The Instigator
blondesrule502
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
Wierdkp326
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

High gas prices

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/1/2008 Category: Technology
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,351 times Debate No: 4561
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (13)

 

blondesrule502

Pro

The minimum wage today which will soon be passed is $6.55. Gas prices are now just over $4.00. this is about 61% of a person's hourly income. In 1972, the minimum wage was $1.60, while gas was $0.92. Gas was about 58% of a person's hourly income. However, the average gas mileage back then was about 13 miles per gallon whereas today it is approximately 22 miles per gallon. (cato.org)

Today, in the face of global warming, there needs to be some incentive to come up with alternatives. Jimmy Carter, though not a perfect president, tried to get us to become less dependent on foreign oil and come up with better alternatives. Since then, global warming has just been getting worse and there is only so much attainable oil left.

Well, that was 30 years ago. Though a handful of states (California, Oregon, Washington, the New England states as well as New York and Pennsylvania), have come up with some ideas, the government has not sufficiently funded programs that try to encourage bio-diesel, clean electric cars, as well as solar for sunny places such as L.A., Florida, Arizona, etc.

In those thirty years, the government has made our gas artificially cheap and car companies up until now in this gas crisis have made gas guzzling HumVee's, SUV's, and trucks, and have even destroyed the electric car and other alternatives.

In "Who Killed the Electric Car," people who had driven EV1's got together and decided to make this video to show how the electric car was destroyed. California had originally passed a law that would slowly increase the number of electric cars available to the public so that the people would turn away from gas and move on. The EV1's were not for sale, only for lease. It could safely travel at highway speeds and passed safety regulations. One charge could go for over one hundred miles, and California had set up electric charging areas for these cars. However, when the lease was up, GM took the cars away and discontinued the line because it interfered with the gas profits and would ultimately end the profits.

Now we have high gas prices and car companies are really trying to become very fuel efficient to please the public. Why is it that Americans weren't paying attention and only now that gas is high is the public really concerned. If this is what it takes to switch to environmentally friendly vehicles, then so be it.
Wierdkp326

Con

Be careful where your examples come from. There is a problem with documentaries today. Very few of them are fair to other sides of the debate. I could easily tell you that the electric car had at least 2 very simple problems that made them uneconomical and weak in the US market. The first was that a charged battery gave a person 150 miles before needing to be recharged, which took several hours. Over time, an expensive electric car battery would decay and require replacement. Chances are, however, someone would recognize that as they got stranded on the side of the road because the battery meter was unreliable after many charges. Another issue was a failure of the country to have an infrastructure that could competently accommodate the electric car. Forget gas prices, that's merely an accusation of a film that is in no way unbiased or fair.

You opened yourself up for criticism on a few points with this debate, so I ask you to get a little more specific to this topic. Global warming is a very debatable topic of it's own, so I could challenge that to refute your assertion that there is a special environmental urgency to deal with gas prices.

You also mention biofuels, which have their own slew of problems. And then of course, the electric car as an alternative power source.

Are you saying that we should challenge high gas prices and find a means to lower them? Are you saying that we need more funding for alternative energies to lower prices? Or are you saying we need the alternative fuels simply to eliminate oil usage for the environment's sake? Please clarify exactly what you would like this debate to focus on.
Debate Round No. 1
blondesrule502

Pro

I am arguing that we need high gas prices to get off of foreign oil, because people like Jimmy Carter and Al Gore have been telling us that we have got to find an alternative, but only now that we are being slammed on at the pump are we taking this advice seriously.

The average American commute is 29 miles a day. The electric car could meet 90% of Americans' needs. A person could then recharge the car at night while they were sleeping, drive to work, do some errands and drive home.

In the beginning of cars, electric cars were the car of choice because they were not as hard to start up and did not emit smog of any kind. The only reason why oil took over is because Detroit car companies had invested in the oil and slowly diminished the number of electric cars until there were none left.

Just before the electric car lines were removed again in 2003, a battery was nearly at the point of being largely manufactured that would allow the car to travel 450 miles on a single charge. That is plenty for all of the population with the exception of the occasional road trip.

A car engine is much more expensive than a battery in an electric car and requires much more maintenance.

As for global warming, its basic science. Taking carbon samples from ice in Antarctica, carbon dioxide can be measured for 650,000 years. We also know the temperature due to how the ice was frozen and refrozen. High carbon levels correlate with high temperatures and low carbon levels correlate with low temperatures. It is known that carbon is emitted from gas driven cars and it is also known that carbon will trap heat.

Though I did speak about electric cars, my point was that car companies don't want to admit that the oil age is coming to an end.

