posted on November 24, 2009 23:34
Revenge of the Nerd: Green, My Ass is Green
By Mike Kojima
One of the things that pisses me off to no end is misdirected members of the green movement. At a recent party I was cornered by one of the guests, a eco hippie hemp wearing type who accused me of pillaging the environment due to my penchant for high performance cars and the fact that I own quite a few of them. She ranted on about how GM killed the electric car, and other conspiracy theories that this type of person seems to always prescribe to. She proudly alluded that she drove a "super efficient" 30 year old VW bus to prevent from contributing to the self-serving industrial political machine, plus recycling an old vehicle reduced her "carbon footprint". Note to reader, this person also makes her own soap from old cooking fat, hardly flushes the toilet in her house and has a smelly compost pile in her back yard. She does bathe and shave her pits though.
I told her that her old VW was classified a gross emitter by CARB and made as much pollution as 500-1000 modern ULEV cars and polluted as much as several hundred high performance cars like my EVO--the car that triggered her rant. She refused to believe me saying I was brainwashed and became enraged when I told her it was merely simple math and empirical data, something much better to base an argument of passion about than personal opinion. I also said the large companies contribute to our economy, employ and pay people like her and also allow Americans to have the luxury of devoting ourselves to saving the environment rather than filling our stomachs.
Due to existing pollution controls and laws it’s actually cleaner in the industrialized world than in the 60’s, especially water pollution. I remember how dirty the water used to be. Nowadays it’s much cleaner even in the LA port! The uber polluted great lakes have come back. When I was a kid, we used to have many stage 1, 2 and even sometimes 3 smog alerts and my lungs would burn--smog lung! Now we hardly ever have smog alerts and I can’t remember the last time I had smog lung except when Martin smokes. Pollution is a huge problem in the developing world. Until places like China, Russia and India are forced to adopt western type emissions controls they will be the major polluters of the planet.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 1:11 AM
And I will continue burning 440 gallons per month of VP C12 on the engine dynos. YEAH! I LOVE FOSSIL FUELS!!!!!!!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 3:58 AM
You forgot to also let her know that the biggest producers of greenhouse gas are Cows, Coal fired powerplants, and Oversea shipping vessels. New cars are somewhere way down the list.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6:33 AM
Technically my Cobalt had lower emissions than I do after a trip to my favorite mexican restaurant.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:56 AM
Stupid hippies when will they learn. However the problem is everyone's who contributes to the problem at all. It is easy to blame "China, Russia and India" but the true is right now everyone who is a materialist/consumer is the problem. All the things that we have and need more of takes away another piece of the world around us.
Here is a link to the largest consumers of oil
What happens when China starts following our example and the majority of people stop riding to work on bicycles, start buying and driving cars cars...
...things are going to get a lot worse before the get better.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:33 AM
hey hey. don't kill my job off! keep the ocean vessels out of this. ;)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:32 AM
Great article man.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 1:36 PM
WELL put MIKE. I get so damn sick of the holier than thou ignoramus crap I have to stand and politely listen to from people like that, just because smacking them across the face with facts seems to have no impact, and a literal smacking has all those legal issues.
Without the advances in Automotive Engineering, we'd have Smog alerts during peak Ozone season 5-7 days a week instead of 300 hp cars that pollute a very small fraction of her stupid "statement". Give everyone a VW Bug and the sky would turn black. That part I truly find amusing, having done Ozone Transport modeling for the CARB in the past, I KNOW the measured amounts of air pollutants in the LA area over time, and the worst ones (e.g. VOC's) have decreased dramatically, despite enormous growth. The truly gross polluters and major NOx sources were capped pretty well after the 1990 CAA's.
I'm surprised (sort of) that she didn't jump all over your Evo's so-called "carbon footprint" using something like http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ where if you do a little basic math, the "carbon footprint" is simply directly proportional to the amount of fuel used per mile - recognizing that the acquisition, refinement, transport, and transport has far more to do with the overall "CO2 footprint" w/re to fuel than does the actual combustion of the fuel in your car. The transport network (just like moving all the crap you mention needed to grow corn) is overly reliant on convenient fossil fuel technologies. That site is a joke - it simply uses EPA mpg times a factor regardless of whether your car is ULEV or 15 years old.
But don't rank on compost piles - if they smell, there is something WRONG with it. Like most things if you do it RIGHT, there are no foul odors. Mostly that is people putting the wrong things in their compost and not maintaining a happy balance of the right materials. I have several around my rural house, instead of carting all that waste off to a dump it ends up enriching my otherwise very sandy and poor New England Glacial till topsoil, most of which ended up in some valley when the last Ice Age ended. One of my pet peeves is being lumped in with pseduo-intellectual eco-morons just because I do things like compost my home and yard waste and shred my leaves for mulch instead of buying big bags of it from the local Home Barn-Sized Store. ;)
I feel like going out and kicking a Prius now...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 1:48 PM
Aargh! - taxpayers are subsidizing some asshole buying an overweight stupid Audi Q7 SUV, a vehicle that should not even exist, and our Federal gov't has been giving a $1,150 tax credit for a fat, overweight SUV that barely manages 20 combined mpg for a TDI motor!
