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Going green: Lodi resident Richard Harty purchases Nissan Leaf

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Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:01 am, Tue Feb 15, 2011.

Lodi resident Richard Harty is one of roughly 100 people in the country currently driving a zero-emission Nissan Leaf. The physical therapist was interested in buying an electric car for more than four years, but finally found one he liked in 2011. The Leaf is the first mass-marketed, battery-operated vehicle in the United States and became available in December.

“I love how quiet the engine is,” he said Wednesday. “I can hear birds singing when I drive to work in the morning.”

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  • Richard Harty posted at 10:33 pm on Sat, Feb 26, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    The wind turbine I've been looking is made by Enviro Energies. It is a horizontal low speed turbine on a magnetic bearing.


    This takes care of the noise and the bearing problems.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:28 am on Sat, Feb 26, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    I love the idea of putting solar cells on my house. My dream house would be on two acres with a large steel building (besides the house) which would hold a wood shop on one side and a gym on the other, both roof would have solar cells. I might even put in a wind turbine as well (http://inhabitat.com/swift-ultra-quiet-rooftop-wind-turbine/). Especially on the Delta, wind turbines would be a good supplement for alternative energy sources.

  • Richard Harty posted at 10:22 am on Sat, Feb 26, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    My electricity cost for the LEAF was about $14 for 600 miles. Our gas card went from $390 to $163. I suspect that with looming gas price increases it will be even greater. I hope to eventually get solar cells so that I have energy independence.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:28 am on Sat, Feb 26, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    I know what you mean about reducing your costs, Richard. In the months that I can use my 4W4Person bike I typically go from 2 fill ups a month to 3 every two, or one for the summer. Especially with the rising gas prices, that means $50 extra for every fill-up I don't need.

    I also lost 20 lbs since I got it and am in better physical shape (well, not right now because of winter). I'm looking forward to getting back on Rhodie (the bike) next month. It needs a tune up first though.

    I'll tell you another thing, Halloween is a blast riding around the neighborhood on it.

  • Richard Harty posted at 9:13 pm on Fri, Feb 25, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    Darrell was questioning whether or not I can read simple English. He stated,

    "that is not my view…of course rebates do not reduce cost… it just changes who pays for the cost…"

    They reduce the cost for me the last time I did the math.

  • Richard Harty posted at 9:05 pm on Fri, Feb 25, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14


    That is an interesting article. And this doesn't include the cost for medical care related to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems related to air pollution. And these are problems of the very young and the very old.

    I thought of offering Darrell 11 cents to cover his share of the California rebate and he can pay me back the medical care savings as a result of my investment with him.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 7:00 am on Thu, Feb 24, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Richard, if you are still checking for new comments, saw this in the news this morning and thought of our conversation here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/24/us-heart-air-pollution-idUSTRE71N05920110224?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews&rpc=76

    I do question the cause and affect attributed in the article, I suspect that the stress of the high traffic area may be more to blame than is given credit but all the same, thought you might find it interesting.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:35 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    In my view, this conversation as run its course… this is my last post on this subject and will offer no further response. We disagree and I do not wish to continue correcting misquote after misquote… for example, Richard stated “Your view that the rebates decrease the cost by 50 percent is in error”… that is not my view…of course rebates do not reduce cost… it just changes who pays for the cost…Example number 2… Richard stated… Would you rather I have not bought the car? Is Richard able to read simple English? I stated that I encourage alternate oil based products several times and advised him to buy the car if he felt it a good thing to do… just leave the tax payers out of it at this economic crisis… How could he ask that question after what I stated?… wow! Example number three…Kevin stated… Let's turn this around Darrell, when would be a good time for the alternative fuel industry to get going? Kevin, this is the most irritating statement you have ever made to me… For the “THIRD” time… I did not state subsidies should not be available “NOW”… I stated that the amount of subsidies should be reduced now, and increased later if appropriate. I am “thrilled”, happy, glad, encouraged, grateful, beside myself, and what ever adjective you would prefer that describes my attitude toward alternative fuel industry … it is very appropriate that it is encouraged and fostered “now”. It is a good thing… an important thing… it is our future and has validity. How clear can I get… Can I get any more absurd to make clear what I think. I am expecting to read tomorrow that I think alternative fuels are a bad thing because I think the incentive is too high.

