Sunday, September 9, 2012

We Will Never Go To War Over Sunshine.

Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.)


 "On Aug. 2, 1990, I was the Pentagon desk officer who took the call alerting America that Saddam Hussein’s forces were invading Kuwait to gain control of its oil fields. Since that day, the United States has been engaged in continuous conflict in the Middle East, in large part to protect the supply of petroleum..."

“...We can see this on an immediate and tactical level when we have to truck fuel to a base in Afghanistan. We may spend $100 per gallon getting it there — but the true cost is measured in blood. Fuel convoys draw enemy attacks, and it is measurable that we will receive one casualty for every 50 resupply trucks on the road..."

"...It would be myopic to think that this is just about Middle Eastern oil, or even just about oil. Today the market for fossil fuels is global, and we cannot protect ourselves from supply disruptions or price shocks just by choosing who we buy from, or simply by drilling more at home. The only path to energy and climate security is a comprehensive energy infrastructure focused on renewable resources and improved, harmless-emission fuels...”   Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.)   Fossil fuel dependence leaves America vulnerable

Today at 3pm, Julie and I will have the privilege to shake hands and visit with Maj. General Anthony L. Jackson (Ret) . Julie and I, along with our good friend, Brig. General David Brahms USMC (Ret) will be driving in Julie's BMW ActiveE to our meeting. Brig. General Brahms will be at the wheel.

In 2006 with the construction of our family home, we  began our shift to self reliance with Solar PV for our new home. We also began our shift away from gasoline towards electricity.  Our first electric car was a 2007 Gem e4.  We really loved the Gem and put 8000 miles on it in two years.  The Gem e4 was restricted in range and speed and could only make our local trips on low speed roads but we began to see the potential of electric mobility and the ease, simplicity and savings of plugging into the sun.  

In 2009 we began driving the BMW Mini-E, replaced in early 2012 with the BMW ActiveE, and we completed our transition to two electric cars in 2012 with the Honda Fit EV.  

Our cost to go solar was $31,000 over two installations. $20,000 for a 4.5kw system when we built the house in 2007 and $11,000 for a 3kw system to power the cars in 2009.   We also did a lighting retrofit changing out 120, 50 watt halogen bulbs to 8 watt led bulbs. 

Our total cost for the solar PV and our lighting retrofit was $33,5000. That cost was paid in full around March of this year with the savings from our utility bill and our gasoline bill.  We are essentially living and driving on free sunshine.

In the prior five years with one electric car and the house, we  generated the same amount of electricity as we  used thus a small TOU credit from our utility (currently at a $350 credit balance.)   This year with the addition of the Honda Fit EV we will use an additional 4000kwh so we will have a bill at the end of the year of around $600.

Electric cars are simply better to drive then their gas counterparts, they're cheaper to drive,  they're non polluting, they're faster, they're quieter and we will never go to war over sunshine.  We will never need to endure the loss of an American life, any life, or suffer a casualty  trucking sunshine around.

Here's a quick simple overview of our prior cost with our normal utility and two gas cars and our cost  with solar PV and two electric cars. The BMW ActiveE and the Honda FIT EV  are less in monthly payments than our previous cars, a Volvo S60R and an Infinity G35.
Julie drives 20,000 miles a year and I drive 13,000 miles a year.

Why the hell are we still driving on oil?  

Prior to 2007             Monthly               Annual
SDG&E bill                           $420                       $5040
Julie’s Gas                             $250                       $3000
Peder’s  Gas                          $200                       $2400

Total annual utility and gas for cars $10440

Actual Cost 2012
SDG&E bill                           $50                         $600
Julie’s Electricity fuel             $0                           $0
Peder’s  Electricity fuel          $0                           $0

Total annual utility and electricity for cars $600

Annual savings $9840


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