transport http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4132/all en-US Better cars are not the answer http://www.wisebread.com/better-cars-are-not-the-answer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/better-cars-are-not-the-answer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cars-in-apartment-lot.jpg" alt="Cars in apartment lot" title="Cars in apartment lot" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="81" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wise Bread is an optimistic place. There are some people who can't see the congruence between optimism and frugality. I'm talking about the sort of people who point to our progress from <a href="http://www.deldot.gov/static/projects/archaeology/wynn_wilson_lewis/intersite_inter_arch.shtml">360 square foot houses</a> to <a href="http://www.nahb.org/publication_details.aspx?publicationID=2028">2400 square foot houses</a> and say that, if your vision of the future doesn't have us all in 16,000 square foot houses pretty soon now, it's a pessimistic one. This article, though, isn't about houses. It's about cars.</p> <p>Posted as part of <a href="http://blogactionday.org/">blog action day</a>.</p> <p>Why do we care about cars? Because they use energy. Energy which, for the past hundred years has been fantastically cheap, but which over the next hundred years will become much, much more expensive. Energy use which has always produced pollution, but which we can see ever more clearly is a threat not only to our way of life, but our very lives.</p> <h2>Do cars matter?</h2> <p>In the United States, 28.5% of our energy consumption goes for transportation, and most of that (about two-thirds) goes to move people from where they are to where they want to be--mostly in cars and so-called light trucks (a legal category of vehicle designed for light cargo hauling but used for personal transportation because of unwise tax and regulatory policies). (Data from the U.S. Department of Energy <a href="http://cta.ornl.gov/data/index.shtml">Transportation Energy Data Book</a>.)</p> <p>Hand-in-hand with its fraction of energy consumption, transportation contributes a comparable share to carbon emissions as well (33%, according to the U.S. <a href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html">Energy Information Administration</a>).</p> <p>So, transportation is a big deal, and personal transportation (i.e. cars and things we use like cars) is the biggest chunk of transportation.</p> <h2>Better cars?</h2> <p>A lot of people look at that and say, &quot;Ah ha! What we need are much better cars! Cars that use less fuel, and cars that use different fuels--renewable fuels!&quot; Those people are wrong. What we need--and what we're going to have whether we like it or not--is much less driving.</p> <p>Of course, we will get better cars. Cars will become more efficient and there'll be new fuels and new technologies--hybrid, hydrogen, and plug-in electric cars; cars burning ethanol, bio-diesel, coal-to-liquid, and other even more exotic fuels. But none of that will preserve our car-driving way of life. There are many reasons. Two big ones are:</p> <ol> <li>We can't solve the climate change problems with a few little--or even big--tweaks to the way we run our cars. It's going to take <a href="http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12775-zero-emissions-needed-to-avert-dangerous-warming.html">major changes</a>.</li> <li>The energy needed to run around in your own car is going to get too expensive. The total world quantity of crude oil produced has been flat for about three years, despite record high prices. If these prices can't draw more fuel out of the ground, farms, and laboratories.... Well, then we'll get higher prices.</li> </ol> <p>Cars could be made a lot more efficient, simply by making them smaller and lighter. That'll happen automatically, once energy gets a lot more expensive. The average car got <a href="http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_23.html">22.4 mpg in 2004</a> (the average light truck considerably less). Among cars currently being sold in the U.S. fuel efficiency tops out at about <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/list/top10/119083/article.html">60 mpg</a>. Much better is possible--we'll see 120 mpg in the short term, as gasoline prices continue to rise. Making the shift as higher and higher prices force it, though is a slow, painful way to change, with the bulk of the pain falling on poor people, because the higher prices hit them first, and because they don't have the capital to invest in fuel-efficient cars.</p> <p>Because there are so many things that will help--new car technology and new fuel technology--and so many good ideas and bits of good news being reported--we see a perverse result: People to look at the long list and imagine that surely one (or a few) of these ideas will pan out, and that our car culture will go on in the future much the same as it has in the past. The ideas <em>will</em> pan out (or many of them will), but it won't be enough to preserve our car-driving way of life. The climate change problems are too pressing and the energy supplies are no longer growing--which means that prices will have to rise to balance the still-growing demand.</p> <h2>What then?</h2> <p>We face a world with less driving.</p> <p>If we accept that soon enough, there's a lot we can do--restore the failing railroad infrastructure, for one thing. Quit wasting money on airports and widening roads and putting up multi-level parking structures. Those aren't things that an individual can have much impact on (although at a local level it's possible, and worth trying).</p> <p>As an individual, start arranging your life so you don't have to drive so much. Walk more. Bicycle more. Take the bus more. If you live too far from work, think about moving, or changing jobs, or both.</p> <p>In the short term, also do all the things other articles on saving fuel recommend: Make sure your tire pressure is right. Combine trips. Drive conservatively. If you need a new car, buy a fuel efficient one. But none of that's going to be enough.