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Thread: Keystone/Hot Air/electric cars/GM,Tesla,Nissan assignment per Dow Jones

  1. #1
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    Default Keystone/Hot Air/electric cars/GM,Tesla,Nissan assignment per Dow Jones

    MW The real reason Keystone is toxic is Washington's hot air

    Feb 26, 2015 11:56:00 (ET)

    By Tim Mullaney

    Republicans oversold the jobs; environmentalists oversold the risks

    Good riddance to the Keystone XL (TRP) debate -- if not the oil pipeline itself -- for bringing out the worst in Washington. After President Barack Obama vetoed a bill (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oba...13610)designed to force him to approve the pipeline to ferry crude from Alberta and North Dakota to Nebraska, there's plenty of shame to go around.

    Let's begin with congressional Republicans, who persistently oversold Keystone's job-creation benefits. According to the State Department, the pipeline would create 1,950 construction jobs for two years and 50 permanent jobs. That's awfully close to the 2,100 construction jobs and 86 permanent jobs from the stimulus-funded Ivanpah solar project Republicans dismiss as a boondoggle. Either one is about two hours' worth of nationwide job creation at current rates.

    Yet when Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst gave the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union, at the mention of jobs I rolled my eyes, turned to my companion, and said, "Here comes Keystone." Her next sentence touted "the Keystone jobs bill."

    None of this rhetoric changed when the price of oil went to $50 a barrel from $100, blowing by the estimated $85 to $110 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/102181913#.)that it costs to produce Alberta crude, making it obvious the pipeline would create little, if any, new drilling any time soon. And new drilling was where Keystone's real job impact was to come from. Always.

    Stop smirking, lefties. The enviros were no better.

    If there's a less accurate argument than Ernst's on jobs, it's environmentalists on the idea that Keystone and Keystone alone would cement the world's usage of fossil fuels (http://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp)until the climate changed, Miami flooded, and cats and dogs lived together. Environmental leader Bill McKibben called Keystone "the fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet." (http://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp)

    Sure.

    Alberta is already pumping 2 million barrels (http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=ca)of oil-sands crude a day; the State Department's environmental impact statement says Keystone XL could carry about 830,000. It's shipped mostly by rail, with the occasional load going kaboom (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0S920150215)in ways that may just release carbon. The idea that opposition to Keystone saved anything pristine is poppycock. The object was always to make the pipeline a symbol of choking off fossil-fuel use.

    The reason the world will use oil in a post-Keystone world is that we don't have cost-effective electric cars for most drivers yet. Only 118,500 electric cars were sold in the U.S. last year (http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/07/...rs-58-us-2014/), out of 16.6 million passenger vehicles overall. Until that changes, the National Resources Defense Council can hold its breath until House Speaker and Keystone advocate John Boehner turns green, blue, or any color other than orange, and cars will still require gasoline made from oil. With last decade's wave of biofuels startups like Mascoma and KiOR (KIORQ) bankrupt or close to it, no non-carbon fuel calvary is coming.

    While poseurs pose, there's an energy deal to be made (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how...-2014-11-14)-- and no one is making it.

    A deal that delivers U.S. energy near-independence and a payday for oil companies -- while protecting the earth -- would expedite responsible drilling and allow crude exports. At the same time, it would extend or expand subsidies for distributed-solar and wind-generated electricity. It could also expand or extend temporary tax credits for early adopters of electric cars, or get Republicans to ditch their push to gut Obama's proposed rules limiting power-plant carbon emissions.

    A few years is what Tesla (TSLA) , General Motors (GM.XX) and Nissan will need to bring down battery costs (http://www.technologyreview.com/news...-to-bolt/)that make an electric-powered Nissan Leaf $13,400 more expensive than an otherwise-similar gas-powered Nissan Versa. Once cost curves cross, the Leaf can wipe out the Versa's fourfold edge in unit sales with little further ado. Want proof? BMW's tinker-toyish i3 electric sedan is outselling four other BMW lines, and it's been on the U.S. market for less than a year.

    The lesson of what natural-gas fracking did to coal is clear -- when cheaper alternatives arrive, Americans abandon the dirty fuels the GOP so strangely loves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the...ent-2014-06-02). Anything environmentalists do other than hastening the day when renewable electricity is cheaper than coal and gas, and electric cars are price-competitive, is basically hot air.

    But that only works when electric cars and solar rooftop panels are cheaper to own because they are cost-competitive up front and much cheaper to run (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...y/index.htm)-- not when they're kinda-sorta competitive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wha...-01-29)because Washington overtaxes gasoline or makes companies put crude on trains. Change that comes from the technology is -- to coin a phrase -- the change we can believe in.

