Right Opinion

Wondering Aloud About 'Plug In' Cars

Joe Bastardi · Jul. 6, 2016

Just a thought here, and let me again stress I am for all forms of cheap, economical energy. But I also wish to point out that if we were really serious about reducing CO2 emissions — which, again, I don’t believe is a big problem, but I digress — let’s throw off the shackles of Jane Fonda and the China Syndrome and realize that this nation in 2016 can build safe nuclear power plants and get rid of the waste in a safe way. Heck, give NASA an even greater mission: Build transports that can take the waste to the far end of the universe.

Anyway, the chart below shows the best selling cars. The Toyata Prius Plug-In sold 11 times in June and 42 for the year. The Camry is the number one seller.

Now, I will confess, I like the Prius. I don’t own one, but when I rent cars for long trips I like getting a Prius. I cut my sodium and water the day before so I can get in that car and drive without getting out if I choose to. Besides, if I am going to make an appearance I would rather drive than fly. However, when the family tags along, this arrangement of course is not the case since the mantra is always, “When are we stopping?” I like the car. Period. But it has nothing to do with me trying to save the planet. In fact, given my known stand on AGW, I would be a great spokesman for the Toyota Prius since it means you don’t need one to save the planet.

Suppose in a perfect world every car is a plug-in. Where do you get that electricity from? Solar and wind, you say. Oh really? And just how do you get all that electricity from those currently inefficient sources relative to fossil fuels and nuclear power? Suppose you have a morning that is very cold with wind from Dallas to Houston, but those big wind turbines in west Texas aren’t turning because the Arctic high is ridging into west Texas and the pressure gradient — where wind is generated — is in the eastern portion of the state. Just how are all those commuters going to have their Prius charged up and ready to go?

My point is you can’t snap your fingers and have things both ways. Sometimes I think there is a lack of reasoning on the other side of the debate. I marvel at the infrastructure we have today, but the gratitude I have for what it took to create it is enormous. People wishing to destroy the fossil fuel industry seem to have no clue a) it’s that industry which got us to where we are now; b) how much directly or indirectly they use fossil fuels today and how different their lives would be if their policies were to be adopted; and c) this dream world they are in is still a dream. There is no question man has advanced rapidly in many things that needed to be powered with energy. But the same advancements in energy themselves are much, much slower. By upping the levels on clean burning fossil fuels and using more fusion-driven sources, you will reduce the emissions if that is truly your goal. But then this question arises: What is your true goal? Perhaps the whole save-the-planet agenda is a smokescreen for controlling the planet.

After all, if you can’t drive your plug-in to work because of the drain on a wind-driven power grid that was supplying you, you don’t work. If you don’t work, you don’t make money. Don’t make money, you become dependent.

As I said, I’m just wondering aloud about plug-in cars and some of the side issues.

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

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