraction.
3. Expensive and dangerous shipping and transportation by ship, pipeline, train and/or truck with the inevitable life killing oil and fuel spills that happen regularly and without fail (Think Exxon Valdez).
4. The billions of BTU’s of waste heat from the inefficient combustion of fossil fuels.
5. The atmospheric poisoning and warming, and the resulting anthropogenic climate change from the billions of tons of CO2 and other toxic gasses released by the end use burning of fossil fuels.
6. Let us not forget the health and the future of our children and grandchildren and beyond who will be forced to live in the world we have created, and polluted for them.
Using fossil fuels is like using tobacco – it is a very bad experiment.
We should be very ashamed of ourselves for continuing this very bad experiment to the detriment of the prosperity of future generations.
The fact remains that while lithium extraction and processing does have an environmental impact (as does almost everything we do), that impact takes place in some of the most physically and biologically remote places on earth. When compared to fossil fuel extraction, the processing and end use lithium requires very little energy to extract and process it into a usable final product. Therefore, lithium extraction is far less damaging to the environment than fossil fuel extraction ever has been or ever will be. Furthermore, the end use of lithium based products are clean and zero emission – try to say that about any fossil fuels, it is impossible. However, lithium battery reclamation and recycling programs – which currently are few and far between – do in fact need to be strengthened in order to make sure spent lithium batteries (and batteries from all sources) are properly recycled instead of being tossed into the garbage only to end up in landfills.
Here are a few more links to other good lithium mining resources.
I believe we have sufficiently busted the myth that lithium mining is worse that tar sands extraction and have therefore destroyed the meme in question.
But that is not all we must address from the ignorant meme generators at Saskatchewan Proud. They have also created two other anti-renewable energy propaganda memes designed to spread lies and sow doubt in the truth of clean, renewable energy technologies.
Some of their other irrational, poorly researched and poorly worded memes follow.
Really? Are they really that ignorant?
To begin with – steel and iron are not mined. Iron ore is mined and then refined into iron and steel. (See this link for the facts) Secondly, while wind turbine support structures, generators and other support structures do contain structural steel they also contain aluminum, copper and other metals most of which is first mined from the earth in a manner similar to iron ore. Yes, these mining operations do have impact as does everything we do however, the meme in question is simply an unwarranted and poorly researched over-dramatization of the fear that the people behind SP have toward renewable energy.
Much of the metals that are used in modern wind turbine manufacturing can also be sourced from recycled sources. The blades of modern turbines are not even made from steel or iron, instead they are “Made from composite materials these blades are usually made of a polyester resin, a vinyl resin, and epoxy thermosetting matrix resin and E-glass fibers, S- glass fibers and carbon fiber reinforced materials.” Source: Wikipedia.
SP also tried to take another stab at a the growing wind energy…and they failed miserably.
(I do not see any dead birds in the lower photo…do you?)
The truth is that your pet housecat, cellular telephone towers that let your mobile device make calls, connect to the internet and text your friends and check your Facebook, your own house’s glass windows reflecting the forest and sky outside, and the toxic emissions/spills/mishaps directly or indirectly related to the entire fossil fuel industry – kill many millions upon millions more birds and bats annually than wind turbines have ever done and ever will do.
If you do not believe me then please, take a look at my sources following this paragraph…or just do your own research. My sources come from the mainstream media, independent science organizations and the wind energy sector and they all agree that yes, wind turbines do kill some animals – but far less than the dramatized numbers purported by Saskatchewan Proud and other supporters of the fossil fuel industry. If SP really wants to attack the industry responsible for killing the most animals then maybe they should attack themselves and the other fossil fuel companies that are quickly destroying our shared planet in the name of massive profit. I am sure that is what this pelican would like to do.
The fact is that the oil spill resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident killed or injured an estimated 82,000 birds alone (far more than the purported few dozen as described by SP in the previous meme). Recent estimates indicate that over 1 million birds and over 1,400 dolphins have died as a result of the disaster. The deaths of wildlife and the resulting environmental damage and economic damage to the livelihoods of so many fishermen and tourism providers along the gulf coast is in the billions of dollars. The damage to the ecosystem of the gulf is so great that scientists have yet to fully estimate the true damage and cost of what was the USA’s greatest environmental disaster.
Obviously, the individuals behind Saskatchewan Proud have knowingly and purposefully created this erroneous and totally false propaganda in the attempt to somehow build support for their fossil fuel supporting organization. They have succeeded greatly, not in propping up their destructive, toxic, earth and life killing industry, but in showing their infantile ignorance, denial of the truth, and complete willful disregard for the future of their own beautiful country and its people.
