I used about 250 fewer gallons of gasoline in my first year of ownership, compared to the mileage I got in my Nissan pick-up (my average mpg over the last four years for the pick-up was 20.5). That said, on my
I’m personally convinced that the kind of changes we need to be making as a culture are going to require some fundamental changes in our attitudes about the energy we use. While we are encouraged to switch to more energy efficient light bulbs we are paying a couple dollars/liter to drink tap water that has been forced, at huge energy expense, through a reverse osmosis system before being recharged with the calcium and magnesium removed by the RO and then packed into PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles that, per kilogram of plastic, consume about 6.5 kg of oil and release 4 kg of greenhouse gases. Or, if you prefer bottled spring water you can (usually) skip the RO process and spend the energy shipping the water from
One of my resolutions this year is to start commuting by bus a couple of days a week (I’ll keep you updated on how this works out…). It’s 45 minutes to an hour of additional inconvenience per day, but a partial acknowledgment that the use of the automobile for regular commuting is one of the conveniences we need to give up.
But I’ve never believed that the solutions to our problems lie in individual choices. The environment is the commons, after all. The more people use public transportation, or buy cars that get high mileage, the better. But decisions to expand public transportation, or to require that passenger cars get better gas mileage, are made collectively. The free market doesn’t respond to consumer needs, it attempts to manufacture consumer desires (see water, bottled).
I’m going to write more about this in the next few months. If we are indeed successful in lobbying for a presidential science debate this year I can’t imagine energy and environment not being the most important topics.