Smc Newsletter September 06


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Smc Newsletter September 06

  1. 1. Volume 1, Number 9, – September 2006 People you should con- Getting Around—The Future of Transportation tact about peak oil: We’re very fond of transporta- for business on cheap, reliable •Senator Barbara Boxer tion lately, and we’re very depen- transportation. What will we do if tact/email/policy.cfm dent on it. We drive to work, the transportation that supports •Senator Dianne Feinstein school, soccer practice, the mar- them becomes unaffordable? ket, the mall, the movies, out to In the USA, oil use for transporta- stein/email.html dinner and to the doctor—even to tion is immense: more than 10 mil- •Congressman Sam Farr go do our exercise. We drive or lion barrels a day. Much of that is 1221 Longworth House Of- fice Building fly for vacations and family visits used for private vehicles carrying Washington, DC 20515 and to go on business trips. one person. There are about 210 (202) 225-2861 Though we may feel our cars million cars and light trucks in the FAX (202) 225-6791 give us a lot of independence, US, and they can only be replaced they make us dependent on a lot at enormous cost, and over an ex- •Governor Arnold Schw… of things that will be letting us tended time: a little over four trillion •President George Bush down soon--like faltering oil pro- dollars, if you figure about $20k per duction. unit, and something like 14 years— In addition to transporting our- maybe more. If we don’t start mak- selves and our families and ing substantial efficiency improve- Thanks to all those who have friends, we transport everything ments before oil production begins contributed help and funds to SMC we buy: winter berries flown in dropping, the energy to build what from South America, manufac- efficient replacements are built will tured goods shipped from China have to compete for scarce fuel and the rest of east Asia, etc. with concurrent transportation. Our food travels an average of Of course, cars can be driven about 1500 miles from farm to ta- more efficiently: Never go past ¾ ble, and that’s mostly by truck. throttle. Reduce maximum speed, Our local tourist trade and agri- plan ahead to reduce the need for culture are both highly dependent braking, and don’t follow closely. UPCOMING EVENTS September 6: Video--Sustainability 101: warming Arithmetic, Population and Energy, Sept. 25: Environmental Justice Tour at Café Stravaganza (Humanists) CSUMB Education Center at 6pm Sept. 10th, 17th, 24th quot;Tomorrow Mat- September 28: End of Suburbia at CV tersquot; on KRXA 540 AM, 2 to 3 pm. Chapel September 14: SMC Discussion Group: October 5: SMC Discussion Renewable En- “Transportation Alternatives” Thursday, ergy 6:45-8:30, Monterey Youth Ctr. October 7: Sustainability and Solar Fair at September 16: Sea Studios and Aquari- Carmel Middle School um film and discussion forum on global November 9: Discussion Economics Mission: To ensure an orderly transition through the fossil fuel decline by co- operatively developing a sustainable economy for Monterey County.
