Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Energy is the issue, not politics |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Energy is the issue, not politics

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

“I heard you bought an electric car.”


“Wow, I didn’t know you were an American-hating, Obama-loving Marxist determined to drag the United States down to European socialist standards.”

“Say what?”

“You do realize that your electric car is nothing more than a coal-burning, rare-earth-mineral-using, environmental nightmare waiting to happen that is selfishly subsidized by my tax dollars.”

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“Really now? Been watching FOX News lately, have you?”

“Yes. And then Rush said …”

“Oh please, you’re redefining the word ‘sheeple.’ Even if 100 percent of our electricity came from coal, it would still be cleaner to charge electric cars than to drive internal combustion engine vehicles. And even though the phrase ‘clean-burning coal’ is an oxymoron if there ever was one, it is centrally burned under extremely efficient conditions, and far less emissions are produced compared to burning gasoline in tens of millions of small, comparatively inefficient combustion engines.”

“Yeah, but …”

“Even better, gas engines can only run on gas, but electric motors don’t care if the energy comes from coal, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, natural gas, or whatever. Electrons are all the same to an electric car.”

“Well, what about the energy it takes to produce the obnoxious thing?”

“Oh jeez. I assume you believe the Gas Fairy points her wand and the gasoline magically appears at the pump, right?”

“Um, …”

“Oil companies use the very same power plants to drill, extract, ship, refine, transport and pump their fossil fuels, thus the ‘upstream’ emissions are relatively even. It’s over the long-term, down the stream, that makes electric cars so economical and efficient.”

“But the average American can’t even afford one.”

“OK, the average American has one breast and one testicle, too, but that’s beside the point. People like you saw low sales of the Radio Shack TRS-80 back in the late ’70s and said, ‘See, no one wants a personal computer. they barely sold a few thousand.'”

“What’s a TRS-80?”

“Never mind.”

“I still don’t want to subsidize your stupid electric car.”

“Did you take the standard deduction for your kids on your tax return this year?”

“Huh? Why, hell yes, I’ve got three of them, and that’s over $11 grand in deductions.”

“So I am subsidizing your children.”

“Say what?”

“And my property taxes are subsidizing your kids’ school. My state income taxes are subsidizing your 21-year-old at CSU. I subsidized that new garage door you installed last year, the one where you received a $1,400 tax credit because of its efficiency rating. My federal taxes have subsidized the corn industry over the last decade to the tune of over $50 billion, which means I am subsidizing your fat backside for all the crap you eat.”

“OK, OK, I get it. Sort of. I still don’t like the fact that Obama likes electric cars.”

“Well, at least you’re honest. Ridiculously naive and ignorant, but honest.”

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

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