</p> <p>Soon--sooner than you think, unless you've been paying attention to the oil production figures--you're going to have to drive less. Plan for that. Arrange your life now, so that driving less won't be a burden.</p> <p>The sooner you do it, the better off you'll be. It will give you more time to work out the kinks in your personal strategy for driving less. Also, it's frugal to drive less and it's incredibly frugal to live car-free. The money you're no longer spending to buy, fuel, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance">insure</a>, and maintain a car can give you a huge boost to your standard of living and your savings.</p> <h2>Why so optimistic?</h2> <p>This may not sound like an optimistic vision of the future. It is, though.</p> <p>I look at the future and see cars becoming less common and less important. They'll become smaller and more fuel-efficient as well, but the dominate trend will be fewer of them on the road making fewer trips.</p> <p>I view that change with great optimism. I see a future where communities are walkable--where housing, jobs, and shopping are close together. I see a future where people bicycle to work and to run errands. I see a future where light rail links bedroom communities with city centers and industrial centers, so that people who don't want to live in cities can still work in them and so that heavy industries that people don't want next door can still exist and still have workers. I see a future where high-speed rail links my town with the nearby cities--Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis.</p> <p>I'm optimistic, because that's the future where I want to live.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-cars-are-not-the-answer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-transport-bicycling">Frugal Transport--bicycling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-my-clunker-is-smarter-than-a-hybrid">7 Ways My Clunker Is Smarter Than a Hybrid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Green Living bicycling car hybrid cars Personal transportation transport Mon, 15 Oct 2007 13:53:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 1288 at http://www.wisebread.com The two-mile challenge http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-mile-challenge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-two-mile-challenge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bicycle-with-sunbeams.jpg" alt="A bicycle next to a bike path, with sunbeams shining through tree branches" title="Bicycle With Sunbeams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="203" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="/frugal-transport-bicycling">Bicycling for transportation</a> is something that&#39;s important to me, so I was immediately attracted to the <a href="http://www.2milechallenge.com/home.html">2-mile challenge</a>. </p> <p>According to these guy&#39;s statistics, 40% of US urban travel is 2 miles or less. The site uses Google Maps to draw a 2-mile circle around your address, and challenges you to substitute bicycle trips for car trips to destinations within that circle. It&#39;ll also provide a list of places to ride--grocery stores, coffee shops, banks, parks, public transport, and more--all within 2 miles of your address.</p> <p>Personally, I&#39;m just as prone to walk as to ride for a large fraction of those trips--there&#39;s a lot within 1 mile of my apartment. And my own ride-versus-drive decision has a lot more to do with things like how much stuff I&#39;m expecting to bring home and whether there&#39;s a secure place to lock up my bike at the far end, than it has to do with whether the destination is close. But still--the mapping tool is cool, especially with the possible-destination list, and I figure that anything that encourages people to ride rather than drive is a good thing. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-mile-challenge">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-cars-are-not-the-answer">Better cars are not the answer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jar-of-nothing-the-perfect-present-for-the-picky-prick-in-your-life">Jar of Nothing: the perfect present for the picky prick in your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fbi-considered-its-a-wonderful-life-communist-propaganda">FBI Considered &quot;It&#039;s A Wonderful Life&quot; Communist Propaganda</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary bicycling transport Thu, 04 Oct 2007 19:58:03 +0000 Philip Brewer 1249 at http://www.wisebread.com Rolling Stone article on ethanol http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/corn-truck.jpg" alt="Corn truck" title="Corn truck" width="399" height="375" /></p> <p>In my recent post <a href="/plan-for-expensive-fuel">Plan for expensive fuel</a>, I mentioned sustainable fuels in a somewhat dismissive fashion. I&#39;ll have more to say about that eventually, but in the meantime, I wanted to link to Rolling Stone magazine&#39;s excellent article on the limitations of ethanol as a replacement for fossile fuels:</p> <blockquote><p>The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn&#39;t that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after &quot;solutions&quot; that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/15635751/ethanol_scam_ethanol_hurts_the_environment_and_is_one_of_americas_biggest_political_boondoggles/1"><em>Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America&#39;s Biggest Political Boondoggles</em></a> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-expensive-fuel">Plan for expensive fuel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-if-energy-costs-keep-rising">What if energy costs keep rising?