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Blog EV Myths From 'Our Side'

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by ChadS, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    EV myths abound. Most of them spread by EV detractors have been covered in these forums in great detail – some, perhaps, in too much detail. Just for a change of pace, I’d like to open a little discussion on some EV myths that I often hear uttered by EV advocates. I’ll suck some of...
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  2. apacheguy

    apacheguy S Sig #255

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    MYTH: EVs cheat their way out of having to pay gas taxes.

    I can't stand this one. When you add up all the savings that EVs generate by improving air quality, reducing climate pollution, and decreasing hospital admissions, there is no way you can argue that EV drivers are "cheating" the system. Cumulatively, we are saving our local and state governments substantial sums of money.
     
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  3. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #3 Jeff N, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    Excellent writeup!

    As for the amount of electricity used to refine a gallon of gasoline, it is very clearly under 0.5 kWh and probably closer to 0.25 kWh at a typical refinery, based on multiple lines of evidence.

    As you noted, much of the energy (not electricity) comes from previous unsaleable refinery output like so-called "still gas" as well as natural gas and perhaps some purchased hydrogen or steam from a co-generation plant. Only about 4-6% of the energy used to refine gasoline comes from grid electricity.
     
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  4. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    While that is an annoying myth, it's not a myth from "our side". Would like to see Chad cover that topic, as well, though.
     
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  5. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    MYTH: It takes 6kWh of electricity to refine a gallon of gas

    This is my favorite. I looked it up once... it's <200wh of electricity per gallon. Although you can argue that some of the remaining ~5.8kWh of energy could have been used to generate another ~3kWh of electricity.
     
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  6. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    I'll be happy to pay "gas taxes" as soon as fossil fuels stop receiving all of their tax benefits and exemptions and start paying for all of the health and climate damage they do.
     
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  7. gregd

    gregd Active Member

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    So, really interesting information about the electric usage in the refining process. I clearly remember hearing someone at Tesla (Elon?) stating that you can drive an EV on the electricity saved by not refining oil for the car it replaced (or words to that effect).

    If the power needed is mostly created from the refining process itself, how much "bad stuff" is put into the air and water as a result of its generation? I.e., what is the carbon footprint of the refinery itself?
     
  8. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Here's a good discussion of energy use in petroleum extraction and refining.
    The 6 kWh electricity to refine gasoline would drive an electric car the same distance as a gasser?
    The actual electricity used is much less than 6kWh and most of the rest is made up of burning petroleum and natural gas. If you converted that energy to electricity, it probably could drive a car for the same distance as the gasoline.
     
  9. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #9 Jeff N, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    You're probably thinking of this joint interview of Elon Musk and Chris Paine from almost 6 years ago:

    Exclusive Q&A With Elon Musk And Chris Paine: How The Electric Car Got Its Revenge (TSLA)
    If you aren't refining in the first place then you can't count on the refining leftovers. However, you still have the natural gas that makes up about 40% of the energy used during refining so you can run that through a combined cycle generator at ~55 percent efficiency minus 6 percent distribution loss and you would end up with a bit over 1 kWh of electricity good for 3-4 miles of driving.

    Beyond refining, you might save another 1+ kWh of electricity used during pumping at the oil field if we weren't using petroleum anymore.
     
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  10. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    #10 Jeff N, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    That article does have a lot of excellent links to various sources of the "4-6 kWh of electricity per gallon of gas" mythology as well as conflicting explanations but it mostly leaves it to the reader themselves to decide how to make sense of it all.

    The underlying raw information to make the calculation is available. The amount of grid electricity used in refining is around 4-6% of the total energy according to multiple reports and separate lines of evidence, not the 15% quoted from the one EnergyStar report using 2005 data. The quoted Fully Charged "Volts for oil" episode is a disaster of misinformation and tin-hat conspiracy nonsense.

    Finally, there are mid-size gasoline-powered cars from multiple car makers that get 45+ mpg. Let's stop pretending that gasoline cars get 24 mpg. With the electricity saved by no longer refining a gallon of gasoline you could maybe drive ~4 miles on a mid-size EV and maybe 10 miles if you included the grid electricity used in average oil extraction and other overhead -- nowhere close to the 45+ mpg in a modern hybrid.
     
