Why transportation?

Why in all the welter and chaos of those many issues and trends that threaten our planet have we decided to focus on the much-needed, long-overdue, massive overhaul of the transport sector as our goal?  To understand this choice made some years ago have a look at this table which appears in an article by the noted physicist and  international environment scientist  Dr.  Robert U. Ayres in the latest edition of Exernomics http://exernomics.org.

rua on exernomiics fig 3

 

The key figure that concerns us appears in the next to last line which provides some time series estimates of energy efficiency and trends by scientists at the United States Department of Environment, measuring the ratio of “useful” to “total” energy efficiency.

By way of example  let’s consider the test block efficiency of a new internal combustion engine, which is somewhere in the range of 30% +/-5%.  But when you get it out of the lab and put it into an average three year old car with medium maintenance, under-pressured tires, all electrics on, radio blaring and the air conditioner full blast, we quickly get down into the area of ca. 10% +/- energy efficiency for the moving vehicle.  However tranpoortation is not about vehicles, but about payloads, human and other.

So that’s just the beginning.  If we have an average 1.3 passengers in a car with a cold start-up for a 5 km. trip to go shopping or a workout, we are looking at the 0.01 estimated energy efficiency figure that you can see on Robert Ayres’ table in red just above.

So now you understand why we picked transportation as our policy target.

 

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