atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2592: All-electric isn't ready for prime time.

Nissan Leafs strand owners. ("Leaves"? WTF.)

The car has a 120-mile range under the best of circumstances and real-world anecdotal data says it's closer to 80. Worse, it's stranding people because its software can't reliably estimate battery life when the battery is near its discharge limit.

And when you run out of juice, all you can do is tow it somewhere there's an electrical outlet to recharge it.

Electric cars sound like a wonderful idea...until you start to get into the little details of real-world operation. Then the downsides begin to pop up, and they're legion.

By buying an electric car you are paying out the ass for an inferior car solely for the cachet of "zero emissions", which is itself horseshit in a country which generates most of its power by burning coal.

* * *

Oh, shit. Gas is going to be $5 per gallon by June.

If Saudi Arabia erupts into the shitstorm that claimed Egypt, Libya, and the others I can't remember right now, it's going to get messy here.

Saudi Arabia is an islamic shithole like every other nation in the middle east except Israel. They're subject to the same economic conditions. It's not terribly surprising that the drastic increase in world food prices is causing riots.

But it's bad for us, because we're dependent on the black goo they pump from the ground there, because we're not allowed to pump our own black goo from our ground. (Thanks, Democrats!) And because of that, we're not the only country in the world that's going to suffer when the price of oil skyrockets because the supply has dropped so far. Other countries can step up production to compensate, but what is OPEC going to have to say about that? Will OPEC let them?

Short supply benefits everyone in OPEC, because they get more per barrel. Why should they care? Just lobby American congresscrits to keep American oil off-limits, and when the short term problem has passed oil will resume its normal flow and prices will drop. They won't drop to pre-crisis levels, so OPEC members will get more money out of the deal. It's win-win for them.

There are two basic things OPEC wants to avoid:

1) oil that's too cheap; and
2) oil supply that's too small to satisfy the world need, thus prompting the establishment of more fields.

The sweet spot between those two extremes is why they exist in the first place. If all the member nations pumped the stuff out at capacity, oil would cost $30 per barrel and we'd be paying $1 per gallon at the pump. But if everyone was doling the stuff out with an eyedropper, the big fields in the US and other places would suddely have to open, because the world economy cannot function without a certain level of fuel. OPEC exists to set the price of oil comfortably above the "free flow" level by restricting supply; and part of that is ensuring that those other oil fields never come on-line.

What, you think that all those congresscritters oppose drilling in ANWR solely because some caribou might be inconvenienced? The caribou don't vote and they don't have PACs or lobbyists to funnel cash into campaign funds, like OPEC does.

The downside of all this is that we are not exploiting our domestic resources. Thanks to Democrat short-sightedness ("If we start drilling now, the oil won't be available for three-five-ten years! It won't do anything to fix the current crisis, so we shouldn't do it!") we still haven't begun to exploit the resources that some of us wanted to start on as long as a decade ago. And so we've got ourselves yet another situation in which everyone can see high energy prices coming...and we can't do squat about it.

Obama's going to open the taps on the strategic oil reserve. Oh, yeah, that always helps...for a week, perhaps two. But the unrest in the middle east has been going on a lot longer than that, and if Saudi Arabia brews up it'll be longer still.

BTW--look at the comments for that article.

* * *

So I didn't get in contact with #2 today. Apparently the person I need to talk to is--in Og's words--"about as easy to get on the phone as Abe Lincoln."

Og's suggested that I head down there this Saturday with him. I could interview and then help him with his work. But it seems to me that would mean one of us would have to talk to "Mr. Abe Lincoln" about it first.

Yeah, no one said it would be easy.

...and this place is distant enough from the bunker that if I get the job, I'm going to need to get the Escort leak-free ASAP. The Jeep's fuel economy is simply too low to make such a long-distance commute regularly; my half-assed estimate is 95 miles, and at about 19 MPG I'd be filling up the Jeep every day--10 gallons' worth. (And I would start saving money for a new car almost immediately, because the Escort's got 150,000 on its chassis. Maybe a nice Subaru....)

At about 36 MPG, the Escort could do the round trip on five gallons of gas. $25 versus $50 per day...but balance that against living rent- and utility-free here while waiting for the house to sell. It's $500 for gas per month, versus perhaps $1,000 or so for rent and utilities.

You can't get an apartment around here for less than $500 per month unless you want to live in someone's coat closet. Renting a house is even more. I expect it costs less in the town in question, being downstate, but moving there would also open up a huge can of worms with regard to the final disposition of this place.

And my credit rating is in the toilet, so buying a house is out of the question right now.

Still, it's a job, and I need it. Further, it's a technical job--not flipping burgers or stacking boxes--so I really need it. I'm willing to put up with some inconveniences.

* * *

So it's nearly midnight. All I really did today was sleep; I was awake long enough to feed the cats and try contacting #2, and all that; then I hit the sack. I was up around 6-ish to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and eat them, but--again--I fell asleep afterwards and slept until 10:30.

Now I'll probably be up all night and fall asleep at 6 AM only after taking a Xanax. This sucks.

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