We need to have cars run on all sorts of different fuels like clean burning bio fuels (some are harmful but some are not), electric (preferably from clean sources but even from coal the emissions go down), hydrogen. The point is that we need diversity. Diversity is important because that way we don't end up like we are now, using only one fuel and not having enough of it. If we create many fuels, if one is running low there are other ways.
Wierdkp326

Con

Alright, so you believe that an electric infrastructure would satisfy that needs of the people. Unfortunately, back in 2002, those electric cars cost more than twice the price of a normal car. One example being the Toyota rav4 EV, which was priced at $42,000. For that money I could buy a Chevy Aveo and a Toyota Prius, drive them for 5 years, and still save money. Further, anytime those cars had difficulty, I knew I could find a dealer who knew how to fix it, as opposed to the electric technology, which was dangerous to repair, and even more dangerous in an accident.

Consider today's hybrids; you are driving an electrical grid whenever you sit in these vehicles. The fire department holds special training for their fighters to save an individual trapped in one of these cars in a collision. Guess how they get in..... They have to cut into the car from the trunk in order to reach you at the driver seat. This takes a lot of time, something not many people have in the middle of a vicious collision.

Let's say the price was lower on these electric cars, and we'll even speculate so far to say that danger is not an issue either. You still have to deal with battery decay. Our modern technology still cannot make so much as a cell phone battery last in top condition for more than a year.

Every specification on these electric cars you mentioned means nothing after 6 months, because someone charging the battery nightly, or every two nights, is slowly wearing down the capacity of the battery. It is enough of a pain to charge my cell phone every night when it's estimated working time WAS two days a year ago, and it's even worse when the battery stops working midday because it's capacity is so badly damaged. What happens when your car battery stalls out in the middle of the highway from a poor battery meter and capacity? That's an entire day ruined as you spend perhaps the next couple of days trying to get an expensive replacement.

Perhaps car engines require more maintenance due to the particulate emissions, but they an be done quicker and cheaper than any repair on an electric vehicle because of the availability of resources, and the education of the technicians.

As far as global warming goes, it is far from "Basic" science. The carbon sample test was performed multiple times and aligned with an estimated time line of temperature change. Indeed, a correlation was found, and global warming proponents like Al Gore use the FIRST test's conclusion, which was discredited, as a reason for their assertion. The time line was adjusted, and a correlation showed the the temperature of the planet rose (or decline) and was FOLLOWED by an increase or decrease in carbon dioxide with a lag period of 700 years. If any conclusion were to be drawn from it, it would state that carbon dioxide was increased by the changing temperature, and NOT the other way around.

Check the current IPCC report, and notice how the graph Gore used to make his argument is NOT included. Other models, such as the "hockey stick" model (also used by Gore) are also not included in the report because they-too- were discredited.

There is nothing basic about climatology. It is an infant science, and requires far more research into the workings of the world for us to make any clear conclusions. In the end, global warming is not yet confirmed, and the organizations that claim they are often talk about consequences rather than PROOF of their assertions.
Debate Round No. 2
blondesrule502

Pro

The lease that the people of California paid was cheaper than that of a Honda Accord, and as long as the insurance was paid, the repairs were not expensive. I know someone who worked on the battery of the EV1's and said that it was less complex than that of a gas engine.

Yes, changes would have to be made, I know this having a step-father who is a volunteer fireman. But gas engines can cause fire and explosions unlike electric engines.

Oil needs to be replaced in cars every 6-8 weeks. yes, gas is easier, but there is only so much of it left and we need to come up with alternatives quickly, because we will run out. Therefore, the convenience will go away quickly, so we have to do it one way or another.

Say global warming is wrong, there is no denying the pollution that is being caused. Cities like Los Angeles are in a cloud of smog. Asthma is getting worse and the air quality is getting worse. Where I live, we get 90% of our electricity from hydropower and nuclear. That does not account for the many at home wind projects that many people use. so don't use the coal argument, even though coal is better than gas.
Wierdkp326

Con

In terms of safety, it's hard to tell what is a safer vehicle, the one that will explode on rare occasions, or the one that will take more time to open up and save a victim. Firefighters will spend more than 20 minutes standing around waiting for the charge in the battery to die before going into the car and rescuing someone. In a bad accident, where time is an issue for saving you, your chances of dying are dramatically increased by driving an electric vehicle.

As for pollution, don't confuse "global warming" with pollution. Further, be careful where you are talking about when you say "asthma is getting worse". Asthma conditions may be getting worse in some regions, while not changing or, instead, improving in others. Example, In China, there are more respiratory conditions in general due to the high pollution. In the US, it is fair to say regions with more smog or air pollution from local plants are more likely to have asthma issues, but it is not true to say that everything is getting worse. Especially if you don't have any data to show that asthma incidence has increased over that past 10-20 years in the US.

Do I agree that less people driving gas vehicles would improve the air quality for people around highways or in cities? yes. Do I think that electric is the way to go? Definitely not yet. This all boils down to economics. Society will innovate in lieu of these prices, making either more fuel efficient vehicles, which will reduce emissions in of itself, or create a new source of energy for cars that is economical.

