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SB 85: Electric Car Tax Fails Again; Economic, Health Gains Outweigh Gas Tax Losses?

Senator Art Rusch (R-17/Vermillion) is another Republican trying to raise taxes. He proposed Senate Bill 85 in another attempt to make electric vehicle owners pay more for their choice to reduce automotive emissions, spend less on driving, and set the stage for independence from fossil fuels. (100% of gasoline comes from fossil fuels; in 2018, only 63.6% of electricity came from fossil fuels, and someday soon, none of it will, because fossil fuels will run out.) SB 85 sought to take $100 of hard-earned cash from the pockets of electric car owners and $50 from hybrid owners each year.

Senator Rusch told Senate Transportation at its hearing last Friday that he did not in any way intend to discourage electric cars or the avoidance of pollution. He said SB 85 was about fairness, making every car owner pay for road maintenance. He noted that electric cars are much lighter than the four-wheel-drive pickups that burn more fuel, make more pollution, and cause much more wear and tear on the roads, so he seems to recognize that gas hogs have a duty to pay more taxes than conservation-minded drivers.

Rusch noted that North Dakota has enacted special fees on electric vehicles. So have several other states, including the green Republic of California, which is charging its ecologically minded e-drivers $100 per car per year.

The Conservation Districts sent Angela Ahlers to tell Senate Transportation that SB 85 isn’t a new tax. She said we should think of it as a replacement tax, making up for the tax electric car drivers would be paying anyway if they still were buying gasoline.

O.K., keep that word game handy: When I rise to give my first State of the State Address and propose a steeply progressive state income tax, I will tell the squirming Legislature that an income tax is not a new tax; it simply replaces the sales tax people would have been paying if we had as many small-farm families and other local residents supporting local economies instead of buying cheaper goods from out-of-state vendors who create less multiplier effect.

Senator Rusch said that electric cars make up just 1% of auto sales. David Owen from the Chamber said that’s a good reason to impose this new/replacement tax: “…there is no better time to put a tax or fee on a group [than] when they are only 1% of the population. They grow to a real political force, this is just going to get tougher. Strike now.”

Again, save that argument for future use: if the fact that a tax affects just a tiny portion of the population is a reason to pass it, then my sixer surtax on the fewer than 3% of South Dakotans making over $100,000 should bring Owen to the table in support.

Senate Transportation chose not to strike now. SB 85 failed, just like the same plan offered by Representative Mary Duvall (R-24/Pierre) in 2018. Swaying the nays was super-lobbyist (and, as Senator Lance Russell keenly pointed out, the Governor’s own lawyer) Matt McCaulley came to committee just like in 2018 to share the persistent concerns of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers that taxing a specific technology is unfair. He said the number of fully electric cars in South Dakota still number in the mere hundreds out of over 900,000 cars. He said hybrid cars do pay gas tax and arguably a fair share of gas tax.

Rosa Yaeger, director of the Motor Vehicle Division said SB 85 imposes a new tax. She also said pausing to determine which cars are electric, which are hybrid, and which wouldn’t pay this new tax would slow down the processing of car titles.

Senators Blare, Castleberry, Monroe, Otten, and Russell all voted to kill the new electric car tax again. Senators Soholt and Foster voted for the new tax.

Related Reading:

The U.S. Department of Energy says that fueling an electric car in South Dakota costs 43% of the cost of fueling a gasoline car. Drive 10,000 miles, get 30 miles to the gallon, and you’ll spend $790 on gasoline in your regular car. Switch to an all-electric car, and by the USDOE’s calculation, you’ll save just about $450.

United States Department of Energy, eGallon calculator, updated 2020.02.01.
United States Department of Energy, eGallon calculator, updated 2020.02.01.

California is going to tax electric vehicles, but a new study from economic/environmental research group Next 10 says electric vehicles will boost California’s economy by up to $142 billion over the next decade. Fueling cars with electricity reduces the money flowing to out-of-state and foreign fossil fuel companies and shifts more money to purchases of goods and services that generate local multiplier effects:

Expenditure shift accruing from fueling cars with electricity instead of gasoline, Next 10 via Carl Smith, "Will EV Adoption Become California's Next Economic Engine?" Governing, 2020.02.12.
Expenditure shift accruing from fueling cars with electricity instead of gasoline, Next 10 via Carl Smith, “Will EV Adoption Become California’s Next Economic Engine?Governing, 2020.02.12.

