How to save the world one gas station at a time.

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Look at a map of your city or suburb. Search for the gas stations, you know, those places where you can buy cigarettes and petroleum products?

Now imagine going to each and every one of those locations and tearing it down. We don’t need them any more anyway, because we’ve electrified transportation and nobody smokes. Remove the pollution (they are all brown fields, and the government will eventually be charged for this cleanup, so that is where you get your money for this). Remove the above ground structure, remove the pollution, then look at that vacant lot (and the other one one katty-corner across the intersection). Imagine a transit and school bus stop at this location, with an indoor area to keep the kiddies safe during the very hot or very cold days. Imagine a 20 car charging station, a small cafe, and the whole thing is covered with PV panels. (For the entire US that would be upwards of 15,000 mW of generating power.)

That transition would happen eventually, or something like it, but it won’t get far. Do you know why it won’t get far? Because in all its glory and brilliance, the free market is slow and shy and stupid. It will not figure this out fast enough, it will not deploy the changes in time, and when we are about a third of the way through the whole system will collapse because we are being too slow — and too slowed down by deniers and Republicans, Trumpers and Big Oil, dark money and deplorables — to fix it before it fails.

Or, Governors and State Legislators and Presidents and the Congress can just make it happen. Set up a program that buys out gas stations, cleans them up, and inserts them into the new power and transit system. Take care of the job loss, which will be offset by the increase in clean energy jobs, but make that offset work for the victims of progress. Oh, and probably sell lottery tickets at the cafe.

Can we do this please?

Thanks. Get back to me when the blueprints are ready, next week if possible.

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3 thoughts on “How to save the world one gas station at a time.

  1. First you have to make fully electric cars affordable, and I’m not talking Tesla’s or hybrids, just vehicles with 300km or more range. Feds need to impose zero emission standard by year x for cars, as well as power generation. So perhaps massive buybacks on gas burning cars of any age, combined with huge subsidies on new and used electric vehicles. Right now they are anything but. Regardless of country a lot has to take place first. There are new developments in Hydrogen production ( that could make it a better choice for vehicles than batteries. Electricity for the grid can be produced with new enhanced geothermal technology ( that does not require fracking and as an added bonus makes use of existing abandoned O&G wells.

  2. I think it would make sense to start in a few selected areas — Los Angeles County, say, MPLS-St. Paul, Seattle, etc. to keep govt. costs down and expose the new systems to all kinds of weather.

    1. Well the problem is we need to reach zero carbon across the world by 2030. Something to keep in mind is that economics is non-starter when the environment is out of control and we are facing, at best, massive die off of all species including our own, and at worst the 6th great extinction.

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