Good job SP you must be really proud.
I could outline in even more exhaustive detail how blatantly ignorant their memes are but I really do not believe I need to go into such detail when their ignorance in the matter is so unbelievably obvious and when the editor of Cleantechnica has also written an article debunking this very same meme. To that end I have included many good references from many different sources and studies (see below) that I have found online that will sufficiently and accurately debunk and disprove all of SP’s ignorant postings. It is obvious to me that Saskatchewan Proud did not do any research at all on any of their memes before they posted them. It looks like they whipped together their propaganda on Photoshop and dropped them online in the hopes that someone out there would believe their inane childish ignorant drool as fact and then share and spout their nonsense far and wide in the hopes of bolstering their position.
The truly sad thing is that there will be good people out there that will believe them because they are either inexperienced at research or sadly just willingly gullible and will believe many things they find online without question or without doing any further research on their own to confirm or deny their questions.
To further debunk and bust these mythical memes I offer these sources:
Yet another way many people come to misunderstand and misinterpret the truth of renewable energy and science in general is the use of satire, like seen in the following meme. It was designed to parody the typically outrageous followers of lunatic fringe right-wing ideologies yet their posts are sometimes mistaken as genuine by those who do not investigate the source, fail to read all the way to the end of the article, do not read the credits, or just look at the pictures and fail to read the text associated with the article at all.
The meme below was developed by a popular satire site known as Christians for Michelle Bachmann aka C4MB. When C4MB posted it on their Facebook page many uneducated or uninformed people took it at face value, believed it, and shared it all over the internet.
Photo source C4MB
C4MB created the meme in response to the lunacy that ensued when the people of the small town of Woodland, NC decided to stop the construction of a solar farm in part due to their own ignorance. After the town decided not to install the solar farm many “news” outlets generated over dramatized stories around the situation. A good one can be found here: http://reverbpress.com/discovery/science/solar-energy-farm-rejected-nc/
…and furthermore this article outlines how many big fossil fuel corporations are working to slow the growth of solar energy in North Carolina and all over the country.
It is sad that the renewable energy sector has so many opponents – like SP and others listed here and many more. From the big fossil fuel corporations and their think tanks spinning out all kinds of disinformation, to the spoon-fed politicians on both sides with oil, coal, and blood soaked money in their bank accounts propping up the fossil fuel industry and getting wealthy in the process, to the common citizen that may not have all the facts about all the amazing renewable energy options and incentives offered to help us make the switch to renewable energy.
The great thing is that although there are many naysayers and deniers out there working hard in the attempt to keep renewable energy from becoming “a thing” the reality is – it is already a thing, it is a really big thing and a really good thing. The renewable energy industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade and now it is building an unstoppable momentum that will allow it to one day completely burst the fossil fuel fired and funded carbon bubble and quickly replace toxic and life killing fossil fuels with clean, sustainable, renewable energy.
So let us all work together and do this thing!
To recap: yes, mining lithium does have an environmental impact as does almost everything we do on a daily basis. However, that impact is so much smaller than the impact of all aspects of the fossil fuel culture. The oppression, dirty deals, wars fought and fabricated to access, protect, and transport carbon based resources, the mining of these resources, and the resulting toxic environmental damage and human cultural damage. The toxic emissions and byproducts released into the environment (land, waters, and atmosphere) during extraction, transportation, refinement, shipping and transportation. Then finally, the end use of the product with all of its toxic byproducts that all cause environmental destruction, degradation and alteration, pain, sickness and death.
People are protesting and petitioning the White House and demanding that President Obama end our dangerous addition to fossil fuels.
While President Obama acknowledges the realities of anthropogenic climate change…will he be able to do anything about it? He must, we must or we will all suffer.
As I write this thousands of Native Americans, their supporters, friends and ranchers are massing in the American west in opposition to yet another pipeline that is designed to carry dangerous and dirty fracked oil to access points for the big oil companies with deep pockets and not a care in the world for the rights of indigenous peoples, landowners and the very environment that supports them.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Rezpect Our Water has been peacefully working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from destroying their land, waters and atmosphere and recently, actress and environmentalist Shailene Woodley, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and Deia Schlosberg were arrested for peacefully trespassing, supporting, and documenting activities in DAPL pipeline construction zones. The truth of the matter is that they were arrested because they were documenting the truth of the situation and the pipeline organization and their supporters felt threatened by their actions that reveal the truth. In Woodley’s case she was broadcasting live to over 40,000 viewers on Facebook and was arrested by militarized police toting assault weapons and wearing body armor. Obviously, their serious overkill of dress and arms was an attempt to intimidate and exert power and instill fear in the protesters in the hopes they would leave the scene. The real reason they arrested these well known activists and journalists was to silence them from speaking out and showing the truth of the situation. See the below TYT video for an overview of Shailene’s story and arrest as she filmed it.
