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Old 08-23-2011, 04:28 PM   #71
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I drive a prius. My wife drives a prius. When my wife bought her car gas was 2.50 a gallon. Now its 4.00 a gallon. When I bought mine it was 2.75 a gallon. At 50 mpg, how much $ have I saved in 200,000 miles x 2 cars? My guess is its about 7500$ each car not including a $7500 tax credit each car. Was it worth it? From a cost analysis... not at all. No Rv from a cost perspective is worth it either.

Face it! we all could fly to Paris each year and stay in the most expensive hotel and eat out for 2 weeks each year for way less then it costs us to own, mantain, fuel, insure, and pay licence fees for our RV. Why do we do it then? Because ,to us, its worth it. To most other Americans, we are just plumb crazy.

For me, its not about the saving but that I personally have a choice how to spend my money. I put CFLs in all my lights and have triple pane windows. I have ultra high SEER AC and a condensing furnace. I have R 60+ in my attic. I have a small solar array on the house. My utility bill was 68$ for a 3160 Square ft house. Why? Because even though I have a large house I try to be energy frugal. Doing energy management is not crazy. It saves money and finite resources. If we all changed all our old incandescent lights to compact CFLs we could take off line right now 30 coal fired co generation plants. Get it? a little x all us homeowners, goes a long way. So does gas usage. Trying new technology is the way of the future. Do you have a microwave oven? I'm guessing that 20 years ago you didn't. Did you know that device saves energy over heating by gas over a range? On average about 50% savings. That microwave sitting in your kitchen 30 years ago is todays volt. They will get better and as the benefits from battery technology rise, so does our enjoyment of life in an RV.
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:27 PM   #72
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I saw an interview with T. Boone Pickens who has a natural gas powered car (Honda) and he utilizes the household natural gas. It is very low pressure (around 6 psi as I remember) and he has to compress it up to somewhere around 1500 pounds to liquify and put into his vehicle. This takes about 6 hours for a full tank, but is a lots cheaper than buying it from a station. The compressor and computer that runs it are about $3,000 or so. I actually drove my RV into a natural gas filling station once out West by mistake. Gas works out well for fleet vehicle that work in town all day and go back to the yard to fill up. The gas companies have them frequently. I have heard it cost about $3,000 or so to convert a car engine from gasoline to natural gas. Definitely a great way to go if you don't want to take it on a trip.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:29 PM   #73
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Well, you are on the right track but there are a few inaccuracies. First, household natural gas comes in to the house at a pressure of 2 oz per square inch. IF you have a pump you can fill your car as quick as a gasoline pump, if not, it will trickle in overnight and fill your tank. Currently CNG at commercial stations in Oklahoma is running about $1.39 per gallon of gasoline equivilant and mileage therefore is roughly the same. The actual cost to convert runs almost $10,000 per vehicle and there is a government tax credit on a sliding scale beginning at about $7000 and going up depennding on the efficiency guarenteed by the installation company. Some companies are certified at a high enough level that the installation will qualify for a 100% tax credit, not a rebate but a credit. Chesapeke energy is subsidizing a string of commercial stations so that there will be stations (most already in place) all across Oklahoma in some of the same stations that sell gasoline and diesel. We are a long way from having the infrastructure in place to just drive anywhere and EXPECT that you can find CNG when you need it but with some planning you can go from Oklahoma city to Houston and back without problems. This is an alternative fuel that the United States has the largest supply of in the world, it is cheap and we CAN cut dependence on foreign oil. However, we are not there yet for the common family and it will take (in my opinion) a national committment and federal government leadership to make it a reality if it is to happen in a timely manner. IS this the answer, I do not know but it certainly could be a large contributor to a national energy policy and less dependence on foreign oil. It will be interesting to watch and see where it goes. One day our pushers may very well be CNG powered as Oklahoma State University has a fleet of 30 busses that are CNG powered running right now but a LOT of innovation and changes will have to take place before it can or will happen. If you wanted to do it presently you would loose all of your basement storage and have to plan very carefully to find it on your travels IF it could be done at all anywhere except here in the west, which is highly unlikely at present.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:58 PM   #74
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Thermal efficiencies of oil and coal-fired steam plants run in the lower to mid 30% range. Natural gas-fueled simple cycle gas turbine plants can be in the high 20% range for old design gas turbines but with more modern (higher firing temperature) industrial and aero-derivative gas turbines can approach 40%. In combined cycle gas turbine plants where the waste heat from the gas turbine is recovered and used to drive a steam turbine to generate additional electricity, thermal efficiencies can exceed 50%. Of course, none of these efficiencies reflect the transmission losses to get the power from the power plant through the grid to the point where recharging will be performed, the losses in the charging system itself and the losses in the battery/electric motor drive system in the electric vehicle.

