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11.2 million gallons of oil just for Model 3 tires based on current orders

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by tinm, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    According to the industry lobby Rubber Manufacturers Association, it takes seven gallons of oil to produce one car tire.

    Simple math tells us that 400,000 Model 3's, with four tires each, means 1,600,000 tires, which works out to 11.2 million gallons of oil required to make all those tires. Add to that the 4.2 million gallons of oil used for the tires on the existing 150,000-car-strong Tesla fleet, and you get 15.4 million gallons of oil total.

    Double that by what, end of 2017 based on the company's aggressive manufacturing projections? And double it again by end of 2018? Tesla vehicle purchases still require a non-trivial amount of oil. And we haven't even added in snow tires that many owners buy. Or the fact that tires wear out and need to be replaced -- more oil per car.

    So all of this begs the question: what is Tesla doing to explore alternatives? Surely they know about rubberless tires like the Tweel? Too "weirdmobile" for Elon? (I would agree, but still...)

    What alternatives are there? Is this an area Tesla should be looking at? Is any other company already doing anything?
     
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  2. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    I don't think there's really a problem with using oil as a building material (for now)... for context 400k fools fueled cars would consume 120M gallons in their first year alone...

    I'm against fossil FUELS... tires usually aren't burned at the end of life.
     
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  3. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    So 7x4 = 28 gallons of oil for tires that last 4-6 years. So 7 gallons per year, per car.

    Compared to 400 gallons of oil to feed a single person per year in the US.
    Reference:
    Eating Fossil Fuels

    Looks like eating is 50x worse on oil consumption vs tires.

    Pick your battles, Tesla has. ;-)
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    And that oil does not get burned inside an ICE and then pollutes our atmosphere and heats up the planet.

    Tires requiring oil for manufacture is not a situation that Tesla needs to address. But in fact Elon's SMP Part Deux does address it by setting a goal of all Teslas being capable of full autonomy which means vehicles can be shared which means we don't need so many cars in the worlds which means we don't need so many tires...produced using oil.
     
  5. TES-E

    TES-E Member

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    IMHO... this is a false claim from the standpoint that if these folks on the waiting list were not buying the model 3, they would be buying something else, so all that oil in the tires would simply be on a different vehicle.

    Oil saved is in fuel not burned, not in tires.
     
  6. weak_pig

    weak_pig Member

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    is OP implying cars produced by other automakers don't use oil to make tires? Aren't the entire vehicle industry guilty of this too?
     
  7. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Nope, I'm not implying anything.

    Yes, all car tires require about 7 gallons of oil to produce the tire, regardless of manufacturer, and regardless whether the car is ICE or EV.

    I opened this thread to inquire about Tesla though. 15 some-odd million gallons of oil seems like a nontrivial amount of oil. Tesla is the defacto leader in pointing the way to a new future of sustainable transport. I was curious what others thought about the tire aspect of Tesla and sustainable transport. I'm getting the sense that others don't think it's worth thinking about.
     
  8. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Actually, the largest single end-of-life re-use of tires is for them to get burned for fuel. Which is bad. But worse than that is to just burn the oil directly that never made it into a tire. At least this way we got 2 uses out of the oil. As the grid clean up, we'll have less oil-dependent plants and it hopefully will become uneconomical to burn tires for fuels.


    However, what IS a good use for old tires is to recycle them into Rubberized Asphalt Concrete (RAC). RAC is generally superior to other road coverage, because it results in a significantly quieter surface, meaning you don't need to build sound walls. RAC uses up about 2000 recycled tires per lane per mile.

    So if you just cover only our interstates with that, it would recycle about 400 million tires. But... that's only 2 years of tire disposal. But cover all 4 million miles of roads in the U.S, and it would use up all waste tires for the next 70 years.


    But even if a tire ends up in a landfill, it's way way better than for it to end up in the atmosphere. You just won't be able to re-use that material again for another million years.
     
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  9. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Don't conflate Tesla's mission. It's the same as the couple who argued for all Teslas to be Vegan. They would rather see Tesla lose sales than for Tesla to offer leather.

    The goal of Tesla isn't to solve all environmental, ethical and sustainability needs. It is specifically to "accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible".

    Tesla is too small at this moment to take on all of the sins of the world. Let them do what they set out to do, and then you can ask for more.
     
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  10. Austral

    Austral Member

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    Lots of defensive reactions. The op makes a good point. I remember vaguely that Michelin and perhaps Continental were doing research on non rubber tires. Perhaps someone will google it. For now I need coffee first.
     
  11. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    My reaction was not defensive, if anything it was offensive.

    As in 7 gallons is not (currently) material to the saving of the planet, pick your battles wisely and spend time/effort on the biggest gains and get to the trivial edge cases later.

    As others have highlighted, OP didn't have a "good point", it was just a "point". Not judging, I outlined that food production is a massive amount more oil intensive for an example that demonstrates that a few million gallons is not important in the grand scheme of things.

    No offence, but IMNSHO the topic on the face of it doesn't warrant criticism or questioning Tesla's lack of focus on the item the OP cares about.

    You need to be reasonably thick skinned to be able to accept when others do not agree with you, and present logical and fact based analysis to back their opinions/replies. Thanks for OP posting the topic, I found it interesting enough to reply and stay active on this thread, which is more than I can say for a lot of other threads here, so thanks to OP!
     
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  12. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    Average thread depth on a modern day tire is 10/32nd to 11/32nd inch deep.

    That also works out to 2.5 oz. of oil per day. If you get 40K miles out of that much rubber, it's a material that's pretty hard to beat. We can always revert to chiseling stone age wheels out of granite but I think they'll produce too much drag. Oh well, one day closer to M3 delivery.....
     
  13. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    Come on now. One thing at a time. Your statement makes it appear that there is a problem. Every owner will save 5000 fold on gasoline than oil to produce the tires. As a matter of fact it will probably take more oil - over the life of my M3 - to cook the fried chicken I'm going to eat than what I would save by buying rubber less tires.

    There is no problem to solve. Pencils are down. Lets move on.
     
  14. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    I consider the fact that they aren't providing a spare as 7 gallons saved for the environment. Good enough.
     
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