• Oct 21st 2013 at 1:57PM
  • 19
Sometimes, you just need some simple pictures to prove your point. If you're the Union of Concerned Scientists and you want to let people know that "we can half it" (oil use, that it) by supporting more electric cars and biofuel use, then a couple of bright infographics might do the trick.

In the first, UCS points out that it costs $3.45 to drive 100 miles on electricity, and $13.52 on gasoline and, if EV sales continue to rise to the point where they make up 40 percent of all new vehicles sold in the US, we could save nearly 1.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2035. In the second infographic, the issue is better biofuel. UCS says that, by 2035, we could potentially use 610 million dry tons of biomass resources (400 million from energy crops and 210 million from waste and residues). The target is 40 billion gallons of sustainable cellulosic biofuel made annually by, again, 2035. As you can probably guess, the UCS' target for cutting our oil use in half is 2035.

You can see bigger versions of each infographic here (EVs) and here (biofuels). For more details on the UCS's plan, announced in 2012, read this and check out the UCS Half The Oil site.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      raktmn
      • 8 Months Ago
      No maniacs, just normal folks with a healthy sense of humor. The cost of a solar array depends so much upon where you live, that it is impossible to name a price and make it stick. For example, a 4kW system in Seattle would require more solar panels (and inverters, racks, etc) than a 4kW system in Santa Fe. That is one variable. The slope and direction of your roof on your house will impact the cost of a 4kW system too. Having a tile roof or a tall roof increases costs. What state, local, federal, and power company incentives you might qualify for makes a huge difference. Local permitting fees also vary widely. Whether you are willing to do most of the install yourself makes a big difference. How hard you haggle with your contractor can make a huge difference. People I've talked to who have installed solar in my neighborhood have said that once they get an estimate, and tell the salesman they would shop around first, that the salesman chopped 1000's off the estimate. Whether you grid-tie or battery backup (or both) makes a big difference. Etc. You get the point. One of the crazy things about where I live, is that my local incentives are based upon current use. I can only build out to 125% of my current year's use. So I need to buy all my EV's and run them for a year before I install solar. Unfortunately, solar still requires a significant amount of research for your own location to work through these details.
      Marcopolo
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, I guess everyones entitled to a future prediction. But the UCS has a very unscientific view of the future. The UCS starts with a fixed proposition, (and shared philosophy) then sets to work to support their beliefs with 'scientific' evidence. This may be perfectly valid for lobbyists or a political parties, but it's hardly scientific ! But does that matter ? After all, if the UCS is accurate, does it matter how they arrived at this prediction ? Well, yes it does. UCS predictions include some pretty fanciful speculation. Despite hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, it's become obvious that bio-fuels can never be any more than expensive, unnecessary supplements, usually more environmentally harmful to the environment than the oil they replace. Bio-fuel enthusiasts, never calculate any real logistics into their optimistic estimates. Solar has real potential, but Solar generation, is only one half of a technology. Solar needs an equally adequate storage technology, to realize it's potential. However, the probability of a 'breakthrough'' technical advance in this area by 2035, is certainly not unrealistic. EV technology is already reducing gasoline consumption, along with more efficient ICE engines. But the fastest method of reducing gasoline/diesel consumption is the widespread use of GNG/LPG.
        Mart
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        First, the UCS doesn't call this a "prediction": It's a "plan" or method to achieve the goal of reducing US oil consumption by half by 2035. UCS also shows that the fastest method in place of reducing oil consumption is not a switch to methane, LPG, cellulosic ethanol, or electric drive, but improved efficiency.
          Marcopolo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Mart
          @ Mart Calling it a plan, assumes a degree of being able to be effected. But hey, let's call it a "plan" ! Let's see what sort of brilliant plan ;.... From the USC website: "A Plan to Cut Projected U.S. Oil Use in Half in 20 Years" " Increasing the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks. Unleashing the full potential of electric vehicles. Investing in the development of better, cleaner biofuels. Building smarter, more diverse transportation systems. It's all possible with technologies already available or just around the corner. " Brilliant ! Extraordinary ! Vague terms like "improved efficiency " " Technologies (unspecified) just around the corner " really shows vision ! You are right, is not a prediction, and it's certainly not a "plan" , it's just a vague wish list of the bleeding obvious. The UCS website is a little more than simplistic, idealistic, propaganda. What ever it offers, it's certainly not science !
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        They're less vague than what you're making them seem. You can view the methodology behind their plan here: http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/half-the-oil-methodology.pdf
          Marcopolo
          • 8 Months Ago
          @norfolknor Thank you for that link. However, if you notice the primary word the USC uses is ''assumption". Their method is then to calculate an entire scenario based on a set of assumptions, which may or may not be accurate, practical or achievable. Just saying ; "Better Biofuels : Baseline cellulosic ethanol and other biomass liquids: 0 gallons of ethanol equivalent , Half the Oil cellulosic ethanol and other biomass liquids: 38 billion gallons of ethanol equivalent" Is meaningless speculation. , Without being able to demonstrate any evidence that such production is feasible, and relying on the technology being" just round the corner ", its all just speculation and "assumptions".
