I'll help you shout this from the rooftops! One of my favorite features (among the 9 seats+cargo area, manual-shift transfer case, and newly installed auxiliary battery system) in my '99 Suburban is the 42 gallon (or 44, depending on the manual you're reading) fuel tank. At ~70mph she makes 18mpg - which gives me the ability to transport 9 people with all their luggage more than 700 miles (across the flat midwest for argument's sake). I shudder to think how long it would take a Tesla to bring the same number of people and luggage the same distance.
PS: Jaco and Vulfpeck in a full-size Chevrolet? You're a man of good taste.
Ouch! She's only had her first rebuild at 300,000+ miles. The 4L60e is actually extremely reliable as long as you aren't a hooligan constantly doing hard launches or trying to push extra power out of the modest L31 powerplant.
Compare that to my 2004 Ram 3500 - when I was finally able to get that piece of gum off my shoe half the body was made of rust and the tranny needed 3 rebuilds - all within 200k miles. It really was a million mile engine (Cummins) surrounded by a 50k mile truck.
While I agree with everything you said, the only problem is that gas is a limited resource. No matter if we all say eff-it to E-vehicles and just keep buying ICE vehicles, the problem is gas will eventually run out. Maybe not in my life time (I'm around your age Jack) but it will happen eventually.
67 percent of the electricity produced here is generated using fossil fuels. Eventually, probably about the time the gas runs out, we’ll face the same reality with the generation of electricity. I know, solar and wind. I can’t find a study anywhere with an estimate of the land mass required by solar and wind to match our fossil fuel electric capacity. I haven’t found a study that says it’s even possible to replace fossil fuels with solar and wind for the generation of electricity. And if I hear one more time about charging at home in the garage using my home solar panel...I, like a third of Americans, rent. I don’t have a garage, much less my own solar panel. We have a long way to go before electrics are practical. I’m keeping my ICE until then.
David, I know a number of guitar amp and pedal designers who would disagree with you. Are the Seiko Spring Drive or Citizen Caliber 0100 less elegant inventions than John Harrison's marine chronometer just because they have some electronic circuitry? It's interesting that a lot of guitar pedals that are designed to electronically reproduce the tone of vintage electromechanical devices like Hammond tonewheels or vibratos, DeArmond tremolos, and spring or plate reverbs can only come so close. Mechanical devices have non linearities that are hard to reproduce.
I’d be more comfortable with the New Yorker article if it wasn’t selectively excerpted and didn’t offer comparisons between incomparable figures (global solar km2 compared to US fossil fuel km2). The US consumes 17% of the world’s total energy consumption. 17% of 450000 km2 (the area devoted to solar arrays as quoted in the article as needed to cover world energy consumption) is just shy of 30000 square miles. 30000 square miles is roughly the area covered by Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined. Mind you, that includes areas unsuitable for placement of solar arrays, such as lakes, rivers, cities, etc, so the number of states covered by solar arrays might go up a bit. Not feasible yet, I’d say.
As I understand it, you can basically make infinite diesel fuel with a landfill and a breeder reactor. The problem is that this releases a lot of heat and carbon into the atmosphere. So at that point you need to address *that* problem.
I'm about as interested in a One World Government as I am in having my fingers fed to me one by one, but a truly effective world government would pursue a technological solution to all of this at once. Sequester a massive amount of carbon... into diamond coatings that would increase the albedo of the planet and reduce the amount of heat absorbed. Use small-scale assemblers to create floating islands from all the plastic trash, then coat them with recovered-diamond carbon. Build space elevators then pipe ocean water up to them, taking heat off the planet.
The problem with all of the above, of course, is that in addition to being difficult it also denies our political and social betters the pleasures of battering the proletariat with consumption-reduction methods. There's no fun quite as fun as telling people they need to eat cicadas from the comfort of your Gulfstream.
Diamonds to boost the albedo is an interesting idea if it could be cost effective. I have no idea what the answer to that is. I also don't know how large scale floating islands would affect ocean life--on which we depend for our own sustenance, and which is also sequestered carbon.
