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A New Analysis That Will Not Make BeGreen Happy

Post in 'The Green Room' started by BrotherBart, Jul 16, 2006.

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  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    On the way back from buying my Energy Star electric range and dishwasher, both died last week within hours of each other, I heard an interesting factoid on the radio.

    Seems that with the jump in gas prices high gas mileage cars are holding their value while SUV values are dropping like a rock. The guy that did the analysis says it has reached the point where you can buy a nice used SUV cheap enough to offset, and more, the difference in gasoline cost to operate it for a long time.

    <ducking under the desk>

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  2. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    geez, BB, do you have a death wish? Like waving a red flag in front of a bull, like running with scissors, like saying you are a Republican on Hearth.com ;-P
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see any problem with this. Anyone with 1/2 a brain knows that they are not going to take big SUV's and melt them down! So, there is probably little difference made by selling it cheap and buying a high mileage car. The problem was that folks bought them in the first place...now, they have to be used at least until the end of their standard life.

    This is one of the interesting dilemas. If I sell my large house and buy a smaller one, then someone is buying my house and using as much or more energy than I do. Same with the car.

    This is why I always keep harping on the big picture - CAFE standards, better efficiency, higher energy taxes, new technologies. Certainly, a single person can make a little bit of difference by conserving - but the big picture is how we all do when put together.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Republicans don't plunge toilets. They have illegal aliens do that for them. :coolgrin:
  5. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    ohhhh nice one. :snake:
  6. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    but do I hafta pay them minimum wage?
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No worry BB. There's always a sucker at a white elephant sale. I'll be smiling at them across the gas pump on that rare occasion when I'm filling the Prius.
  8. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    This is one I've been laboring over for a while...

    We've been driving a 10yr old Explorer with 165K on it, knowing it might go another 5 days or another 5 yrs. It does great for occasional long haul with kid/dog/christmas presents, etc, or pulling a small trailer. But it gets about 15 in town and 20 hwy.

    About the best alternatives we've found are the Legacy and Passat wagons, each of which get about 22/30, but are rare in the used market (in the US-dominated midwest). Based on our usage (4000 town, 4000 hwy), we'd be saving about 150 gallons/yr, but lose at least some of the trailering functionality, and maybe the AWD, which is useful out here.

    Also, people are unloading them fast. 12-14K gets a 2002 or newer with about 50K on it, and likely more bells and whistles. And while there might be more repairs (FORD stands for something, after all), anybody can do them.

    That's several thou less than the comaparable used legacy or passat, and dramatically less than a new one of either. So how long does it take to pay off the difference? Not that long if we start rationing, but quite a while (in car yrs) at $3/gal.

    Steve
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Wasting energy is a shameful thing. Like BG says, don't take the bait--it's about more than your personal bottom line.
  10. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Aren't you Eric Johnson, of the 10 cord a year wood boiler Johnsons?

    Steve
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    More like 15 cords a year, Steve.

    I don't consider burning a renewable resource that benefits the forest when you remove it to be wasteful.

    Not the same as driving a Suburban when you could accomplish the same thing with a Saturn, at any rate.

    Wood and oil aren't even in the same energy category. Thought you'd understand that one, Steve.
  12. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    steve, you might consider a malibu maxx. 22/30 mpg with a 1000lb trailer rating.
    thanks
    bruce
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, wood surely puts out a lot more pollution per BTU created. And the problems we have are not just about energy, but about the waste products from it also.

    Never saw the Gore movie, but the wife brought home the book (same presentation) from the library so I paged through it. One comparison that got me thinking is that our breathable atmosphere is VERY small. The book mentioned, given a desk globe, the atmosphere would be about the thickness of the coat of varish on it!

    All these questions are so difficult. If you were going to scrap the Explorer and buy a car with double the mileage, then it might make sense....but passing it on to someone else who might drive it 3X as much as you....I don't see the savings.

    In other words, just because I leave NYC or Philly and come up to the hills, does not change the fact that NYC and Philly exist, nor does it change the output of the pollution there. I think it's more like we are all little ants in the colony, and we need a group effort and group change in behavior to really turn things around. It actually has been done....many of our rivers and much or our air is cleaner than in the last 50 years.....this does not include Greenhouse gases, though.

    BTW, the news this morning said they were going to start turning poultry rederings (chicken fat) into biodiesel. This presents a new problem to the vegetarians among us.

    More trivia - William Clay Ford, Jr. - Ford CEO, is a vegetarian (good article about him in the NYT).
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's why environmentalists like Gore resist managing the Western forests to prevent wildfires. I guess that's because fire is "natural" and you sure don't want to upset the natural balance. You don't read much about the negative health/environmental effects of the annual western wildfire season. You do hear a lot about million dollar homes being in jeopardy.

    I'll take the truly negligible effects of my rural wood burning over the catastrophic environmental effects of oil/gas exploration, extraction, transportation and use, any day of the week. If you (and Al Gore) are worried about the effects of wood smoke on human health and the planet, how about lobbying for intelligent management of our National Forests?

    I'm a vegetarian also, BTW. I don't think that necessarily makes me a good guy.
  15. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Sure, wood and oil aren't in the same category, but they are both energy, and building materials, and a few other things.

    That's 3 or 4 yrs worth of heat to me, but you've made some decisions. The value of the wood is less than the investment you have in the furnace and the convenience of loading a boiler twice a day in a basement (as opposed to 4 or 5 times in the living room). Hell, you might be able to deduct it as a business expense. But if you could heat with 4 or 5 cord in a different unit you're wasting energy. Cutting/hauling/splitting probably burn gas. And from a CO2 emissions standpoint, we'd be better off if that cut wood rotted in a hole.