We need to wait until the price is right for other competitive energies to enter the market. At this point, Electric is not economical until gas prices nearly triple on a per gallon basis. If someone were to buy an electric car, it would have cost them $42-80K. They would drive it for a few years, the battery would decay, and they would have to spend thousands to replace it. It's not economical yet, but given time, it will be.

There's no magic bullet to our concerns now. We just have to wait and let people motivate themselves.
Debate Round No. 3
blondesrule502

Pro

Well, we will slowly pollute the air so badly that it will take away from our life expectancy. Besides, like I stated earlier and you obviously failed to read, electric cars was just one idea. Electric cars do possess that safety threat to individuals, it would save many other lives. Yes, there do have to be alternatives, but one temporary solution is the electric car. Then technology will change to improve it.

Asthma related deaths have increased by over 63% since 1980 and in the general population its prevalence has increased over 80%.

As for economics, they are important but the environment won't always be able to "agree" in a sense with economics. But just waiting for a solution rather than actively trying to find one won't work, and it seems that high gas prices is the only way to will this on.

Today, we live in a quick fix society where we only try to find temporary solutions (as seen with today's sudden gas prices that would not be so bad if we had actively been trying to find a solution) and think that that will solve their problems forever, because that is easier to cope with than knowing that the solution needs time and effort. But as a whole, Americans are lazy and not willing to put their time in to finding a solution. But worrying about gas prices and the economy and not trying to do something about it is a perfect example of how Americans have become lazy after WWII, by not wanting to do their part. And sadly, "Ask not what can your country do for your, but ask what you can do for your country," has been falsified by the American attitude.
Wierdkp326

Con

If it were fair to allow you to get off with some generality such as "we need to do something about high gas prices", there would be no debate. You opened and elaborated on electric cars as an alternative to gasoline, and used global warming as a reasoning for eliminating gas completely as a source of energy. This is not a discussion about "ideas", but rather a discussion about your primary idea, electric vehicles. We have debated about whether electric is a safe or practical form of energy for transportation, and had small arguments about the validity of global warming. There was no failure to read anything in your earlier points, I simply refuse to allow this debate to linger into too many topics, letting this debate become a meaningless waste of time for the both of us.

Seeing as how your last round focused on a question of the validity of economics, and an assertion that America is a 'quick fix' society, I must address this. First, it is completely untrue that economics disagrees with the environment. Economics uses indicators provided from society and the scientists who quantify them in order to help lead someone into making a decision.

Environmental economics is unique in that people are challenged to find out how changes in air quality (or other factors) turn into costs for society. It deals with externalities, which can become a valuable tool for policy makers. This is not to say that policy, alone, is the savior of our world. People need to act on their own.

It is absurd to assert that people "waited" for solutions towards the gas issue. There has been research for years on different energy sources, modes of transportation, and other alternative technologies. The rising gas prices have only helped to make these technologies more affordable, as they have not been commercially viable while oil prices were low. Take a day or two, research exactly what GM, Ford, Exxon, and other companies have been doing to improve efficiency in engines. You'll find out that car companies have been actively researching better batteries for hybrids to reduce weight, improve pickup and efficiency. Looking elsewhere, you might also find that universities and other labs have been actively researching fuel cell technology to help make them viable. Progress never stops.

Lastly, I would like to see an example where Americans have ever had a "quick fix" in industry. In America, 'fast' is perhaps the last term one would use to describe change in the economy. The constitution of the country was written to ensure that political change happened slowly with many checks and balances. The economy is 50 states large, a land mass comparable to Europe with almost as much political complexity. Change happens in this country slowly because of the complexity behind diffusing any new technology. Despite this, people work towards solutions, and can only begin bringing them to the market when the incentives and infrastructure is right for them.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek, Derek,