    if I correct that statement, it appears it would be in vain. I do not mind having a discussion, but this has gotten fruitless.
    I have an opinion… it differs from Kevin and Richard. I think subsidies are a good thing, at times, in appropriate amounts and when it can be afforded. We disagree as to what is appropriate. I am not the enemy and I encourage everyone to consider buying an electric car… If I buy one, which I have been tempted to do, Ill wait until the rebates end and buy then. I would consider myself selfish if I took advantage of the system… that’s me… I do not think others should be like me… its your choice what you do. I am not your nanny, and I would like it if you would stop trying to be mine.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 4:32 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Let's turn this around Darrell, when would be a good time for the alternative fuel industry to get going? This is what we are really talking about. Incentives and tax rebates to promote a new industry that "should" strengthen us in the future. If we wait until the next fuel crisis to look at this technology then it will be to late. But if enough people believe in and buy the tech now then the breakthroughs will happen and they will become more and more affordable, common and efficient. That won't happen unless developers feel there is a market for their product. There won't be a market unless people are convinced to take a chance and buy. I keep going back to the computer industry. When it first started there were a lot of people who said it was silly, no one would ever be able to afford it or have room for it because they were so large. But the tech exploded and developments came because there was enough of a market. I believe the same will happen for the electric car industry. I don't even think it will be ten years before we are looking at 500+ miles per charge. That could translate to 500K miles per battery life. Even if just 10% of the cars on the road are doing this that is a huge decline in dependence on oil.

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:41 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14


    I'm not looking for compliments or a pat on the back. I simply want to motivate people to buy electric cars, because no matter how we get them out there, it is going to save all of us a lot of money and improve the quality of life for everyone.

    Pragmatically most people aren't going to buy electric cars unless they are affordable. That is a fact of life. Right now it takes incentives because car companies are having a hard time getting the cost of the battery down.

    Nissan has been planning this for a long time and they wisely make their own batteries. Even so the estimated cost for the battery in the LEAF is $16,000. They hope to get that price down to half of that in 8 years when the LEAF battery will start to go below 80% of capacity. It will be reconstructed into a storage battery system for other applications and sold.

    If the battery capacity goes up like it has in the cell phone industry, we should have 200 - 500 mile range batteries at a reasonable cost. In 10 years the internal combustion engine may be close to being obsolete. Let's hope so.

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:21 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    Kevin makes a good point about the coming oil crisis. If it is true that the Saudis over estimated their reserves by 40%, as recently reported, then we have already reached peak.

    That means that the Saudis can no longer reduce the price of gas by increasing production. That means once the price of gas starts going up, it's probably going to stay up unless demand decreases.

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:19 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    Here are some other facts you are not considering. Electric cars do not drain taxes. They reduce costs to agriculture and health care because they decrease pollutants and CO2.

    The oil industry does not pay taxes on their profits, we do at the pump. When you look at the bonuses their executives get and the breaks they get on leasing government land their incentives rise to far more than 12 billion dollars. In addition their product increases health care costs at many levels.

    I don't know if you remember the gulf oil spill or not? You really want to defend that kind of irresponsibility and greed?

    The oil industry is making almost 1 billion dollars a day off of Americans. They don't need a subsidy at all. I can't believe you are putting a positive spin on the oil industry.

    If every Californian had the $133 dollars they put into the oil industry routed to education, California would have an additional 4.9 Billion dollars. If we could route all the other incentives the oil industry gets, health care savings, agriculture savings, and actual fuel costs back in our pockets we would have a lot more to spend the way we want.

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:02 pm on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    Your view that the rebates decrease the cost by 50 percent is in error. It doesn't matter what your opinion is about what something costs. You can't make up costs without checking your facts. You are not including sales tax and the cost of putting in a charge station in your calculation. I also paid for an extended warranty because I wanted to lessen my risk. When I total those up that comes to just under 10,000 dollars of additional costs.

    That places my actual rebate at about 5,000 dollars, which is at the point where you said you wouldn't have a problem with it.

    I would not have pulled the trigger on buying an electric car unless those incentives where in place. I couldn't have afforded it.

    I would have waited for the early adopters to work out the kinks and bought one in a couple of years when competition was heating up and there were more choices.

    Would you rather I have not bought the car?

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 9:16 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, you keep saying it is selfish to take taxpayer money for a decreased cost on a product. When you buy your airline tickets back are you going to ask to pay the full price or are you going to look for a good deal? Our airlines are supported with tax payer money.