Electric cars also mean healthier people:

Lower-income communities also are more likely to suffer health problems as a consequence of air pollution from both vehicles and industrial facilities. Increasing their access to EVs and charging technology can improve air quality, with impacts on both quality of life and health-care costs.

…”The gains for the economy, for households, for disadvantaged communities and for health are so significant that it absolutely makes sense to create policies that are going to get more and more electric vehicles on the road,” said Next 10’s Noel Perry. “I think we need a very significant new push in that direction” [Carl Smith, “Will EV Adoption Become California’s Next Economic Engine?Governing, 2020.02.12].

Anyone looking to impose a new tax on electric car owners should pause to calculate the social good created by their choices. Perhaps those health benefits and the increased local economic activity make up for the absence of the three bucks they’d throw into the state till at the gas station each week.


  1. David Bergan 2020-02-13 08:05

    What’s the range on electric cars? Last time I looked into them, a guy couldn’t go from Sioux Falls to Rapid without having to park midway for a couple hours to recharge.

    Range is the biggest advantage gasoline has over electric… a vehicle can be refilled in 3 minutes to go another 400 miles.

    Kind regards,

  2. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 08:16

    David Bergen – What’s the range of a shotgun? What’s the range of a 30.06? Do you understand what I’m getting at?

  3. Bill Rosin 2020-02-13 08:23

    it’s possible (and tesla is doing it) to stop and in less time than it takes to fill a gas tank, slide out your depleted battery pack and replace it with a charged one

  4. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 08:35

    South Dakota is better than most states at the moment due to the availability of hydro and wind. And Sioux Falls gets some of its electricity from Minnesota nuclear power. It makes sense to recharge electric car batteries with clean energy.

    The larger issue is what happens to the electric car battery when it is ultimately replaced. And it will be replaced after a decade. It would be of interest if the recycling infrastructure for South Dakota, if not the Northern Plains, were being planned for at the same time electric cars were coming to the marketplace.

    Today isn’t a great day to be an electric car battery. Intermittent renewable energy could not only recharge batteries, it could warm batteries in the winter so that they are closer to their optimal temperature prior to startup. If there is no demand for said energy, put it to good use.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-02-13 08:44

    Whole new battery packs? I assume that works on some sort of rental arrangement, rather than buying a new pack each time. How much does a battery swap cost?

  6. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 08:50

    We will likely need to do carbon capture too. Not just for gasoline in our transportation sector, but also for the natural gas or coal to supplement renewables. It therefore makes sense to power that carbon capture with clean energy.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-02-13 08:54

    Range: Only 3 of the 19 electric vehicles spotlighted by Motor Trend in December 2019 as long haulers can do the Sioux Falls–Rapid City run in one zap. (Two aren’t on the market yet; the top miler, the Tesla Roadster, promises 620 miles but will be a limited release selling for $250K.)

    A better electric solution for the defining South Dakota roadtrip is an electric train. (And trains don’t have to run on batteries, right, Dr. McTaggart?)

  8. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 08:57

    Swapping battery packs out is OK. They could probably assess the battery quality and take it away if it does not pass muster. But there is a supply and demand issue, and it would help if all of the battery packs were standardized across the board. Maybe some vehicles would take more than others. Plus the “gas station” would do all of the recharging and disposal. Not impossible, but not free.

    Cory asks the right question….how much would the consumer need to pay per swap. And also, how many swaps would you need per 15,000 miles driven for a total annual cost.

  9. Bill Rosin 2020-02-13 08:59

    Cory, no you don’t buy a new pack, they have charged packs on standby and you only pay for the electrons they put in. Tesla charging stations also give you a “quick charge” for free

  10. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 09:02

    I agree, trains would not require batteries to operate. They would be more efficient on a per passenger basis.

  11. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 09:06

    That’s foolish, McTaggart. The larger issue isn’t what happens to the electric car battery when it is ultimately replaced unless someone like you is trying to mislead the conversation. That’s like saying, “We shouldn’t have a baby because of what “might” happen after the baby’s lived 85 years and is about to pass away.” The larger issue is getting electric vehicles on the road so they can do what they do best; mitigate fossil fuel use.
    The recycling infrastructure IS being planned for. You ignore that to focus on your ulterior motive.

  12. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 09:13

    At the moment, you have to buy a Tesla. So you pay for “free” charging one way or the other.

