Posts Tagged ‘policy’

To be Green or not to be…


Great article that summarizes some of the same reasons I would never (yet) buy an electric car.  While I don’t live in California and can’t speak to some of the subsidies they offer for their forced environmentalism, I do agree with a couple of the main points: The car I choose to drive and spend my money on isn’t offered in an electric version, and the idea that electric cars somehow are more green than conventionally powered gasoline cars is really not true.

On the first issue, I have a quite large and active family and we ain’t all fittin’ in Leaf or a Prius.  I would have to own 2 or 3 of them (and be able to drive them all at the same time) to be able to fit everyone.  But maybe even more of an influence on my non-purchase is that I drive 40+ miles each way commuting to work.  From the specs I’ve read a one way trip is about the maximum range on the mass produced electric cars.  Of course, I’d love to drive a Tesla but that’s not happening on my current pay rate.  My current employer doesn’t offer a charging station and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Which brings me to my point of confusion.  Why do automakers waste time designing and producing electric cars with such limited range?  (I suspect it has something to do with forced government mandates, but I digress…)  People who drive under 40 miles per day aren’t using that many resources to begin with, comparatively speaking.  But people like me who drive nearly 100 miles a day are.  If companies were really trying to be socially responsible and good stewards of the environment, wouldn’t they go after the biggest offenders first?  I realize that there’s a lot of additional cost in developing batteries with that kind of range, but I have to think that the biggest bang for the buck for the environment, the automaker, and the auto owner would be on providing vehicles with a much greater range.  If you take one car off the road that was driving 200 miles a week or one that was driving 500, where would the greatest benefit be?

Which brings me to my final reason for not purchasing an electric car.  I believe the benefit to the environment to be negligible.  At best.  The vast majority of the power in the United States is produced by coal or oil burning power plants.   It’s a one for one trade off.  You need more electricity to run these vehicles, so you need more oil and coal to run the power plant.  Every drop of oil saved in a car is burned to create electricity.  And I have no proof of this, but I have a suspicion that a power plant produces more carbon dioxide than a fleet of Hummers with the catalytic converters ripped off.  And this doesn’t even touch the issue of how much exploitation takes place in mining the special minerals used in making exotic vehicle power plants…

It may seem that I am a resource waster or don’t care about the environment.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I just believe that the only thing buying a car to be green does, at least at this point in time, is make us feel good about ourselves but does nothing to help the environment.



Metro Detroit Traffic and Lack of Public Transportation

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night, as I spent a typical 80 minutes traveling 39 miles on an ‘Expressway’ around Metro Detroit,  I was again reminded of the blatant, obvious, enraging fact that there is no real public transportation option in the Detroit area.  I know, I’ve heard the theories (some real and some conspiracy), about the local auto manufacturers doing everything in their evil power to keep public transportation out of the area so car sales weren’t lost, but those are anecdotes from a time long past and something needs to be done.

Those of us in Metro Detroit love our cars.  I can’t imagine ever not having one, regardless of public transportation options.  The automobile is too ingrained in our local culture to ever be replaced, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have alternatives for getting around the area.  We shouldn’t have to average 30 miles per hour for 80 minutes on roads with 70 mile per hour speed limits.  We shouldn’t have to wait 5 minutes to make it through a stop light on a 6 lane road at 4pm on a Sunday.   We shouldn’t have to be faced with deciding between a $50 cab fare, jail time, or worse when leaving an establishment early in the morning, perhaps not in the best frame of mind to make that decision.  We should have real, viable alternatives for getting around our highly sprawled Metro area.

Among the many steps Detroit has to take to become a major American city again, one of the most important is to create a great public transportation system.  With all of the no-strings attached cash that’s fallen off the federal government money tree the past couple of years, and the fact that everyone in the United States apparently wants to cut our dependency on foreign oil, I find it hard to believe that no one here asked for money to create a world class public transportation system.  Virtually every other major city in the world has one; it’s one of the main reasons they’re considered  ‘major’ cities.

Having had the opportunity to live and work in a few other large cities in the United States, I’ve been able to experience the relatively low cost, high value alternative of using a good public transportation system.  The model I would advocate for Detroit is similar to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, or BART system in the San Francisco Bay area.  On BART trains, you can get from San Francisco to Oakland to Richmond to Pleasanton; all of the major urban and suburban cities in the area.  It’s a combination of subway and elevated trains, depending on existing obstructions  geography.  The trains run under the bay and over the freeways, through and around the cities.

Imagine being able to take a train from Clarkston to the airport, Detroit to shopping in Troy, Flint to Warren, Royal Oak to Ann Arbor; The possibilities are endless!  By running the trains down the center of our existing freeways, with stations at the freeway hubs (75/696, 275/96, 23/94, etc.), and at 2, 3, 4 miles intervals in-between, there wouldn’t much disruption to existing buildings, homes, etc., and the state owns the freeways so the cost would be much lower to acquire needed land.  Need to get to the airport?  Get on a train in Brighton, transfer at the 23/94 station, and be at the airport station in plenty of time for your flight.  Flying in for business?  Get on the train at the airport, transfer at the 94/75 station and be at your meeting in Auburn Hills in record time. No traffic delays! No airport parking fees! No rental car fees!  Woohoo!

The economic impact would be felt almost immediately through employing people to construct and run the system, and long term through increased business presence in the area. I’m not an engineer or a politician, so maybe I’m over simplifying the whole thing. But in order for Detroit and Michigan to dramatically improve our economy long term, draw businesses back to the state, and to overcome the true and false perceptions of the area, we NEED a world class transportation system.  Soon.

This isn't a new problem... Detroit Traffic Jam, 1965 (from

10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Via Mashable.  You know you need a corporate social media policy, but what should it say? A good guide to getting started.

Categories: Social Media Tags: ,