Clean Power

Published on March 5th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Even Conservatives Love Clean Energy

March 5th, 2012 by  

I’m in the congressional district of Vern Buchanan, Florida’s 13th congressional district. Buchanan is a Republican and, these days, that means he’s quite fossil-fuel-friendly and opposed to clean energy. Somehow, I got on Buchanan’s mailing list at some point in the last few years. Something his team loves to do is focus emails around a hot topic and poll. Often the wording of these polls is insanely biased and leads an uninformed person to vote a certain way. With his base probably more attentive to FOX News than the Daily Show, I don’t know how much difference it makes. I actually stay subscribed out of curiosity and to better understand the methods such politicians use and the way they frame things to continue the spreading of misinformation around the U.S.

Again, with his mailing list base being mostly his previous supporters, poll results often line up with the agenda of FOX News. So, when I received a recent one on how to make America more energy independent, and “Invest in alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind and bio-diesel” ranked rather high, I was a little surprised. Really, only ‘a little’, because I already know that people across the political spectrum support clean energy. But, from my previous experiences with Buchanan’s polls, it was a bit of an uplift. You can see a screenshot below of the results as of my submission, but be sure to note that the completely loaded question was: “Gas prices have surged to $3.58 a gallon nationally – the highest February on record. What do you think is the single most important action we should take to make America more energy independent?

Interestingly, Buchanan doesn’t mention EVs. However, he includes electricity-generating sources that generally aren’t related to gas prices in any way but through EVs. not very clear and probably had people scratching their heads or just shooting straight to an oil option, since they know how oil is related to gas prices (well, they know it’s related — probably don’t actually know how they are related). Nonetheless, an answer hardly related to transportation, except through the unmentioned link of EVs, is doing pretty well. Here’s that screenshot:

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Chris Skinner

    My own personal experience has been that there has been an equal amount of simple-minded ignorance and stagnation (nothing accomplished) coming from both the right and left.

    Want to get absolutely NOTHING accomplished in this country? Just be a simplistic-minded political nutcase. While Americans argue, fuss and fight politics back and forth at each other, more progressive countries like China deliver results.

    • Bob_Wallace

      My personal experience does not match yours. What I see over and over is Republicans blocking solutions as a strategy to make President Obama fail.

      If we allow our country’s business to proceed as it has for the last two years we will grind our way into being a second rate country. The rest of the world will pass us by. We will be “Number One !” only in the size of our CEO salaries.

      We need to get people into Congress who put America first.

  • Chris Skinner

    However, as a moderate who is neither very liberal or conservative, there are much safer ways to construct a nuclear plant, too. And unlike all the ignorance and irrational hysteria out there, nuclear waste is NOT an intractible problem. Plenty of ingenious solutions have already existed for a very long time.

  • Chris Skinner

    Conservatives are slow to come around and hop on board, because they didn’t always like clean energy and renewables. Remember when Ronald Reagan declared planet Earth’s oldest and most conventional energy source to be exotic, removing Jimmy Carter’s solar hot water panels from the White House?

    Things usually progress in the following steps:

    #1. Conservatives are violently and vehemently against anything more progressive.

    #2. Gradual acceptance.

    #3. ” I was for it all along ! ! ! ”

    #4. Stealing all the credit: ” Us conservatives came up with all these ideas first.The liberals were always against it, not me ! ! ! ”

  • I have a feeling that bio-diesel helped that poll option to get votes.

    • solar and wind are actually the most supported across the board, poll after poll shows.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Buying oil from Canada. That’s how we make the US energy independent.

    Yeah. That’s the answer.

    To be fair to the people who responded to the poll, EVs just aren’t quite there yet. And I say that as a huge EV fan. Ranges need to go up some and prices fall a few thousand dollars and then I think the average person will change their opinion.

    We can’t drill our way out of this oil problem by letting oil companies loose in the Arctic. Any new oil from there is a decade away. More Canadian oil from a new pipeline is years away. Neither is going to cut the price at the pump in the next few years.

    I think we’ll see EV prices drop with the 2013 models. Battery prices are down.

    We may see some range improvement as well, GM has hinted at that with their Volt. Renault is rumored to be introducing a higher mileage EV and the Honda Fit EV is listed at having about 20 more miles range than the Leaf.

    Short term the only way to lessen the hurt at the pump is to drive less (car pool, public transportation) or drive more efficient vehicles. (Look for big upturns in hybrid sales.)

    My optimistic guess is that we will have a much better EV, price and range, in the next 2-3 years. Solar will be a lot closer to a dime per kWh. More people will have learned how cheap wind power is.

    At that point numbers on polls such as this one will start to shift toward choice three….

    • Bob.
      Ev’s, though great for short commutes (especially if you have panels to charge them) and should be, as you note, coming down in price, still have a “distance driving” drawback. Found this report on Gizmag yesterday and it looks promising (and with algal oil even more so)

      What’s your take on this one?
      Ed, and u2 Zach?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Unfortunately it’s only a concept car and not in production.

        My assumption is that we will have batteries that have 2x -3x more capacity and are significantly cheaper in no more than five years. A 175 mile range with the ability to recharge 95% in less than 20 minutes gives us “distance driving”.

        But if I’m wrong, then I think PHEVs are the answer. Something like 85% of all American driving days are < 30 miles. (I'm pulling those numbers out of my memory, so check before believing. ;o)

        If we all drove 30 mile range PHEVs we could cut our oil use by, perhaps, 75%. If we cut our personal oil use to one fourth of what it now is we'd be in much better shape – climate-wise, health-wise, financially and in terms of national security.

        The next few years are going to be very interesting. Will batteries appear that solve our personal transportation problems? If so, high mileage gasmobiles and PHEVs will be temporary fixes.

  • Mattpeffly

    So in this poll the options are
    1) Tap the oil under alaskan wildlife reserves
    2) Tap into national oil reserve (miltary oil for when there is none)
    3) build the keystone pipe line
    4) build Nukes
    5) alternative energy

    Just a bit twisted. What about “hide my head in the sand” Fla has great sand!

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