    Hopefully, we don’t have a scenario in which you must find a station run by your dealer to swap out your battery.

    I can see swapping out on longer trips, but just recharging at home while in town most of the time, and then swapping out occasionally. And others will just want to recharge at home and work. So it will be interesting which model wins out, or if we get some kind of hybrid.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 09:26


    Pushing out electric vehicles while generating the electricity with natural gas and coal does nothing to mitigate fossil fuel use. If you end coal and do not use nuclear, you are left with renewables and gas. As the number of electric vehicles increase, so does the carbon from the natural gas part of that equation.

    And yes, the recycling will require energy…add that to the list of things that should be done with clean energy.

    So you can have a lot of electric vehicles without being sustainable, such as generating electricity from fossil fuel and just dumping the batteries when they are done.

    Which is better: A sustainable electric vehicle lifecycle, or pushing out electric vehicles at all costs?

    I would rather walk and chew gum at the same time….have alternatives to fossil fuels (could be biofuels or hydrogen too), but take care of the lifecycle costs at the same time….not decades later.

  14. David Bergan 2020-02-13 09:35

    Hi Porter!

    Yes, I think I understand your point. Different tools have different limitations. You don’t need a lot of range on your shotgun because nobody’s going to try to hit a pheasant from a mile away. However, I don’t think the analogy transfers…

    a) A car is a major purchase, whereas a gun is not. You don’t go to the bank to buy a gun. For an avid hunter, it’s not a financial hardship to buy a shotgun for the birds and a rifle for the deer.

    b) Since a single car is a major purchase, it comes with the expectation that it will be used for both short-range and long-range activities. I don’t buy one car solely for local errands and another one to visit my mom in White Bear Lake. Gasoline cars can do both jobs perfectly. It’s not like trying to hunt deer with a slug, where there are trade-offs in range and accuracy.

    c) Owning additional single-purpose cars would be inefficient and storing them is no small task. Either I’m adding on to my garage or paying $100/month to store the “rifle car” off-site. I can easily stuff another long gun (or 10) in my house.

    d) If I forgo the “rifle car” altogether, then I’m relying entirely on mass transit for distance travel and am subject to the limitations therein:
    – need to pay to park my car while I’m gone
    – can only bring luggage that fits in their compartments
    – have to abide by their schedules
    – need to be picked up/taxied/rent-a-car at the destination
    – can only go to the destinations that mass transit takes you to (e.g. which bus takes me to Sand Lake or my hometown of Madison?)

    Thus, I don’t think I was crazy for only considering cars that were capable of efficiently driving anywhere in the state. My business involves serving relationships in the metropolises of Winner, Belle Fourche, Mobridge, Martin, Pierre, Ramona, Leola, Hot Springs, Timber Lake, Redfield, Gregory, Sisseton, Mission, Milbank, Gettysburg, Harrold, Burke, Platte, McIntosh, Lake Andes, Elk Point, Hill City, Yankton, Alcester, Lead, Eagle Butte, and Oelrichs. None of them have high-speed rail.

    Kind regards,

  15. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 09:36

    Pushing out electric vehicles is better because innovative people are confident in their ability to adapt to problems that may arise. How’s it feel pooping in that outhouse you’re still using Tag? Must be chilly when it’s 30 below in BrookVille, huh?

  16. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 09:39

    David Bergen … You may not but most families have two cars. Where I live is where most people in USA live … a city. It’s efficient and beneficial in multiple ways to have an electric car for daily and a gas car/truck/SUV for going skiing on weekends in the Rockies. As an optometrist I’m sure you can “see” this.

  17. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 09:47

    The argument you should be making is that despite all of the carbon being emitted in the name of not emitting carbon, at least that electricity comes from domestic sources.

    I am confident in the engineering necessary for flight. But I am not going to fly over the cliff without knowing the plane will actually fly.

  18. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 09:57

    It would be nice to have an electric vehicle for daily commuting, and have the all-wheel drive gas-powered vehicle when you need it. It would be nice to just have an electric all-wheel drive vehicle in the northern climates.

    But most will be able to afford one vehicle, so efficient use of the fossil fuel we consume is the best option for many….for now.

  19. David Bergan 2020-02-13 09:59

    Hi Porter!

    Our family does own two cars, but, again, it doesn’t make sense for either of them to be range-limited. If it was just me, then, yeah two cars with separate purposes could work just fine.

