Wednesday, May 5, 2010

BP Oil spill continues to grow, threatens Louisiana's entire way of life

Ever since April 20th  when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, claiming 11 lives of the coast of Louisiana, over 210,000 gallons of crude oil has been spewing into the waters from the seabed some 5,000 feet below. The extreme depth of the well is problematic in getting getting it capped, shut off or even allowing BP to capture the oil as it exits the pipe. So far efforts to stop the flow have been futile and estimates of 90 days to get it stopped keep surfacing. If indeed is is another 90 days, simple math will tell you that this spill has the potential to be twice as large a spill as the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 when 10.8 million gallons of crude spilled into the Prince Island Sound in Alaska. Compound that with the fact that nobody died when the Valdez spill occurred and it's beginning to look like this is going to be the worst oil spill the United States have ever had occur.

The really terrible thing about oil spills is that the affected ecosystems can take decades to recover. We can't just force BP to hire thousands of workers to clean up all the oil soaked beaches and rocks and then proclaim 'it's fixed". The oil can wreak havoc on the entire food chain from plankton up to whales. This delicate balance isn't easily or quickly repaired and may take decades for the ocean to come back to life in the region. So much of the area's economy depends on the fishing industry and tourism, both of which may be in complete ruin within the coming weeks.

When I first started researching electric cars, I did so for a couple reasons. First, I like new technology. I liked the fact that auto makers were exploring a new propulsion system that would be the biggest change in the automobile industry since there even was an automobile industry. Secondly, I believe know that America needs to move in a new direction with energy generation. We simply cannot continue down the current unsustainable path we are on. The price we pay for oil it too high. I'm not talking about the $2.85/gallon you pay at the pump because that only tells a small part of the story. I'm talking about the millions billions trillions of dollars we, the tax payers pay to protect our "oil interests" around the globe. I'm talking about the American kids that come back from the Middle East in boxes because we need to make sure the oil keeps flowing our way for as cheap as possible. I'm talking about the absolute disasters that ocurr when an oil tanker runs aground or an oil rig explodes and sinks and millions of gallons of crude oil contaminate and destroy everything in it's path and leave behind the stench of death for decades.

Using electricity as a fuel to propel automobiles will not cure all of our energy ills. Much of the electricity produced here in the US is done so by burning coal and there is nothing clean or nice about the mining process or burning it but it is still way less detrimental to the environment than the process of drilling, refining and burning oil is. Plus, all of the coal we use in mined domestically so we're not sending trillions of dollars out of our economy to foreign countries, many of which hate us. 

Then there's the fact that individuals have the ability to generate their own clean, renewable electricity right at their own homes and you can never say that about oil. As much as it pains me to read the news about this oil disaster in the Gulf, if there is a bright side I think it's going to open more eyes and help others agree that we need a new domestic energy policy. One that lessons the reliance our oil and there is no quicker way to accomplish that than beginning to transition from gasoline burning vehicles to electrics.

10 comments:

  1. Nice job. So true

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  2. The oil industry isn't going to go away that easily. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure they have the backing of governments. How much money do you think President Obama took from the oil lobby? Only weeks before this disaster he approved more offshore drilling. He's a bright guy, why would he expose the country to the possibility of another incident like this? The oil lobby is the most powerful and influential entity in the world. We need to let our elected officials know we are sick of this and will vote them out of office unless the country focuses on a new energy plan that reduces the use of oil. We can do it with expanding our use of wind and solar electric generation as well as increased use of natural gas. Electric cars alone can cut our dependency on oil in half if we focus on better battery technologies and energy storage advancements.

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  3. It's going to take decades to break the grip of oil dependency but electric cars will be a big step in the right direction. We need to wake up and demand more from our politicians on this subject. Right now all I hear is lip service about clean energy and reducing our dependency on foreign oil. I'm buying the first Nissan Leaf I can get my hands on. I'll deal with the limited range. I don't want to use oil or gasoline anymore and I'll make sacrifices if I have to.

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  4. Tom,

    Not that I am trying to swell your head or anything.... but buddy, the Head of BMW Dr. Norbert Reithofer, just featured you and this blog in his reposrt.

    https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/pressclub/p/us/pressDetail.html?outputChannelId=9&id=T0080185EN_US&left_menu_item=node__2203

    Keep on writing, the world is reading.

    Cheers
    Peder

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  5. A lot of people share your views on this.

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  6. E-cars are the quickest way to a serious reduction in oil consumption. However getting the majority of the public on board will be challenging in the short term. People like you and the other mini e owners are doing a lot of good in helping to make the cars seem less different than conventional cars and this will speed up their acceptance. Once cars like the nissan leaf are on the roads then even more people will begin to accept and even want one.

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  7. Thank for the link Peder! Pretty cool he brought me up in the speech. Shouldn't I be getting some kind of royalty or something for that? ;)

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  8. A just and right reward would be for you (us) to get to keep our mini-E's at the end of the program :)

    I'd love to lease an Active -E and buy my Mini-E for a pioneer price.

    Cheers
    peder

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  9. We can each do our small part by driving electric cars. As individuals we help can break the grip of big oil in our own lives. In time others will follow our example.

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