Old Car Guy Rambles

Posted by Rich Kushner on Mar 30, 2021 12:15:51 PM



I've been engaged in the automotive industry in one way or another for most of my life. At 15 years old, my first real job was pumping gas, washing cars, and helping keep Andy Long's Atlantic Filling Station in Shamokin, PA, clean and tidy and, of course, putting those little "Red Balls" on our customer's antennas. Remember the days when someone else put gas in your car, and the giveaways were abundant—no more Tiger Tails in your tank from Exon these days.
Cars were so much different back then. As a gas monkey, sometimes just finding the gas cap was challenging, hidden behind the license plate or the tail light assembly. They were real cars that you drove, and the body styles changed drastically every two years. People were proud and passionate about their cars. When you turn your car on, does it return the favor? Go buy a Classic Car.

Today you are so isolated from the environment around you the most popular features are your electronics and infotainment systems. Pickup trucks were utility vehicles made to haul things like coal and wood. A truck today replicates a luxury car and outsells passenger cars here in America.

Today the need to reduce carbon emissions has led automakers to make major investments in electric cars, but sales remain low. Globally, electric cars made up around 2 percent of new-car sales in 2019.

Nissan Leaf

The main issue is that batteries simply aren't as energy-dense as gasoline. That means more space is required to hold a given amount of energy with batteries than with good old dinosaur juice. One gallon of gasoline contains more energy than the entire battery pack of a first-generation Nissan Leaf.

I'm a big fan of Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, and most of his brilliant and daring endeavors. If your old enough, you may remember those before him that failed, Packard, Edsel, Tucker, Bricklin, Delorean, and so many more in the early 20th century. Ever since the advent of electric cars, the real cost per mile of those things has never been discussed. All you ever heard was the mpg in terms of gasoline, with nary a mention of the cost of electricity to run it.

Electricity has to be one of the least efficient ways to power things, yet they're being shoved down our throats. Who will pay to maintain our roadways when electric cars are not contributing to our gasoline tax? Where will all this additional electricity come from, and can our infrastructure handle more 75 amp charging stations?

Don't get me wrong, I consider myself an environmentalist, and I care about our planet, but there must be a better way. I also would probably buy a Tesla if I could afford one, just because I'm fascinated by the man and his machine, but I sure don't think it's the answer.

Topics: Electric Cars, Environment

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