“Critical to Mass Adoption”

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Welfare used to be about government cheese. Today’s it’s about grafting thousands of dollars to rich people so as to “encourage” them to drive around in electric cars.

Few seem to mind because electrics are the cablinasians of the car world; affirmative action/diversity hires whose merits must not be questioned – and their deficits never mentioned.

Well, congressional Republicans did exactly that – a startling thing, given the GOP’s usually reliable penchant for bringing-up-the-rear acceptance of everything Democrats enact (Obamacare, for example).

But this time, they broke ranks.

Included in the House version of the GOP’s budget proposal (expect Senate Republicans to out the kibosh on this) is language that would eliminate the $7,500 per electric car bribe that’s been used much in the same way that ether is used to start an engine that won’t. The difference being that in the case of using ether to start a balky engine, the engine – once started – is capable of running on its own steam.

Electric cars, of course, are not. They require a steady, never-ending IV of ether – in the form of massive wealth transfers – which is what subsidies are – in order to keep them running.

This fact is well-known to EV boosters, who admit that EVs are not viable on the merits by squealing uproariously about the prospect that the subsidies might be yanked.

This would be funny if they  realized it – and if they lacked the power to force others to  . . . subsidize it.

Last week, a cohort of  22 mayors sent a letter to members of the House and Senate conference committee working on reconciling the tax bill, pleading with them to keep on spraying the ether into the electric car carburetor (so to speak; electric cars don’t have carburetors . . . these, after all, work).

From the letter:

“The increased consumer demand for electric vehicles that arose through this tax credit has resulted in the creation of 200,000 new jobs in the U.S. automobile industry, driven technological innovation, reduced oil dependency, saved consumers money, and generated economic benefits.”

The ancient world equivalent of building a Tesla . . .

The economic logic of this is  . . . interesting. If the federal government can “create jobs” in this manner – by subsidizing products that can’t compete on the merits – why not just magic-wand unemployment away by subsidizing, say, pyramid building? The analogy is apt in more ways than just the one. Electric cars are to cars as pyramids are to housing. The EV does not go far – at great expense. The pyramid houses one pharaoh – also at great expense.

Both involve a lot of trouble for not much gain – except, of course, for the few who stand to gain from them – i.e., the rich welfare king who drives around in his electric car and the also- rich pharaoh who lies comfortably in his spacious pyramid. Both are tax parasites who hag-ride the public, using the force of government authority to enable the filching.

Here’s more from mandibles of the feeders:

“Congress designed the credit this way to promote multiple manufacturers’ investment and to allow the plug-in electric drive vehicle manufacturers to achieve commercial-scale production and the attendant reductions in per unit costs, while maximizing consumer options,” the Electric Drive Transportation Association said in a separate letter to Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association is, of course, a lobby for the interests hoping to keep their rice bowls full without having to deal with the difficulty of producing an economically viable product.

Indeed, one of the worst aspects of the massive subsidization of electric cars is that it has encouraged those who make them to focus on everything except practicality and economy. On the attributes, that is, which might actually make them competitive with conventional (that is, internal combustion-engined) cars.

It is exactly like being told you can eat anywhere you like and don’t worry about the bill. In that case, the diner will usually choose the ribeye over the hamburger.

Thus, we have electric cars like the Tesla – which emphasize how stylish they are, how technologically hip they are and how quick they are. None of which are bad things per se but they become outrages when someone else is being made to  . . . subsidize them. In exactly the same manner that it is obnoxious to be compelled to pay for someone else’ s ribeye with all the trimmings, while you get the hamburger.

So there are two very good reasons for nixing the EV ether shot, one of them moral – the other practical.

The moral reason ought to be obvious enough. Bribing rich people (who are the only people who can afford these things, even with the inducement of subsidies) to buy electric cars which emphasize technological hipness, quickness and stylishness is as outrageous as using the federal bullwhip to provide “assistance” to buyers of any other high-performance/luxury car.

