Monday, 30 January 2023

The Upcoming Internal Combustion Engine Ban

 I have been working on the text below of a letter that might be useful to copy and send to your MP.

Dear your MP

Internal Combustion Engines


Emissions from ICEs, both diesel and petrol, are now well controlled – in modern vehicles – by various technologies.


Clever engineering has reduced CO2 emissions to very low levels.


Three way catalytic converters on both petrol and diesel vehicles have scrubbed out other potentially toxic emissions, including NO2


Diesel vehicles apply ‘ad blue’ (Urea injection) to reduce further NO2 emissions. Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) are successful and filter out at least 85% of soot and particulates.  In optimum operating conditions this filtration can easily approach 100% of particulates, including nano-particulates of sub one micron in size.  In the UK standard diesel at the pump is of the Ultra-low sulphur type.  And premium fuels (especially diesel), for example Shell V-Power, further reduce soot levels.  The days of sooty smokey diesel engines are over.


Furthermore, we can now produce synthetic fuels from atmospheric CO2 which de facto makes burning such fuels carbon neutral.  Such synthetic fuels contain far less impurities than mineral oils and therefore burn much more cleanly.  Proof of concept plants are already working in Canada and the UK and the owners have stated that they could, today, produce road fuels at prices competitive with current pump prices.


Modern vehicles powered by ICE are getting more and more efficient and getting ever better fuel consumption.   And all the emissions control technologies are getting more and more reliable.


We can now make ICE powerplants at extremely low costs using abundant and easy to acquire resources like aluminium (bauxite being super abundant) and iron and steel (also abundant) meaning that personal transport is also extremely low cost. This enables the private citizen to efficiently exploit his own labour and enjoy freedoms unimagined by earlier generations.  


Liquid fuels have very high relative energy densities of about 47.5 Mj/kg  as opposed to battery electric vehicles with energy densities of about 0.3 Mj/kg.  That is petrol (and to a slightly lesser extent diesel) have 100 times the energy density of a lithium-ion battery.


Looking at this from the environmental perspective ICE powered vehicles consume modest resources to produce and can be recycled.  BEVs are relatively costly to produce mainly because the production of batters that require rare metals is costly.  And not at all environmentally friendly and nor easily recycled. 


Apart from the above, the distribution of petrol and diesel is very well served in the UK, and globally.  Whereas to create the infrastructure to be able to charge electrical vehicles will likely cost trillions of Pounds. 


And lastly, what restrictions and surveillance will lawmakers have to impose on us to collect the taxes lost by the loss of fuel duty?  The implication of things like user charges by mass surveillance are an appalling assault on personal liberty.  


Given the forgoing please explain to me why the sale of new ICE powered vehicles is being banned?



A Constituent.


Feel free to copy it.  If you think it's (a) right in its assertions (b) something your MP will actually read and, hopefully, act on (c) in line with your own prejudices.

Also any suggestions for an edit will be welcomed. But bear in mind, in view of the fact that some (most?) MP's seems to have the attention span of an inebriated goldfish and the reasoning ability of a 15 year old female (I speak from personal experience) I think it best we keep it to one side of A4.

UPDATE  4th February 2023

Serendipity strikes again:




Sackerson said...

I struggle to find a clear comparison of EV vs petrol/diesel in terms of Energy Return On Energy Invested - from mining & refining to manufacture, use and ultimate disposal/recycling. But I suspect the supposed advantages of AVs will not seem great when the calculations are dones, esp. when you factor in the cost of a recharging network and scrapping the existing system.

There is also the question of alternative modes of transport. I should have thought that a well-developed and reliable bus/rail/tram system would considerably reduce overall financial/real energy costs (and be safer and much less wearing on the nerves.)

The 15-minute city is a very irritating and oppressive notion, but allowing supermarkets and other big shops to build sites miles away and cause lots of extra vehicular traffic may have been a retrograde step; besides they have helped ruin so many small businesses and destroy the capital and effort sunk in them, while boasting of 'jobs created.'

