An Islander’s Response to “Our Electric Vehicle Future,” Part 2
Island Resilience

An Islander’s Response to “Our Electric Vehicle Future,” Part 2

by Nellie Bly

To continue from last month, reducing one’s carbon footprint may best be achieved by:

Keeping the car you have. Using real, pure gas.

Taking care of your car, and other things you already own.

Buying American. Not because of jingoism, but because buying local, or at least on your own continent, is the greener practice.

Reducing single-item online ordering, and avoiding unnecessary rush (air) shipping.

Eating less and doing more, particularly walking and biking. (Biking, while dependent on a groomed surface, is the only means of transport more efficient than walking.)

Buying used, and local. Using up what you have. Wasting less.

Coordinating for shopping excursions in your own household and with neighbors.

Avoiding unnecessary air travel and cruises.

Taking good care of your fossil-fueled car, and planning to pass it on to your grandkids. If you think that’s a fanciful notion, look at the longevity of cars in Cuba. Your car’s not really much of an environmental demon, or at least, it’s not evidently much worse than electric vehicle alternatives.

Driving a stick shift. That’s good for about a 10% mpg improvement over a conventional automatic transmission, and it’ll last longer. (Cars with continuously variable transmissions get better mpg, but the transmissions don’t last as long, and cost more to rebuild than the engine. A clutch can be replaced for the cost of the sales tax on an automatic transmission rebuild.)

Keeping tires properly inflated.

Living in a smaller home, or sharing your larger home. In the early 1950s, a typical house was about 800 square feet, and housed a little over 4 people. An average US home now is closer to 2,400 square feet, with a bit under 2 occupants. That’s a six-fold increase in square feet of housing per capita, and a major reason housing is increasingly unaffordable.

Learning to use tools and perform basic maintenance and tasks, and sharing skills and workspaces and tools with neighbors.

Buying only quality, serviceable, durable items. (Many of the best are only available used now.)

Avoiding replacing things unnecessarily, and not buying poor-quality or unserviceable products; it is bad for the environment.

Passing through our time on this planet in a reasonable manner is probably more nuanced than simply buying a new electric vehicle, and may not involve buying anything new at all. Of course, that message is easily outpaced by marketing. No one, except maybe you, is spending money advertising the message, “Keep and care for what you have, share more, and buy less!”

July 10, 2023

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