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  11. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Great post... but you almost perpetrate a myth that bugs the hell out of me. There is a passing comment about electric cars being better from a "national security" point of view. I take this to mean from the point of view of the so-called "oil wars" and sending US dollars to less than friendly regimes for their oil. The fact is that the US is largely self-dependent for oil and way and by far the largest source of "foreign" oil coming into the US comes from Canada. We are really a friendly bunch and you don't have to worry about us Canucks using your money to fund terror.

    Now, my professional background is in the electric utility sector, and I see great value in sourcing your "fuel" locally and providing good jobs to your neighbors in the generation, transmission and distribution businesses, so there's that.
     
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  12. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    I don't have the details on that offhand, but the "upstream emissions" from burning a gallon of gasoline is estimated by the EPA to be around 5 pounds of CO2 in addition to the 19+ pounds emitted directly during combustion of the gasoline itself. That extra 5 pounds includes the refining process.
     
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  13. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    It's only fair to use a full life cycle for energy consumption so you need to include the energy used to extract and refine oil. If you don't do that, you miss a lot of emissions. If you're not burning gasoline or diesel in a car, you're not spending the energy to extract and refine it.
    Small econocars can get better gas mileage but most people today drive SUVs and pickup trucks and are lucky to get 24 mpg.
     
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  14. Jeff N

    Jeff N Active Member

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    Mid-size cars like the Malibu, Prius, Ioniq, and Accord hybrids get 46+ mpg today. The new Hyundai Niro hybrid CUV is ~50 mpg.

    The only reason we still have conventional 24 mpg vehicles is because hybrids cost a bit more upfront although they pay for themselves over the life of the vehicle. The same is basically true of BEVs or will be soon.
     
  15. Topher

    Topher Energy Curmudgeon

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    ...At the moment. What happens when we run out before they do? Given the current price, we should probably be buying MORE of our oil from other countries.

    But even so, it is clear that we are spending huge amounts of money and lives fighting over oil. Reducing the amount we import does not seen to have changed that.

    Thank you kindly.
     
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  16. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    New cars get an average of 26mpg. Most of the cars on the road are older and get 24mpg average.
    Pickup trucks get 20mpg.
    Corporate Average Fuel Economy - Wikipedia
     
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  17. Topher

    Topher Energy Curmudgeon

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    MYTH: Solar panels on the car will make a noticeable difference in range, at a price worth paying.

    Thank you kindly.
     
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  18. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    We will always be at war in the Middle East.
    It started with the British a few hundred years ago and we and other "developed countries" have continued the stupidity.
    See "The Great Game" by Peter Hopkirk
    The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia (Kodansha Globe): Peter Hopkirk: 9781568360225: Amazon.com: Books
     
  19. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Thank goodness I only almost perpetrated a myth. :)

    I didn't mean quite what you fear. I am familiar with US energy issues including where we (I am US-based and worked at a non-profit for EVs in the US, so I am often US-centric, sorry) buy oil. However, I agree that there are indeed people that aren't. In fact, I used to hear this myth (that the US buys its oil from the Middle East) frequently, but that was long ago...it is awfully rare these days. Still, it could well qualify as a myth that some EV advocates perpetuate.

    "National Security" covers a great many broad and complicated issues, some of which even work at cross-purposes (is it good or bad for US national security for us to intervene in the affairs of governments in the Middle East? Both, of course). EVs don't address all of the issues; nor do they address any single issue fully. But I have never heard anybody dispute that making cheaper energy at home, and having many ways to make that energy, isn't better for national security than relying only on petroleum. That's all I was saying.

    I am glad that we buy much of our foreign oil from Canada; one of the good aspects of a global commodity is that we can choose to do that. One of the bad aspects, however, is that in the big picture it doesn't really matter. In your example of terrorists getting a small cut of oil money in their country: no matter where the US buys its oil, buying the oil affects the global price. OPEC nations hold most of the oil and even more important, they have most of the cheap stuff to extract, so they get the vast majority of the profits. The terrorist funding comes from oil profits regardless of who buys the oil, and most profits are in OPEC nations no matter where the US gets its oil. In that sense it is not only better for US national security for the US to buy less oil, but it is in the US' interest for other countries to buy less oil as well.


    Excellent, I wish I had thought to include that one.
     
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  20. SpiceWare

    SpiceWare Member

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    Nice! Do you have a link for the info supporting the 7,500 and 12,000 figures?
     

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