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Sunday, November 16, 2008

They should have called it the 2009 Confusion

The hybrid Cadillac Escalade.

Comments (14)

GM Must Re-Make the Mass Transit System it Murdered, by Harvey Wasserman, CommonDreams.org, November 16, 2008.

Bail out General Motors? The people who murdered our mass transit system? First let them remake what they destroyed.

In a 1922 memo that will live in infamy, GM President Alfred P. Sloan established a unit aimed at dumping electrified mass transit in favor of gas-burning cars, trucks and buses.

Just one American family in 10 then owned an automobile. Instead, we loved our 44,000 miles of passenger rail routes managed by 1,200 companies employing 300,000 Americans who ran 15 billion annual trips generating an income of $1 billion. According to Snell, "virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system."

But GM lost $65 million in 1921. So Sloan enlisted Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, glass and rubber companies and an army of financiers and politicians to kill mass transit.

... GM helped gut the core of America's train and trolley systems. It was the murder of our rail systems that made our "love affair" with the car a tragedy of necessity.

In 1949 a complex federal prosecution for related crimes resulted in an anti-trust fine against GM of a whopping $5000.

This US history supplements 'common knowledge' for neighborly discussions of topics such as transportation planning, infrastructure policy, Detroit bailout, etc. Pass it on.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me? I'm your native son,
I'm the train
they call The City of New Orleans ...

Bail these people out? They can't even spell "escalate".

Jack, you should dig around a little and find a market share chart for GM that goes back to the 50's. It is the only argument needed to show why bailing out GM is a bad idea. GM has been loosing market share for over 50 years. 50 years of bad management and now they want a bailout? If I was in Congress I'd tell GM that they could be expected to be treated the same way their sales and service departments have treated the public in the past.

Honestly, I think we need to just let GM fail. Ditto with Ford and Chrysler. They screwed up by marketing all these humongo SUVs and stuff that no one really needed.

New automakers will form out of the ashes.

And Tensk, GM didn't kill the Streetcars. They became obsolete. Even as much as Tram Boy and his other transportationally-Luddist friends want to believe otherwise.

GM would have called it the Confusion, but Ford already trademarked the name.

Roll the drums....anyone have any solid figures on how much coal Portland's rail system burns per passenger mile ? Any figures on how much this coal consumption per passenger mile will increase with the proposed streetcar extension ?

How about some data on how much coal was burned per passenger mile during America's golden age of electric rail ?

(crickets chirping)

You ecology-as-religion folks do love coal power, don't you ?

Glorious Leader Obama plans to force the coal fired plants out of business, so this leaves us with Euro-style Nuclear as the only viable option. Much as I too like the idea of decentralized wind generated power, you cannot realistically power huge municipal, much less inter-urban, rail systems with it.

With, believe it or not, no sarcasm whatsoever, I say GO NUCLEAR POWER, GO !!!

Much as I too like the idea of decentralized wind generated power, you cannot realistically power huge municipal, much less inter-urban, rail systems with it.

Wrong. A kilowatt is a kilowatt, regardless of how generated. And why "decentralized"? You can have large installations where there's reliable wind, like the one in Sherman County recently profiled by the Oregonian. Then we're talking hundreds of Megawatts; in this case, it's 480 MW capacity, almost that of the original Bonneville dam.

Damn, I just went to your link, and the story's gone...I really wanted to read that.

Unfortunately, the lion's share of the power currently generated by our hydroelectric power is diverted to California in order to subsidize their overpopulation problems. I wonder if wind farm power really gets going in the NW, how much of that power will stay local ?

And what is the daily consumption of MAX, for instance ?

Double damn, why is it so hard to find statistics for the power consumption of MAX online ?

You've really got me curious, and I like this wind farm stuff.

OK, I found a paper on proposed light rail for Spokane.


The proposed 40.1 mile system would consume 37,650 megawatt hours per year. From this I can try to extrapolate the figures for MAX, as they don't seem to be available to the general public.

At 938.9 megawatt hours per mile for the proposed Spokane system, the 44.3 current miles of MAX would consume perhaps 41,593 megawatt hours per year, if ran at the same frequency as the proposed system in that paper. Maybe...I realize how fuzzy this math is...I'd still like to see some straightforward figures on this.

Is the figure you cited for the Sherman County wind farm annual megawatt hours ? As the article's gone, I don't know. Assumning it is, that is 86.65 of those wind farms needed to power MAX, currently.

That's a lot of wind farms.

Unless, of course, the 480 megawatt capacity you mentioned is daily or monthly, not annual, in which case that's a pretty efficient source of power !

The primary reason big auto didn't retool long ago as it should have is the 1978 tax credit for business purchases of big rigs. Congress is complicit in the failure and these faux hybrids which would be subject to the "gas guzzler" penalty - except Congress made them exempt from application of the law. Any bail out should be coupled with a repeal of the exemption and a requirement that bail out funds be spent on retooling and R&D on hybrid technology. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/hybrid-tax-credits-for-suvs/?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Wrong. A kilowatt is a kilowatt, regardless of how generated.

Hello, John R ? I'm still waiting to hear about those 86 wind farms needed to power MAX, currently, by itself...

Is the figure you cited for the Sherman County wind farm annual megawatt hours ?

Sorry, I left this thread and didn't see your follow-up request.

I believe you have confused power and energy - the 480 Megawatts is maximum *power* output at any given moment - the installed capacity, in other words; this number multiplied by hours of operation gives you *energy* in MegaWatt-hours. But you can't just multiply this by the number of hours in a year to get annual MWH energy output, because the wind doesn't always blow, there's down time for maintenance, etc. I've heard that this reduction can be up to 50%.

So using your number for MAX (41,593 MWH yearly), and 50% capacity for the wind farm, would say that all of MAX's annual power needs would be met by this farm operating 175 hours or so - a little more than a week. Thus, MAX on average would be about a 2% demand on the wind farm.

Frickin' Oregonian - my link above was working, but as you pointed out, it doesn't now. And now this one does. How do they expect us to honestly believe they'll be around when the dead tree version goes under?

The link in my previous post was intended to go here.

Ah, good to hear. Thanks for the clarification.

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