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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Got Sun?

I recently read a report by the Federal Energy Information Administration that stated in 2012 gasoline costs took a bigger share of household budgets than they have in three decades. Well, not the people driving electric cars, that's for sure. Fueling an electric car costs much less than it does for gasoline or diesel cars. In fact it's actually anywhere between 25% and 75% less expensive depending on the car and your local electricity rates.

Add a solar array to the equation, and you've not only lowered the price you pay for your transportation fuel significantly, but you've also guaranteed you'll have a low-cost, stable supply of fuel for the next 30 years or so. You see, the sun doesn't raise its price based on supply and demand and the sun doesn't have a group of men in a room somewhere scheming how they can maximize the suns profits. 

The report claims the average American household paid $2,912 to buy gasoline in 2012 which is about 4% of the household's pre-tax income. That's just too much for gas, and do you think that's going to go down? Not a chance. Sure there will be short term price fluctuations and even years at a time when the price is lower but in the long run the price of gas always goes up, and will continue to do so now at a much faster rate then in the past since there is a greater demand for gasoline then ever before because of oil hungry, emerging markets like China and India.

Zero emission electric cars like my ActiveE are slowly entering the marketplace. You can buy plug in cars from Nissan, Chevy, Mitsubishi, smart, Tesla, Ford and Toyota right now that will either take you completely off gas or drastically reduce your need for it.  Gradually every manufacturer will offer 100% electric cars and also plug in hybrid vehicles. Independence from the radical fluctuations of the price of oil is a great thing. I have been living with electric cars for about four years and powering them with my home solar array for over two years now and I can tell you it's really a great feeling. Even if you don't have a solar array, the price of electricity is still much less expensive, electricity is entirely a domestic product and the cost is relatively stable, unlike oil where you can have a 26% increase in one year like we had from 2011 to 2012. Electric car manufacturers like BMW are also going to partner with solar installers and offer great deals on a solar installation when you buy your electric car. They'll ask you how many miles you drive in a year and can even size a solar array so it produces just enough energy to power your car. By doing so you don't have to purchase a huge system like I have on my roof, and therefore it won't be very expensive. You can finance the system so you only pay about what you were previously paying for gas every month. This way your monthly out of pocket expense won't rise and once the system is paid off you have free fuel from then on. Dump the pump and plug into the sun! So what does your future look like?


                                                            Or this?.....


  1. Gasoline should be as expensive as in Europe, then if that would be a definitive and necessary boost to electric cars.

  2. Anonymous: We artificially repress gas prices here and externalize the real costs. We should be paying what Europe pays and even more if you want to really get into how much the US military spends to protect the oil supply in the Middle East.

    Tom, how big is your solar array? How much electricity would it take to drive your car 17,000 miles. That's how much I drive per year so I'd like to try to figure out what it would cost me in electricity. I pay about 16 cents per kilowatt hour. I drive a Honda accord that gets about 28mpg combined so I buy about 600 gal of gasoline per year. If you use $3.75/gal as an average for last year, (though it may have been a bit higher) I spent about $2,300 for gas. I could buy 14,375 kilowatt hours of electricity for $2,300 so I'm guessing your going to tell me somewhere around 6,000 kilowatt hours would do it. Please give me an estimate. Thank you, Henry

  3. I love this quote :-) -->
    You see, the sun doesn't raise its price based on supply and demand and the sun doesn't have a group of men in a room somewhere scheming how they can maximize the suns profits.


    In fact, I can imagine an infographic with exactly this quote. Mind if I borrow it, for a future infographic -- with credit to you, naturally?

  4. Christof: Go ahead my friend use it. In fact you can always use whatever from my blog that you wish, there is no need to ask for permission anymore!

    Henry: The ActiveE would use about 5,200 kWh's to drive 17,000 miles. However it's not particularly efficient as electric cars go because it is a gas car that was converted. As a comparison, the BMW i3 that is coming out later this year will probably need only 3,600 kWh's to drive 17,000 miles. That will only cost you about $600 to drive the car all year!

  5. Great post Tom! I have been driving a Volt since December 2011 and love every electric mile. No plug=No sale!

  6. Another excellent post! Thanks for being such a great advocate for EVs and Solar. Keep up the good work!

  7. Simple trick to cut your power bill by 75%:

    Want to know how to easily produce all of the green energy you could ever want right at home?

    And you will be able to make your home totally immune from power outages, blackouts, and energy grid outages
    so even if everyone else in your area (or even the whole country) loses power…you won’t.