The Green Phantom

I found myself at a hospital yesterday for some tests. Since it is a big hospital, and offices cover a lot of real estate, there was a mini shuttle bus required to take me or any others to other areas.

The shuttle was about half an hour late, but that’s not unexpected when it comes to medical events. I was told to sit by the driver; others climbed in from the side. It was explained that it is a green vehicle, one of several electrically powered ones the hospital has obtained to suit the environmentally concerned.

The temperature was nearing 100 but the air conditioner was not turned on. The driver explained that his power was about out and he couldn’t risk turning it on. Since the shuttle was mostly glass it gave the ride a greenhouse effect. It was quite uncomfortable.

How long did a charge last I asked? It’s supposed to go for eight hours, the driver said, but it only gets about seven from one fueling. Did he like it, another asked, or did he prefer the gas powered kind? The latter was his quick response.

Indeed, we eked out the distance to the office, but it was close. Others complained that getting in the side, although made to be handicapped accessible, was difficult.

Herein we have a microcosm of the politics of energy. It doesn’t necessarily work well, but that doesn’t matter. It’s probably not cheaper, but that doesn’t matter. It ends up making people uncomfortable, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is looking like you care about the environment. It’s chasing a phantom that will never materialize.

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