The argument that the electric high-performance/luxury car is “clean” is as fatuous an argument as arguing that the ribeye is more nutritious than the hamburger. And in the case of the ribeye, it is at least actually nutritious whereas the electric car is only “clean” if you close your eye to the source of the electricity which powers it as well as the environmental sausage-making involved in its actual manufacture.

The practical reason for cutting off the gravy train might be even more persuasive, though. It is simply that if EVs were forced to compete on the merits – a dreadful concept, apparently – their emphasis would have to be on things like (gasp) low cost, simplicity and functionality.

EVs of that sort would, however, rapidly find buyers – for the same reason that more hamburgers are sold each day than ribeyes.

But that may not be what’s wanted.

Possibly for the same reason that Khufu – aka Cheops, depending on the source you go by –  didn’t want the mass of Egyptians housed in pyramids like his, either.

. . .

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54 COMMENTS

  1. I almost laughed myself off my chair when I read the mandibular masturbations of the rent-seekers. They yammered about the success of the job-creating program caused by this subsidy, while at the same time they applaud the economic benefits of the program.

    I have some news for them. Forced obsolescence is NOT an economic benefit, except to the rent-seeker. Just like the ten-speed automatic transmission is not an improvement when the repair cost exceeds what the reasonable value of the vehicle will be in year 5.

    I also laughed at the part about reducing oil consumption, and am curious enough to ask them which is preferable: Oil drilling or lithium/copper/nickel/cobalt mining?

    I prefer oil. For those who want the metals, google “Sudbury”.

  2. Im a lot more concerned they are self driving than that they are electric.Imagine a car programmed to lock you in and deliver you to FEMA.

  3. I am one of those rich welfare queens that bought one of those $150,000 Model S P100D Teslas. I
    will be using the $7,500 tax break next year before it goes away.

    That being said, I would have never voted for the subsidy in the first place, but if it is there, I will take advantage of it to reduce my tax a bit. Even with that break, I will still be paying $70,000 in taxes next year.

    I would have bought the car even if it didn’t have the subsidy because it is a sweet ride and quicker than any gas car. It is by far the nicest car I have ever owned. Ironically, I spend less time fueling it than my gas car because I just plug it in every night and don’t have to stand around waiting to fill the tank.

    I assume you are going to put as much print into railing against corn and mortgage subsidies since they disproportionally help the super-rich as well?

    • the print AGAINST ethanol has been abundant on here. And its been a deeper dig than most anywehre else, with niggly pesky FACTS to back up the statements. Nice, fun stuff, that.

      The mortage subsidy, well, I’ve not seen much of that here, but thre ain’t uch of a connexion between them and cars, so not surprising.

  4. An electric vehicle might work for someone like my wife. We have solar panels on the roof, and we live in Phoenix, where those make sense. My wife doesn’t drive very far each week. So, free fuel.
    That said, I still resent the idea of gov’t subsidies to the solar & electric car industries.
    It won’t change until people realize that taxes are theft & subsidies are “receiving stolen property”.

  5. Everything stated in this article about electric vehicles can also be said about corn ethanol production. Heavily subsidized on the backs of the hapless taxpayers. An engine that will not run without the ether. A net energy loss. Morally wrong and hugely impractical. I suspect the dollars being stolen from us to prop up the ethanol industry dwarf whatever is being stolen for EVs.

  6. I am going to put a tiny little electric motor on the drive shaft of my 1965 Ford Stepside and apply for my $7,000 subsidy! I’m also going to apply for a subsidy for the solar electricity system I installed for my electric gate opener.

    • I looked into doing something similar, but the letter of the Federal law is carefully written to limit the subsidy to “manufacturers”, meaning any subsidy you get would have at the state level and would be small.

      The Feds can’t have the “little people” getting any taxpayer money, only those favored/paying them off.

    • JD, let me know how that gate opener works out. I was considering a gate opener. I have a meter pole, sans meter, near to the gate but paying $100 to install a meter and then $25/month for the meter even ifn’ I don’t use any ‘lectricity made me think that solar deal might be a good one. A subsidy would be even better. In west Tx. you don’t need anybody to tell you who the subsidy farmers are, their houses say it all.

