The year in sight is 2035
(Maybe we’ll be ready)


State of New York just passed a law. Basically, no sales will be allowed of vehicles powered by gasoline as of 2035. More detailed explanations are out there, the law involves passenger cars and trucks, with the bottom-line targeting having to meet zero emission guidelines.

California has passed similar legislation. Others are moving in that direction.

Several times, I’ve pointed to the great tire dump off the coast of Florida as the standard for understanding how to evaluate good intentions gone very, very bad. I am a big believer that often when we rush into action because something needs to be done, we fail to fully understand the something we do. Not always. But often.

Consider the alternatives to fossil-fuel vehicles.

Are you able to drive cross-country without having to stop every few hundred miles for a full recharge of the batteries?

And what about the vehicle’s true environmental impact? For this, I want you to learn about everything. Not just from the moment you sign and take the keys. What went into designing and building that vehicle? How were the batteries made? How will the batteries be disposed? What is the cost? And… hold on… (I sense some murmurs.)

In talking to a few people, when you first mention cost the immediate response is that you can’t put a price tag on saving the planet. On the surface, that is a very fair statement. Saving the planet, protecting our environment and resources, these are extremely important ideas that shouldn’t be viewed with a simple reading of dollars and cents. But how deeply did you dive?

There are studies that show many recycling plans are incredibly ineffective. They are so poorly handled that reinvesting the money for some programs in place into other actions would make a greater positive impact on the environment. People demanded something get done, something was put in place to do something, and then everyone looked away while it failed to accomplish anything.

The idea behind the 2035 date is to shift to alternative fuel vehicles like electric and hydrogen powered cars. Good thought. We should all be listening. But have you considered that the batteries need power in order to be recharged? That means you considering it. Not the engineers at the companies designing them. You do know that you don’t just get to pocket the money spent on gasoline and never see any other bills at your house rise as a response, right? You do understand that taking vehicles off gasoline and plugging them all in at charging stations means other sources of energy may be needed to provide more, right? And, have you heard about the alternative-fuel power sources that greatly increase the use of water?

As always, there is going to be a reaction to the action. Never, never, never forget the reaction is coming. Being better for the planet and being better as soon as we can is undeniably important. But if you think options that use more electricity and more water are a definite move in the right direction you may want to check out the severe water issues being faced around the world or how your local power is being produced.

It’s not a question of if things will improve. They will. The process of production will become more efficient. Batteries? Eventually they will power cross-country travels without a recharge stop being required. And you need to set targets in order to reach them, so placing a date in 2035 is perfectly understandable and a good thing. We need to feel a sense of urgency and get moving on the improvements.

I just don’t want to see laughter in 2035 or after. Let’s make sure things are being fully investigated… not judged by blurbs and snippets and soundbites from people with interests in a portion of the results (with many losing support if a full picture is viewed)… so we can avoid a Goodyear Blimp golden tire drop legacy.

Here’s just one thought… would requirements for hybrid vehicles set earlier than 2035 generate significant benefits and potentially improve the understanding of those reactions that will hit down the road?

I absolutely want to be better. I want to do better. I just hope that we actually are better. And I think there are ways all of us can take a moment… not a long moment, just a brief moment… to make certain our actions will be better.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at