Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting Off Oil

I enjoy watching TEDtalks on a semi-regular basis. I think of the TED video podcast as the Discovery channel of IPTV. Normally I find the TED talks to be uplifting and giving hope in a world where people like to delivery bad news. Today I watched a talk that at once gives hope, and at the same time brings frustration that its message is being ignored.

In this talk, Amory Lovins presents ways to get the US economy off of oil while turning a profit. Amory has also co-authored a book which will be going on my reading list, Winning the Oil Endgame.

There are a few items from the talk on which I want to find more research. 1) How well does carbon fiber respond to shock (in a crash for example). 2) The cost of carbon fiber compared to aluminum or other light weight materials.

Based on the example of a friend who put 365,000 miles on a medium sized SUV and figures he has paid around $50,000 on fuel for a $17,000 SUV, I calculated my fuel costs for my Accord. I have a 2004 Honda Accord that has nearly 75,000 miles on it. Getting 29mpg that means I've run about 2586 gallons of gasoline through it. With an average cost of around $2.75 a gallon that would work out to $7,112.07 on fuel. (And that doesn't count oil changes.)

Fuel costs are a little more than 29% of what I paid for the car in late 2003. Puts in perspective what kind of premium it would make sense to pay at the car lot to save money at the gas pump. (Since I bought the cheaper 4 cylinder model instead of the six; I saved money at the lot to save even more money at the pump!)

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