      • Eight those things work really well, sure beats the aggravation of having to get out and open( double so if its a “baby gate “)

      • They work great but,
        – you will need two or three panels. The instructions say you will get so many open close cycles per day out of so many panels. Double whatever they tell you 🙂
        – When they get submerged under 10 feet of water for 3 days, they don’t work no more.

  7. Government teat milk to alternative energy projects is infuriating. In my remote neck of the woods in an area that is mostly dark six months of the year we will now have, starting next year, a gigantic solar array that will cover several miles of farmland. I asked the representatives of Big Solar Suck if they realized that power output from October to April will be pathetic, and they mumbled something about the numbers working out.

    I’ll bet they do. The federal and state subsidies must be gigantic for this thing to “work.” Bad enough that I have to scramble to find non-ethanol gas I can run in my older vehicles, and now this.

  8. By the way have you ever heard the rumor that the Pyramid of Giza was actually a Wardenclyffe-type energy tower (of the kind built by Tesla) and provided energy to all of Egypt. Coincidence, eh…

  9. IIRC the average household income of a Tesla buyer is over $300,000.

    Tesla models will sell just fine w/o any tax credit.

    Not so sure about the other, more pedestrian EVs, though, not that anyone should care.

    EVs have been around long enough that they should stand or fall on their own merits.

    I’d rather see the SALT deduction preserved than the EV credit.

    • Hi Bill,

      Tesla’s entire business model depends on subsidies and “carbon credits.” He effectively gives away the cars.

      On an individual buyer level, the $7,500 tax credit probably does not affect sales of the Model S (base price about $70k) but it is a huge big deal as regards the endlessly delayed Model 3, because without the direct subsidy to the buyer, the car’s base price rises to over $40k – and that makes it a non-starter as a mass-market car.

      • Hi Eric,

        Seems to me its not just Tesla, but Mr Musks entire business “empire” is based on mooching off the tax payer one way or another….. be it Tesla, the battery part which people think has value, the solar panel company, the rocket company (biggest user will be governments), The mars trips…. or the hyper loop thing….. all only possible thanks to governments worldwide sinking our money into them………. not a single one of his ingenious ideas are economically feasible on their own merits…. think this guy is the biggest benefit claimant the world has ever seen…….

  10. •Brown’s climate change bill, SB 350, gave utilities a monopoly on electric vehicle infrastructure and large-scale renewable energy projects by excluding rooftop solar from the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Three weeks after a last-minute amendment granting utilities access to a regional grid, PG&E donated $80,000 to the Democratic Party. The utility donated another $50,000 three weeks after the bill was chaptered. Utility stocks increased by at least 14 percent within two months.

    http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/report-finds-big-energy-companies-gave-big-and-got-big-favors-governor-brown-dollars-and

    Natural gas should be burned directly in a ICE. But that would mean it would have to compete directly with gasoline, and the gas distribution system would need to be upgraded to make up for the new volume, meaning it will be even less competitive. So instead we get more gas turbine plants, a very small amount of “renewables” and complicated schemes to try to make battery cars desirable.

    Oh, and better hope you don’t crash one! The boys said Hammond’s electric supercar burned for 5 days straight thanks to thermal runaway on the battery pack.

    https://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/889619/The-Grand-Tour-season-2-Richard-Hammond-car-crash-Switzerland-Jeremy-Clarkson-Amazon

  11. Because we all know we don’t need to repair any of the existing infrastructure, bridges, highway surfaces, traffic lights and signs, lane markings, drainage, you know, that stuff.

  12. Their plan is to put solar panels on the roofs of everyone’s houses (probably subsidized). That way the sun will power these electric cars in a clean manner, while it is parked in the garage. That is an argument I heard anyway. Of course most people leave the house before the sun goes up and come home after the sun goes down, so the added expense of a generator that will store this electricity will be needed. Their plan also doesn’t account for areas without perpetually sunny weather (like in California where these ideas originate), or areas where cloudy winter makes of the majority of the year.