First I'll define my profile of the proposed auto. If the parameters change, it changes everything.
The article states: the annual cost for electricity is $400. This expands to 4000 KWH at $.10 per KWH. To transport the car 12,000 miles, at 30 MPH this would equals 400 hours of driving. The power usage is 10 KWH. Using .8 KW to produce one horsepower, the HP for this car is 13 HP. This suggests a light car. Considering the heavy battery, little additional weight points to a very small car.
And now to the accommodations:
Since it is a small car, it will be relegated to very small families or the second car for larger families. If the car is to be used for more than a commute car, then charging becomes an issue. Charging stations would need to be fairly close together along the highways. This means many stations for few cars. For the requirements of fast-charge (nobody likes to wait) and multiple cars charging simultaneously, beefed-up electric capacity would need to be routed to these variously placed stations. A lot of expense for relatively few cars.
Assuming a five year ramp-up to an estimated 20 % share of vehicles, the cost burden would be very front-loaded. This means that investors would invest vast sums, and an expect for slow repayment, The surge of increased electric usage would be huge. To achieve a relatively small gain, in reduced gas consumption, the electric generation capacity would need to be greatly, expanded (20 million cars X 4000 KWH)= 80,000,000,000 KWH. That would require many new plants in addition to the short-fall we already have. What fuel source would be used? The greenies have effectively blocked coal and nuclear. We are near the limit of hydro. Wind is very intermittent and limited in total capacity. Solar requires vast areas. Natural gas is limited and too valuable to power electric generation. It would be better used in its compressed state to fuel internal combustion engines.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie,
You say "the scale of accomodation militates against success".
Accommodation of what?
Could you explain further?
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek: I believe that you have not understood my position. It has to do with the fungibility of energy. If a 10 kw solar panel is installed on your home it offsets the consumption of oil. A 20 kw panel would save twice as much oil. This is true whether the electricity is used to power your car or your fridge. So the justification for powering a car comes at the margin, meaning that if you can indeed spend $400 for electricity instead of $2400 for gasoline then it makes sense to do so. I just believe that the scale of accomodation militates against success. In any case, back to fungibility, it's six of one and a 1/2 doz of another.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie,
Well my point was that with sufficiently cheap solar panels one could power one's car entirely via solar panels and produce very little CO2 and consume very little in the way of fossil fuel.
Warren Buffet seems to believe in the idea... http://www.businessweek.com...

Interestingly, the article says: "based on 12,000 miles per year, would be about $400, compared with $2,400 for a traditional gas-powered car". Of course they may not have been completely thorough in their calculations.

Cheers
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek: I can't find a hole in that, but you would do well to go solar, even if you never drove again. I don't see the connection to the electric car. We're on the same page with the value of solar.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie,
Thin film advances in solar power have reduced costs to less than a third that of the old silicon-crystal PVs
The price would probably be quite a bit less, but the Germans are buying vast amounts.
Interestingly the new stuff is guaranteed for 25 years (c.f. 10 years for silicon crystal PVs) http://www.nanosolar.com...
Should they reduce 1/3rd again, I will reroof and it will be electric car time.
With an inverter we could be largely energy self-sufficient.
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek; the problem with solar power dedicated to an electric car is the opportunity cost. I'm all for solar to replace fossil generation. But, given the formula that I have given, the justification for the solar should be to reduce the need for oil. The net of it is to put the solar in to offset oil generation for the home needs, but the electric car will use solar power that would better be directed to other uses. This follows the illogic of someone exclaiming "My SUV gets only 12 MPG but since I use bio fuel I don't really contribute to excessive oil consumption."
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie,
The old generalisations are usually wrong.
As I understand it, there are people now who already power their electric cars via solar panels (only on the garage roof.)
I'm amazed that an oil fired plant is only 31% efficient.
Coal plants are often more efficient.
The Drax plant in Britain is 38%. Some gas-powered stations, efficiency is as high as 55 per cent. http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk...
In France, (in some cases at least) the nuclear stations heat people's houses directly via hot water rather than use cooling towers. Now there's some efficiency for you ;-)
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You are generally correct - as far as you go in your calculation. But you don't go far enough. Taking your figures (approximately within the ballpark) and factoring the other inefficiencies, it comes out much worse for the electric car.
Gas internal combustion engine overall efficiency (including friction, idling, evaporation, fuel- processing and transport) about 21%.
Electric efficiency: .75 X .33 X .91 X .95 = 21%. About the same - no gain!
75% your number for electric car efficiency, 33% - oil fired power plant efficiency - http://cleantechnica.com..., 91% - transmission efficiency, 95% - conversion efficiency to charge battery (heat from transformer and battery while charging). These numbers can be juggled here and there on both sides, but you can see that there's not a spits worth of difference between them. BTW I drive a hybrid. The recapture of otherwise wasted kinetic energy improves the 'equivalent efficiency' to about 28%.
I am pleased that you realize that nukes are needed - as well as greatly improving generation and consumption efficiencies. I gather that we are closer on this issue than I first imagined.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie,
Petrol cars are typically 25% efficient.
Diesel cars are perhaps 35% efficient.
Electric cars are around 75% efficient at the moment.
It's better to burn petrol in a generating plant to run an electric car than to run your car with it.
Of course you wouldn't need to refine the fuel, so more savings there.
I have no problem with nuclear power, go for it.
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by SchinkBR 8 years ago
SchinkBR
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by DebateStar 8 years ago
DebateStar
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Hanevet 8 years ago
Hanevet
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by blond_guy 8 years ago
blond_guy
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Armageddon23 8 years ago
Armageddon23
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by left_wing_mormon 8 years ago
left_wing_mormon
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by blondesrule502 8 years ago
blondesrule502
blondesrule502Wierdkp326Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30