Monday, April 11, 2022

Remember When...

Remember when I said that the real reason Donald Trump imposed tariffs was to extort campaign contributions?

Trump plans to use the tariffs to extort campaign contributions from companies:

A top trade adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday a process will be in place for businesses to get exemptions from the White House plan to place steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, offering the first indication a tariff hike could be less broad than first thought.
Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, said countries will not be excluded from the tariffs because that would become a slippery slope, but there will be a mechanism for corporate exemptions in some cases.

I was right! A foreigner (Canadians still count as foreigners as far as the FEC is concerned) has copped a non-plea for illegally contributing to a Trump super PAC to get Trump to tighten steel import restrictions, to the advantage of Canada.

A Canadian steel industry billionaire illegally helped steer $1.75 million in donations to a pro-Trump super PAC and has agreed to pay one of the largest fines ever levied by the Federal Election Commission to settle the case, the commission said on Friday.
When it comes right down to it, Trump accomplished nothing on his own, except for the tariffs.
Supreme Court justices? Mitch McConnell. 
Tax cuts? Mitch McConnell. 
Getting the United States out of the forever war in Afghanistan? After having our negotiators bend over the conference table for the Taliban, hanging our allies in the Afghan government out to dry, those allies had all bolted when Biden actually had to implement Trump's fabulous deal, leaving the US with a disaster at the Kabul airport.

Our relationship with dictatorial powers like Russia, North Korea and China? Trump gave classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. All Trump could do during his entire term was suck up to his idols Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un. All his tough talk on China amounted to nothing. Even after Putin has massacred thousands of innocent Ukrainians, Trump and his Fox news cronies continue to fellate the Russian dicator.
The only thing Trump actually did was impose tariffs, and it just messed up American exports and raised prices Americans paid for TVs and computers.
Trump was the poster boy for corruption and incompetence. Why on earth does anyone still listen to this idiot? Why isn't he rotting in jail for January 6th?

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Electric Vehicles by the Numbers

Since the war in Ukraine started there's been a lot of grumbling about the price of gas going up. It's about $4.11 dollars a gallon in most of the country and $5.84 in California.

If your car is like mine, it gets 30 miles a gallon and has a 15 gallon tank. Filling it up will give you a range of 450 miles, for a cost of $61.65. That's 7.3 miles per dollar.

The average cost of electricity in the United States is 13.72 cents per kilowatt hour. It varies a lot across the country, up to 37 cents in Hawaii down to 9 cents in Nebraska.

One version of the Tesla Model 3 has a 82 kwH battery and has a 350 mile range. The average cost to charge the battery is $11.28. That's 31 miles per dollar. Other electric cars have smaller batteries and ranges, but generally go 3-4 miles per kwH.

That means the Tesla is 4.25 times cheaper to drive (considering only fuel costs) than my current car. Electric vehicles (EVs) generally have lower maintenance costs because there are fewer parts, which is why car dealerships aren't really wild about them. EVs are currently pricier than internal combustion engines (ICEs), but that will change as production numbers increase.

We have 39 solar panels on our roof. On a good day we get 85 kwH of power, enough to fully charge the Tesla. For the month of March we averaged 44.8 kwH per day. For all of 2021 we generated 16.46 megawatt hours (including a nine-day period in August when the panels were off because our roof was being reshingled -- a hail storm trashed the shingles but the solar panels were totally unscathed). That's an average of 45.1 kwH per day for the year, including the dark months of December and January.

If you have an EV your solar panels aren't saving you the cost of electricity they generate, they're saving you 4.25 times that because that's how much more the gas would cost.

The average American drives 13,500 miles a year, or 37 miles a day. If you plug your EV in every night (often when electricity rates are cheaper), you'll be at full capacity every morning, and you'll never run out of charge.You'll never have to go to a filling station. You'll never have to wait in line for gas. Or change your oil. Or put antifreeze in your radiator.

Some people are concerned about the range of EVs. They're worried that they won't be able to find a charging station and they'll be stuck somewhere on a long trip. But seriously, how often do you drive more than 270 or 310 miles in a single day?

They've got it backwards. Power outlets are ubiquitous. Gas stations are not. Pretty much anywhere you go, you can plug your EV into a 120 V power outlet and charge it. It won't charge fast, but it'll get you enough charge so that you can drive to a fast charger. And as EV usage picks up, the number of fast charging stations will increase.

A ruggedly independent rancher in Wyoming will be able to stick solar panels on his barn roof or put up a wind turbine and charge his Ford Lightning pickup for next to nothing, without having to drive 50 miles to the nearest gas station.

EV naysayers will say that lithium mining is bad, that the war in Ukraine is driving up the cost of nickel, etc. There is a ton of battery research going on, and there are already technologies in the works that will render these arguments moot (they just use iron and no fancy metals).

Driving EVs will allow Americans to stick it to the Russian petroligarchs, the Saudi sheiks, and the Iranian imams. Using less oil will mean less fracking, and fewer earthquakes caused by fracking wastewater disposal, like those plaguing Oklahoma, Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio and Texas.

It will, incidentally, make the air cleaner and improve Americans' health. But, you know, you can't have everything...