Why does a person buying a $51,000, 5,500 lbs, essentially 4-passenger SUV deserve over a thousand dollars tax credit for doing so? Because they didn't opt for the V8?
Because idiots like your eco freak vote for people who pass stupid laws that allow this!
Boy, do I hate that site.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2:00 PM
"All the things that we have and need more of takes away another piece of the world around us." - Jere
Wth does that mean? Recycle much? Having grown up the land of renewable timber resources that furnish the wood for your house I take exception to the idea that consumerism is a monolithic "thing" that only "takes". There are many degrees and both dumb and smart ways to "consume". There are BAD consumers and GOOD consumers. You can't avoid it, even when you die, you still consume a little more, at least for awhile.
Be more concerned about China's "low cost" of goods production in the absence of safety, pollution, and other inconvenient controls we have in place here so when we host an Olympic Games we don't have to ban all vehicles from a city for a month just to have less foul air which still would be over the limits here.
The difference is in China and Russia they know better than we did in the 1950's, yet they make a conscious choice to shit in their own beds because they can make more profit doing it, and gain trade advantages over countries who produce goods more closely reflecting their true cost of production. We haven't produced poison baby formula here or toothpaste with lead recently to the best of my knowledge. China just executed some scapegoats for the baby formula, that's the kind of thing that is wrong with that place.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2:45 PM
I think one thing that might work is for the industrialized nations to pay the developing world with rain forest to preserve and replant what could be their biggest resource, their carbon sequestering potential. Like we could have a carbon credit tax system.
One thing about emissions controls is that they can almost completely eliminate toxic elements like CO, NOX and HC but it will always be reduced to CO2 which is proportional to the amount gas burned. There is no way around this. Hell, some ultra ULEV's with catalytic radiators and stuff actually make the air cleaner in urban areas from a toxic gasses standpoint.
So if you create a lot of CO2 then you buy some trees in the amazon.
Other stuff that might work but are pretty scary is things like sequestering CO2 as a solid in the very deep ocean and stuff like that.
I think compost piles make greenhouse gasses due to the metabolism of the bacteria right?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 3:28 PM
BTW MotoIQ headquarters is located on a 1/2 acre lot with about 20 trees and much foliage. We grow all of our own produce organically.This sequesters enough CO2 to make up for all of my cars. Sometimes I go and piss on my orange tree. I saw this trick on The World's Fastest Indian movie. This saves water.
Jeff always wastes power by running the tv all the time and leaving the lights on though.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 3:52 PM
whitey's scared of the dark in this neighborhood! ;)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:58 PM
I hardly ever flush the toilet. Do I get a cookie?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:01 PM
Do you flush when you do a dookie?
Thursday, November 26, 2009 4:14 AM
Hey i go to a libral arts school! i drive an old glorious american V8 powered vehical that gets 11 mpg (i checked last week,) i am not majoring in hemp clothing or pot smoking or ultimate frisbee, i love performance cars, and...oh right, i don't fit in at this school either...that might explain it...
btw would there be any advantages of running hydrogen in an IC engine over gasoline?
Thursday, November 26, 2009 9:02 AM
The combustion of hydrogen yields only water as an emission so it would be cleaner. As a bonus I believe it has a higher anti knock index than gasoline too which means MORE BOOST.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 10:16 AM
Hydrogen by itself is weird as an IC fuel, it has a super high RON octane of 130+ but a super low RON octane rating (not sure what it is but its low). It has a sucky volatility rating because of this I think its a lame fuel for a turbo IC engine.
It catches on fire real easy (low ignition energy) and has a fast flame speed, and releases a lot of energy on combustion with a high specific impulse which is why its awesome as rocket fuel.
I am not sure how well it works as a turbo fuel because despite all of this, Mazda has had good luck with it on turbo rotaries which shit the bed super easy. Perhaps its the cold wall effect of the rotary and the high crevace volume and the huge swpt area that does somthing. Hydrogen has super good thermal conductivity and in phase change take up a lot of heat so maybe something I don't understand is going on.
Propane is an awsome turbo fuel.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:06 PM
Mazda hydrogen rotaries aren't turbocharged, they're NA. One of the big hydrogen problems is backfires when the low-ignition-energy hydrogen hits the hot combustion chamber on the intake stroke.
