Transportation Preparation

BE PREPARED to see (and purchase) new modes of transportation in the new future. In the old future we expected to be zipping around in anti-gravity vehicles and air-borne jet skis like George Jetson or Luke Skywalker. The new future is not shaping up that way.

This new bright blue baby is an ordinary conventional bicycle modified with a simple bolt on kit. The DIY kits range in price from $200 to $6oo and can be built in an afternoon. Complete custom motorized bikes can be be had for about $1,ooo. These are EPA approved 2 cycle motors of 68cc to 88cc generating 5 or 6 horsepower. They will attain speeds of 30 to 40 mph and one gallon of gasoline will take you anywhere from 70 miles and up to 150 miles. These bikes still use gasoline but far less than the Lincoln Navigator and the other SUVs that have ruled the road for the past decade. Expect to see more of them in the new future.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii February 2012

The era of cheap oil is over. Are you making any preperation for your future transportation needs? The  International Energy Association claims crude oil output peaked in 2006. “All the easy oil and gas in the world has pretty much been found. Now comes the harder work in finding and producing oil from more challenging environments and work areas” according to William J. Cummings, Exxon-Mobil’s official spokesman.  Lord Ron Oxburgh, former CEO of Shell Oil says, ” It is pretty clear that there is not much chance of finding any significant quantity of new cheap oil. Any new or unconventional oil is going to be expensive”.

Some would have you believe that peak oil was a myth and is no longer a concern now that new types of oil are available in the Athabasca Oil Sands of western Canada, the Green River Shale Formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming plus the Orinoco Belt of Venezuela. Joe Carroll wrote this headline for the Bloomberg news service on Feb. 6th 2012 ” Peak Oil Scare Fades as Shale, Deepwater Wells Gush Crude“. He goes on to say “Two decades and four energy crises later, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that more than 2 trillion barrels of untouched crude is still locked in the ground, enough to last more than 70 years at current rates of consumption”. Whoopie! problem solved, 70 years worth of oil. Tell that to your grandchildren. Oh by the way what is the projected rate of consumption when considering the developing economies of China, India and others?

Back to the blue bicycle. When you first see one of these gasoline assisted bikes the first thought is Hey whatsamatta, to lazy to peddle? This is not a recreational vehicle. These people where probably driving a truck or car just like you or I a short time ago. The high cost of insurance, maintenance and fuel is forcing people to make sacrifices that they had not counted on or volunteered for. Getting sweated up and out of breath peddling on the way to work in office clothes or making that five mile distance to the grocery store is one more sacrifice they would rather avoid – for now.

Obviously this mode of transportation is not for everybody or will it work everywhere. First of all over 30% of the population is overweight and obese. Ain’t gonna happen. Others are old and frail. Not for them. Parts of the country are cold and snowy for 3 to 5 months out of the year. Might get a few months of use during the summer if it’s not raining. I do predict that you will start seeing many more of these gas powered  bicycles though in the near new future. For some it will be a choice, for others it will be the best alternative.

The point of all this is that you should start thinking now. That old F150 or minivan might still have a couple years of life in it yet. What are you going to purchase for your next vehicle? If you live in Wyoming or west Texas and have to drive 20 or 30 miles for supplies how are future gas prices going to affect your family? The thousands of commuters that drive over an hour to work each day what does your future look like? Tomorrow will be here soon. Think about it now. Start making some sort of transportation preparation plan.

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About earthstonestation

promoting environmental education, protecting all species and preserving the wild places with art, music and storytelling.
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7 Responses to Transportation Preparation

  1. Pingback: Peak Oil and Transportation Alternatives | Ponderings of a Perplexed Primate

  2. I gotta say, I’m not a big fan of the gas-powered bike. I’m a lazy bike commuter, so I went electric (“Hey whatsamatta, too lazy to peddle?” – yes, when it’s up a steep hill, and my commute is all hills and gulches). My electric bike has got the advantage of being a very smooth ride, and VERY quiet compared to those infernal gas-powered contraptions that have started to become popular around here. I got it 8 years ago (almost to the day), and it’s still my commute ride 90% of the time. True, I’m fortunate enough to live in Santa Cruz county, which has a lovely California costal climate and a relatively bike-aware populace, but I am LAZY, and I still haven’t given it up.
    Mine’s a Synergy Cycle from Electric Sierra, and the heavy old clunker of a thing can still do 12 miles between charges. It probably costs less than $0.04 per mile to charge it, and when I have a place where I can install solar and/or wind, it won’t even have that electricity as a carbon footprint. Pedal when you can (it’s good for you), electrify when you don’t wanna sweat!
    Honestly, I think a much bigger hurdle than the pedaling is the fear. Riding is scary – worse in some towns than others – because of all those big four-wheeled things (see my post http://drpongo.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/streets-full-of-danger/ and the great work at peopleforbikes.org).

    • Michelle I agree. I am not a supporter of gas powered bikes, although it is an improvement over an SUV. There are many folks here in Hawaii that use mopeds also. Reason being the weather is not a hindrance for one and two they are inexpensive to purchase and three gas mileage is good. BUT THEY ALL USE GASOLINE. Lots of locals are choosing mopeds and gas bikes for economical reasons because they can no longer afford anything bigger. They are not necessarily being environmentally conscious, although I’m sure some are trying. I just expect to see more and more on the road as the economy gets tighter, here and other places as well. There are LOTS of bicycle enthusiasts here by the way although as you say the bike lanes are inferior. Thanks for adding important info to the discussion. Aloha.

  3. Paul says:

    It’s incredible how short-sighted these oil barons — and their foolish followers — are. 70 years? It would be laughable except for all the additional damage that will be done burning all that fossil fuel. “Drill, Baby, Drill”? How about “Pedal, Baby, Pedal”?

    • jpgreenword says:

      I understand why the oil companies say things like “70 years” as though it is a good thing. For them, it is 70 years of ever increasing profits – Exxon Mobil just posted $41 billion in profits for 2011.

      What angers me is how governments around the world also take it as a good thing. We are artificially keeping oil prices down (through subsidies) which encourages consumption of fossil fuels and slows its replacement by cleaner, more sustainable energy sources.
      And, most importantly, those of us outside the fossil fuel industry need to realize that our atmosphere cannot afford the burning of all the fossil fuels that are left on this planet. In fact, in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, we need to leave about 80% of what’s left in the ground (http://www.carbontracker.org/carbonbubble). And that is going to be very difficult if we continue down the path we are currently on.

    • Many times I’ve heard the reply to dwindling resources: “well I’ll be dead and gone by then” There is something very wrong in our society. Native American leaders would consider the affect on the 7th generation before making decisions.

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