Shailene was arrested, strip searched and eventually released and later had this to say about her ordeal.
The always eloquent and thought provoking PrinceEa (Richard Williams) has some great and powerful words to say about our relationship with our home planet.
The Earth Guardians is a growing movement of passionate young people who care about their future and are working in so many ways to protect it from the toxic damage of the past. Watch this compilation of their passionate and powerful youth director Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez in his quest to raise support for change from world leaders and people of all ages from all walks of life.
Leo has become a great spokesman for the Earth. We must all be concerned citizens and work together to solve the crisis that is before us. Most recently DiCaprio produced and stared in the groundbreaking documentary Before the Flood that is a must see for all humans on Planet Earth.
The Pope recently issued his encyclical in support of nature.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for the end of the fossil fuel era.
The Dalai Lama said – “This is not a question of one nation or two nations. This is a question of humanity affecting the whole world,” the Dalai Lama said in a statement, adding that people are responsible for global warming. “We have to take serious concern about the protection of the environment.”
Even some of our most famous Hollywood and other stars and personalities are speaking out against our destruction of the environment.
PrinceEa with more to say
350.org fought the phase 4 of the Keystone Pipeline and together with millions of other supporters, including the author of this blog, the KxL Pipeline was shut down.
In Germany and all over the world people are standing up and taking action against fossil fuels and the pollution, pain and suffering their use brings upon us all.
In 2014 over 400,000 gathered to peacefully march through the streets in NYC to let world leaders know they want change that works toward the reduction of anthropogenic climate change.
NASCAR driver Lelani Munter is working to change the nature of auto racing via her activism and role in the recent must see documentary Racing Extinction.
Bill Nye the Science Guy is always speaking out against climate change denial and backing up all his claims with science!
Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s explanation of Climate Change is spot on.
And those are just a few of the organizations, famous people, and countless everyday citizens standing up for the future by working to keep fossil fuels deep in the ground where they belong and make the switch to 100% renewable energy.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.
FIND YOUR OWN ANSWERS.
BE THE CHANGE.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT.
*Definition of meme:
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from one person to another in a culture
: an amusing or interesting picture, video, etc., that is spread widely through the Internet
NOTE: In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, British scientist Richard Dawkins defended his newly coined word meme, which he defined as “a unit of cultural transmission.” Having first considered, then rejected, “mimeme,” he wrote: “‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene.’ I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate ‘mimeme’ to ‘meme.’” (The suitable Greek root was mim-, meaning “mime” or “mimic.” The English suffix -eme indicates a distinctive unit of language structure, as in “grapheme,” “lexeme,” and “phoneme.”) “Meme” itself, like any good meme, caught on fairly quickly, spreading from person to person as it established itself in the language. Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme
NOTE: I am not perfect. If you find an error in my content, spelling, or grammar please do let me know and I will correct it. This way we can work together to help each other discover the truth and answer their questions with accurate data.
Just before the start of this year’s international celebration of electric vehicles known as National Drive Electric Week a leak was discovered in a major gasoline pipeline in Alabama. This pipeline, that supplies gasoline to millions of people along the east coast of the USA, leaked over 330,000 gallons of gasoline into the environment. This is an aerial view of the lake in Alabama that was contaminated by the fuel spill.
This unfortunate and ironically timed disaster is yet another oily thorn in the side of the petroleum industry and it comes amid the recent and past news of multiple oil/gas pipeline leaks, explosions, oil train disasters and other mishaps all over the world, and let us not forget the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and all the petroleum related cover ups and lies by the likes ExxonMobil and Volkswagen. It is as if nature/God/the universe or whatever deity you pray to (or not) is telling all of us – “look you naked little thinking pink apes, you need to end all this madness and leave the fossil fuels in the ground where I put them in the first place! They are highly toxic and dangerous to all life forms – that is why I buried them safely underground and I expected you to leave them there! I gave you unlimited clean energy literally all around you – the winds, the sun, the waves – and what do you do!?! You, dig up the toxic waste of the past and burn it anyway ignoring the bountiful clean energy sources literally flowing, bowing, and shining all around you! Angry, yes – I am well and truly angry at you and the costs are going to be very high. But there is still time. You have one last chance to clean up your careless ways. But if you ignore the punches I have been throwing you in the form of my super storms, floods, fires, if you ignore my warnings and continue with business as usual there will be hell to pay and you just may join the dinosaurs.”