      EZEE
      • 8 Months Ago
      I imagine, standing on some street corner, when a parade of people in EV's drive by, all laughing like maniacs, then pulling into some bank. The bankers look from behind the blinds and quickly lock the doors as the laughing maniacs approach. Hey - diffrunt question (I just like how he spells it) any idea how much it costs to install a solar array for an average sized house now?
      diffrunt
      • 8 Months Ago
      Gas prices will fall, electric bills will rise , because oil fired powered plants are replacing nukes.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        Not only is that factually-wrong (no one is building oil fire power plants!), that statement is not even self-consistent because more oil-fired plants would mean more oil-burning and thus rising gas prices (because it is made from oil).
          Nick Kordich
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          To underline Spec's point: there are 104 nuclear power stations in the US, 13 in development and 5 more under evaluation. There are 25 oil-fired power stations at last check, though they're going quick. Here's one being imploded in Florida to make way for a natural gas-fired plant that will generate 90% less CO2 and should be cleaner in other ways. The estimated direct cost savings over the next 30 years is $400 million: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/07/130716-florida-power-plant-demolition/
        raktmn
        • 8 Months Ago
        @diffrunt
        There will be more than plenty enough global demand for oil for decades to keep oil prices high in the US, even if 50% of us go electric. Have fun being a slave to global oil price spikes as tho oil market just gets more and more volatile as nations like India and China start driving cars at higher and higher rates. EV buyers are also much more likely than typical gas car buyer to install solar, wind, or buy other green sources of electricity. So EV owners are more likely to see their electric bills go down between now and 2035. Have fun with your own electricity bills. Owners of EV's with Solar power on their roofs will be laughing straight to the bank.
      brotherkenny4
      • 8 Months Ago
      The union of concerned scientist should discuss the fact that most decisions don't involve a rational decision making process, but rather involves the desires of those that fund the politicians. It matters not what is best, it matter what is best for those with the money. Look at all the lies still being propogated through media outlets and by "leaders". Do these concerned scientists step up and correct the falsehoods, no they do not. The scientists cannot be considered honest themselves when they are incapable of confirming the reality with regards to the likelyhood that this could happen under the current political situation. We have not had a coherent approach to energy ever. So why do they think we will now? They seem either out of touch with reality or too worried about their own ability to keep their soft cushy positions supporting the status quo. Pretty much like most frightened and cowed Americans really. So, why would we listen?
        mylexicon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        UCS are the lobbyists. We can cut our oil consumption in half by purchasing the current generation Prius. This is a commercial for the plug-in industry and biofuel companies. I don't mind that UCS are pushing a domestic alternative to oil, but given the current technological state of lithium ion batteries, car manufacturers can do a lot more with conventional hybrids. They can still develop battery technology as well.
          ElectricAvenue
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mylexicon
          So let me get this straight. I can buy a Prius for $24K (taking the base Prius as an example) or a Leaf SV (not the base model) for $24K and it makes sense for me to buy the Prius because... ? I sold my Prius because it burns too much fuel. Zero beats any amount.
          thecommentator2013
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mylexicon
          You can cut your oil consumption by even far more than half by buying Volts. I barely use fuel anymore.
          raktmn
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mylexicon
          Yea, with the 2014 Volt price cuts, it is harder and harder to justify a Prius. Some of the high volume Volt dealerships who have already sold out all the 2013's they could get their hands on, are now discounting 2014's. You can get a base Volt for $31-32K dollars (not including taxes). Subtract the $7500 federal rebate, and you are under the price of the current Prius. Subtract state rebates if you are lucky enough to have them, and you can be in the low 20's, or less. I guess if you really, really needed that 3rd seat in the back, the Prius would still make sense. Otherwise finding a high volume Volt dealer and negotiating a good deal seems to beat the pants off of buying a Prius. Prii are still cool though. They still work for folks who have no place to charge, and aren't willing/able to change where they live just to own an EV. There are also lots of used ones for folks who can't afford to buy any new car, regardless of drivetrain.
      mylexicon
      • 8 Months Ago
      Conventional hybrids can do more with less investment. No reason not to put a plug on them, I suppose, but no reason to weigh down the car with more batteries just for electric-only mode. New Prius is going to make 60mpg ($5 per 100 miles), and Toyota are still harvesting the relatively low-hanging fruit of thermal efficiency. The manufacturers are beginning to realize how easy it is to increase fuel economy, and how ridiculous they've been all of these years. I suppose biofuel isn't the end of the world, especially if they get rid of the corn ethanol subsidies that cause problems in the food markets.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mylexicon
        It is hard to compete with the lower cost of a conventional hybrid but if you have the money, why not buy a plug-in? You'll emit less pollution, emit less CO2, reduce the trade deficit, save more oil for future generations, and you can charge it up with your own PV array. One can't make the argument that the Tesla Model S is an economically cheap car . . . but it is a really cool car and a green car.
        raktmn
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mylexicon
        The 45 cent per gallon ethanol blender's tax credit ended on Jan 1, 2012. There are no direct subsidies for corn ethanol anymore.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X