    • And who’s homes have large enough roofs to make installing solar panels useful? That’s right, the rich folks with their 10,000 sq ft, 6 bedroom houses. Not the poor sucker living in a 2 bdrm condo who gets to pay for the “net metering” that subsidizes the rich guy’s solar panels.

      When solar panels were introduced no one wanted them. The battery storage was (is) way too expensive, especially when compared to grid power, so someone came up with the idea of pushing excess power back on to the grid. This made your electricity meter run backwards, in essence selling excess power to your power company. It didn’t take long for power companies to figure out what was going on, so they installed a second power meter to measure the electricity you “sold” them. They then paid you the current wholesale rate for electricity. This was deemed unacceptable and an outrage because the power company was making money (horrors!) on the markup. So instead of figuring out how to build cheaper panels and systems, the (rich) homeowners went to the state legislatures and got net metering laws passed, where the utility has to buy the power from your panels at retail rates, not wholesale.

      But then there’s still overhead to be paid. Overhead cost that ends up hitting the people who can’t afford or don’t have enough space for solar panels. You know, the poor. Oh but that greedy power company makes evil profit (yea, anyone ever look at the profit margins of a power company? They aren’t exactly Apple or Exxon Mobil), so that’s OK with the watermelons!

      • ReadyKW,

        Indeed these issues do not matter. They live in their bubbles in California, the rest of the country, especially white, rural flyover, does not matter. Who cares what happens to them. Their socialist utopia there on the left coast can only exist through federal subsidization/slavery.

        I didn’t know the power companies had to buy your extra electricity at the same rate they sold to you. I thought it still way the other way. I don’t have much sympathy for them. They are government enforced monopolies and as stated in your other post, pay for favors like the fascists they are. Of course the normal guy will be the one to lose out when any deal is struck. The root of the problem is, as usual, government. In some states it is even illegal to not be attached to the grid, and feed the power company your excess solar power.

        Ending the electric car subsidy, if it happens, will probably be one of the few good things to come out of this tax bill, if it happens.

        • Hi Brandon,

          There are so many serious practical problems with electric cars that I lose track of them all! And the boggling thing to me is that so many people still get wet in their panties about them despite these problems – and despite the absence of any practical or economic problems with internal combustion cars.

          So, why?

          Part of it of course is that people have bought into the “climate change” illiteracy but the real reason is that people are divorced from economic (and practical) reality. They have been conditioned to think like little children. Tell them a story about The Bad Man . . . and then sooth their confected worries by telling them it’ll be okay and that Momma will fix everything, don’t you worry.

          The average person wonder why he’s broke but never stops to consider that he keeps demanding he be kept safe from The Bad Man.

        • It depends on the state, but most require net metering. The argument is that once your balance reaches $0 that’s it. So if you pump more power into the grid than you use, you don’t get a check from the utility. You just won’t receive a bill for electricity used.

          Another cost that isn’t accounted for is in some installations, especially in rural areas, the home solar installation might be big enough to require upgrading the distribution lines to accommodate the power generated. And there’s usually no need for the excess power produced.

          It really is a stupid, overly complicated way to generate electricity.

        • Eric, I think people are infatuated with electric cars because they don’t like cars. They’re taught that vehicles are poisonous to the environment. Personal transportation is greed. Electric energy is clean energy. The perpetuation of the climate change religion. Cars are the enemy (first IC cars, then all cars). Freedom must be forsaken for the common good, the public welfare, the health of the planet and its inhabitants. CO2 is a poison, after all.

          Real car guys (or maybe even people who just like automobiles as one likes a house) do not like electric cars, or any of the new cars coming out now. They are now smartphones wrapped in plastic.

          The masses, however, are programmed to like them. “The touchscreen!”, “The push-button-start!”, “The automatic braking!” “How cool!” Electric/current cars are like the infatuation with the iphone in 2007, except the iPhone can sell in a competitive space on its own merits without taxpayer blood money.