After the leak was discovered repair crews from the pipeline owner Colonial Pipeline began work on cleaning up the spill and repairing the leak in the pipe as seen in the above photo from this source. Notice how close to a body of water the pipeline is at this point. The gasoline leaked into this nearby pond and trace amounts have been found an a nearby pond as well. Luckily however, due to the location and timing of the leak it seems that a major environmental catastrophe was avoided – at least for now. We were very lucky this time but reality shows that it is only a matter of time before another pipeline breaks and causes irreparable harm to the environment and the creatures that call it home–including us. This spill could just as easily have been another Mayflower/Pegasus pipeline spill or much worse.
Unfortunately for everyone in my area, the media grabbed the story and reported on it in the way they do so well…resulting in fears of an empty tank causing long lines at the gasoline stations where people wait for access to the pumps to squeeze out every last drop of the precious, toxic, and highly addictive elixir that gives them mobility and the illusion of freedom.
Throw in a natural disaster and it gets even more interesting…
Above image from this 2012 article after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern US causing gas shortages and similar stress that we are facing in the southeast today.
Inevitably the gas station owners were forced to raise their prices to pay for the increased emergency shipping to get fuel to the out of gas communities in a timely manner. Many companies then took advantage of the situation and price gouging ran rampant with prices being reported as high as $5 per gallon in some areas forcing the Governors of several states to freeze gas prices until things get back to “normal.”
Below are a few links to the media explosion resulting from this fuel leak
…but could that really happen? This guy may have part of the answer…
While many believe and trust the mass media reports that a pipeline did leak causing a measurable fuel shortage, there are others that believe this is simply a manufactured demand issue designed to drive up prices and oil company profits across the board.
It is the authors opinion that it may be a mix of both and wherever the truth lies the cold hard fact that remains is that people who choose to drive vehicles powered only by gasoline are terrified that their lives and business will be disrupted by this reduction in the flow of fuel. The other cold hard fact is that this incident has revealed is that our addiction to petroleum products is dangerous and very precariously balanced on a very thin razors edge. The uninterrupted flow of gasoline and oil is all dependent on a very complex, decades old in some areas, infrastructure supported by a complex international petroleum supply chain overseen and controlled by out of date warmongering old fossil fuel pushers and their very well compensated puppets in national, state and local governments that are all hell bent on filling up their bank accounts with our hard earned money at any cost.
It is time we accept the cold hard fact that our nation is locked in a manufactured addiction to the dangerous, toxic drug that we call petroleum and all of its byproducts.
Yet, there exists another way to get around, a better way to get around.
The electric vehicle.
Sadly, many individuals and special interest groups refuse to accept it, many even deny its validity at every turn. A minority of severely addicted close minded petroleum pushers and users even call this not so new idea “un-American.” Some even go as far as mocking it by modifying their petroleum burning diesel-dino-juice guzzlers to illegally to emit clouds of noxious black smoke that they call “rolling coal” in the feeble attempt to make some sort of sad, anti-environmental statement in support of their addiction…
…it is as if they are proud of themselves and their ability to harm themselves, the people around them, and the planet that supports their very lives just to satisfy some childish belief that may or may not be based in one or all of the following observations personally made by the author of this article;
1. “This is a free country so I can do whatever the **** I want to and you can’t stop me.”
2. Everybody else is doing it and it is somehow accepted and “cool” among their circle of misguided friends.
3. I’m “sticking it to the greenies” and to “the man.” The “greenies” being anyone concerned for the future, the environment, social justice, and their children and children’s children, and “the man” being the US government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and any other governing agencies and NGO’s that work to protect us from ourselves.
4. “The “greenies” are wrong about everything. There is no problem with the atmosphere or with pollution or overpopulation etc…and in fact “climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” (Yes, even though this statement is garishly incorrect on so many levels, there are many people that actually believe the nonsense spouted by Donald J. Trump.)
First off – it is the authors opinion that people are free to believe whatever they choose to believe unless that belief system in some way harms or oppresses other people, animals or the environment. Please, always remember this – just because you believe a thing does not make it true unless it is supported by measurable, observable, testable empirical evidence to prove that belief is the case with factual certainty.