"There's no fun quite as fun as telling people they need to eat cicadas from the comfort of your Gulfstream." Now there's a T-shirt! Maybe the other side of the t-shirt advertising travelling to Uranus? Just recently; the Governor of my state was nearly forced to raise the mask mandates for buildings. Of course that didn't stop the Governor from giving up his Emergency Powers, even though there isn't any sort of Emergency, but I digress... When the mask mandate fell; virtually all local businesses dropped any pretense of needing a mask. Shortly after the mandate fell, i was walking into my local Mega Super Market and it occurred to me to go running through the entire store "FREEDOM... FREEEEDOOOM; I was able to stave that desire off long enough to get my needed groceries and go back to my gas guzzling car and take a nice long, lazy drive around back roads and Dales enjoying my newly realized freedom. So called, "Fossil Fuels" might be a limited thing, but the current known reserves will for several centuries.
It probably will become practical to produce a liquid fuel via bacteria one of these days, likely for both cars and planes. Maybe even in the next ten years. Synthetic biology is getting better and better.
Why would we run out of gas? There are more known oil reserves now than at any time in history. Previously dry wells are replenishing. It's more likely that the earth is an engine for producing oil than it is that anyone who understands science believes in AGW.
We drove cross country three times when my brother and I were 6 and 4, and then 9 and 7, and 10 and 8. I LOVED watching the country go by, and terrain changing, etc. But having to sit while the Studebaker or the '57 Chevy charged would have bored the bejesus out of us, and we would have driven our parents crazy. I drove myself across country the first time in the 8 year old '62 Falcon, at 17. Again, can't imagine the boredom of having to stop every several hours.
In fact, the few electric powered x-country trips described in the buff books have been boring.
Next trip, Bunghole Liquors in Salem, MA. No t-shirts there, but a trip to the Witch City and its shameless tourist traps will yield mementos and stories aplenty. Stopped in Rolla a few times with my late FIL who had a fondness for a particular restaurant whose name escapes me. Disappointed I didn't see Uranus Fudge!
Electric cars are in their infancy. When the gas powered car came out, horses were better. If gas stations were spread out 600 miles and used a small tube to fill the tank, it would not be viable either. Obviously electric cars are not as capable, reliable, fun or useful as gas vehicle now. Look back 10 years and judge the progression of gas vs electric vehicles. If you've played with RC cars you may have had a nitro car and later got a brushless one. Eventually new technology eclipses the old in certain ways.
I think the real problem will be autonomous cars in 25-50 years that monetize routes, restrict the ability to go on an uncharted adventures and erase the concept of ownership of ones property.
The electric car peaked before the gas powered car. You can look it up. Edwardian era electric cars were far more user-friendly than gas powered cars while possessing greater transportation utility than horses. Then gasoline powered cars reached a state of development where they were as easy to operate as an EV while being infinitely better at all the things they're still infinitely better at, like providing true freedom of movement.
They just progressed at different rates. Just because something was the best option at one point in it's long development does not mean it "peaked." Unless you mean in popularity or general support. I would take a taycan or tesla over an 1.7hp electric stagecoach with wooden wheels even though the public was all over it during the Victorian times.
Gas cars are better now in many ways. But there will likely be a point in the future when gas is prohibitively expensive and those gas stations you could've stopped at on those trips no longer exist because it just isn't profitable anymore. Your freedom of movement may just be the radius around a few places. Just because a $4000 gas vehicle can be objectively more useful than a 100k electric vehicle doesn't mean it will always be like that.
We have come a long way in a short time since first gen Tesla coupe and Nissan Leafs with less than 100 miles of range. Now we are at 250 miles or even more with some electrics. There are faster charging stations even outside Tesla that are popping up. Infrastructure and range are not there for electrics to serve as primary vehicle yet. But the amount of investment and ingenuity across the globe going into batteries and reducing charging times makes me think we should be able to get to similar transaction time as spent filling vehicle with gas in another 10 years or so. We shall see.
Then theres that elephant in the room.Where is the electricity coming from? And you can bet your bottom dollar it wont be any less expensive than gas,in fact I'll predict it will cost much much more when the politicos have taxation control over every KW used. This isnt about the environment,its about total control over you.Now go get your 'flu' shot,its not your body,they own it.Social control,the aircraft carrier in the room.
"The admirably compliant folks who do most of the autowriting in this business nowadays would have you believe that such freebooting behavior is limited to a small and unpleasant group of Americans nowadays. The nerve of me and my son, just deciding to drive around the country and ride our bikes sans the social absolution of protesting/demonstrating to justify us or the secular indulgence of carbon credits to shield us!"