          Appealing to the lowest of masses who consume the latest and greatest fad is the only way these things can sell, or most products, honestly. They’ll throw it out in 2 years when it starts to fail to buy the next shiny thing the commercials and celebrities tell them to buy. It’s why the cycle will exponentially increase. Those who are practical are less and less likely to buy a new car, thus, less and less practical cars will be built. Only the perpetually broke debt slaves will be buying new cars, and so they must be appeased with the worthless, fickle technology that is ruining the automobile. Like women’s fashion that changes every couple years, the car with the latest trend will sell. All other practical considerations be damned.

          Then again, I know some leftists in RL that complain about how hard it is to work on cars, and how expensive repairs and service are. If people don’t want it, why is it being produced, and more importantly, why is it selling?

          Give it 30-50 years, in the name of the climate change religion, single family homes will be frowned upon as gasoline powered cars are now. So dirty, so inefficient, think of all the benefits of communal, skyscraper living…

          There’s my preach to the choir!

          On solar panels, after reading everything here, I don’t think I would even bother in the future trying it. Though I like the idea of being off the grid and independent of the power company, looks like solar won’t be the way for a while.

          And, for a totally unrelated aside, I wish I would have put all my money in bitcoin when I first heard about it at ~$300. People said it was overvalued then… Whoops. Is it the next financial bubble or the next medium of exchange? Such a thin line…

          • RE: Bitcoin. two years ago I heard a talk given by a bitcoin advocate. It sounded interesting, so I bought $500, about 3 BT at the time. I didn’t buy it to hold or invest, I bought it to “play” with the currency. At the time there were websites cropping up with maps showing establishments that accepted BT. Turns out that those maps were all bogus! No one in any of the places I visited ever heard of bitcoin, let alone having a wallet or a way to exchange it for goods and services. I think someone might have worked there who played with BT and put it on the map.

            Another somewhat interesting idea was the Bitcoin “ATM.” This is a kiosk tied to the Internet and with a cash box, where you can buy and sell bitcoin. Nice idea, especially in an area like here in the way out west where some people like to send money “back home” and get screwed by Western Union (they really don’t, BTW. Western Union is actually pretty reasonable compared to credit card fees). Except that Uncle, in an effort to prevent money laundering (and tax avoidance), requires bitcoin “dealers” to abide by the Know Your Customer (KYC) rules applied to coin dealers and anyone who sells something that might be used to cover the tracks of, for example, a drug dealer. So if someone who is accused of violating the law used one of these machines at some point or another, Uncle is going to come after you, the owner of the ATM.

            At any rate, when I found out bitcoin was basically just going to sit in my wallet and be useless, and the fact that it had dropped about 50% of its value, I just let it sit there. I didn’t need the cash, really didn’t have a way to get rid of it, and chalked it up as a lesson learned. A year or so later a startup started buying bitcoin in exchange for amazon gift cards and it had come back up to about double what I paid for it, so I dumped it. Nice profit. Of course if I had held it I could pay off my mortgage today, but that’s not what I was trying to do.

            The current mania is just feeding itself at this point. Like the big run-ups on gold and silver a few years back, it’s all going to be about timing the sell. When it turns the corner it will plummet fast and hard. I bought a bunch of silver at $19, sold 1/2 of it at $45 then watched the rest fall down to $12 or so. All the gold and silver bugs were saying the same things the bitcoin people are saying today. And the bitcoin people are all saying the same thing the real estate people said in 2006. Today silver is getting close to $16, but because I don’t need the cash I’m not going to sweat it. It might bounce around there for another 5 years, who knows?

            But bitcoin is different!

            • By the way I still think that bitcoin could be a possible currency. Unfortunately Uncle doesn’t share my opinion, so it is subject to capital gains taxes, the aforementioned Know Your Customer anti-laundering rules, and basically can’t be used for transactions. Until that changes (and it won’t because we all know that Federal Reserver Notes are the only real currency and just shut up about any other possible way of conducting business), the whole point of bitcoin and blockchain is lost. At least in the United States.