Secondly – it is the authors opinion that many of these ancient beliefs are simply metaphors – some based on actual happenings, others simply myths and legends of ancient “superheroes” created by their authors and undertaking their heroes journeys and presented to the reader as a way to help them make sense of life, the universe, and everything. Sadly, the meaning of these centuries old lessons are often totally missed by the reader who often take them literally, out of context, out of time, and then severely misinterpret them and attempt to apply them to the situations of their modern lives that could not have even been imagined in the simple agrarian world that existed when the words were first written down. These ancient, metaphorical guidelines for life are often so distorted and misconstrued by their transcribers and followers into the erroneous understanding that they are somehow superior and separate from nature – that they have dominion over the earth and all of its inhabitants and resources and therefore they can do whatever they wish to with it. Sadly, some of those on the lunatic fringe of these belief systems are even more disturbing when they announce that they believe that the world will be ending soon and therefore nature and their daily choices and actions do not matter at all because it will all soon be destroyed by a vengeful omnipotentdeity and then, as they often say – “you will all be sorry you did not bow down and pay homage to (insert deity here).”
That kind of apathetic attitude is so scary and so unbelievably selfish.
(Note: I have personally heard all of the above statements from real people, good people, even family members and people I deeply care about, and I am just so saddened and appalled that there are people who still think and believe these things. I am so embarrassed and saddened at the actions of my own countrymen and fellow Human beings when they say and act like they do not care about anything but themselves. Where and when did we gone wrong…?)
UPDATE 9/02/17: Hurricane Harvey hit Texas a few days ago and the resulting rains flooded many of the gasoline refineries and chemical plants that our nation’s fossil fuel infrastructure is reliant upon. Fuel prices have been shooting up in many areas and panic buying has been reported as well and in the attempts to avoid what happened almost a year ago North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issues a state of emergency in order to help keep gasoline flowing into the state and the US government released 4.5 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The damage from the storm has forced offline around 22 percent of U.S. refining capacity and 13 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil output.
Hurricane Harvey impacting the Texas coast. Image source.
As I write this some of the remnants of now tropical storm Harvey passes over my area leaving behind some soft rains showers and I am inspired to share some facts.
Knowing what the scientifically documented, testable, and undeniable facts show –
Warmer air holds more moisture.
Warmer water feeds more powerful storms.
Prior to hurricane Harvey gulf coast water temps were 85 degrees – 5 degrees above average.
Sea levels have risen by around 6″ on the Texas coast in the last few decades.
For several decades humans have been ignoring the warnings of scientists, naturalists, and common sense and have been draining, filling, paving the water/rain absorbing wetlands/grasslands in Texas/Florida (and other) low-lying coastal regions in favor of building up suburbia which have created a recipe for disastrous flooding.
The Human species’ addiction to burning fossil fuels for energy/transportation and everything else have led to measurable atmospheric carbon dioxide levels higher than they have been in 800,000 years.
This increased CO2 acts like an insulating blanket over the earth trapping heat leading to the greenhouse effect/global warming and the associated increased surface and ocean temperatures, melting of the earth’s ice caps/glaciers, sea level rise, and consequently – stronger, wetter, more destructive storms such as Harvey, Sandy and Katrina.
In other words – our unscientifically supported, largely unregulated actions have had catastrophic consequences. We humans are the root cause of anthropogenic climate change and we humans have created the perfect conditions for yet another superstorm situation for the USA with the resulting consequences – the breakdown of our fossil fuel supply systems, the loss of property, life and livelihood for our people.
These facts speak for themselves and cry out loudly – if we puny humans do not stop ignoring the warnings of climate (and other) scientists and stop burning things for energy thereby releasing atmosphere altering greenhouse gasses into the environment faster than the earth can balance things out, then the consequences are dire – nature will wipe us out of existence. It is that simple. Nature does not care about us so we must care for ourselves and that begins with caring for nature above all else because nature is from where all life originates and is supported*.
It seems rather interesting and ironic to me that these great climate change fueled mega-storms have repeatedly smashed into areas that are:
Highly populated centers of commerce, trade, inspiration, forward thinking progress and science, with people from all walks of life, all nationalities, all ethnicites, all religions, all sexual/gender orientations and…
Many are also areas known for oil and gas production/distribution.
A climate scientist or observant naturalist would say that all indications, predictions, experiments, theories – in other words all the peer reviewed science suggest that these great storms may be a product of anthropogenic climate change.
