Living without owning an internal combustion engine

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Vorpal
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Vorpal » 7 Aug 2019, 10:36am

pete75 wrote:Between the two of us we have four cars and five motorbikes. Total annual mileage is about 40,000. So what?
As for living without owning a combustion engine what about lawn mowing, tree felling, hedge cutting, strimming weeds etc. I use a device with an engine for all those tasks.

How do you rack up so many miles in one year? I think I came close to 20,000 miles in one year once. I had a 25 mile commute, and also drove about 600 miles once or twice a month to help my dad. I could really only cycle once per week, and sometimes not even that, mostly because of the demands of my job.

For a couple of years after that, I car-pooled with some folks who lived near me, so I only had to drive twice per week, then the company I worked for moved me to another facility & I was able to find housing closer to work.

So what? Well, every little bit helps. If everyone did 20,000 miles per person per year in motor vehicles, we would have a far worse environmental situation than we do, and it would likely be that much harder to tackle.

As for other combustion engines... most of them have electric substitutes. Felling a large tree needs a petrol chain saw, but the other stuff can be done with electrics, unless you have a large lawn. Of course, that's not necessarily ideal. If your power comes from coal plants, for example the combustion engine is probably a better choice, as it's more efficient and less polluting.

I've given up mowing. We have gravel at the front of our house, and the back is growing wild, interspersed with fruit trees, berry bushes, bee & butterfly friendly flowers, and beds for vegetables.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

pete75
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby pete75 » 7 Aug 2019, 10:58am

Vorpal wrote:
pete75 wrote:Between the two of us we have four cars and five motorbikes. Total annual mileage is about 40,000. So what?
As for living without owning a combustion engine what about lawn mowing, tree felling, hedge cutting, strimming weeds etc. I use a device with an engine for all those tasks.

How do you rack up so many miles in one year? I think I came close to 20,000 miles in one year once. I had a 25 mile commute, and also drove about 600 miles once or twice a month to help my dad. I could really only cycle once per week, and sometimes not even that, mostly because of the demands of my job.

For a couple of years after that, I car-pooled with some folks who lived near me, so I only had to drive twice per week, then the company I worked for moved me to another facility & I was able to find housing closer to work.

So what? Well, every little bit helps. If everyone did 20,000 miles per person per year in motor vehicles, we would have a far worse environmental situation than we do, and it would likely be that much harder to tackle.

As for other combustion engines... most of them have electric substitutes. Felling a large tree needs a petrol chain saw, but the other stuff can be done with electrics, unless you have a large lawn. Of course, that's not necessarily ideal. If your power comes from coal plants, for example the combustion engine is probably a better choice, as it's more efficient and less polluting.

I've given up mowing. We have gravel at the front of our house, and the back is growing wild, interspersed with fruit trees, berry bushes, bee & butterfly friendly flowers, and beds for vegetables.


I only do about 12,000 now I've stopped working and my wife does the rest mainly work related. We do some foreign travel , for example usually drive when we go skiing and one holiday we drove as far as Russia.

Have you tried using any of those electric garden tools? When I asked a friend who sells garden equipment about rechargeable hedge cutters and strimmers he said don't waste your money as even the forty volt ones are gutless and soon run out of charge. About an acre and a half of grass to cut so really needs a 40" cut petrol mower if it's to be mown in a reasonable amount of time.

As for the environment I think it's already passed the point of no return and the earth ,or mankind at least, is doomed and nothing I do or don't do will make any difference to this.

Brucey
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Brucey » 7 Aug 2019, 11:08am

20000 miles is a lot but it isn't that difficult; a sixty mile (round trip) commute and (say) doing 50 miles on your days off will do it. I've never done that many miles, if for no other reason than I'd be spending several hours each day in traffic when I'd sooner be riding my bike or doing something else instead.

I guess if you ride motorcycles for pleasure (which I have also done at times) then its different. For a while I used a motorcycle to commute and it was great to have as an option on a summer's day but in the middle of winter in the dark, with slippery roads and the carbs icing up, it was completely miserable. It was also (because of the togging up, faffing required etc) not much faster over ten miles than cycling could be.

After dalliances with using the wasted time in the car to do audio dictation (which worked fairly well but wasn't perfect), I eventually concluded that it was most time-efficient if I rode my bike to work instead of wasting time in the car and then struggling to find time to ride my bike. I'd spend my time on the bike thinking, which meant that I spent my time at work more productively too.

cheers
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horizon
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby horizon » 7 Aug 2019, 11:09am

Oldjohnw wrote:
but it does mean you don't need to own your own vehicle. And that, as I have often said, means that you will make far more trips by bike or on foot that you might have used the car for had it been standing outside the house.