              • Don’t know if I quite understand Bitcoin shares but recently it hit $10,000 and more recently hit $5,000. It’s certainly a volatile market. Uncle has attacked it on various fronts many times, even jailing people who owned it accusing them of various crimes relating to it.

                Of course you could get it like Saddam Hussein mostly because he had gotten a lot of the mideast to commit to buy and sell oil with the dinar. No matter what it cost the taxpayer that had to be stopped. No way in hell the US is going to give even the slightest on oil.

                No collusion going on here I’m sure but before Congress repealed the law not allowing domestic oil to be sold out of country, Kinder-Morgan had a fleet of new double-hulled tankers in the making here in the US. That negated the illegality of using foreign made ships so they’re plying the Atlantic like crazy getting big bucks for Texas Tea in Euro land. Get the law changed and there’s still a way to make damned good money on domestic oil that was hovering in the mid 20’s for a long time there.

                BTW, as we get closer to that magic $70 mark, drilling is increasing every day. Mostly what I’ve been doing for months is building lease roads and drilling locations.

                And here’s another take on Bitcoin by a group that just wants to ‘save the world’. Bitcoin gonna turn the earth into a big heat sink and they can tell us how. I’ll post the link but copy the article here for you to read. Notice they say Bitcoin computers are eating energy that could be used by ‘lectric cars, those ‘oh so earth friendly’ conveyances.

                Everbody got deh own boogie bears and Grist is no exception. Global warming is still on the front burner and they know why. We may be going through a stage of global warming but surely that big ol ball of gas we orbit has nothing to do with it. I sorta keep up with solar activity and ol sol has been on a rip for a few years now with a huge flare only months ago that was a record-setter. Without further ado, I give you the “Grist” version of life on terra firma.

                http://go.grist.org/e/399522/newsletter-utm-campaign-weekly/3x7l43/55565926

                currency manipulation
                Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future
                By Eric Holthaus on Dec 5, 2017

                If you’re like me, you’ve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years — because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now.

                Last week, the value of a single bitcoin broke the $10,000 barrier for the first time. Over the weekend, the price nearly hit $12,000. At the beginning of this year, it was less than $1,000.

                If you had bought $100 in bitcoin back in 2011, your investment would be worth nearly $4 million today. All over the internet there are stories of people who treated their friends to lunch a few years ago and, as a novelty, paid with bitcoin. Those same people are now realizing that if they’d just paid in cash and held onto their digital currency, they’d now have enough money to buy a house.

                This shirt is so
                hot right now.

                donate for yours

                That sort of precipitous rise is stunning, of course, but bitcoin wasn’t intended to be an investment instrument. Its creators envisioned it as a replacement for money itself — a decentralized, secure, anonymous method for transferring value between people.

                But what they might not have accounted for is how much of an energy suck the computer network behind bitcoin could one day become. Simply put, bitcoin is slowing the effort to achieve a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. What’s more, this is just the beginning. Given its rapidly growing climate footprint, bitcoin is a malignant development, and it’s getting worse.

                Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin provide a unique service: Financial transactions that don’t require governments to issue currency or banks to process payments. Writing in the Atlantic, Derek Thompson calls bitcoin an “ingenious and potentially transformative technology” that the entire economy could be built on — the currency equivalent of the internet. Some are even speculating that bitcoin could someday make the U.S. dollar obsolete.

                But the rise of bitcoin is also happening at a specific moment in history: Humanity is decades behind schedule on counteracting climate change, and every action in this era should be evaluated on its net impact on the climate. Increasingly, bitcoin is failing the test.

                Digital financial transactions come with a real-world price: The tremendous growth of cryptocurrencies has created an exponential demand for computing power. As bitcoin grows, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (a process called “mining”) get more and more difficult — a wrinkle designed to control the currency’s supply.

                Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

                The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

                That sort of electricity use is pulling energy from grids all over the world, where it could be charging electric vehicles and powering homes, to bitcoin-mining farms. In Venezuela, where rampant hyperinflation and subsidized electricity has led to a boom in bitcoin mining, rogue operations are now occasionally causing blackouts across the country. The world’s largest bitcoin mines are in China, where they siphon energy from huge hydroelectric dams, some of the cheapest sources of carbon-free energy in the world. One enterprising Tesla owner even attempted to rig up a mining operation in his car, to make use of free electricity at a public charging station.