I offer this bit of long winded observation and insight into that third bit of “reasoning.” What is the omnipotent deity angry about? Is it angry that all the millions, no wait – billions of little people doing what little people do on a daily basis? Is it angry at individual little humans and their bathroom choices, their food/drink/clothing/housing/body modification/decoration choices, their petty little squabbles over who owns what piece of land, is it mad because he said she said whatever stupid comment on Twitter or Facebook, or she said a cuss word, is it angry over the chosen sexual/gender orientation of a portion of the area’s population or that of a random 16 year old kid in a random town in whoknowswhereville, is it angry because you told a white lie, is it angry because you smoked a plant deemed off limits by society, is it angry because you drank a beer, is it angry because you had a sexy thought, is it angry because you have dark skin, is it angry because you are fat or thin, is it angry because you (insert whatever reason here), is it so angry, upset, hateful, and so vengeful at your little so called “evil” infraction that it will toss all reason, common sense and human decency aside to punish you and only you by sending a monster storm your way thereby condemning the thousands or even millions of innocent people that live near you to hardship, pain, loss, and possibly even death because you and a few individuals near you chose to be human and do things we humans do? Are you being punished because you chose to love a member of the same sex or to worship nature, trees, money, sex, drugs and rock n roll instead of one of the thousands of different gods that are worshiped on planet earth today. No. These actions do not sound like the actions of a loving, caring, supportive deity. Whatever all-powerful god or gods may exist there is no evidence to suggest that it would be a hateful, spiteful being. Why would a creator being expend so much energy creating such a complex and wonderful living system that is you and then harm his/her/it’s cherished experiment? These are not the actions of a loving parent/creator. If they are then whatever god-being is doing the punishing does not deserve to be worshiped. Parents love their children unconditionally and I would hope an all powerful creator being would have an even greater capacity to do the same. So no. The creator, if it does in fact exist somewhere in the universe, does not care at all about all those petty little “infractions.” All of the minuscule minutia created by the Human condition, while obviously very important to the user, none of it will matter in 100 years nor will it matter in the grand scheme of geologic or better yet cosmic time. Should such an all-powerful cosmos designing, creating, and manipulating being exist somewhere in the cosmos, it has greater things to worry about such as keeping space-time intact, how to keep the suns burning (remember, there are literally trillions of suns out there in the cosmos), what to do about black holes, dark energy, plate tectonics, evolution, the rains out in Africa, Romulans, 42, how to keep the Daleks,asteroids and comets away from earth and so on. In other words, the super being has much more to worry about than your, or any of our lives and this is why it (if it exists) gave us the ability to reason and think for ourselves which is something that is severely lacking today. It seems that many splinter groups, factions on the lunatic fringe, and even many in the mainstream would rather hold onto destructive, divisive, intolorent, warmongering ways rather than accept the findings of science. Instead of accepting science as a way to understand nature and use that knowledge to better their lives, many misguided followers will instead pray to their deity when bad things happen and that is all well and good. Prayer is very useful in many ways for our emotional health and well-being and praying to a deity may help you bond with entire groups of like minded people. Prayer may help you feel and work better together and yes, it may have a very powerful placebo effect for the users – but it does not get things done on the ground, in the mud, on the street. The only way we can really make a concrete and lasting difference in the outcome of our lives or the future of our shared earth is with direct action through the methods and tools of science and by working together as a team. So yes, please pray all you like and pray hard but praying alone did not rescue the flooded out people of Houston, the Florida Keys, NOLA, – good and helpful people of all ethnicities and all backgrounds coming together using the methods, products, and tools of science and technology did.
However, when the tiny, pink naked apes we call humans start messing with the balance of nature – that my friend just might be the ultimate sin of all sins. Maybe, just maybe, all these recent massive and powerful storms are the omnipotent one’s way of punching the puny humans right in the face, right in the areas where we are processing the very fuel that is driving the engines of climate change. How ironic that the creator deity(s) seems to be giving us repeated series of massive black eyes for the horribly irresponsible way we have treated this (it’s) grand experiment we call life the universe and everything.
Maybe it is time we all stopped fighting over whether or not climate change is real and accept the fact that it is and that we are seeing the natural consequences of our mistreatment and mismanagement of our shared home planet, Now is the time we need to start listening to the signs, signals, and punches being thrown at us before it is too late and the experiment is deemed a failure and is ended by nature (aka the master scientist in charge) and it goes back to the drawing board and starts over like any good scientist*** would do.
It is also very interesting to note that while everyone trusted and believed the climate scientists who predicted that Harvey, Sandy and Katrina (and now as I write this superstorm Hurricane Irma just destroyed Florida) would hit the areas they did bringing the rains, winds, flooding, disruption, and catastrophic damage they brought with them but bizarrely, many of those same people do not trust or believe those very same climate scientists when they say we humans are causing climate change by our continued addiction to and burning of fossil fuels.
