Lie #3 – Electric/hybrid cars are the future!
I was admonished a while back for driving a petrol guzzling monstrosity that was the sole cause for the death of our planet. I smiled in anticipation of some witty punch line, but none came. Instead, my accuser stood there glaring at me, all the while nodding his head with righteous indignation. “Go on.”, he asked, and my heart sank. “Ask me what I drive.”
I shrugged, desperately thinking of a way to extricate myself from the situation. I considered feigning a heart attack, but thought better of it. “Electric!”, came the emphatic response, followed by, “I’m doing my bit for the planet.” Before I could reply, a finger jabbed at my chest and I was asked yet another question. “Have you not thought of going electric?”
I was going to point out, that as a carbon based life-form, I would probably stick to oxygen. Instead, I managed to confound the poor fellow with one simple question. “You do know how electricity is made, right?” The smug look instantly evaporated from his face and was replaced instead with one of utter confusion.
I pointed out that you burn fossil fuels, and in fact, almost half of the UK’s electricity was generated from the burning of gas. Gas that was either sucked out of the sea-bed or bought from the Russians. Either way, it was no more environmentally “friendly” than my pollution belching mode of transport. I could see that I had him on the ropes. His eyes were wide and staring and he was flitting his gaze from left to right as though his answer was written somewhere just to one side of me.
I could have left it there and walked away, but I wanted to deliver the killer blow. See him go down and watch until the count reached ten. “And I bet you were one of the morons that bought the lie about diesel cars. Just before you converted to electric.” His eyes glazed over and for a moment, I thought he was going to cry. I had him. His only reply was a series of , “But…but…but….”, making him sound like a small outboard boat engine. “But diesel is better than petrol.” I could have pointed out that the next time he was walking along the road and a bus or lorry happened to go past, he should take a nice deep lungful of that clean fresh air. But didn’t.
That happened to me a couple of years ago and we now know that diesel isn’t the “cleaner” alternative to petrol that we were told it was. Anyone that remembers their chemistry from school will know that diesel is cheaper to produce than petrol, as the refining process is simpler. In turn, this means more profits for the oil companies. Don’t get me wrong, diesel is much cleaner than it used to be, but cleaner than petrol? I don’t think so.
No. We bought the lie for years while the big gas and oil companies made millions from us and now they are doing the same with electricity. Rather than distributing their product to many companies, they can now deliver it to a small number of power stations, once again keeping their overheads low. More and more homes will have cars parked outside, attached to the house via an umbilical cord-like charging cable. Inside, the electricity metres will be whizzing round like extractor fans and people will just accept higher and higher fuel bills. After all, look at all the money we will save on petrol!
It’s all a lie. Whether it’s diesel, petrol or electric, the cost will work out the same. There or thereabouts. And not just the cost to our pockets, but the cost to the environment as well. Sure, we will all feel quite smug about “doing our bit”, as long as we don’t look too deeply into it.
So what’s the answer, you ask accusingly. Is there an answer. Of course there is. Nuclear fusion. Not nuclear fission, like we currently use, but nuclear fusion, just like the sun. If you get a moment, look it up, it makes for very interesting reading. We’re close to making it cost effective to produce and it’s a green, sustainable power source. The resultant power from nuclear fusion is so vast, it would be virtually free to supply.
The only downside? The oil and gas companies won’t be able to make any money out of it.