    I’m curious, Porter, how does your electric car deal with cold weather? Does it generate cabin heat from the batteries? It seems like that would drain their charge pretty quickly, no?

    Kind regards,

    PS Just so can get to know me better, I’m not an optometrist, but my dad was. And my last name is spelled with “an” not “en”.

  20. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 10:05

    Bob … I’ll give you this. You don’t hide who you are or how you think. I wouldn’t label you an innovator. Rather more of a myopic, kooky professor type. But, in truth it’s your political party’s lack of progress that got us into this global warming crisis. Maybe y’all should take a seat and let Democrats fix another of your problems, as we so often are forced to do. We’re reducing carbon without endangering the citizens with radiation. There’s a company coming to SD from San Francisco that’s building methane to natural gas recycling systems. That company is also spending $500 million to a billion per plant on plastic recycling in several cities. That will include recycling wind turbine blades. Oh, sure. We’ve not forgot about the smaller, nuclear generators that fit into the plan. Lucky we Dems are around because Repubs don’t even see a problem, yet. Stay warm and teach innovation.

  21. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 10:14

    Sorry, David. I’ll just call you David then. I had a classmate in Watertown who spelled his name Bergen. I do understand the differences between SD and most of USA, since I grew up there. I can see electric cars for some people in Sioux Falls but probably not for rural areas.
    It doesn’t get below zero in Colorado and rarely do we have a day that doesn’t get above freezing, even in the dead of Winter so electric cars work well. California, Florida, and Texas have most of the people in America and it doesn’t get below freezing hardly ever.
    I’m sure you’re not saying that because electric cars aren’t right for South Dakota they’re not right for the majority of America, because they are right for the majority of us. It’s the change that’s hardest for SD, in my opinion. Not adapting to new things once you’re confronted with the need to adapt.

  22. o 2020-02-13 10:16

    If we want to be sure electric cars usage is paying its fair share of taxes, ought we also ensure it is getting a fair share of government support? Considering the cost our national support of oil: the tax breaks, the subsidized drilling opportunities, the government bailouts of insufficient private clean up efforts, and the cost of trying to stabilize the Middle East so our supplies can be uninterrupted, our lost revenue from not taxing electric sources of energy (going into electric cars) seems nominal.

  23. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 10:25

    Icarus had some fine ideas too. Solar power was too much for him apparently ;^).

    I am all for nuclear and renewables. I will take what energy storage can deliver, but the climate change problem is severe enough that we cannot wait. I’m all for research and innovation, and if those technologies mature, then the problem becomes a whole lot easier to solve with nuclear, renewables, and storage.

    Ironically, we are on track to emitting more carbon than we are today. We will consume energy to recharge electric vehicles, and the carbon from natural gas backup will keep right on growing. That is the unintended consequence of your best intentions which I would like to avoid.

    But good news for you Porter…all that extra and unnecessary carbon will at least be American Carbon. Or maybe you will call that Freedom Carbon?

  24. David Bergan 2020-02-13 10:46

    Hi Dr. McTaggart!

    Glad to see someone else who recognizes the necessity of adding more nuclear to our grid. It’s been great for France, and the next generation of reactors that Bill Gates is funding is even safer.

    Kind regards,

  25. John 2020-02-13 10:47

    I’m curious about electric cars and the carbon footprint they may have vs petroleum due to the increased demand in mining of raw materials? Does anyone know how many more lbs/tons of raw materials are needed in the construction of the average electric car vs. combustion? Copper/lithium/nickel/cobalt are some of the materials I’m familiar with that are needed for electric cars.

  26. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 10:51

    Bob McTaggart says,”I am not going to fly over the cliff without knowing the plane will actually fly.” America doesn’t look to South Dakota for much and thinking like this is why. Luckily there are people that did trust their innovations and took a plane over the cliff, first. Now we’re in space. Some are risk takers and some are just thumb twiddlers and watchers.

  27. David Bergan 2020-02-13 10:53

    Hi Porter!

    Which Bergen/Bergan was your classmate? Great-grandpa Bergan homesteaded near Florence and so I have many relatives in the Watertown area.

    I agree that electric cars makes sense for many people in America. I looked into them when we bought a new car in 2018, but for the reasons we both agree on, couldn’t justify it for my situation at this time.

    Kind regards,

  28. Porter Lansing 2020-02-13 10:59

    Electric cars aren’t right for me, either since I quit driving in 2004, gave my BMW to Children’s Hospital for them to auction off, and live two blocks from a light rail station. Drive safely, David.