Wake up and grow up people. Climate scientists are here to help us save us from ourselves.
To do this we must end our dangerous and destructive addiction to fossil fuels before we are unable to recover from the disasters nature will continue to keep throwing at us.
Sadly it often takes a punch or three in the face to make us change and like the true American heroes in the below rescue video from hurricane Harvey – we need to coexist and work together if we want to save ourselves.
After watching brave Americans of all persuasions, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and religions come together to help each other out after Harvey left Texas under trillions of gallons of water, and after working with the brilliant youth of today, I believe that the age of the science deniers, haters, doubters, and sadly misdirected individuals are a dying breed and that a new wave of reason is sweeping the globe.
Yet even greater hope comes from the many churches, monasteries, and convents are installing and blessing solar arrays. Scout groups, schools and universities are divesting from all fossil fuel investments and going renewable in order to be better stewards of this earth and to educate the children on a better way to use our natural resources. Now is the time we all must wake up and listen to the science and accept the fact that science and religion can work together in protection and stewardship of our shared earth, its natural resources and all its creatures.
Indigenous peoples such as the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes are speaking out and protesting against the injustices being heaped upon their peoples and cultures by the actions of the past and sadly, the actions of today. Personally, I fully support the Sioux and other indigenous tribes and their supporters that are fighting fossil fuel projects all over the world in order to protect their lands, waters and future generations from harm due to our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.
Photo source and another good read on the Standing Rock Dakota Access situation.
Yet even more hope comes from youth from all over the planet. The younger generation is waking up to the truth that has been hidden from us all for so long. They are working to raise awareness of the environmental and human problems our addiction to fossil fuels are causing. Youth groups all around the planet and other youth led organizations such as the Earth Guardians and Our Children’s Trust are working hard and even bringing lawsuits against governments to create positive change working toward a clean, renewable powered future for us all.
The students and children shall lead the clean energy revolution.
I took the above photo recently after presenting a wildlife education show to a local school. After my presentation I introduced the students to my car. After I explained to them how it works, how much money I save, and how by driving electric you can help preserve nature, wildlife and our future environment, they were unanimously in favor of going EV. Yes, after meeting wonderful young adults such as these I have great hope for the future and I have no doubt that we will be able to end our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. But it will take hard work and dedication from all of us to break the bonds of this addiction and to make it happen for us all, for the earth and for the future.
You can end, or at least lower, your reliance on fossil fuels.
You do not have to be wealthy or a celebrity to truly make a difference and lower your carbon footprint.
You too can drive electric.
As an example let’s take the case of my Nissan Leaf.
This is what I found this morning when I walked out of my door about to make the 13 mile journey to work.
My little 2012 Nissan Leaf EV was fully charged and ready to roll.
I unplugged the charger, got inside, turned the car on to find…
A wonderful 82 miles of all electric range! I pulled out of the driveway and headed through the unusually sparse traffic for 8:30 am. As I made my way to work I noticed a local gas station that was empty…quite a change from a few days before…so I pulled in to investigate. This is what I found.
I was so happy to have my little EV at that moment! Even with it’s limited range I can always fill it up with electrons anywhere there is an electrical outlet.
As I prepared to pull out of the station I suddenly became aware of three gas powered vehicles quickly converging on my location! I quickly realized that they must have seen my car in front of the pumps and assumed the station had product so they all dove in hoping to get some gas. I quickly and silently eased out of the station, between the converging cars, and on down the road. I had a small bit of anxiety at the thought of what some folks would do if they ran out of gas and could not do the things they need and want to do…and saw my EV silently driving down the road…now I know at least one of the reasons Max was mad.
Those few of us early adopters who made the switch to electric vehicles over the last few years look on as we pass by the conflagrations with amazement, wonder, and a bit of fear and much more than range anxiety…and then we pull up to our EV fueling stations with little to no competition…and grin that EV grin 🙂
We then calmly (and often freely or for a nominal fee) plug in and let the electrons flow into our sweet, silent, futuristic electric vehicles and we can’t help but grin that EV grin…again…because we know that driving electric is just a better way to drive.
I am fully aware that fueling these all electric vehicles requires some fossil fuels such as coal but with gas out of the picture we are on our way to a much cleaner, safer, healthier, quieter society. I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger said it well here when he came up with an excellent reason why we need to all go green.
There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.
I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.
I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice — who would ever want to breathe those fumes?