No, it means that you don't need to own your own car.


No, it meant that you don't have to own your own car to do these tasks as nowadays delivery seems to be a big thing. Even so, someone needs to drive to get goods delivered to your house. Although that means you need your car only for personal transportation which many people find much easier (trains, bike etc) to avoid.

I did say above in an earlier post that I thought that giving up a car entirely was hugely difficult in today's society: I admire the people who do it and sympathise with those who cannot.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

Brucey
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Brucey » 7 Aug 2019, 11:27am

buses and local delivery vehicles are tricky ones; on the one hand they are doing a shorter distance per delivery/passenger mile than privately owned vehicles but on the other hand they still do redundant miles (many bus journeys are about twice the direct distance and delivery vans often go to out of the way depots etc) and the vehicles themselves are often fuel-inefficient, polluting, and are rarely fully utilised; a near- empty bus is an environmental nightmare, as is an empty van stuck in traffic.

In terms of CO2 output in use an electric car is only about twice as good (if the electricity is generated by fossil fuels) as a vehicle with an IC engine. The CO2 is produced in a different place though. If you are thinking of trading your car in for an electric one, you need to drive it a very long way before the cost of manufacturing the new car is 'paid for'. Some folk say the time for this to happen is longer than the expected life of the new car...


The world is riddled with nosensical things in relation to this; I recently saw a 'Tesla' service van on the road. "Oh, that'll be an electric vehicle then", I thought. Was it heck, it was just another stinky diesel van.... :roll:

cheers
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Oldjohnw » 7 Aug 2019, 11:58am

horizon wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
but it does mean you don't need to own your own vehicle. And that, as I have often said, means that you will make far more trips by bike or on foot that you might have used the car for had it been standing outside the house.


No, it means that you don't need to own your own car.


No, it meant that you don't have to own your own car to do these tasks as nowadays delivery seems to be a big thing. Even so, someone needs to drive to get goods delivered to your house. Although that means you need your car only for personal transportation which many people find much easier (trains, bike etc) to avoid.

I did say above in an earlier post that I thought that giving up a car entirely was hugely difficult in today's society: I admire the people who do it and sympathise with those who cannot.

Cheers. And thanks for the clarification.
John

Cycling and recycling

mattheus
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby mattheus » 7 Aug 2019, 12:28pm

pete75 wrote:As for the environment I think it's already passed the point of no return and the earth ,or mankind at least, is doomed and nothing I do or don't do will make any difference to this.

Piffle.

A few points:
- you've clearly contributed to the mess, how do you feel about that?
- everyone makes a diference. If everyone took some responsibility we'd be in a much better position!
- from my experience of people saying things like you've posted, this is just feeble justification for someone with a very selfish view on the world.

I hope all the local fly-tippers decide that your garden (& garage) are an easy target.

Kind regards,
Matty x

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Samuel D » 7 Aug 2019, 12:30pm

On the perils of electrifying cars. Not entirely believable but that leaves a lot that is.

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby PH » 7 Aug 2019, 12:40pm

I've just joined Co-wheels car club, assuming the availability is adequate, it seems the way forward for urban dwellers like me. I have a choice of vehicles in a five mile radius, electric, hybrid and small petrol, bookable by the hour or day. I have to go a little further if I need a van. The club is nationwide so there's also the option of mixed bike/bus/train/car trips.

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby PH » 7 Aug 2019, 12:53pm

Brucey wrote:buses and local delivery vehicles are tricky ones; on the one hand they are doing a shorter distance per delivery/passenger mile than privately owned vehicles but on the other hand they still do redundant miles (many bus journeys are about twice the direct distance and delivery vans often go to out of the way depots etc) and the vehicles themselves are often fuel-inefficient, polluting, and are rarely fully utilised; a near- empty bus is an environmental nightmare, as is an empty van stuck in traffic.

Part of the issue is also the competitive edge of convenience. How many times do we read on here that service from X was great they got whatever it was next day? But how many of those items are needed next day? I can't think of anything I've ordered on line that I couldn't wait a week for. And the supermarkets offer one hour timed deliveries, Iceland seems popular up my street, I'll sometimes see the same van several times a day. It's the same with buses, I've a choice of five buses an hour into town, but for most of the day they're never more than half full, I don't know who lives a life that they can't take an extra 10 minutes over a journey.

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Debs » 7 Aug 2019, 1:00pm

People who feel the need to own a car for their personal use but only use it when really necessary should be respected IMO.