    Are you going to send a big check to the government for the Internet you use? It gets subsidies from tax payer dollars.

    Richard is doing the same thing you do, only he is recognizes it. Of course these arguments go into another reason why the government is so big right now and too many businesses depend on the government to make things happen for them, eventually there will be problems with that. But, the way I see it, a few tax dollars now will generate/save more tax dollars in the future.

    I do agree that the government helping pay for a purchase is a problem, but it is the governments problem (meaning they have a MO problem), not Richards problem who is simply doing what he has to to keep his bottom line healthy. I suspect you do the same thing, look for ways to keep your bottom line healthy. He just saved 15K that can now go into other purchases helping other businesses stay afloat, in a depressed economy, I'd think that is a good thing.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:59 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    The last aspect for national reasoning is decrease our dependence on oil. I feel that that aspect has been glossed over by you for the immediate monetary gains. But the possibility of another oil crisis is real. When it hits it THAT the time to start trying to sell these cars? Or should we, as logical beings, realize that preparing now for a bad thing in the future is a wise decision? What would happen to the economy then if everyone took your advice and passed on the alternative fuel cars now? That would be an economic disaster. But if enough people are driving the alternatives and the infrastructure is here because of a few consumer pioneers like Richard took a chance the impact of an oil crisis won't be as severe.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:52 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, I can't give you a specific amount as to how much is too much for rebates and incentives for this kind of purchase. There are too many variables that I recognize.

    Let's take LA. A lot of drivers and a lot more pollution. Granted over the past few years they have gained ground on pollution. But let's look at if things turned south again. With smog so bad you can't see the mountains, air so bad respiratory ailments skyrocket. With air quality so bad new businesses decide they don't want to open shop there, loss of taxes there. People that do have a job take more and more time off because of breathing problems causing loss of taxable income. Now how much is it worth it to the counties involved to get more toxin spewing cars off the road?

    State-wide Ca has a lot of cars on the road. Most spew toxins into the air. How much is it worth to the State to try to improve it's carbon footprint and limit some of those toxins? A different context is If the State of Ca waives its registration and sales tax on the first 50K of these alternative fuel cars, enough to get them on the road and people saying what is that and talking about them, thinking about them, then 200K+ may go out and buy the electric car in the next few years, stimulating more money that was put into the system.

    Federally, when a new industrial niche explodes onto the marketplace it is typically very good for the country as a whole, more jobs, more taxes on sales more breakthroughs. Look at the first automobile industrial explosions. how many jobs were created and sales taxes collected. WWII was an industrial explosion that pulled us out of the Depression. The computer industry is still riding an industrial explosion and look at the number of jobs and taxes it creates. So IF (I understand it is an IF) the alternative fuel cars do catch on and people feel as compelled to get these as they did the home computer, then would the few dollars spent in the beginning have mattered much?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:51 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Richard stated...The 12 billion dollar oil subsidy paid to oil companies costs every American about 133 dollars a year. That's every man, woman, and child in the United States...

    The oil industry also pays billions in taxes and oil products (gas) generates billions upon billions of tax revenue for the government to pay out these subsidies... not true of the electric car that drains tax revenues...
    In addition, if you could demonstrate that the “net” subsidy after tax revenue that is received by the government from big oil is significant, I think we should decrease that subsidy as well. Two wrongs do not make it right.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:12 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Richard stated…To give perspective, when the California electric vehicle rebate is finally paid out and ends, the cost to each Californian is about 11 cents.

    Richard… I like the original numbers… sounds accurate… As stated… The Leaf’s price tag is $32,780, but federal, state and county rebates drove the price down by about $15,000 for Harty… Richard… no matter how you cut it… that is getting very close to a 50% rebate at tax payers expense… In my OPINION… that is selfish. In addition, you breaking it down to 11 cents is your attempt to look less selfish in my OPINION.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:58 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Richard stated…You have a right to your opinion, but you don't have a right to misrepresent the facts. Nissan sells the LEAF fully loaded for about 33,000 dollars.

