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In her letter of June 10, Adele Zimmermann takes Republicans to task for continuing to promote development of oil and gas to supply our energy needs while applauding Democrats for promoting development of “non-polluting, renewable energy resources.” In the past, many public and private sector individuals have also promoted this very worthy goal. However, hard realities of our energy uses must be examined before we cast our ballots (and dollars) behind such rhetoric. In the U.S., we use nearly 70 percent of our oil for transportation needs. U. S. Energy Information Agency statistics indicate that 140 billion gallons of gasoline were consumed in 2006.
Electric powered vehicles are one of the most promising alternate options, to replace our oil-based transportation. Specifically, the Tesla all-electric motor car is extremely attractive in that it has the highest projected range on a single charge (220 miles) of all other electric-only vehicles. The energy stored in a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack is equivalent to that contained in 1.44 gallons of gasoline, which translates to about 150 miles per gallon of gasoline. This is remarkable when one considers that its technologically advanced, lightweight, battery pack weighs nearly 1,000 pounds. In large part, this is entirely due to the light weight of its (mostly) carbon fiber composite car and the greater efficiency of its electric motor vs. that of an internal combustion engine (