                In just a few months from now, at bitcoin’s current growth rate, the electricity demanded by the cryptocurrency network will start to outstrip what’s available, requiring new energy-generating plants. And with the climate conscious racing to replace fossil fuel-base plants with renewable energy sources, new stress on the grid means more facilities using dirty technologies. By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses. By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

                This is an unsustainable trajectory. It simply can’t continue.

                There are already several efforts underway to reform how the bitcoin network processes transactions, with the hope that it’ll one day require less electricity to make new coins. But as with other technological advances like irrigation in agriculture and outdoor LED lighting, more efficient systems for mining bitcoin could have the effect of attracting thousands of new miners.

                It’s certain that the increasing energy burden of bitcoin transactions will divert progress from electrifying the world and reducing global carbon emissions. In fact, I’d guess it probably already has. The only question at this point is: by how much?

                So now WP wants me to type a comment. WTF do you call this?

                • “Uncle has attacked it” No. Uncle loves it. First sign of trouble Uncle will outlaw bitcoin. bitcoin is nothing more than a file full of encryption keys. If you think a computer file can’t be outlawed, go try to look at some kiddie porn online.

                • The answer to the current use for Bitcoin is stupid simple (which is WHY yhis wiln never happen). Simply end ALL NSA spying and close down their supercrunch station in Utah, and change those comuters over to handle BitCoin. Double benefit: net wnergy use reduction, and an end to illegal and un healthy gummit spying on everyone everywhere.

                  • Hi T,

                    A reader send me some Bitcoin and I signed up for the site, but it seems useless to me until Bitcoin can be used as money. If one can’t buy things with it, use it to pay debts and so on – then what’s the point? A “currency” that you can’t use has about as much value as Monopoly money.

                    • Hi Tor,

                      Excuse the maybe stupid question, but does this mean I can trade the Bitcoin I have for actual money?

                      I’m not shitting on the idea of Bitcoin or any alternative currency. In principle I am all for it. The problem – legally, as I understand it – is that the only currency permitted by law is the Federal Reserve Note. One can’t – legally – smelt silver or gold and use it as a medium of exchange.

                      Bitcoin is useless if it’s not useable as a medium of exchange.

                    • I’d bet if the worlds’s largest bank began accepting bitcoin the prosecution for various offenses of various people who’ve used it for various reasons would come to an end. And yes, I’m speaking of Walmart. Where else can anyone with a debit card go suck the account dry and stock up on cash? You have to pay the ATM but not Wally. A sack of spuds, $100 in cash, a case of beer, $100 cash back.

                      Of course Wally would probably end up dominating the price in that case. They could use it by saying it’s a commodity they’re selling….all over the world.

      • Hi RK,

        I’ve mentioned before that I looked into panels from my place out here in The Woods. The up-front cost was about $15,000 – far more than the cost of a 50-year architectural shingle roof and too high to justify vs. any putative savings on grid power.

        I too into account, as well, the fact that over time the panels and related equipment would need maintenance and repair; eventually, major components would have to be replaced.

        My average monthly electric bill is about $60. Call it $1,000 annually for the sake of discussion.

        It’d take 15 years to reach break even – assuming nothing broke in the meanwhile.

        A lot of expense for not much – if any – gain.

        • This is why Solar City exists. They basically finance the panels for 20 years, take all the tax credits you might receive and charge you a monthly fee. They (theoretically) make their money on the loan.

          If it works, and it seems like Elon is doing everything he can to keep it alive, you would get somewhat consistent monthly payments for electricity and be “doing your part” to save the planet. But the payout really still depends on what you’re paying today, and how much electricity you use today, along with what you anticipate you’ll use down the road.