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rural-living-in-a-world-with-expensive-fuel">Rural living in a world with expensive fuel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fix-energy-in-tangible-form">Fix energy in tangible form</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-mile-challenge">The two-mile challenge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary ethanol fuel fuel costs transport Fri, 03 Aug 2007 02:03:07 +0000 Philip Brewer 943 at http://www.wisebread.com Plan for expensive fuel http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-expensive-fuel <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fuel-prices-1.jpg" alt="Gas station sign" title="Gas station sign" width="400" height="300" /></p> <p>Does your budget include a contingency for fuel to get much more expensive? Because it ought to.</p> <p>I learned about the need for contingencies early. My first attempt at setting up housekeeping took place in 1980-1981, right at the peak of an inflationary spurt that saw the consumer price index grow at 14%. My budget was completely destroyed by prices that went up by more than 1% per month.</p> <p>So what&#39;s your contingency for a spike in fuel prices?</p> <p>For a few people who live in cities and walk or take mass transit, fuel is a small percentage of the total spending--small enough that a even a big increase in fuel prices won&#39;t break the budget. If you&#39;re not one of those people, you should either have a plan to take money from somewhere else in the budget, or else you should have a plan to reduce your driving if necessary.</p> <p>What other line item can you take money from? Discretionary money--entertainment and the like--has usually already been cut to the bone in the initial budget-making process, so there&#39;s not much money to take from there. The closest thing most people have in their budget for contingencies is the money that&#39;s going into savings--and taking the money from there is a terrible idea.</p> <p>That leaves reducing driving. Reducing driving in the short term is hard, but there are ways:</p> <ul> <li>combining trips--always a good idea anyway</li> <li>carpooling and other forms of ride sharing</li> <li>telecommuting</li> <li>bicycling or walking</li> <li>using mass transit</li> </ul> <p>In the longer term there&#39;s the opportunity to take more drastic action, such as moving closer to work or making investments in fuel economy, such as a more efficient car. (A moped, scooter, or motorcycle would be cheaper than any new car and much more fuel-efficient as well.)</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fuel-prices-2.jpg" alt="Electric meter" title="Electric meter" width="330" height="247" align="left" />When making your contingency plan, remember that transportation fuel is not the only kind you need to pay for. Heating and electricity rates will go up right along with transportation fuel costs. </p> <p>This means that another part of your contingency plan should be energy-saving measures you can take at home: better insulation, adjusting the thermostat, etc. Even better, make the changes now and put the savings into a contingency fund. </p> <p>Also, don&#39;t forget that fuel price increases tend to drive price increases in everything else as well, starting with food.</p> <p>I&#39;m making a big deal out of this because higher fuel prices are in the cards. Fuel prices will go down as well as up, but the long-term trend will be up. According to the US <a href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/">Energy Information Administration</a>, only three out of the top ten oil producing countries showed increases in production in 2006 over 2005. None of them showed significant increases and the two biggest (Saudi Arabia and Russia) both showed clear declines. In fact, total <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/theoildrum/~3/128101984/2693">world production of oil</a> has been flat since 2004.<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fuel-prices-3.jpg" alt="Gas meters" title="Gas meters" width="339" height="210" align="right" /> </p> <p>Just as important as flat production is increases in consumption, especially in oil-producing countries. In part because of increasing domestic use, only two of the top ten oil exporting countries showed an increase in exports in 2006 over 2005. </p> <p>We will no doubt continue to increase production of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, but it&#39;s an open question how much of the gap between flat supplies and growing demand can be filled by renewables. Your contingency plan is for the very real possiblity that any gap will push up fuel prices. </p> <p>As I said, fuel prices will go down as well as up. There&#39;s a lot of low-hanging fruit in the US for conserving fuel. When prices get high enough, people will make the necessary changes, and many of those changes (moving closer to work, buying a more fuel-efficient car) will produce long-term reductions in demand--reductions that won&#39;t be quickly reversed, even if fuel prices drop. And, sometimes, that reduction in demand will be enough to produce a real drop in prices, but those drops in price won&#39;t come when you need them to save your budget. They&#39;ll come when you&#39;ve finally given in and adjusted your fuel use to the new reality.</p> <p>How will you handle higher fuel prices? You need to have a plan.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-expensive-fuel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-if-energy-costs-keep-rising">What if energy costs keep rising?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rural-living-in-a-world-with-expensive-fuel">Rural living in a world with expensive fuel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation electricity fuel fuel costs heating transport Sun, 29 Jul 2007 20:34:27 +0000 Philip Brewer 920 at http://www.wisebread.com Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 1 http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/water.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="180" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This is the first in a three-part series about bottled water. To read the second installment, <a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-2"><em>click here</em></a><em>. To read the third installment, </em><a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-3"><em>click here</em></a><em>.