I'm noticing a bunch of people are picking up on the plug-in hybrid concept (which isn't mine, I just flog it heavily; "if I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."). It really is the best ticket out of our current dilemma:
- Electricity delivers energy to the wheels much more cheaply than gasoline.
- Electricity comes from resources which cannot be embargoed by OPEC.
- You can generate electricity at home.
- Hybrid cars with extra batteries allow some operation on electricity alone.
- Recharging from a typical 20-mile commute would require only an extension cord.
- (most important) We could start building them TODAY.
Since there is some interest here in points for letters to editors, here are some sample ideas that you can re-write in your own words. But keep it terse; newspapers like to edit verbiage, and anything too long may have its meaning butchered before it gets into print.
- While gasoline prices have come down temporarily, they will go up again. People should not go back to business as usual. Oil is getting more scarce and costly. We will need cheaper energy for our vehicles. Electricity is much cheaper than gasoline, and is likely to stay that way.
- Politics and hurricanes can cut off our oil, and they are not going away. OPEC can cut back if they wish, or terrorists can send prices sky-high overnight. Fortunately, most of our electricity comes from sources which are beyond the reach of them all. Plug-in hybrid cars can use electricity for the majority of ordinary driving. We need the automakers to let us buy them.
- After the damage from this year's hurricanes, more than 80% of US oil is imported. A car that runs on oil needs foreign energy, but someone with a car that runs on electricity could make their own "fuel". What's better for independence, and the country?
- Some people in California are adding batteries to their Priuses, and charging them from the wall. The cars run entirely on electricity for short distances, and only use gas for long distances. The cars only need a regular extension cord to recharge. Isn't this better than depending on imported oil?
- The amount of oil in the world shrinks every day, and it is getting more expensive every year. The Toyota Prius can be modified to run partly on electricity from the wall instead of oil from the Middle East. Why won't Toyota and Ford let us buy cars like this from their dealers?
If your write a letter and it gets published, feel free to post the URL of your paper's letters page so we can all look. Post the original if it's different.