    We actually make a serious effort to 'right size' the vehicle to the task - several days a week carpooling in a VW Golf TDI. When we have to drive separately I usually drive my MGB (25-30mpg) and wife drives the TDI. We only use the Explorer to tow, haul more than 2 adults and a car seat, or drag a bunch of stuff around for vacations or something. So we don't drive a suburban [ever, or even an explorer] when a vw will do.

    But we mostly do that because of the bottom line. If gas were free, we probably wouldn't do that.

    If the wood were free, maybe I'd think of it differently, but I don;t have enough land to even come up with more than a cord or so a yr in perpeturity, meaning there's a dollar value with every cord I burn. Whether it's gas to scrounge (in the 1993 F150 [about 16mpg all the time]), time and gas to cut/split, or $100/cord to have it dumpd in my yard.

    So we're wasting different forms of energy, but we're both wasting energy. Energy content of the 'extra' 10 cords - 128 million BTU; the 'extra' 150 gallons - 17.25 million BTU.

    That was a somewhat labored way of saying it's not that I'm not thinking about it, but it might also be possible that a used explorer is a better choice in my case, and a wood furnace a better choiuce in your case.

    Steve
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    And, in the Ford case, that doesn't mean he can save the company! The mention in the article was only when they went on a retreat and he was in charge of the brown rice! Taking it to the Gore movie/book, they do mention that it is one of the small things you can do to save a lot of fuel and greenhouse gases.

    I think this (Gore, etc.) goes to prove that no one is perfect - and we are all hypocrites. Surely, Gore lives in a house built with lumber from the managed forests (like most of us do).

    The important thing here is not "who is cool" and who isn't, but rather that we are asking the questions at all. That's where I have to hand it to both Forum participants and Gore. A lot of people have seen the movie and are taking small steps....that is good, whatever we think of Gore.

    I don't think there are many people, especially politicians, in the world that WOULD meet our standards......seems if we find one that does 80% good things and 20% bad things (in our opinion), we say "off with his/her head".
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    tru.dat

    An endless supply of free wood has warped my perspective, but in my case I don't consider it wasteful to burn a lot of wood. It's inconvenient and labor-intensive, but not wasteful.

    No gas for the splitter because I do it all by hand.

    I like the idea of using the vehicle appropriate to the task at hand. Hopefully we'll all be doing more of that in the future.
  18. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Yea, we looked at that, but GM somehow managed to design a v6 with a lower tow rating than a subaru 4-cyl, and onlys slightly more luggage (seats up) space than my VW golf (about 2/3 as much as the subaru and passat).

    At least they beat the imports on price...

    Steve
  19. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    At least they beat the imports on price…
    and fuel economy (22/30 vs 23/28)
    and hp (201@5600 vs 173@6000)
    and torque (166@4400 vs 221@3200)
    etc
    etc
    etc
  20. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Yea, but I need the cargo cubes and I'd like the towing ability. AWD is a definite pro as well.
    I could take an extra second or two getting to 60 in the family wagon.

    The towing thing is baffling (based ont he performance numbers you posted), unless there just aren't any decent anchor points for the hitch.

    Ironically, I find what I might be looking for is a modern equivalent of an '92 cutlass ciera mid-size wagon. v6 preferred. Anybody got one? 28 mpg hwy, 41 cu. ft. luggage, and optional 3rd row. 0-60 with an egg timer, but if all you're doing is getting to 70 and hitting cruise for 4 or 5 hrs, who cares how fast you get up to 70?

    Steve
  21. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    steve,i think the rear suspension is the limiting factor on the low trailering rating.
  22. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Yesterday traveling I-95 I was experimenting at different travel speeds
    At 65 the speed limit everbody passed me I pass no one in 10 miles
    70 again I was constantly being passed I passed no one
    75 going along decent but not making up any ground on anybody in front still being passed. I may have passed one other car but hard to tell as it only merged.

    I quit at 80. I seemed to be keeping up with traffic even passed a few cars But it was like 5 to one passed me to me passing anyone else. back down to 70 the expirment is done just as I thought n not too much fuel effecient driving

    On Block Island an island off the coast of RI 15 miles from the ferry location. The island is about 2or 3 miles wide and 13 miles long
    Never seen so many cars in such a small place other than cities.. I mean one cottage has 7 cars parked in the front yard and lawn only 1/4 mile from the center??? All cars arive via ferry.. the streets are narrow barely 2 lanes whole island has 25mph speed limit
    yet once you get out of the down town even the mopeds are speeding. Mopeds rentals are like 6 to one for every bicycles. As me and the wife peddle one notices the real anoying sound as the pass then that two cycle exhaust fumes The biggest trafic jam was in front of the only gas station purchasing gas at $4.29 Finally on the back roads I saw a cordwood pile. Boy one would really have to scrounge for wood here most is low bushes. The best time to enjoy these islands is after or before peak seasons
    Docked are boats in the
    $1/4 and up mill class. Looking around there there is no hint of an energy crisis or fuel effeciency is not on anyones radar and noticable a lot of hummers. I don't think many participate here on hearth.com, in the green room. How can one educate so many self serving self centered people?
  23. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    If memory serves, Adolph Hitler was also a vegetarian........but I dont understand the relevance here of commenting on our diets versus burning gas and wood, abeit with extreme inefficiency.
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Vegitarians are great. We need more of them. Helps hold the price of beef down a little for the rest of us!
  25. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Glen beck just said "china's coal consumption next year will go up by a trillon metric tons, thats the same as emmissions from 30 billion ford expeditions"
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