</em></em></p> <p>Have you ever stopped to think about just how incredibly odd it is to buy bottled water? I&#39;m only recently coming to understand just how ludicrous the whole thing is.</p> <p>Really, think about it:</p> <ul> <li>America has some of the best civil infrastructure in the world. Most Americans have clean drinking water piped directly into their sinks. Yet, we persist in buying the bottled stuff. </li> <li>Sales of bottled water topped $35 billion in 2003, and have gone up steadily since.</li> <li>Bottled water costs consumers of the Starbucks Ethos brand roughly <a href="http://jeffmatthewsisnotmakingthisup.blogspot.com/2005/09/too-expensiveat-one-third-cost-of.html">$9.85 per gallon</a>, just a tad more than gasoline. Oh, wait - yes, that&#39;s triple the cost of gasoline. Now, not everyone buys Ethos-brand bottled water, and you can get a purified gallon of water at the supermarket for roughly a dollar. That&#39;s still a dollar too much.</li> </ul> <h4>Time for a Metaphor </h4> <p>Let&#39;s imagine that there&#39;s a guy who lives in France, we&#39;ll call him Pepe, who generates really green electricity from his windfarm. He can ship the power in the form of HUGE batteries, from France. You can then go the store, buy a huge battery, hook the battery up to your house, and voila!- you are able to use it to power your lights. Great! When you are finished, you just throw the battery away and buy another one at the store. Sure, you could just use the electricity that is wired into your home, but green power is better, right? </p> <p>Well, when we buy bottled water, especially bottled water from overseas (like Fiji), that&#39;s exactly what we are doing. We&#39;re deciding against something that we have immediate access to, something that pours freely into our sinks at the twist of a handle. But instead, many of us prefer to purchase water. Water, which is sort of ubiquitous, now arrives in plastic bottles, bottles that are polluting to create and polluting to get rid of. </p> <p>Fossil fuels are burned moving the water across the ocean (in what I like to call &quot;an ironic twist&quot;), and then a diesel-burning truck brings the water to your grocery store, which you drive to in your gas-burning car. </p> <p>Where you buy it. And drink it. And throw away the bottle.</p> <h4>Environmental Impact</h4> <p>The environmental impact that the bottled water craze is having on our planet is <a href="http://www.counterpunch.org/lack07252006.html">staggering</a>:</p> <p>Bottled water is responsible for an enormous increase in world production of plastic bottles. Surging sales of bottled water coincided with and may help account for a 56 per cent increase in U.S. plastic resin manufacture in the U.S.A. between 1995 and 2001 (from 32 million tons to over 50 million tons annually). Consuming critical supplies of petroleum and natural gas, plastic bottle factories create and release toxic wastes, including benzine, xylene, and oxides of ethylene into the environment.</p> <p>Drinking bottled water actually increases the price of gasoline, because the manufacturing of the bottles and the transportation of the water simply increases demand for oil. I&#39;m not going to say that if you drink Evian, the terrorists have won, but keep in mind that when you buy bottled water, <strong>you&#39;re not just consuming bottled water</strong>. You&#39;re consuming (and paying for) all of the chemicals that went into producing that bottle that the water arrived in, as well as the gas and oil consumed in bringing the water to you.</p> <p>It&#39;s shockingly inefficient. It&#39;s also ridiculously <a href="http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/brokenpromises/288097_plastic10.asp">bad for our planet</a>:</p> <p class="blockquote">&quot;About 300 billion pounds of plastic are produced each year, said Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. That&#39;s 1,000 pounds for every American. </p> <p>&quot;And massive amounts of it are washing into the sea. </p> <p>&quot;Swirling in the Pacific Ocean is an area of man-made trash the size of Texas. A few years ago Moore towed a fine mesh net like a giant cheesecloth through the area -- dubbed the &quot;great garbage patch.&quot; The haul contained six times more plastic than plankton.&quot; </p> <p>Read that full article in the Seattle PI - I guarantee that it will make you think carefully about throwing away plastic. One thing that I didn&#39;t know was how plastic is capable of degrading. I had always been told that a plastic bottle now is a plastic bottle 2000 years from now - but plastic does break down into smaller pieces, and it&#39;s everywhere.</p> <p class="blockquote">The trouble is that there&#39;s no effective way to remove the plastic pollution, whether it&#39;s in chunks or microscopic bits. Researchers say the solution is keeping it out of the water in the first place. And there&#39;s good reason to do so: it&#39;s on our dinner plates. </p> <p><em>This is the first in a three-part series about bottled water. To read the second installment, </em><a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-2"><em>click here</em></a><em>. To read the third installment, </em><a href="/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-3"><em>click here</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>(<em>Photo by shutterbug hottie </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/11147789@N00/"><em>shrff14</em></a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-1">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-2">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 2</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice for Water May Surprise You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-water-bottled-hype-part-3">Bottled Water, Bottled Hype Part 3</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-uses-for-stale-cereal">5 Creative Uses for Stale Cereal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living bottled environment Evian Fiji plastic transport water Wed, 18 Apr 2007 22:04:19 +0000 Andrea Karim 523 at http://www.wisebread.com