Working with oil and learning about electric vehicles and to make a choice to save the planet

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Working with oil and learning about electric vehicles and to make a choice to save the planet

After being on the forum for a long time I am realizing that I help run an automotive mechanical repair shop and I work with oil. I am starting to have these feelings that maybe I just feel guilty for this place being open and helping to run it. I would like to know how I can become more involved in taking action to make the planet a better place to live. It's really slowly starting to upset me that I am here. I have learned a lot by being here on the forum and reading everything here but that is just information to take in. My question is how to become more involved. This is the first step of realization for me.
Any helpful suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.

MikeB
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Re: Working with oil and learning about electric vehicles ...

Hiya Lisa,

Glad to hear you want to make a difference globally.

First, don't feel too guilty about repairing cars. It's gonna be a long time until we get rid of oil-based transportation entirely, and it's better to keep the ones we have running than to throw them out and replace them with new ones.

Second, there's a million little steps you can take to move away from fossil fuels. And if you take a few of those steps, and then tell other people about your actions, you end up with a much bigger impact overall. Peer pressure works wonders, and so does leading by example. And you may actually save some money in the mean time.

Here's a few thoughts on steps you can take:

Does your shop provide loaner cars while a customer's vehicle is being worked on? Try to get a Nissan Leaf as your loaner, or a Chevy Volt. Get people exposed to the idea of driving electric.

Does your shop use any hot water? Unless it's nothing but handwashing, you might consider putting a solar hot water heating system on your roof. I just ordered the components to do my house: A single heat exchange panel on the roof will warm water in a 2nd tank. That warm tank will then feed into my standard gas-fired water heater. Since the hot water heater is getting preheated water, it'll use far less gas to bring the water up to temp. A $4k system is going to provide about 70% of my hot water energy, and I'll be getting back about 65% in tax credits. And if your shop doesn't use enough water to make this practical, consider it for your home and then put a picture of your rooftop in the shop waiting room.

Keep an eye on efficiency, small changes add up everywhere. Better insulation in your attic, better light bulbs, energy-star appliances, properly inflated tires. The impact of efficiency appears small initially, but it really adds up in the long run. And efficiency usually pays for itself very quickly, think about the cost of air in your tires (free) vs a 2% MPG gain. Virtually everything we do in the modern world uses energy, and there's almost always a way to use less energy, or get that energy from a better source.

And lastly, get involved in politics. The sad truth is that there's one party in this country that is opposed to any action at all for cleaner energy and protecting the environment, and one party that is only making weak efforts. Join the party that's making weak efforts and push them to make stronger efforts. Individual efforts are good, but we aren't going to actually protect the planet unless there's a mass movement, and that will only happen with government encouragement.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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