    -Tim Mullaney; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com


    Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

    (END) Dow Jones Newswires

  2. #2
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    There is a point that I love to repeat, yet few car owners listen (even present Volt owners), and that point is "much cheaper to run". I include maintenence cost in that point. Some complain about prices up front, such as the Volt, with a MSRP of $35,000 now (and with no tax rebate), is too "expensive". But they forget that in ten years that Volt will be as good as a two-year old ICE because the range extender is used much less (up to 80% less), and the motor wear is negligleble (the 100,000 mile Volt is proof). So I see the purchase as an investment to long term transportation, while the purchase of an ICE vehicle is a loss since it depreciates the moment it leaves the dealer.

    New technology cost money, so the initial prices for EVs will be much higher than expected. My experiences has proven this, as my first PC (a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III) cost me $900 in 1979 yet it had a monochrome screen, 16 kB of RAM, and a cassette interface for programs (no disk or even a floppy). My first VCR cost me $549 also in 1979 yet I bought a used one for just $30 last year (I still have VHS tapes). EVen my first color TV was a 19-inch Magnavox CRT for $400 in 1981, and now for $400 I can get a LCD 55-inch Vizio with many wireless features. This same situation may have happened to many others and with different items including smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

    The best part? I learned from all these devices and enjoyed them FULLY until they were replaced (I still have the TRS-80 Model III), and was able to buy a much better version for less. So this is waht will happen to the first EV buyers, including the first Volt buyers who paid over $40,000 each. The newer Volt may cost $35,000 but will have better features and last even longer, yet some here still complain about that price?

    If the public wants new technology they have to pay for it. If they expect the new Volt to drop in price, they will be either frustrated or left behind. GM will take in their profit first, and if this new Volt is successful, GM can drop prices much later, probably by 2020. But not now when it was just announced!

    Low gas prices will not help lower prices on the new EVs, just delay their purchasing. The competition of more EV producers is what will lower prices, and hgh gas prices is what will achieve that. So the potential EV buyer will not think about vehicle prices, but more on gas prices. And when gas prices do climb, the first EV owners will get the most benefit of their initial investments and enjoy them the most.
    Last edited by Raymondjram; 6 Days Ago at 09:01 PM.
    Raymond
    No Volt or Bolt yet

    2009 Chevrolet Equinox 2LT
    1995 Buick Regal Limited sedan
    Level 2 JuiceBox EVSE installed at 7.2 kW
    Registered EVSE at PlugShare

  3. #3
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    I mostly like this article - but I'm confused how the author thinks the $0.18 per gallon federal gas tax that hasn't changed in a decade or more is "overtaxing" gasoline...
    Walter
    C4884 - White Diamond, purchased 10/15/11

    Volt FAQ

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  5. #4
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    Raymondjram, i fully agree with you about the cost to own/operate being much less. The problem with that is having sales people who could put that point across.

    When i went to get my 2nd volt when my lease was expiring on my 2011, salesmen at 3 different dealers TRIED TO TALK ME OUT OF BUYING A VOLT and taking some other Chevy instead. When i said i was only interested in a Volt, one said they only sell them above list because they were so hard to get. I did get mine at the 4th dealer i contacted.

    And we have seen many other war stories here in the forum.

    So i hope something is done to explain the facts you cite to the public. At least the Dow Jones article puts a relatively positive spin on the situation.

    Good luck with GM getting you a Volt or Bolt. I am an 84 year old EE - we used to talk about electric cars way back when i was in college. I we getting a Bolt next time
    Last edited by don shaw; 6 Days Ago at 10:17 PM. Reason: fix english

  6. #5
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    Excellent article! Thank you Don Shaw,

    " ..... when cheaper alternatives arrive, Americans abandon the dirty fuels the GOP so strangely loves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the...ent-2014-06-02). Anything environmentalists do other than hastening the day when renewable electricity is cheaper than coal and gas, and electric cars are price-competitive, is basically hot air....."

    This is all we have to remember : the fact that the GOP so "strangely loves the dirty fuel" is perhaps due to insistence on some form of balance, keeping the "hot air" in check. After all - imagine our tax dollars at work if there was no checks and balances letting the environmentalists roam free.
    For me, even the current subsidies - including the tax credit on purchase of electric cars - is a stretch, even if i understand that no real progress in society is possible without some centralized planning ( GOD i hate that phrase !! )

    P.
    2014 Volt, AshGrey, Basic(ly, i'm amazed)
    2002 BMW M3 ( a.k.a. " my GoKart)

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