Weening our addiction to oil

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Postby sgoldie » Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:29 pm

Our RV has been sitting in the driveway for the past year and won't be going to fla this winter. Also sold my car that takes 93 octane. Bf is taking delivery of a pellet stove next week. (Wood and pellets are very big around here) Projected winter heating costs are less than $500 compared to double for gas, and triple for electric.
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Postby twisterintexas » Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:46 pm

sgoldie, Are pellet stoves different from wood stoves? And what are pellets made of? My mom has a wood stove, and I was wondering if pellets would be easier for her to manage. Thanks!
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Postby sgoldie » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:17 pm

The new pellet stoves are nice because they have thermostats to control the burn rate (temp). Pellets look something like rabbit food. They're about one inch long, little cylinders made of compressed wood and paper scraps. They are sold by the ton for about $165 per. A ton consists of pallet load, enough to fill up a pickup truck to capacity, that is a large plastic wrapped stack of maybe 40 bags. Each bag weighs 40 lbs and is approx the size of a bag of cement. She would have to break the bags open and scoop in what she needed. The other things is you need to buy about 3 tons at the beginning of the season as I suspect they don't replenish stock in the middle of winter. She might be able to burn coal in a wood stove. It burns much hotter, so she should check. Also not overload the stove to cause a chimney fire. You can get hard chunks from pea size to more or less half the size of your fist that aren't too dirty to handle. I don't think you can burn pettets in a wood stove as there is a feed damper. Not sure though. Wood is actually supposed to be the least expensive although a pain. How much is a cord of wood there? (face or full?)
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Postby twisterintexas » Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:09 am

My parents chop the wood themselves. They're really alternative living afficianados (sp?). They have their own chickens and butcher their own cow every year to have their own meat source. They garden like it's nobody's business. What I can't believe is that my Mom turned into such a hippie chick, because when I was a kid she was very conservative. I'll talk to her about the pellet stove. Being able to control the temperature would be very nice! That wood stove can get HOT! Thanks for the info!
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Postby Johnny B Lurker » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:19 am

twisterintexas Great action with getting a letter to the ed published. Every small action tips the scale towards a better environment. JBL
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Postby twisterintexas » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:51 pm

Thanks, Johnny B Lurker. I just thought of another way to reduce oil consumption: buy non-phospate cleaning products, such as those offered by the company Seventh Generation. Also, try to buy fruits and vegetables from a local farmer's stand, which weren't transported far and thus saved oil. I'd recommend Farmer's Markets, too, although you should ask where the produce comes from - often, it's shipped in from overseas just like the produce in grocery stores. I think everyone on this message threas has contributed some very helpful information and I think that's very cool. Reducing our oil dependency is extremely important, not just for preserving the environment but also for promoting peace. Keep the ideas coming, folks! P.S.: You know, ever since I've been riding my bike all over town, I've noticed a lot of others doing the same thing. I'd like to think I started a trend, but instead I'm thinking that most people have come to the same conclusion I have - to stop using so much freakin' oil! Maybe there's hope for this country of mine after all.
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Postby twisterintexas » Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:37 pm

Thanks for the links, becki. I've been cutting WAY down on gas consumption - I only fill up once a week now. That may sound like still a lot to some, but remember I live in an area with no public transportation. I pretty much ride my bike anywhere in town, though. I'm just going to gripe a little: I hate Hummers. I dislike people who drive Hummers. Why do they need such a behemoth on the road? Here in Dallas, I see more and more women driving Hummers, and I'd like to tell them off - or at least take the air out of their tires... Like the French group that's been doing just that around Paris. And I wish those posters who gripe and whine in "Deep Discussions" about how everyone is blaming Bush and not doing anything constructive would post here and make some suggestions instead of getting upset over posts on a decidedly LIBERAL board. Keep the ideas coming! The only way we can accomplish anything in this world is to start making changes with ourselves.
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Postby twisterintexas » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:42 am

It's been a while since anyone has posted, but I'd like to revive the thread as it's as relevant today as it was a few months ago. In another forum, a poster mentioned moving to Las Vegas. That's another thing that you shouldn't do if you're committed to using less oil - moving to the desert. Distances are far, water is scarce, and most of the food has to be trucked in. The drain on resources that living in the desert entails (at least for transplants; I'm not knocking those who've lived there all their lives) is just not environmentally responsible. And I'm curious - why can't people just put reusable shopping bags (canvas, nylon, etc) in the trunks of their cars so they can use them when they go shopping? How hard is that? I saw a couple at the grocery store with a cart full of Thanksgiving stuff - must have been over $200 of food - and they had everything bagged in plastic. That is very, very, short sighted. What will it take for Americans to realize that they can't keep on wasting resources???
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plastic bags

