Skip to main content

The Mast-Head: Switching to Green

Wed, 01/04/2023 - 17:44

Letters to the editor this week about new initiatives to combat planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions describe a renewed optimism. This is largely due to a massive federal spending package designed to accelerate a host of measures to meet the challenges of climate change. Much comes down to choices that individual Americans can make. I thought it worthwhile to describe a little about my own experience, specifically with my cars.

I am now on my second plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or P.H.E.V. The first was a Chevy Volt, which I had for three years until the lease was up; the second, a discontinued Honda Clarity, which a friend calls the ugliest car ever. At a combined gas and electric of 100 or more miles per gallon the way I drive it, I could care less what he thinks.

The fact is that with about a 15-mile round trip from home to work — and a 240-volt charger at the office — I rarely have to fill up its six-gallon fuel tank at all. The Clarity’s gas-sipping ways are so thrifty that when fuel prices rose last year and people started to complain, I initially had no idea what they were grumbling about. Honda recommends using high-test since it apparently does better sitting unused for weeks in its fuel tank.

Unlike full-electric vehicles, P.H.E.V.s have basically unlimited range. My ugly Honda can make it from Amagansett past Riverhead before it switches over to run on gasoline. I went to New Hampshire and back this week on about $40 of premium.

Fossil fuels burned for transportation account for about 14 percent of greenhouse gases worldwide. As the electric grid increasingly turns to renewables, zero and low-emission vehicles will play a larger role in reducing the rate of global warming. Even with the mixed sources of power today, electric vehicles and P.H.E.V.s already are responsible for at least a third less carbon dioxide than their all-gas counterparts. The more the grid is converted to wind, solar, hydropower, and even nuclear, the better that will be for the climate. As small a role as I have as an individual, I am happy to be playing a part. Next week: my experience with rooftop solar.

Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.