A rotary is like a Mc DLT, though. The hot stays hot and the cold stays cold. No backfire worries.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 4:09 PM
so of all of these fuels available, is gasoline really the best trade off for performance, fuel economy, cleanliness, range, ect? i know gas is pretty cheap/more available, but would there be a better fuel to burn in an IC engine (so we don't have to go all hybrid/battery electric and that crap?) or is this question too big a can of green-worms?
Friday, November 27, 2009 5:29 AM
Wth does that mean? -Steve
Ok Steve, how much stuff do you own and have you owned that was made in China, or other countries? Ones that don't have any pollution control. My guess is a lot, because stuff made in China is everywhere in out country. We literally pay to support it every time we buy some made in China thing that "we need" (which we really probably don't really need to survive, we just want).
How can you promote renewable resources and pretend you have clear conscience as you type on a computer that and use a mouse that were both made in China or do you have a computer made of wood ;P We can't just blame China or where ever. We are stuffing money down their throats for tons of stuff to be made. We are giving them a better way of life to do our dirty work. Especially when it is US countries corporations going over there and building the factories!
I know you see the Chinese government as evil for allowing this but are they really the one's to blame? Or is the real problem everyone's "need" for more of the cheap plentiful stuff so we can be happy what ever that may be.
I personally blame the so called "need" that everyone in our society has. We have grown up with this sense of unfulfillable desire since the Industrial Revolution. That is right around the time the environment started hurting (look at a global warming time)
Friday, November 27, 2009 5:57 PM
Great article. As Jay Leno said, some people want the whole world to know about how they are saving the environment anonymously. I kinda knew the reaction was coming when you said the mention of data made her blow her top!
<--- flushes when he takes a dookie.
Monday, November 30, 2009 7:20 AM
Perhaps a short term solution would be to raise octane of fuel to allow smaller engines make more power. A 1.0L turbo engine would be just fine for most people driving on the street if you could generate enough boost. Most of the time when people drive we don't use all of the available power the engine has anyway. Engine manufacturers wouldn't have to resort to larger engine displacements to produce the power that consumers want.
A good byproduct of this would also be weight reduction which would also translate to better efficiency.
Monday, November 30, 2009 8:48 PM
Stay tuned for our next installment, we will touch upon this but something better!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 8:07 PM
I visit Argentina from time to time and there, half the cars have been converted to compressed natural gas. not for being green, but they claim better cents per mile. Gas is so expensive over there that in parts of the country where sugar cane is produced, they run straight cane alcohol. As for raising the octane rating of the fuel, it would be very expensive to burn (race gas ain't cheap). That and you'd have to raise the octane without re-introducing leaded fuels. but I do agree with the principle, turbo technology has really progressed in the last 20 years from porsche's lag monster turbo deathtraps of yesteryear to today's ford eco-boost, and variable geometry turbo technology.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009 8:21 PM
I am taking about direct injection of E85. Pretty amazing results.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009 11:09 AM
sounds good, but I heard that fuel consumption goes up around 30%. but mpg's ≠ low emissions.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009 11:56 AM
Not with Di!
Saturday, December 05, 2009 8:08 AM
There you go, the next time you see her, tell her to "Shut her hippie mouth" and slap her with this knowledge.
Maybe she'll shut up to help the environment, considering that the act of the population BREATHING generates a very large amount of carbon dioxide.
Saturday, January 09, 2010 9:53 AM
My favorite is the friend of a friend who put her cat on a vegan diet, hoping somehow to overcome the cat family's approximately 30 million years of evolutionary stability as efficient killing and eating machines. I just wanna eat a bird, man. C'mon, just a nibble.
Saturday, January 09, 2010 11:29 AM
Ever wonder why they don't make bird, mouse and rat flavored cat food? I don't think cats know how to fish, but they are many seafood flaovers.
Saturday, January 16, 2010 7:41 PM
Actually the best way of going green is to stop breeding. People that are never born don't use ANY resources and have NO carbon footprint (or any footprint for that matter). Go green, buy a Trojan!
And to answer your question Mike, dead birds smell really bad. dead fish don't (at least to humans. My cat would probably love mouse flavored catfood).
Thursday, July 22, 2010 2:05 PM
@jere - sorry I missed your rant. Your points on our consumptive society are well taken and undeniably true. However the rest is full of pure speculation and like the dumb bitke with the VW, get your facts straight esp if you're going to attack people at a personal level. At least then you just sound like a loony, not an uninformed loony. The point I believe Mike made very well is "well-intentioned but uninformed" speculation taken as fact with nearly religious fervor makes for bad reasoning, worse outcomes. You're dead in the latter camp, I won't waste the space here explaining why. PM me if you really want to know how far off you are. And whoever said my conscience was clear? Full of compromises, like everyone else. I just try harder to ensure I make my decisions based on best information I find, and no, I don't own an iPhone4 ;)
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