Clean, reliable, solar, wind and EV technologies are available NOW off the shelf and off the lot. In fact, you can now even find a good used EV for the same price as a good used gas guzzler in fact, many collage students are snatching up used Leafs as their daily drivers because they just make so much sense. Check out Carvana.com for some really great deals on used Leafs!
On top of that the cost of solar has dropped exponentially in the last few years. Just stop and think for a moment…is your roof soaked in sunshine all or most of the day? Why not cover it in solar panels and put it to work for you?
Photo credit A.J. Rowell
Just think about it. If you had an electric vehicle right now how happy would you be that you did not have to go to the gas station? Maybe you could be like this guy who swapped his dirty, toxic VW “clean” diesel for an EV. Just stop and think for a moment how nice it would feel to be able to be truly free from the subscription to dependency and resulting high costs (to your bank account and the environment) and headaches of paying for gas and electricity. Imagine if your electric bill was only a few dollars a month? Most of us who are able to read these words honestly have no real excuse to not make the switch to cleaner technologies. If these options sound good to you, if they sound possible, then make it a goal to at least do some more research into the topic. Imagine.
Photo credit A.J. Rowell
This gasoline madness is just that, madness.
Six years ago my wife and I started making the switch from gas to electric with the purchase of a rechargeable string trimmer (weed eater). Then in 2013 we ditched our ageing Honda CRV for our 2012 Nissan Leaf 100% electric vehicle. Since then we have fallen in love with both of them because they save us loads of money, they are quiet and fun to use/drive and they are so much better for the earth and for our health. While they still require some fossil fuels to charge (until we can one day go solar), the gas and oil have been taken out of the equation and that is a huge thing in so many ways.
A few days ago the little string trimmer finally died so I replaced it with an upgraded 80 volt heavy duty model and an electric leaf blower (they have interchangeable batteries)! Now we are even closer to one day becoming an all electric family and kissing gas goodbye forever!
Going electric is not only for the well to do, I should know because I am anything but rich. Anyone can go electric and end your addiction to dirty, polluting, harmful, dangerous and outdated fossil fuels. All it takes is a little research, a test drive, a small amount of adaptation and compromise and soon, like me, you can be passing gas every day and loving every minute of it 🙂
On September 20 the gasoline tanker trucks started arriving in my area and select stations were able to dispense their product to the public.
On September 21st, as I again traveled that familiar road to work, I stopped at the local gasoline filling station…to squeegee my windshield 🙂
And I noticed that the pumps were all still out of service…all except for diesel.
On September 22nd drivers of gas powered vehicles breathed a sigh of relief when the pipeline began operations again after a bypass was put in place around the damaged pipe. Hopefully soon the fuel supply will be back to some form of “normal” and those that drive only gas powered vehicles**** will be able to get around as in the past. I only hope that this little incident has left many of them questioning fossil fuels and thinking seriously about making the switch to EV’s.
How long will it be until the next pipeline ruptures? Will it be in your neighborhood? Only time will tell.
UPDATE: November 01, 2016 – the very same Colonial Pipeline that caused this fuel shortage just over a month ago exploded yesterday killing one person and severely burning several more.
It seems that we did not have to wait very long for the next major pipeline incident. More on this development to follow. Now do you now see why it is of utmost importance that we break our dangerous addiction to almighty oil and focus on renewable energy!
If the actions of the gasoline addicted public are any indications, I now know that one of the reasons Max was mad was because he was addicted to gasoline.
We have choices. Be the change.
* I am sure I will get some flak for this statement from folks who believe nature was put here for us to use up, dominate, consume, and destroy, in whatever manner we may dream up and that belief is total bull crap. But, whatever. Say what you will – I have stopped feeding the trolls. Feeding trolls only makes them stronger so do not expect a reply unless you put down your emotional ammunition and be reasonable.
***It is my opinion that if there is an all powerful supreme omnipotent consciousnesses in charge of the universe, there is no evidence to suggest that it is a grumpy, vengeful, bearded old white human man on a golden throne. I refuse to accept that out of date old racist and sexist image. Whatever it is or whatever it is not, if it exists it must above all else be a great scientist with a flair for the arts. Only a truly great scientist could design and implement the amazing and complex interconnected self balancing and self governing system that is the cosmos and only an artist could make it so beautiful. Or it is a dog because dog spelled backwards is god 😉
****Yes, I do have another vehicle and sadly is is powered by nasty gasoline. I only use it for hauling, towing a trailer, occasional long distance excursions, and drive it very sparingly. During this gas outage I left it parked and was so very glad I had an EV. One day soon, when a car company produces an EV truck, I will rid myself of the old dinosaur and go 100% EV – maybe it will be a Bollinger B1!