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And on a good day, on a dyno, with optimum fuel and conditions, your non-turbo, reasonable compression ratio, internal combustion engine is about 30% - and that's just the motor before you start to subtract out all the driveline and other installation losses. Those deflectors all the trucking companies are running on the bottom of the trailers - good for about +3%. Bottom line is that when you talk the law of large numbers little efficiencies begin to add up.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:32 AM   #75
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If I was still working and had a dedicated commuter vehicle, I would seriously consider switching it over to CNG. I would think that an individual could have a compressor that would fill a home tank that could then be used to top off their vehicle as needed. That $1.39 is a huge incentive. I think if more people did this, the free market would make filling stations spring up. T.Boone Pickens idea of having trucks switch over would mean a lot filling stations around the country. I saw an internet video of a crash with a CNC car. The car was destroyed and the tank was untouched. I think the CNG is safer than gasoline. I guess CNG generators for 120 V would be standard on new RV with GNG. Unfortunately I don't see this comping from the government except by increasing pricing oil related products. I think presently the government seems to be anti natural gas.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:39 AM   #76
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That $1.39 is a huge incentive.
That $1.39/gallon equivalent is exclusive of federal and state fuel (road use) taxes, so it's really an apples-to-oranges comparison to compare $1.39/gallon to current pump prices for gasoline or diesel.

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:43 AM   #77
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So what would the total price be with all taxes included and no federal subsidies?
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:51 AM   #78
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That's a good question. The tax rates vary now between gasoline and diesel - diesel is generally subject to higher taxes (the EPA doesn't like diesel, and the states try to get more money for road maintenance from the big trucks).

So, it all depends whether or not the governments (federal and state) want to incentivize the use of natural gas or not. Taxes could range from zero to repressive - it all depends on the politicians.

By the way, the governments are trying to figure out ways to recapture the fuel tax revenue that's being lost to hybrids and electric vehicles as we speak. That's what is driving the mileage based tax discussions (we would pay a tax based on how many miles we drive per year).

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:23 AM   #79
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The point has been made that the electric car is in the "Beta Testing" stage at this point. Everyone who is driving one is taking part in "real world testing" of the design.

My guess is that it will be 15 - 20 more years before we can say it's a hit or a flop. The Stanley Steamer looked good on paper, but in the real world it had too many "cons" against it.

On the other hand, many people in the 1950's said that the new "Tubeless Tire" design was doomed to failure.

Speaking of beta testing, most of us are still doing that for Microsoft after 30 years.

You've got some great points, especially on the MS Beta testing.

One of my favorite sayings is that the purpose of a salesman is to sell something that doesn't work to someone that doesn't need it. Before our government got so entrenched in picking winners and loosers, the free market decided what worked and what didn't and gave those who needed it a chance to buy it. I can definitely see that there is a place for electric cars and many who would benefit from having them.

The problem comes, however, when things like electric cars become a "solution". For me ethanol is another "solution." Neither, in the short term, is going to do much towards the stated purpose of reducing the dependence of the US on imported oil.

There was no question for me that the space program, especially landing on the moon, produced a lot of by-products that have enriched our society and way of living. From computers to foodstuffs, most of us have personally benefited from the discoveries made. The space shuttle, on the other hand, never met its cost targets and it is difficult to see any drag along benefit that has occurred from it.

I'm a great believer in the free enterprise system. To the extent that we continue to subvert and attempt to bypass it, we end up spending a lot of our collective wealth on nothing. True enough, free enterprise brought us products like the Edsel but the free market place handled that as it should have. In free enterprise, there will always be winners and loosers. If the Volt is one of those winners, it will succeed. If it isn't, it won't. Propping it up with government funding or forcing the price of gas up to make it look more attractive is, at best, a short term solution.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:07 AM   #80
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Thank you so much for your reply, I suppose some folks would still rather be in the horse & buggy era. The way I look at it, you can't stand in the way of PROGRESS.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:18 AM   #81
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Thank you so much for your reply, I suppose some folks would still rather be in the horse & buggy era. The way I look at it, you can't stand in the way of PROGRESS.
I believe the point is, who is going to determine what constitutes progress, the government or the free market?

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Old 08-24-2011, 09:34 AM   #82
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i have a 2000 Chevy metro for my toad it to has a 9 gallon tank and will go about 450 to 500 miles per fill up ... it is also my commuter during the work week and works great for that although you need to drive defensive since it is so small and definitely don't want to be hit in it by a suburban or full size truck... these cars have been around for 20 years getting 50 to 60 miles to the gallon so it can be done if they want to ..... Yes they are far from a luxury car so one needs to take their pick on what they want luxury and high fuel costs or economy and less creature comforts i don't have a problem with either it all just ones choice.... Yes i also have a gas guzzling SUV and motorhome but i say enjoy life
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:48 AM   #83
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I believe the point is, who is going to determine what constitutes progress, the government or the free market?
If I have to pick, the government since they're elected by the people.

Nice to see a moderator not taking sides in a political discussion. It gives me faith that these forums are objectively moderated.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:24 AM   #84
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If I have to pick, the government since they're elected by the people.
On the other hand, the free market IS the people. If you, I and the other potential consumers buy it, the product succeeds. Conversely, if we DON'T buy it, it goes on the trash heap of history.

P.S. - I'm a retired (retarded?) moderator. Just a regular Joe now.

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