But Without it our Employees are on the Dole…


But Without it our Employees are on the Dole…

In the back and forth below, Casey posted as follows, and I thought it deserved to be brought up and be given the light of day:

John, I’m referring to your February 1 post. “So back to my question. Who is supposed to pay for the charging stations? When we began driving gasoline powered vehicles, the gasoline companies paid for the stations. Why is it the responsibility of my company, or my university, or my garage owner to pay for the charging stations? Certainly why is it the responsibility of the government to pay for the stations.”

You have missed the fact that you are paying for your neighborhood gas station – and then some.

My point is that through perverse subsidization the petroleum industry has reaped huge profits while tethering us all to their unsustainable resource. If for even short period of time the tables where turned and alternatives received what petroleum has received we’d all be driving electric vehicles.

Casey and I can discuss free market economics until the cows come home and I’m certain we won’t agree. Suffice it to say that Exxon, the evil petrogiant Casey so abhors, employees close to 85,000 people. It is true that its gross revenue is huge, by mere fact of its size. However its ‘net’ is less than 10% of its gross revenue.
And yes, Casey, I know that i paid for the gas station on the corner, but I also know that I paid for it through my purchases of gasoline. Getting gasoline to market is an expensive business and I expect that I should pay what it costs to get it there.
I might also note in passing that the ‘subsidies’ to which Casey refers are tax deductions that all businesses routinely take. Expenses, write offs of old equipment, payrolls, etc. Should we treat oil companies differently than we treat the local dry cleaner or the guy who cuts our hair?
Those of us who routinely make payrolls and create things out of whole cloth, understand that profits are necessary to keep our companies alive. Without it we are out of business, and our employees are on the dole.
But, in the end, the 40,000 page tax code, government bail outs, subsidies to farmers and universities and utilities, and yes banks and auto companies are all the result of a government run amok. I’m opposed to them all.
These tax breaks and outright grants skew the market and the forces that keep quality up and prices down.
Government involvement in virtually every part of our lives makes for bad choices. An example: The Transportation Security Administration has an annual budget of about $7.6 billion and processes over 650,000,000 people.  That’s $11 and change per person. Why shouldn’t those people pay the total bill? Why should the government subsidize it at all?  We now pay about a fifth of that (around $2.50 per person). You want to fly safely, pay an extra $12 per ticket and get on with it.
But, then what do I know?




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John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. The idea that the palnet would be better off or that consumers are going to save money if we were all to switch over to electric vehicles is absurd. First, the roads we all drive on are paid for by taxes levied on the gas we buy. Same thing goes for most mass transit programs and almost any other transportation related service. If gasoline sales were to plummet because of this mass transformation to electric vehicles then those lost tax $’s would need to come from somewhere, and that somewhere would most likely be some sort of surcharge on the electricity used to power up all those electric vehicles.

    Second, our existing power grid can barely handle the demand we put on it today. If we were to all of a sudden see a spike in the demand because of all the electric vehincles needing daily charges then there would be the need to upgrade the grid. That in turn would lead to an increase in rates which would again cut into those “savings” by no longer being reliant on fossil fuels.

    Third, think about what would happen in the case of a natural disaster (Sandy, Katrina, etc) where you may end up going days, or even weeks without power. One of the main components of my Hurricane Kit is my two 5 gallon gas cans, I want to make sure that if I have to evacuate either before or after that I have enough fuel to get me to safety. If I’m leaving then its very likely that thousands of others are doing the same thing, and that means hours of crawling traffic and long lines at fueling stations. If you’ve never been in one of those evacuations you won’t understand, but trust me when I say an electric vehicle isn’t going to get you out of harms way under those circumstances. I suppose you could have an extra battery, but that is a very costly for something that’s only an emergency backup and will hopefully never be used.

    Fourth is what do we do with all these batteries when they die, or that need to be disposed of when the cars are in wrecks, etc? Imagine having to dispose of millions of those per year. You can’t burn them, you can’t bury them, you can’t effectively recycle them. Your only real option is to “store” them, forever.

    Do we need to find an alternative to being so reliant on fossil fuels? Yes, absolutely. But electric vehicles are not practical, and in the long run still would require us to be totally reliant on a fuel that is less reliable than the one we are currently reliant on.

  2. I can’t see why we can’t have both.
    People seem to think that the four horseman will arrive in Tesla’s or something. There is a massive potential for there to be a mix on the road without firing the Exxon Valdez’s worth of employees.

    I completely agree that the R&D side of things needs to continue for electric vehicles………but then again I think we have always had that with good ol’ Otto cycles that are now getting to the 30% efficient mark (up from 10% in the early 1900’s).

    On a side note electric cars have less range, and take longer to charge = more stops + longer stays = more money for parking + increase occupancy of carpark.
    aka the carpark with the charging station will win.
    Or did a miss something?

  3. A big thing missing from this discussion is that every building that expects to have visitors with automobiles already builds parking spots at a cost of between $5,000 and $25,000 per stall (for commercial/institutional/industrial – the space you provided at your home was probably cheaper). Many of them do it for free because they want visitors (aka customers to some). The cost of a few chargers and the attendant electricity is just another thing to provide for the same reason. If you charge for parking then charge for parking at the charger too. If your parking is free make your charger free – unless you are next door to an apartment building full of parsimonious electric car drivers.

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