Postby pedalfaster » Wed Nov 30, 2005 4:19 pm

Twister, thanks for bumping this topic. I've been thinking a lot about this (again) in the last few days. Recently, I started shopping at a market that (you'll love this!) charges for shopping bags. How cool is that? The concept that shopping bags are \"free\" is so untrue. So, I am currently working through my back stock of waxy-paper-with-handles and super-thick-plastic shopping bags (you know the ones you get at \"high end\" retail stores? ) but already have a plan to buy plain canvas shopping bags when that stock wears out. Since I am a painter by training, I am designing stencils of my favorite fruits and veggies and plan to hand-paint my new canvas bags as a \"plastic free\" gift to myself. :) As a pet owner, I've always \"justified\" my acceptance of plastic grocery bags, since I *need* them to scoop after the dog and to clean the litter box. Guess what? Since I no longer have those bags coming into the house, I've become hyper-aware of just how much stuff comes in plastic bags! I find myself rinsing and drying bags from bakery products, produce, and frozen goods, drying them on a rack and using those for pet waste.
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Postby twisterintexas » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 am

Way to go, pedalfaster! I like the idea of re-using all sorts of bags, including the bread bags. I use them for my kitchen trash and litter pick up, too. Where I grew up in Germany, each plastic bag cost 10 pfennigs (about 5 cents). That adds up when you buy a lot of things. We always used our nylon shopping bags instead. I liked those bags because no one could tell that you had bought toilet paper (I was a teenager back then and very, very embarrassed about having to go out on the streets walking around with toilet paper. And I felt like dying when I had to carry around sanitary napkins - I was a little pathetic). I wish I could buy bread around here wrapped in paper. Paper keeps the crust nice and crispy. I do buy artisan breads on occasion (I can't believe that real bread made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup is considered 'artisan'!) but it costs so much, I've been baking my own. And I've stopped buying drinks where they are served in styrofoam cups. That's hard, too, because many places use them. It's true what you say - how much more aware you become when you change your habits. You realize just how much waste is going on in our country. It's a real shame.
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Postby jims » Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:39 pm

I like this thread. It is dear to my heart. I walk and bike just about everywhere. My big thing is trying not to take the car for short hops of half to one mile away. In my part of the country, it is often quite cold. Cars do not get their regular milage until they are warm--maybe two or three or ten miles of driving. So If my car should get 30 miles per gallon, it only gets 10 miles/gal today because it is cold. If I take a short trip (like today I will go to church 1.5 miles away), the car will never get warm. These short trips are also bad for the battery and the exhaust system. My car is 10 years old with the original battery and the original exhaust system. There are several good books availabe in libraries that give all the details about this. I've also learned to be happy with myself. I do not need stuff to distract me from my thoughts and my life. I love walking. I love looking at nature--be it plants, animals, or the sky. I love to read, and I've discovered a place that will keep and organize books for me--the public library. I love helping others. I do organized volunteer work ,and I just like to do random acts of kindness. I love working in my garden--that's one of the cheapest hobbies around Jim S
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Postby twisterintexas » Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:29 pm

I agree with everything you wrote, Jim S. Just today, I rode into town with my son and my niece to have breakfast with Santa. That was fun, and we ended up riding about 4 miles. I worked off my pancake and sausage while enjoying the sunshine. Gardening is something I want to do more of, even if I kill most of my plants. I've started a compost section in my yard and hope to use it for a small vegetable plot, or even for a wild flower bed. The one thing that I love about riding my bike is seeing what people in cars can't see, because they zoom right past everything. I see bugs and animals, a jet streaking across the sky, clouds in strange formation against the setting sun. I also like to bike ride while accomplishing an errand. Many riders drive their bikes to trails and only ride in designated areas. I do go trail riding myself, but I think it's important to put the bike to real use, not just as a recreational tool. There's no way we can beat our dependency on oil if people view bike riding as only a hobby and not a valid form of transportation.
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Postby GoCubbies » Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:29 am

Here are a couple sites showing how locomotives are becoming more fuel efficient with fewer emissions. It's been reported that replacing the country's locomotive fleet with recent models will be the equivalent of taking 30 million cars off the roads. https://www.getransportation.com/genera ... SESSION=NO http://www.railpower.com/products_gg_benefits.html
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Postby natbalou » Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:22 pm

I walk and bike whenever I want to go somewhere or take public transit. Yes, I happen to live in a big city but it is one of the reasons why I stay there. I do not want to own a car. When I tell that to people, they think I come from Mars. What I cannot understand though is in Europe cars are way better at fuel consumption. Oil has been expensive there a long time before it was here. So, car manufacturers had to come up with more fuel efficient cars. Did you know that Ford's Focus consumes only 5,6L/100km in Europe but it consumes 7.7L/100km in North America. ( In gallons it comes out to 1.48/62 miles in Europe and 1.85/62 miles in North America.) I am talking about the same two-door, 136 horse power, 6-speed manual transmission Ford Focus here. Why aren't they as fuel efficient here? Natalie
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Postby GoCubbies » Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:37 pm

natbalou, Are your km figures Canadian/EPA vs. European as is stated on the for sale sticker? The calculations may differ because of how and what they're measuring. Those figures are generated in order for the prospective customer to compare one model of a car with another. It's not to show what km's per gallon the car you buy will actually get.
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