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Anyway I can illustrate a 100x reduction that would be very easily achieved. On my block is at least one Hummer H2. I have seen this vehicle with my own eyes drive about 1 mile to the grocery store and 1 mile back to pick up some trivial item -- a bag of groceries, a couple of six packs. I ride my bike to the grocery store and my cargo bike can carry four bags of groceries plus extras -- 5 full bags if need be.
So let's compare oranges and oranges. The H2 is approximately a 10mpg vehicle, ignoring all other commodity consumption involved in running it. We know from someplace or other where I looked it up, that a gallon of gas is 114000 BTUs of potential energy. So 1 mile in the Hummer squanders 11,400 BTUs.
Now the presumably knowledgeable person who wrote this article says that if a cyclist rides 20 miles at 15mph, he/she burns 620 calories, at 31 calories per mile. I ride a little slower than that to the grocery store, but let's say for argument's sake that I manage to burn 31 calories per mile even at my leisurely pace. I bet it's less.
Now we hit any unit-conversion site on the web and discover that 11400 Btu = 2,872.7518057 Calorie [nutritional]
OK, not quite 100, but I make that a factor of 92 in energy-consumption difference between my making this non-demanding 2 mile round trip on flatland by bike, and my neighbour insisting on doing it in a 6500 lb H2 at 10 mpg. So my neighbour could easily realise a factor of 92 energy savings by riding his bike to the grocery store for those sixpacks instead.
There is a lot of this type of wastefulness in everyday American life. Americans are used to thinking of energy as damn-near free. So there is plenty of profligate behaviour that could be corrected for enormous savings -- lots of fat to be trimmed as one might say.
Oh and btw, before anyone leaps with a cry of delight to remind me about the 10 calories of fossil fuel used to supply each of those 31 food calories per mile that I used up, I retort, "Bah Humbug!" for I really do buy local produce from organic farmers, thus reducing that fossil component of my diet considerably (a good thing too as I find those crunchy old dinosaur bones kinda hard on the teeth).
The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
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