  29. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 11:03

    Hi David,

    Yes, I am a big proponent of more nuclear on the blog here. Porter not so much ;^). If we can generate the electricity we need without emitting carbon, then we don’t need nuclear. But we need nuclear.

    By the way, Trump’s budget request no longer supports Yucca Mountain. I take that as a political move to help him win Nevada in the general election, but maybe there is more of a bipartisan push for interim storage elsewhere. The waste doesn’t go to Yucca, and the waste gets removed from existing power plants.

    There is a lot of Porter-style innovation occurring in reactors like those proposed by Bill Gates. That would essentially burn waste as fuel to reduce what needs to be disposed of. The accident tolerant fuels can stay longer in existing reactors to be burned up more, generating less waste. Those are better options than just throwing the fuel away .

  30. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-13 11:09


    If people get their energy whenever they want it, for a good price, and it doesn’t emit carbon, then that will be selected by the people without any incentive programs necessary. If it does emit carbon, then having cheap carbon capture would help.

    If you sell people Icarus wings to fly over the cliff and they don’t work as intended or promoted, people will not keep buying the Icarus wings. That includes the people that wind up at the bottom of the cliff, and those that watch that happen.

    I have identified areas that need to be addressed so that your favored technology will encounter widespread acceptance and would be sustainable. You are welcome.

  31. mike from iowa 2020-02-14 17:47

    Possibly a huge break for Medicaid delivered by DC Circuit Court of Appeals…..

    Judge Sentelle, if memory serves, was the judge along with North Carolina sinators Helms and Faircloth complained Robert Fiske was not aggressive enough prosecuting Clinton and replaced Fiske with hyper partisan Ken starr as cough, cough, independent counsel in Whitewatergate and other fiascoes.

  32. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-15 14:25

    2.5 Million Pounds of Radioactive Waste Illegally Dumped in Oregon Landfill

    Natural gas contributes part of the 63.6% of our electricity from fossil fuels, and that amount is growing as we shut down coal and nuclear, we burn more gas to supplement our growing renewables, and we increase our demand for electricity with electric cars.

    This radioactive waste is the result of fracking for natural gas. Radium-226 accumulates in the filter socks used in the water filtration systems. They redistribute naturally-occurring Radium-226 from the earth into the filter socks and concentrate it.

    Radium-226 has a half-life of 1600 years, and is the parent of Radon-222…the same Radon you get your house tested for.

    At the end of the day, nobody cares about this radioactivity because nobody wants to remove the option of cheap backup energy for renewables.

  33. Bill Capehart 2020-02-15 22:50

    “ It would be nice to have an electric vehicle for daily commuting, and have the all-wheel drive gas-powered vehicle when you need it. It would be nice to just have an electric all-wheel drive vehicle in the northern climates.”

    They have one, Rob. Mitsubishi puts one out. I drive one myself. EV in town PHEV on the big road. And it does so well in snow — the salesman had us test drive it in a blizzard.

  34. Debbo 2020-02-16 00:25

    Lee Schaefer, Pulitzer Prize winning economics columnist for the Strib, wrote about fracking today:

    “Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Limited, both have said that the American shale industry is already past its peak.”

    Guess the black snake can be choked off. If it’s on the downhill side in the USA, it’s probably about the same for our favorite northern neighbors.

  35. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 11:38

    Heeeyyy Bill,

    Probably my next car will not run completely on gasoline….if at all. But for the general public, the big deal will be the electric trucks. If Americans like electric trucks and the price is right, then the conversion will occur sooner rather than later.

    Right now the batteries are not easily swappable or easily recharged at a “gas station”. But for in-town use they should be fine as they can be recharged while at work or at home.

    That growth also means that we need the capacity for providing the minerals needed for those batteries to operate…..which means a lot more mining and recycling.

  36. jerry 2020-02-16 13:02

    What ever happened to individualism? Build your own windmill like your great granddaddy did back in the day. It’s not like the wind doesn’t blow here. When the wind quits, use whatever is there to power you up.

    “Many commercially available small wind turbines with plastic blades and steel towers are infamous for their low reliability, high embodied energy, and limited power output. Building them out of wood can addresses these issues.

    Because of their aesthetic appeal, and thanks to the ability to produce them locally, small wooden wind turbines can also improve the public acceptance of wind power. Furthermore, innovation in tower design facilitates the installation of small wind turbines, reducing the need for concrete foundations and heavy machinery.”