          And what happens when you upgrade to a more efficient load? switching to LED lightbulbs, or going to an LCD TV instead of a plasma? Upgrading you PC to something newer. Installing a new stove with induction cooktop. Or maybe your wife is gone so you can turn down the thermostat. You’re still paying the same rate even if you aren’t using as much power as you did yesterday. So why would you bother looking for more efficiency? Or why not go hog wild and use more electricity than you are today? After all, it don’t cost nothin’.

          This is fresh on my mind because I just put in a new water heater. The old one cost about $14/month in gas. The new one is a Uncle-approved high efficiency unit that probably cost $300 more than it needed to for the fancy electronic doodads and extra insulation. I’ll be interested to see how much my gas bill changes and if it will last long enough to make up the difference. If I were on a flat-rate monthly payment for gas there’s no incentive for me to economize. In this case the incentive to save a few bucks a month might be worth something, but really the amount I’m likely to save isn’t going to ever be worth the up front cost.

          This is why the elites want inflation (but not wage inflation). So the rest of us have to do without and they can feel superior again.

          • Natural gas is still a bargain to heat with,I think these Guys and Gals pushing Hydrogen should switch to NG, whoops sorry I forgot CH4 carbon-C, uncle AL’s scarlet letter if you listen to that group you would think CO2 made up most of the atmosphere, rather than being a rare trace gas(Argon is a heck of a lot more abundant in the atmosphere than CO2) when they do that longwave IR test with various concentrations of CO2 In a controlled environment, I may believe them then.
            Uncle Al makes me grit my teeth .

          • We have city warming system in our town. Efficient or not I can not say.
            Tern years ago I’ve very well insulated my house. The bill for warming energy has fallen from 100 dollars to 62. I was extremely happy with my new consumption which was 40% lower that time
            But my happiness was for short and then started the nightmare . The government( the King of the robbers) has decided to rise for him self the all taxes possible.
            Now I pay 140 dollars for the same consumption as before. Also my gov.(NL) is going to hard subsidize the all insanity of this Elon Musk.
            What that means: doesn’t matter what we the people we try to do, the Robbers Barons& Elon’s gangs will catch us anyhow.

        • The folks did solar panels (for heat, not electric) in 1980. Even with the subsidy from the Carter era feds, it never paid off. The current owners of the house tore them off in 1995 and said they hadn’t worked in quite a while before that (they had looked into repairing them). So they didn’t even last 15 years.

          My folks would have been far better off adding insulation and replacing the crappy windows on that house. Would have cost far less and made it easier to sell the house. The panels were very ugly and a big turnoff to buyers. I bet it lowered the price they got for it too.

          • Solar collectors for hot water can work very well if done correctly, however, to save money?This type of reasoning seldom works out, on the other hand, batch type solar waters work well and are simple and cheap to construct, many third world countries in tropical climes have them on the roof.The most effective and cheapest way to take advantage of the sun is to orient the home to face South.
            You can go overboard and “gild the lily ” with so many schemes and the payback may never occur. Modern houses can be constructed to need very little energy input anyway.And as you mentioned the aesthetics of some of those things were quite ugly. There are always going to be tradeoffs.

  13. Electric cars are said to be the inevitable future. There is no alternative – the world must move on to electric cars.

    The same was said of communism, remember? That it was the future, that the world HAD to move on to it, that there was no alternative.

    Now, the opinions and fashions of the common man are not unimpeachable – the popularity of “reality” TV and rap music being prize examples – but generally, it’s best to let the consumer decide what they want to buy.

    After all, the best way to undermine the common good is to focus on it.

    • Reality” TV and cRap “‘music”? Do our (((overlords))) give us real choices…or just alternate versions of the same garbage.

      • The wife and I were on the road recently listening to an FM station playing “Stairway to Heaven’ for the 4 millionth time and a commercial break came on….with rap music. I hit the button and turned it off. But I was disgusted to the point I asked to no one in particular “How goddamn long will rap continue?” My tirade then began to take a downward turn I won’t repeat. If I could just zap everything involved when I hear rap I’d get one hell of a sense of satisfaction. When I hear rap I can feel my health failing….and welcome it.

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