    Richard… it is not a fact that I am representing… it is an opinion. I misrepresent nothing factual. In addition, you completely missed the point I made in expressing my opinion.
    I think all cars are heavily inflated because of all the reasons I stated. Do you think it is magic that a car is worth 7000 less the day after the new owner drives it off the lot. In my OPINION, that immediate depreciation is directly a result of buying an over priced vehicle. That includes electric cars. That is my opinion. In my opinion, you are selfish regardless of your rationalizations.
    If you want a fact… If I or someone like me sees you driving that car, we will not be thinking anything complimentary, I guarantee it. Seeing how you respond here, in my OPINION, you would care less what I would think.

  • Richard Harty posted at 1:07 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    To give perspective, when the California electric vehicle rebate is finally paid out and ends, the cost to each Californian is about 11 cents.

    The 12 billion dollar oil subsidy paid to oil companies costs every American about 133 dollars a year. That's every man, woman, and child in the United States.

    That is a 1200 percent difference for ONE year.

    When we include the oil subsidy that has been paid out over many years you can see that the difference is staggering.

    Where do you want to put your efforts to save the American tax payer money?

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:09 am on Mon, Feb 21, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14


    You have a right to your opinion, but you don't have a right to misrepresent the facts. Nissan sells the LEAF fully loaded for about 33,000 dollars. This is only 3000 dollars more than a similarly equipped Prius. This is not "dramatically inflated." You are exaggerating here.

    Tesla has not made a profit and it sells its electric sports car for $125,000. Most people were surprised the Nissan could sell the LEAF for so little. Most commentators don't think that Nissan is making any money on the LEAF even though Nissan reports that they think they will be profitable in a year.

    I am taking a risk on new technology. Incentives are simply a way to do business. The incentives were calculated based on what experts thought would stimulate adoption. When you invest in something, the higher the risk the higher the return. This is simple capitalism. I could end up paying quite a bit more down the road. I don't think I will and that is why I'm willing to take the risk.

    I do have an eventual cost of installing a 220 charger in my house and that will cost me an additional $2400 with permits, installation, and parts.

    You are making your comments based on a very short term uniformed balance sheet. I don't really appreciate being called selfish for investing my own money in making our air quality better. I have saved over 500 pounds of CO2 from being put into the atmosphere in just the month and 1/2 that I have been driving the LEAF. This is saving tax dollars as well because CO2 emissions create government and private industry expenses.

    Should I call you selfish because you continue to cost me money by driving a gas car?

    Even with incentives, I'm still putting out over 20,000 dollars of my own money.

    If you really want to save the tax payer money, put your efforts into getting big oil out of our lives. That will save Billions. You're complaining about subsidies that will eventually save billions of tax dollars. I think you are being short sighted on this.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:22 pm on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Darrell, The federal "incentive" is what you already paid in taxes. So if you did not pay 7500 in taxes, you wouldn't get it in incentives...any

    This is obvious and I understand... so because you buy an electric car, you get back the tax you pay, but then you do not have any of your taxes available to pay for other government services that your tax dollar would have been spent on... as a consequence... other tax payers must step up and pay your fair share on other programs.... Kevin... I think your enthusiasm and zeal for developing new technology (which is a positive thing) supersedes all other considerations… I am at a loss to understand the level of commitment you see as reasonable… maybe I’m just out of touch. I consider you reasonable in so many concerns… but this one… I do not get it.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:11 pm on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin… to anticipate your response let me address what I mean by non- new technology extravagance. I had a conversation with an employee of a well know car manufactured 15 years ago in Tracy. He worked in Fremont and described his job for me. He worked at an assembly line and had a job to park cars at the end of the line… what would be a reasonable wage for someone with “parking” duties 15 years ago? $30,000…. $60,000….
    $90,000… plus benefits and pensions?... no… much higher… $115,000 in pay + benefits.
    In addition, car manufacturers pay for health care through retirement until dead… in addition, many car companies pay 70% wage for workers not working if in the pool of laid off workers… to me, these expenses are unreasonable. If a parking man can get that much, and others get even more, no wonder cars depreciate when they drive off the lot as they were bought for much more than its value… this problem is not addressed in the cost of an electric car. Now, these same companies, decide to develop an electric car, and have all these expenses of an artificially high priced vehicle passed on to the consumer… all with the help of these tax incentives…. Not fair in my book. Government’s money???