I'd like to see other members of your guild (content as they are to play their respective part in the dystopian novel they are calling "the inevitable future") forced to read this article as a condition of employment, and of polluting "enthusiast" publications with trite pap and outright disinformation.
We stand at a "Red Barchetta" crossroads, and you, Jack are one of the few voices crying loudly enough to matter.
I’m excited for the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe I have on order. All of the virtue signaling in town on EV power, and all of the usable gas range I can use to do anti social things like drive long distances to hunt, fish, boat, off-road, snowmobile, and what have you.
Vehicles like the 4xe seem far more viable than pure EVs for anyone needing a primary vehicle outside of a coastal urban area.
Cars seem to be going down two paths - the lighter, efficient, less resource-intensive route, and the mammoth 9,300lb load range F tire wearing Hummer EV route. One path seems far more sustainable than the other.
Gasoline was a rare commodity in the early days of motoring. Fearless pioneers drove coast to coast without reliable maps, supplies of fuel, or even roads and bridges! They went because they could. American spirit, as it used to be called is now called arrogance. EVs are tethered to infrastructure. You dare not go along a road (I-90 comes to mind) that doesn't have a charging station every 100 miles, let alone a Trader Joe's. We have been conditioned to see freedom as accessing roads and other services that have been built for our convenience. Freedom is wholly divorced from convenience, freedom is the ability to find your own way without the limitation of infrastructures. Thanks again for another thoughtful piece Jack!
Hmmm Jack.... Uranus Fudge Factory... Too EASY! 🙂 Love the idea of a group of guys just getting together and driving from Ohio to St. Louis to touch the Arch! Great idea. In my younger years A couple buddies and I packed ourselves in a '72 Pinto (this was in the early 80's, so it was getting old and rusty) and drove from Minneapolis down to just outside Dallas/Ft Worth, so I could see one of my brothers and buy a '72 Camaro. We we did have a lot of fun, but a Pinto is no place for three guys and their gear and a straight through drive to Texas, but we did it and celebrated the Great American Road Trip. They left shortly after we got to our destination. I stayed two weeks, bought the Camaro and drove it back; again celebrating the Great American Road Trip. If I can find the right car, this Summer, I will do the same thing again. Anyone have a nice '64 Tempest or Lemans or Chevelle or Buick Special? Bring on Liberty!
As always, you express a thoughtful provocative opinion. I'm not sure I'd position it as class warfare, though. I've always felt you shouldn't take more of anything than you need, but "need" is very subjective.
BTW, my favourite tourist trap is Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn, in Alaska. I did not buy the t-shirt.
Jack, the memories of significance here are destinational more than "the trip" but yes your point is vehicular and technological. It is a car (truck?) media not a bike media afterall. Infrastructure was not always as comprehensive and trips as immediate as you suggest. 1969 I am reassigned from Selfridge AFB MI to Tyndall AFB FL with a buddy from San Antonio. Driving a 1966 Shelby GT350 we take a "delay in route" to entertain ourselves in San Antonio. Navigating from I-94 to Southbound in Chicago traffic the intersection with I-80 approaches. We reflect on our time at Tech School in Denver and impulsively turn West. The Shelby is great at high speed, anticipating lunch or maybe breakfast in Denver, but at 1AM in rural NE, the sixteen gallon tank is dry and nothing is open, even on the interstate. We pull into a small town gas station and try to sleep until opening. This inconvenience was diminished when I recently found the trip diary of my Great Grandparents from 1924. Starting from the farm in Otsego WI they drove NW to Minneapolis and on to the northern West Coast, camping in town squares or boarding houses. The trip consumed about a year but the high point for me was the return, navigating the Mojave Desert. The road was obscured by a "sand-out" but waiting in a touring car with limited water was not an option. Great Grandma was tasked with walking before the car with a stick to prod the pavement for location. Travel, technology and convenience has progressed and will continue to do so.
Luddite comment: when I can pack up my electric 4x4 compact pickup truck, drive from Ohio to the NC Outer Banks on two, twenty minute fillups, and upon arriving, drive on the beach down to the high tide mark and bask in the summer sun, I'll consider an EV. That day hasn't come yet, and until either battery technology or charging technology makes a quantum leap, it won't.