The far bigger picture are the millions of car owners who frequently use their cars for far too many completely daft and unnecessarily journeys, and this seems to equate to the fact that most peoples perceive the car as a right of ownership, and which obtains them a higher standard of living.
Also the costs of car ownership is considerably high to 'own' and then comparatively affordable to 'use' after ownership has been paid for. This is why many people will want to get their monies worth by upping the millage and using their car as much as possible.
So scraping the vehicle duty and raising the tax on fuel would be a far sensible way to go. The more you drive the more you pay, the more your vehicle guzzles fuel the more you pay, the more economical your MPG and less milage you do the less you pay etc.

The argument of non car ownership does have fine environmental merit and is on the higher moral ground IMO, especially as it's aims placed at higher quality of life, rather than standard of living. But it really does depend on individual circumstances such as where one lives and local amenities.
The real nut to crack is the decades old culture of consumeristic car ownership and social engineered society that has deliberately made it rather awkward for far too many peoples not to own a car, or no longer own one, and it's this that really needs to change.

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horizon
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby horizon » 7 Aug 2019, 1:11pm

Debs wrote:
The far bigger picture are the millions of car owners who frequently use their cars for far too many completely daft and unnecessarily journeys,


That comes wih owning a car. The marginal cost and effort of using a car is zero if there is a bit of petrol in the tank - so I'll run down to the shops (in my car) to get that loaf of bread. That's why not owning a car at all is life changing (literally).

The biggest impediment to using a car in some areas nowadays is the loss of one's parking space.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby Vorpal » 7 Aug 2019, 2:02pm

pete75 wrote:I only do about 12,000 now I've stopped working and my wife does the rest mainly work related. We do some foreign travel , for example usually drive when we go skiing and one holiday we drove as far as Russia.
Where do you drive 12,000 miles if you aren't working? I'm not criticising. Just curious. My family, with kids to take to activities, me to get to work, shopping to do, holidays, etc. only manage about 4 or 5,000 miles per year.
pete75 wrote:Have you tried using any of those electric garden tools? When I asked a friend who sells garden equipment about rechargeable hedge cutters and strimmers he said don't waste your money as even the forty volt ones are gutless and soon run out of charge. About an acre and a half of grass to cut so really needs a 40" cut petrol mower if it's to be mown in a reasonable amount of time.
The only electric things I've used are a neighbor's chain saw that I used to cut up 3 - 4" branches for firewood. Other stuff, I do manually because it only needs doing a couple of times per year, and I have a hard time justifying power equipment on that basis.
I do have an old electric mower. If I hadn't given up mowing, it would need replacing.
pete75 wrote:As for the environment I think it's already passed the point of no return and the earth ,or mankind at least, is doomed and nothing I do or don't do will make any difference to this.

You think we're all doomed, so we should just carry on messing it up? :cry:

We have a duty to limit that harm as much as possible for our children, and the future of the human race.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

pete75
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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby pete75 » 7 Aug 2019, 2:32pm

Vorpal wrote:
pete75 wrote:I only do about 12,000 now I've stopped working and my wife does the rest mainly work related. We do some foreign travel , for example usually drive when we go skiing and one holiday we drove as far as Russia.
Where do you drive 12,000 miles if you aren't working? I'm not criticising. Just curious. My family, with kids to take to activities, me to get to work, shopping to do, holidays, etc. only manage about 4 or 5,000 miles per year.

All over the place. Have plenty of spare time so, for example, if I fancy a day in Whitby, I'll go either by car or motorbike and that's about a 300 mile round trip. No different to me doing a 100 mile round trip on the bike.

Vorpal wrote:You think we're all doomed, so we should just carry on messing it up? :cry:

We have a duty to limit that harm as much as possible for our children, and the future of the human race.


If we're all doomed what's the point- we may as well carry on as we are.

It won't be the end of life on earth we are just one amongst thousands of species many of which we've driven to extinction or the edge of extinction. Is the human race so wonderful it deserves a future? Does any other other species kill vast numbers of it's own kind? Humans have brought the coming catastrophe on themselves.

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Re: Living without owning an internal combustion engine

Postby PH » 7 Aug 2019, 2:56pm

pete75 wrote:As for the environment I think it's already passed the point of no return and the earth ,or mankind at least, is doomed and nothing I do or don't do will make any difference to this.

While I agree with that - we don't know how to order things to change it and the entire social and economic system is based on growth which can't be sustained. There's still a question about how we can contribute to a better local environment for the time we as a species are here. For example better air quality won't save the world, but it will contribute to a healthier population.