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 4:54 pm on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, The federal "incentive" is what you already paid in taxes. So if you did not pay 7500 in taxes, you wouldn't get it in incentives. Again, the State is offering the same thing to the individual, that is sales tax break, that they offer to corporations to entice them in and promote future sales. In terms of the State, the more electric cars become accepted, the more will be bought and more sales taxes will be gained through future sales creating stronger economy. And the country is offering an amount they feel would get them to the pollution compliance they are required to meet. Where do you see selfishness in these terms? Each is offering a different, for their own reason incentive. No everyone is eligible for the total amount.

    I'd explain more but we are running out for dinner.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:28 pm on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin stated…Darrell, taking advantage of government offered money for emerging technology is not selfish…

    Kevin… That’s a hard pill for me to swallow… “Government money”, is not “government money”… to me, when one “takes” rebates, they are taking from you, me and every other tax payer…not the government. In addition, to not consider priority of resources (in this kind of economy especially) is not responsible from my perspective… it almost appears that you think emerging technology should have no limit on the “amount” of incentives one should be eligible to get. Even if you ignore that the money is coming from the tax payer…. The car cost over 30,000 and its price is dramatically inflated higher than it should be from other considerations than”new technology”. I do not appreciate any tax dollar used to support these extravagant excesses. I still think the “amount” of incentive is very selfish… not the incentive itself.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 10:50 am on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, taking advantage of government offered money for emerging technology is not selfish. It is no more selfish than flying on government subsidies airlines to foreign countries, paying for lower than should be gas that is subsidised by government. Buying food from discount stores that receive big government tax breaks to make the food more affordable. Do you go to any of these places and say, "no, I'd like to pay full price because I'm not selfish."? No, you enjoy the benefits of other people's taxes.

    Looking at the incentive breakdown Richard provided I think it makes sense. You only get a Fed tax credit IF you pay that much. So it isn't a hand out to everyone, just giving back what someone like Richard paid into the system. Sounds like state is basically just waving their registration and sales tax fee, something they do for businesses all the time. And the county is trying to save a few buck to meet a pollution standard.

    Is it worth a few tax dollars now to break the US's dependence on foreign oil? IF OPEC wanted to they could cripple the US by withholding oil, I think that is a dangerous place to be in and any efforts made now to weaken that stranglehold is justified. And yes, that includes loosening the standards on some high efficiency vehicles like are in your neck of the woods.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:52 am on Sun, Feb 20, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    These incentives are to get things into motion. They are not permanent. and...I don't think I have to "rationalize" anything

    Richard... I agree that you do not have to rationalize... its just that you decided to.... and again for the third time... I did not say we shouldnt' have incentives... I said you shouldn't have such an excessive one at others peoples expense. I think it is selfish and wasteful. You think it is appropriate. We have a difference of opinion. For the second time, If you feel so strongly that your actions are a good direction to go in, then great... but why bilk the taxpayer because your opinioon is that it is a good thing to do.... again... very selfish from my perspective.

  • Richard Harty posted at 11:09 pm on Sat, Feb 19, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    This is how the incentives break down.

    Federal Tax Credit - $7500

    You don't benefit from this unless you pay that much tax.

    State Refund - $5000

    County Contract for 3 year vehicle use in county - $3000

    This reduces the fine that the county pays for being out of air pollution compliance.

    So no individual refund is involved.

    Plus it doesn't cover 1/2 the cost because I still have to pay a very large registration fee and sales tax which pretty much negates the State refund.

    In addition I am taking a risk on an unproven technology which could cost me much more if battery prices don't come down. To replace the battery today would cost about $16,000. The hope is that by the time I have to replace the battery in about 8 years that the cost will be less than half. That is not guaranteed.

    Now if those incentives are not in place the likelihood that those beyond early adopters will buy an electric car go way down. There are about 90 million cars on the road. We have a long way to go to replace those.

    Nissan is betting the bank on electric cars and because they are taking this risk many other car companies have jumped on the bandwagon. Before the LEAF was announced most of the other car companies said they weren't going to work on a pure electric car or that if wouldn't be available for about 5 years. The LEAF is a game changer, but it can easily be derailed.

  • Richard Harty posted at 10:43 pm on Sat, Feb 19, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14


    I don't think I have to "rationalize" anything. And when is the use of reason a wrong thing? We aren't talking about a moral failure here. We are talking about the use of incentives within a capitalistic system.

    We have to subsidize many things. Now if we were to use your definition of fair I would ask why I should pay for other people's children to be educated. Why do we have to subsidize education?