    We had a Zenith windcharger out on the place that was used particular to keeping the radio working. Simple and it worked pretty good as the wind was always blowing somewhat there. These wooden blades though, now that would be way cool.

  37. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 14:16

    The issue is not that the wind doesn’t blow here. It is that the wind may or may not provide enough energy when you want it, and it will provide too much energy when you do not want it.

    The more efficient turbines have to be made taller and therefore bigger. But I would agree that small turbines plus batteries can have a place in the overall solution.

  38. jerry 2020-02-16 14:46

    Who cares if it does provide enough energy, as long as we all try to do something about it. Wood turbines could and would cut down power usage immediately. The taller and bigger might be good for some areas, but not for all. I think in most cases for small individual chargers, windmill height (25′-50′) would be plenty. That way you could make your own wooden blades with local resources cutting down on the carbon footprint of fiberglass and metal.

  39. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 15:13

    Have you half-washed or half-dried a load of laundry? Does your TV shut off right in the middle of your show? How about the power going out on the coldest day of the year, and you don’t know when the heat is coming back? Or being caught in a heat wave without any air conditioning?

    Now multiply that by a couple hundred million people, see how happy that makes them, and determine how they would vote for a candidate that delivers those kinds of results.

    Given that political calculus, we will indeed make the extra energy. We only have to choose how much carbon will be emitted with that extra energy. That is why you should care.

  40. Donald Pay 2020-02-16 15:33

    Dr. McT, I use the sun and wind to dry my clothes March through October. Some years I can even dry on some days in November through February. Since I am on the plan that provides almost all my power from wind or sun my electric power comes at little carbon cost. My heat is provided by natural gas, with carbon offsets. Yes, because I have Spectrum, my TV does shut off in the middle of a show.

  41. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 15:57

    So why do we use washers and dryers? Because it is convenient. We get done with laundry sooner so we can spend our time doing other things. Moms and Dads have better things to do with that time.

    We use less soap per wash. We use less water per wash. The clothes are dry in about an hour instead of the next day, and we can wear that clothing right away. Maybe the clothes feel better after being in the dryer too.

    Carbon offsets mean the carbon still gets emitted. It just means you feel better and somebody else has to emit the carbon to balance things out instead of you.

  42. jerry 2020-02-16 19:12

    Doc, we have not used an electric dryer for at least 25 years. I use an air dryer that is in one room or another in my house no matter the season. I look at it this way, we already heat the house, why the hell would I knock all the fabric off our clothes by spinning them in a hot dryer. In the summer, we use the clothesline in back of the house, just like we did back when Jesus Christ was a corporal. BTW, I could do two loads of laundry a day if needed in the summer and those clothes dry very well. Clothes smell very very good without fabric softener.

    I do wash them though, so there’s that. We simply don’t want to go to the river and find a flat rock to wash the clothes. So yeah, convenience of not having two tubs of water to rinse the clothes before hanging was a pain.

  43. Clyde 2020-02-16 20:00

    Doc, battery technology is going nuts. A bunch of new, better, battery design’s on the board including one that takes CO2 out of the air.

  44. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 20:23

    If you have the space to hang up all of your laundry, inside or outside, and are fine with that arrangement, great. If you want to spend more time than you have to on your laundry, great. It is your time after all.

    If you want to waste soap and water resources, go right ahead. Oops….you may want to be careful about wasting water resources.

    Or we can just deliver more clean energy when people want it. It is their time, and they should be able to spend more of it the way that they want to.

  45. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-16 20:29

    I would take new batteries with those awesome new designs for the new nuclear power plants. If the energy storage is as great as you say it is, then batteries plus nuclear will cover a lot of our clean energy needs.

  46. Robert McTaggart 2020-02-18 08:49

    One of the alternatives to electric cars is a car that runs on hydrogen (i.e. with fuel cells).

    However less than 1% of all hydrogen produced comes from renewable electricity. The UK is interested in using wind power to make the hydrogen.

    One would be able to store hydrogen for later, so that gets around an intermittency hurdle.

    That does not remove the hurdle in providing enough electricity for a significant hydrogen economy.

    The head of the NEI (a key advocate group for the nuclear energy industry) has said that in general (not just for hydrogen) that

    “What we need is a partnership between wind, solar and batteries, and a carbon-free source like nuclear power that can always be there. It’s really all of that working together.”

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