  2. 2. SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY The Thermodynamics of Cycling Probably the most efficient way of moving a person over land from one place to another is the bicycle. It’s not very HOW DO practical on snow or ice and it’s not much fun in the rain— CONVENTIONAL but it uses very little fuel. And it could be improved quite CARS WASTE a bit. ENERGY? • To properly compare a gasoline-burning car with a flab-burn- ing bicycle, we need a way of comparing energy for energy. Besides being vastly bigger and Pierre says a gram of oil yields about 10 kilocalories of heat heavier than they need to be for when burned. Since there are about 2800 grams of oil in a gal- the numbers they usually carry, lon of gasoline, it should give about 28000 kilocalories of they: heat. • • Throw away all the energy The calories consumed while bicycling vary by weight and it takes to get them up to speed. A small person riding slowly on the level will consume speed, every time they about 30 kilocalories (usually referred to as “calories” when stop. talking about diet) per mile. A heavy person riding fast in • Waste the energy it takes hilly country might consume 70 calories per mile. • to climb a hill in braking So a car getting 20 miles per gallon uses about 1400 kilocalo- during the descent. ries per mile, while an average person riding a bicycle might • Take in air through a throt- consume only 50, or about 1/28th as much. • tle valve at low pressure, So what’s wrong with a vehicle that gets 28 times better fuel heat it and expand it, then economy than a car? The aerodynamics are awful, the brakes pump the greater volume still convert your hard-earned kinetic energy into low-grade at higher pressure through heat, and not everyone is an athlete who wants to arrive at a muffler. work all sweaty. • • Idle while sitting in traffic. Maybe the ideal would be a very light recumbent bicycle or • Use too large engines run- tricycle with a sleek aerodynamic shell, regenerative braking ning at sub-optimal effi- (stores braking energy for later use), and a very small, efficient ciency. motor (electric or diesel or?). • It’s not out of the question to get over 1000 miles per gallon in a single-person motorized vehicle (especially if supplemented by pedal, sun or wind), in fact, it’s been done. What is Peak Oil? Peak Oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil 'production,' meaning extraction and refining (currently about 84 million barrels/day), has grown in most years over the last century, but once we go through the halfway point of all reserves, production becomes ever more likely to decline, hence 'peak'. Peak Oil means not 'running out of oil', but 'running out of cheap oil'. For soci- eties leveraged on ever increasing amounts of cheap oil, the consequences may be dire. Without signifi- cant successful cultural reform, economic and social decline seems inevitable. –Energy Bulletin
  3. 3. SUSTAINABLE MONTEREY COUNTY WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN CARS, TRUCKS AND PLANES? The best alternative to our cur- If we just improved automotive gas mileage, rent transportation system is less wouldn’t that solve the problem? transportation. Telecommuting, Consider that the number of new cars purchased each year economic relocalization, and in- is about 8% of the number on the road, while the number tak- creasing the density and functional en out of service is about 6% of the fleet; the number on the diversity of communities would road grows about 2% per year. So, what would happen if the make transport less necessary. average car, starting tomorrow, were to get 25% better Next would be switching to more mileage than the current fleet? The aggregate fuel consump- efficient modes of transportation: tion of the new cars coming in would be 75% of 8% of the to- buses, trains, bicycles or walking tal for all cars, or 6%, while the cars removed from service instead of cars; trains and ships in- would likely have an aggregate consumption of—6%. So, by stead of trucks or airplanes. taking this radical and very unlikely step, we could just man- Lastly, we should make trucks age to hold the total fuel consumption of cars at what it is and cars and airplanes we continue now. How much would we need to improve fuel economy if to use as efficient as possible. the fuel available dropped at 4% per year? There’s no excuse for going to the mall carrying 7000 lbs. An airliner uses the same amount of fuel per passenger mile as a single-occupant car. So a 12000-mile vacation flight uses an average year’s auto fuel. Further Reading Peaking of World Oil Production… The Oil Drum Energy Bulletin Oil Addiction: The World in Peril, Pierre Chomat Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, David Goodstein Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage, Kenneth Deffeyes The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, Richard Heinberg SMC Gift Selection Please Donate Now Thank you for contributing to Sustainable Monterey County—beyond Peak Oil. As an organization dedicated to pro- viding free education and outreach to our community we rely on the generous support of friends and donors. We op- erate on 100% donations. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of $50 or more. $50 Hosts a discussion group meeting $75 Covers monthly printing costs $120 Annual Helper = $10 a month $240 Supporter = $20 a month $365 Annual Supporter = $1 a day $500 Hosts one show of “Tomorrow Matters” KRXA 540 Am (starts September 10th 2 PM) $1,000 Benefactor $5,000 Sponsor $ _________ (other) I wish to remain anonymous. Please make donations payable to “Action Council of Monterey County”, with SMC in the tag line. Make sure your return address is clear; we will process your donation and mail you an acknowledgement receipt for your tax records. Do not send cash in the mail. Mail to SMC P.O. Box 4060, Monterey, CA 93940 SMC respects the privacy of our donors; we do not sell, trade or rent our donor lists.