    I'm in favor of spending far more on education because I think it benefits all of us to have an educated population. When I drive an electric car it benefits everyone because I produce less pollution and this contributes to the over all health and quality of life for everyone. I think it is a worthwhile thing to spend public money on to get it going.

    In a capitalistic system some projects are too large for private enterprise and when we give our common tax resources to these types of projects it benefits everyone. Unlike the oil company subsidies these subsidies are not permanent. And they are in the millions, not the billions. There are limited number of each electric vehicle from each manufacturer that will get the tax credit.

    You would be far more effective to be critical of oil subsidies which only benefit the oil companies. They certainly don't filter down to the consumer.

    Now electric cars will eventually have to pay higher registration fees to subsidize roads. These incentives are to get things into motion. They are not permanent.

    This is not about deserving or not deserving. This is about a rational approach to promote public well being within a capitalistic society.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:16 am on Sat, Feb 19, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin... thank you... As normal, I agree with quite a bit of what you state...
    I think we have much in common as it relates to environmental issues... and many other things as well.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 7:14 am on Fri, Feb 18, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Sorry for the misquote Darrell. I too don't like incentive programs from the government. Tax payer dollars should not go to help buy a different tax payer anything. This is what subsidies and incentives do. But I also think that there needs to be a balance to stimulate technology that would reduce our dependence on oil. I'd be curious to see how the incentives broke down between federal, state and county. Mainly because not everyone across the US would get the same amount in incentives. I also wonder if those same incentives are keeping the price artificially high.

    In my universe, IF the government wanted to give a tax break for people using alternative energy vehicles then it would come April 15th. A certified auto center verifies the mileage and a tax rebate program rewards for the distances traveled over the past year using the "green" tech. It would max out at a couple hundred, but over the years may add up to more than what is offered right now.

    In the US the scooters you describe would be considered "Green technology". Especially compared to what we currently use. I can't remember the name of it right now but there is a Swiss Electric vehicle that has a huge range compared to the US but is banned for safety reasons. Even though it is an enclosed trike that drives with car controls, the US (if you do the conversion which a few people have) considers it a motorcycle and makes you hop through those hoops.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:44 am on Fri, Feb 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin stated...You say it is bad timing because of the economy…

    Kevin… I think you are unintentionally misquoting me. I didn’t say “it is bad timing because of the economy”, and I didn’t say that Richard should not have had tax incentives available.
    I specifically stated it is a bad time now to offer “this high of an incentive”. If Richard gained an advantage of $5,000 for example, instead of $15,000, I would not have blinked an eye. I would not have liked it.. but it would have been more acceptable.
    My question to you is , how high is too high. Why not 25,000 incentive… why not 30,000.
    Why stop at 50%... Maybe we should just give free cars… just think of the immediate impact.
    In my view, 50% incentive is not much different than just giving him the car.

    Kevin, if you are serious about alternatives, In Thailand, large numbers of families have small motor scooters that 3 or 4 people ride on at once. These scooters get better mileage than any car and cost around 1300 new. These scooters also have right –a-ways and room to go. I love riding them. There are so many alternatives available now world wide, but are illegal in United States… to me the electric vehicle would die in its track if various transportation that exists were made safe and regulations relaxed… sorry, I think the “green industry”, is a political maneuver than makes more people more wealthy “like Gore” as the main motivation. I think the environment has little to do with what is happening.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:49 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    You say it is bad timing because of the economy, but what did we learn from the oil crisis in the '70's? We learned that Americans have a very short memory. As soon as the economy turns around, if gas prices drop then people will stop caring, as they did before, and it will be another 20-30 years before much progress is made again.

    As a counter I offer WWII as an example of why now is the best time to jump start a the industrial sector with a new marketable good (alternative transportation methods). The depression was in full force when WWII broke out. It was the vamping up of industry for war that broke the trend. If Americans approached alternative transportation the same way a massive new industrial wave could break us out of this depression as well. In contrast to WWII where the government paid for the the industrial vamp-up, this time there are businesses in place to do it for the government. All it needs is for people to step up and set the example for something different than driving a gas-guzzling car one mile to drop off the movie or go get coffee.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:41 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, you and I see the economic world differently. The best way to save ourselves from the economic grave you mentioned isn't to make sure people pay a gas tax, but rather free up MORE disposable income. One way to do this is to NOT have to pay for gas, or at least as much gas.

