Earth Day may be celebrated today but should be recognized every day

Earth Day

Today (Friday, April 22nd) is Earth Day.  As many of you know, I drive an electric vehicle and based on my average mileage per day I save 1,209 gallons of gas per year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.38.23 PM

It’s not difficult to imagine how much we could save if others converted over to an electric vehicle too.  Tesla recently announced the Model 3 with some details around range and features.  The Model 3 starts at $35,000 and will have a range of at least 215 miles on a single charge.  They didn’t give a ton of detail, saving that for a second reveal as they get closer to production which is expected in late 2017 or early 2018.  Since the reveal, approximately 400,000 people have reserved a Tesla Model 3 (you can reserve one on Tesla’s site).

If each future owner drove on average of 37 miles a day (based on statistics from 2013, this is accurate) they would save 192,400,000 gallons of gas per year.  If we look at how that would impact our oil imports, we’ll need to do some math (yay math!).

In 2014, the United States imported approximately 7.3 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) of crude oil.  Refineries in the United States produced an average of about 12 gallons of diesel fuel and 19 gallons of gasoline from one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil in 2014. Many other petroleum products are also refined from crude oil so it’s not an easy comparison.  However, for simplicity sake I hope you’ll excuse the generalizations.  In this case let’s assume we could eliminate 19/42 of oil, or 45%, if we didn’t need the gasoline.

In order to produce the 192,400,000 gallons of gas per year, we utilize (192,400,000/19) 10,126,315 barrels of oil.  So, though 400,000 electric cars sounds impressive, we still need to progress much further to make an even bigger impact.  Luckily Tesla is happy to sell more than just those initial orders.  Plus, at $40/barrel, the United States would save over $405MM which could be used to provide additional funding to improve our renewable energy infrastructure or help promote additional usage and production of electric vehicles.  Either way, it’s a great step towards a goal of not only energy independence, but also making the Earth a better place to live.

It’s pretty common to hear how global warming is affecting our daily lives.

Coral bleaching at Australia's Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, in March 2016
Coral bleaching at Australia’s Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, in March 2016

In fact, March 2016 was not only the warmest March in recorded climate history, it was also the most unusually warm month of any month ever measured, breaking the record set in…. February 2016.  Yes, each month, for 11 months now, have been new records for global monthly temperature.  This is even more surprising when you consider that we’ve been keeping records since 1880.

I know there are some people who don’t believe in global warming and feel that it’s simply a normal fluctuation in the Earth’s temperature.  However, I ask them to consider the consequences of them being wrong versus scientists around the world being wrong.  If the scientists are wrong, then nothing bad will happen by converting over to renewable energy.  We’ll no longer be reliant on foreign countries for our oil and we’ll save a lot of money that could be spent here ($388,000,000,000 spent on imported oil in 2013).

If it’s true that the Earth is warming due to the increase of greenhouse gasses, the Earth will eventually become unlivable and the human race will become extinct.  So, hopefully the scientists are wrong – but just in case I don’t think it would hurt to try and make the Earth a cleaner place to live.

We Already Know 2016 Will Be the Warmest Year on Record – and It’s Only April

We can’t ignore the fact that in highly populated areas there’s an increase in smog related illnesses.  Take Beijing for example:

Cyclists wearing masks ride in heavy smog on December 7, 2015
Cyclists wearing masks ride in heavy smog on December 7, 2015

 

There are days that Beijing closes schools and restricts vehicles due to their smog issues – much of it caused by coal power plants (two-thirds of China’s overall energy comes from coal burning).  Whether the Earth is warming or not, this is not a healthy environment.  The conversion to renewable energy would prevent us from experiencing this in the future.

So, what are others doing for Earth Day?  Do you have anything special you are doing at home?  Leave a comment and let me know what you’re doing and by doing so perhaps you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Thanks for reading!

Shane

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