  4. 4. Director’s Note CONTACT There have been several times when I have seriously considered go- INFORMATION ing car-free. The first time was when I was in Southern California and the U.S. was invading Iraq. I thought, quot;That's it! I will not participate in MARK FOLSOM: this petroleum culture any longer! No one is going to go to war and die Phone: 831 648 1543 so I can drive my car around.quot; But I talked myself out of it: quot;How will I get the kids to school, camp, E-Mail: folsomman@red- the ocean, Grandma's? The transit system here is terrible.quot; So, I kept driving. Then recently I went to preview a movie called quot;Crude Impactquot; by Vista Clara Films (see the trailer at, and I learned more about the global impact of oil extraction on poor communi- Steering Committee Members ties in Ecuador and Nigeria. During the movie, I thought to myself, quot;I'm Deborah Lindsay, Director deb@sus- never getting in a car again. Can't make me, I just won't do it.quot; But then I start thinking...quot;Well, I'm in San Francisco, by the Embarcadero at 11:00 at night--how will I get to my friend’s house in Noe Valley? How Ruth Smith, 831-620-1303 will I get home to Monterey?quot; The excuses began again, and I realized I Committee Chair and Budget Chair think like a crack addict. I might as well just roll my sleeve up and inject Virginia Chomat, petroleum into my arm. I'm hooked, in fact, I'm more than hooked, I'm Secretary and Co-treasurer downright dependent on the stuff! I cannot live without my beloved, fab- Pierre Chomat, ulous, priceless car! To heck with the folks dieing for oil and the kids rid- Resident Expert dled with cancer because toxic waste is dumped into their drinking wa- Mark Folsom, ter from oil production runoff. I'll just block those thoughts out of my Newsletter Editor, mind. I'll just rationalize all my good work in this world as a free pass to using fossil fuels. I'm only using a little. I'm entitled. I'm busy. George Wilson, 831-372-0659 And so it is, I've given myself quot;permissionquot; to keep driving. Me, Miss Committee Evaluation Coordinator Peak Oil and Do-Goodie Two Shoes. I'm a hypocrite and I'm sick inside Denyse Frischmuth, because somewhere in there a piece of me is dieing too. Dieing from 831-643-0707 too much exposure to pesticides, too many pharmaceuticals, too many Volunteer Coordinator and Urban Envi- cans of tuna, too many haunting pictures of the kids surviving in horrific ronmental Accords Coordinator conditions, and too much of nature, my world, becoming extinct before Robert Frischmuth, my very eyes. Co-Treasurer The best I can say is that I'm weaning myself away from the car. I'm Program Heads, breaking old habits and I'm slowing down. What is so important that I Annette Chaplin, have to agree to the terms of a contract that is riddled with destruction? 831-372-8725 Maybe the trip isn't even worth it, maybe I should just stay home and Sustainable Pacific Grove work on my garden--it's a more prudent use of my time and in the long Linda Parker, run will probably serve me better and it will certainly serve humanity. I phone # 831-656-0664 hope I have the courage. --Deborah Big Sur Powerdown Newsletter Design by Can Existing Cars Be Made More Efficient? Yes. How?? Adrienne Allen They might be retrofitted--Throttling losses consume a lot of power when an engine is un- der light load. BMW solved the problem and improved mileage 15% by using valve lift and timing to control engine output and eliminated the throttle. Operating engines away We’re on the Web! from their peak efficiency makes them consume excess fuel. High-efficiency continuously See us at: variable transmissions have been shown to increase the fuel economy of an SUV by about 20%. Energy involved in braking is dissipated as useless waste heat. A US auto manufacturer has tested a hydro-pneumatic accumulator system that can store braking groups/monterey energy and return 98% of it for the next acceleration. Such a system might be added to existing cars by putting a hydraulic pump/motor on your driveshaft and a pressure tank in your trunk. Such retrofits might help but neither they, nor any other single solution will be sufficient for the whole task.