    Now follow me on this one; from Marchish through October I ride my bike or 4-wheel bike as much as I can to run as many errands as I can. Sometimes time restraints prevent that but most of the time it is possible. I go from three fill ups a month to two, done to < one in the summer. So instead of paying for more money to the oil industry which boasts of profits in the millions while still recieving out tax dollars as subsidies, I can spread that $40+ dollars a month out to local businesses. It doesn't sound like much but that's $400+ a year. Estimates are that there are about 200million registered drivers in the US (googled it). If just 1% of the people out there did as Richard and I, eliminated according to the example then that 2 million people redistribute $800million away from the oil industry (who still has pleanty of money) and into other businesses, paying taxes on what we buy. Imagine if 2% or 5% or (wouldn't it be wonderful) 10% did this?

    So the taxes are still collected through sales tax, more jobs created creating a bigger tax base. All this would easily replace the loss of taxes from gas, improve the traffic conditions for everyone else, stimulate alternative fuel industries (creating more jobs and more taxes), as well as improving the health of people choosing to cycle so they are more productive.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:55 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin stated...Darrell, are you really arguing that it isn't fair that Richard doesn't pay gas taxes for his mod of transportation?

    Kevin, not arguing that point at all. What I am saying is that this is a bad economic time. We need tax revenue for many things. If the incentives are successful, and say one million people have half of their car paid with tax dollars, it drains funding resources. In addition, it compounds the problem by decreasing tax revenue from gas tax without replacing that revenue. Where will the money come from to pay for all these incentives… it is not only cars (solar, health care, etc) … it is massive and expensive. Timing to me is obviously bad. We are digging our economic grave. Its like watching a train wreck for entertainment which is why I refuse to participate in these tax incentives.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Richard stated…I'm not sure why I need to apologize for saving money. The rebate is available for anyone who wants to get a LEAF or a Volt or any of the electric cars coming out in the next few years.
    No reason to apologize Richard… many people take actions that result in windfalls... just look at the oil companies…In my view, it is legal… it is there to motivate you to take the action you did, but it is very selfish considering how big the subsidy is and how many people that money could have been used for (like the Lodi teachers), during this time of severe economic turmoil.
    I love the idea of developing alternatives to oil based products… and providing incentives to do it...but 50% incentive… now??? …
    If you (or anyone else) feel that strongly about the environment, why not buy the car or green product (solar power) on that basis alone, and forget the incentive? Maybe the incentive should be doing what is right (save the environment), and save money in gas and tax for the life of the vehicle. Why participate in selfish incentives?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:27 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kevin and Richard… evidently my point was lost and my communication skills need to be improved. I was not talking about to great idea and obvious benefit that the “Leaf”, and other alternate “green” products or businesses that need to be developed. Gas and oil will someday go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct. Obviously, something has to replace oil … the question is when and how fast. I was talking about economic priorities and where very limited recourses should be fairly applied.

    In my view, we are in a financial and economic crisis. In another blog, there was dismay that 11 high school English teachers would be laid off… why? …The horrible economy which has not been seen since the depression. It’s serious and people are losing jobs, which decrease tax revenue to pay for government programs.
    In my view, there couldn’t be a worse time to allocate this kind of subsidy. To pay for 50% of Richards’s car is not an incentive; it’s obscene considering the situation. There needs to be incentives… but this is ridiculous. Maybe if 75 % of on green tax incentives were applied to teacher’s jobs, these 11 teachers would still have their jobs… and many others throughout the nation. Children’s immediate education to me is a higher priority that that high of an incentive for Richards’s car.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:31 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Richard, personally (in case it didn't come across earlier) I commend you for your stepping outside of the conventional wisdom's on what makes a car, a car. I like to draw a comparison between the automotive/electric technology and that of computers. When computers first came out there were naysayers who doubted the practical applications of computers. But because enough people stepped up and embraced the new technology, the industry grew and the technology changed the world. I believe this is what is going to happen with the electric/alternative fuel vehicles.

    It may be ten to twenty years for establishing their position but after there is enough market demand, new tech will start to explode on to the scene and the electric/alternative fuel vehicles will change the world.

    Here is an interesting thought along those lines: If we are no longer dependant on foreign oil what will happen to the middle east?

  • Richard Harty posted at 12:16 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    I'm not sure why I need to apologize for saving money. The rebate is available for anyone who wants to get a LEAF or a Volt or any of the electric cars coming out in the next few years.

