Gulf Coast Oil Spill Silver Lining

Gulf oil It’s not easy to shed a positive light on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, but the one very thin silver lining is that  it is another indisputable reason to take the steps advocated by climate change experts.  The oil spill gives reason for the people who don’t believe in climate change, but who also don’t like the havoc that the oil spill is wreaking on the Gulf Coast, to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels to help avoid this sort of disaster in the future.

I spend most of my time advocating that people install residential solar energy systems as a way to improve our environment and air quality, reduce their energy bill, and reduce our countries dependence on coal (especially after seeing the deaths from the recent coal mine disasters).  But now I’m starting to advocate that people purchase or lease solar panels for the home, then get an electric car too.  While they’re at it, maybe buy locally grown food too?

Most of the driving, particularly commuting, that American’s do on a daily basis consists of short enough trips that the electric cars on the market today with 50-100 mile ranges would work perfectly well.  The new 5 passenger Nissan Leaf electric car will get 100 miles per charge, which would definitely do the trick for most.  And if that’s not enough, the Tesla Model-S will have up to a 300 mile range depending on which batteries you get when it arrive in 2012.  Yes, at $25k the Nissan Leaf is a bit more expensive than it would be if it were a gas car, but not much more expensive.  And depending on how much you drive and how much gas prices continue to rise, you may more than save the difference with money not spent on gas.

Now plug your new electric car into your home, which is nicely adorned with solar panels, and you’ll be well on your way to reducing your coal and oil footprints.  Next I’d suggest buying less stuff, and ideally buying locally grown food and/or locally produced goods.  The further your food has to travel to get to you, the more oil is consumed to drive it around.

It seems that these disasters like oil spills and coal mine collapses are going to keep happening until we move to cleaner, safer, renewable energy.  So why not start today with a solar quote for you home?  And even if you looked into solar a year or two ago, it’s worth getting another solar quote.  The cost of solar panels continues to decrease and there are a number of great federal, state, and local solar rebates that make it even more affordable.

Which would you rather have, solar panels on your roof and a few wind turbines on the horizon or oil-stained beaches, dead sea-life and a glossy, brown ocean?  Know which one I’d choose 10 out of 10 times.

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