Saturday, June 14, 2014

The US is Using More Fuel Despite Elon Musk

Despite all the chatter that we are greening up the US is using more fuel and emitting more carbon than it did last year.  Per the US EIA for the first five months of 2014 versus the same period in 2013 gasoline usage is up 1.7%, jet fuel usage is up 2.4% and diesel fuel usage is up 4.8%.    The good news on the flip side of this is that economic activity seems to be picking up.

Dr. Moniz the Secretary of Energy who I like to joke looks like he is from Mad Magazine, has been posting on Facebook how he and the administration are leading us to a greener more carbon neutral future.  Of course one year of data is not a trend but petroleum usage in 2013 was up over 2012 and 2014 is pointing to be up over 2013.

The utter chaos in Iraq together with increased global demand for oil is causing prices to rise.  The world loves liquid fuels and is burning it like there is no tomorrow.  Had the US not started producing shale oil and gas the price of oil would have reached $200 a barrel and natural gas would be selling for three times as much as it does now.  We are so bloody lucky that shale oil and gas came to our rescue.  The socialist nincompoops that still argue we should not be fracking are thermodynamic and economic idiots.  Even Dr. Moniz called the fracking of shale a boon to the US.  I say fracking saved our ass.

I had written a few months back about a Green Gringo in Seattle who has over 100,000 miles on his Nissan Leaf.  That guy did his part by tapping into the grid that has pretty low carbon emissions due to the large amount of hydroelectric power in the Northwest.    Elon Musk claims he will open up his patents on his gangrene Tesla which hogs lithium and really is not a green vehicle.  I think this is a marketing ploy by Tesla as their sales have already declined in the USA year over year and smaller EVs such as the Leaf are gaining market share.  Inside EVs dot com reports Tesla US sales  have dropped like a stone from 8,700 last year for the first five months to only 5,600 this year.

The Leaf has picked up sales with 10,389 vehicles sold year to date versus 7,614 last year.  Elon may think he should share his patents but Nissan does not really need his help.  The Model S has been one of the fastest flops in terms of model sales in the US.   The Mitsubishi I MiEV is another flop.   Elon has buoyed his stock price by hyping the Giga Battery factory that I call the giggle battery factory as it is a joke.  Don’t get me wrong the Model S is an engineering marvel and is the electric Aston Martin but there is only a limited market for that type of car and Tesla will not be the VW of EVs and the giggle factory is a joke.

The PV project I worked on in Chile is up and running and has taken the equivalent of over 40,000 cars off the roads in carbon emissions savings.    Since its introduction in 2012, the total sales of the Tesla Model S has only been 25,900 vehicles in the US.  We also know that an EV does not replace a  full ICE car by reducing CO2 emissions as the grid has CO2 emissions.  Perhaps a half a car is replaced by the Tesla Model S, meaning all Elon has done to date in the US is replace one third of the cars the Green Machine did with part time consulting gig to a Chilean mining company for the PV project in the Atacama.  The Green Machine wins hands down with one hand tied behind his back.  Actually my arm is out of the sling and my broken collar bone is healed and I am now fighting fit to take on the BLOOMDOGGLERs


  1. As you point out you have to go back to the grid to look at carbon dioxide savings from EVs. An EV gets 3 miles per kw-hr. If you go back to the power plant and look at losses in producing electricity, transmission to the car battery, and AC to DC conversion, a car gets about 1 kw-hr. per mile. Since a gallon of gas has 36 kw-hr. energy content; the EV is getting 36 mpg equivalent. The actual car is small and heaver due to battery weight. An IC powered car like EVs would easily get 40 mpg. If you had a hybrid you might get 50 mpg.

    James Rust

    1. Prof Rust. U need to talk to Lindsay's friend - Vic.

      I totally agree with your assessment and I'm a Physician not an Engineer.

  2. The reaction to Iraq says it all. Currently, the USA only gets oil from the Kurdish fields any way and Shale derived gas and oil makes the US Energy Independent and a NET EXPORTER. So, why not let Iraq disintegrate into its NATURAL POLITICAL BORDERS???. Because the Iraqi Kurds will finance the Turkish Kurds and the Iranian Kurds and result in an INDEPENDENT KURDISTAN. This will break up a NATO Ally, Turkey. AND PUTIN COULD INTERVENE TO STABILIZE RUSSIA AS HE HAS IN THE UKRAINE. Oil wise, China was the main beneficiary of the Oil fallout from toppling Saddam Hussein. ALL IN ALL, THE US BY ITSELF CANNOT GREEN THE WHOLE PLANET - THE RISE IN OIL PRICES ON THE FUTURES MARKET AMPLY DEMONSTRATE THAT. CHINA IS THE BIG BULL IN THE SHOP NOW, NO LONGER THE USA. CHINA DOESN'T EVEN NEED TO FLEX ONE SINGLE MILITARY MUSCLE, SAVING THEM TONS OF CASH. A totally different OBJECTIVE AND GLOBAL Energy use Policy is needed. And we haven't even got talking about the Indians in this equation.

  3. Russia borders every territory in this region, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY.

  4. James an David great comments. The US EPA lies about the MPGe of EVs so neophytes like Dr P. Buy Elons hype