    As the rebates run out the price of the cars should come down as the volume ramps up. In addition the batteries in the LEAF will be useful for home applications after they are taken out of the car. There are recycling programs ramping up as well because the batteries will still have value.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:51 am on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Ooooh, should have spell checked that first, now all my facts are tainted. I'll blame it on low blood sugar. I think I'll go have some breakfast.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 8:50 am on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2106

    Darrell, are you really arguing that it isn't fair that Richard doesn't pay gas taxes for his mod of transportation?

    The most recent number I found was from Obama wanting to cut $4B in Oil company subsidies and tax breaks. I desagree with many subsidies, oil being one of them. Higher gas prices will mean more people will be looking for alternatives to gas for transportation. Something I have already said I look forward to.

    As for the question about life of the batteries, here you go: http://www.thecarelectric.com/content/how-long-do-the-batteries-last-in-an-electric-car.php

    In a nutshell the Leaf is said to get average 100 miles per cycle (time between charging which his how they measuse rechargable battery life). The Leaf uses a Lithium Ion battery which averages 1000 cycles befire loss of efficiency. So that is about a 100,000 mile life. So the life of the batteries depends on how much you drive it. If you live, work and play in Lodi, depending on where, you may not put on more than twenty miles on is a week. Which can break down to 5000 weeks=LONG life of the batteries.

    Go for it Richard, they all laughed at me when I got my four wheel bike-car as well.

  • Jeff Payne posted at 7:39 am on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Jeff Payne Posts: 7

    The electric car concept might work if we decided to go nuclear and produce non-greenhouse electricity. Another question I have is what is the impact of disposing or recycling the batteries when they wear out? Do the batteries last longer than 4-5 years (most of my rechargeable batteries at home quit in approximately that time frame).

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:32 am on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Richard the tax rebate recipient stated...We subsidize oil to the tune of 12 billion dollars per year…
    So this is your rationalization to get subsidies to help you buy?
    Maybe you can itemize this 12 billion subsidy … The last time I checked, tax revenue to the government is over 50 cents per gallon for gas… that comes from tax payers like you and me. Who is subsidizing who? So now that you are not paying for gas, you personally are paying less tax… much less tax… at the expense of the rest of us… and get 15000 to boot… sweet deal for you… is it fair?????... maybe if you were doing this for the environment you could find it in your heart to donate your windfall to a local charity that is in desperate need of money… after all, you would get a tax deduction and help disadvantaged people at the same time, now that you are saving so much money, should be easy to do.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:18 am on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Leaf’s price tag is $32,780, but federal, state and county rebates drove the price down by about $15,000 for Harty.
    Is this fair to tax payers... paying for half of his car...Is this fair to the teachers who will be getting pink slips as there is not enough tax money to pay their salaries. Is this fair to students who will have larger class size???
    Maybe it is... maybe not... I would not blame anyone for taking advantage of these tax breaks, but is it the right thing to do in this economic environment. Personally, I will not buy a car like this because of the tax rebates... that just me thinking of fairness.

  • Richard Harty posted at 11:43 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    Richard Harty Posts: 14

    We subsidize oil to the tune of 12 billion dollars per year. Electric vehicles have a much smaller subsidy and unless these are subsidized there is little chance of electric vehicles and their infrastructure being put into place. We also spend 1 billion dollars per day on fuel. Imagine if our country was freed from spending 1 trillion dollars every three years, reducing our pollution by 75%, and using that 12 billion per year to set up a clean energy infrastructure. The tax and consumer savings will be tremendous.

    In addition, even if we used coal for all of our electricity it would still be far less emission than producing and burning gas. It will eventually allow each person to generate their own electricity through solar or wind or fuel cell making it possible for energy independence for the individual.

    It's going to take a while to educate the American Public about the advantages and dispel a lot of intentional myth making by those who want us to stay dependent on oil.

  • Jeff Payne posted at 10:11 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    Jeff Payne Posts: 7

    OK, so I the taxpayer have made it cheaper for someone else to buy a car that uses electricity generated using coal or natural gas (greenhouse gas -producing fossil fuels, I add) so that President Obama can tell me my internal combustion engine car is not environmentally sound. If it's such a great idea, why does it require government subsidies to make it sell even a few cars. I don't blame those that buy these cars, I blame the politicians who take money from taxpayers and give it to those who do as they wish.



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