P.S. 'foregoing'; ('forgoing' = 'doing without'); I know, pedantic!

Lola said...

Sackerson. This is Lola (Google account issues).

Bloody spell checker - I will edit when I can log in.

I did an excercise once. Was it more or less fuel efficient to (a) fly to Australia with my wife and two children (out of four) or (b) take a my then LR Defender 110 overland? Answer it was about the same in fuel terms. In other words if you want to shift Xkg of cargo from point A to point B the energy required is about the same - note, it seems that the relative efficiencies improve in approximate lockstep - which sort of makes sense.

You may recall that it was said the triple expansion steam engine could propel a one ton of cargo at one knot for one mile on then energy released by burning one sheet of paper (citation needed).

Overall, ICE out-competed EV's as ICE was much more efficient overall. That is not going to change.

(And as all long term subscribers to MW's blog will know the CO2 argument is utter dingoes kidneys.)

Bayard said...

"In other words if you want to shift Xkg of cargo from point A to point B the energy required is about the same"

Not if you use rail or water, both of which use less energy per ton mile than road or air. Water, with its total lack of static friction (if you lean against a supertanker on a waveless, windless sea, you will eventually fall off the quay), uses the least energy.

As to your post the answer is it's too confusing to make ICEs green using synthetic fuels. As George Orwell knew, the authorities like things to be simple, "four legs good, two legs bad". We can't have people thinking, they should just be chanting the slogans and worshipping St Greta.

Lola said...

Bayard - sorry. Forgot to add the speed of delivery thing. See my reply to Sackerson above.

Oh, the issue with rail is the amount of time trains run empty. Water, yes, See the thing I said about the energy from a sheet of paper.

Plus rail is very fault intolerant indeed and is not flexible enough - I cannot see how we each can have our own personal station.

Bayard said...

L, the problems with rail you highlight arise because rail is a system developed to move freight that is now largely used to move people. It is perfectly possible for the majority of places of manufacture to be rail-connected, as was proved in the C19th in the UK, also you can put the manufacture next to the railway rather than trying to bring the railway to the place of manufacture.

mombers said...

ICE or EV, cars impose a heavy burden on society and these costs need to be internalised. People are excluded from a significant proportion of public land by cars, and no matter how much you tweak an ICE, it will always produce poisonous exhaust. Making a vehicle electric only solves 20% of the PM2.5 problem as brake and tyre dust contribute 80%. And then there are the thousands of people killed every year by vehicles and tens of thousands with life changing industries. Fuel duty and other taxes on motoring don't come close to compensating the public for these costs. Nothing would compensate the family of the most extreme example of the little girl who died from air pollution

ICEs make us vulnerable to Putin and his pals; EVs we're vulnerable to rare earth metals + lithium, I don't know what the relative dangers are TBH

All very easy for me to say, not having driven since 2007 though :-)

decnine said...

The MP's staffer who handles the letter will read far enough to decide what topic it files under (ie to about the middle of the second line at most). They will then go to the boiler plate and print off a 'personalised' version of the reply du jour. Begin to end target time around 60 seconds.

Sackerson said...

Solutions need to be systemic. Peter Hitchens has written of how there was a construction lobby angle on the Marples/Beeching program of rail closures and motorway building, just imagine if we still had that old rail network.

You say we can't all have a station next to us but as Bayard says, factories could be built next to stations. If there was more support for public transport then trains would not run half-empty and so work better economically. How about intercity travel by rail/coach and intRAcity by bus, tram and taxi?

And the return of local shops.

Lola said...

Bayard - Oh I absolutely agree with the location of industry thing. Except, rail does not work with small scale business. best for bulk loads. For small scale you could use BEV vans to and from a rail hub. But that was Red Star parcels theory - it failed

Lola said...

Decnine - you're absolutely correct there..:-) But, you know, if we do not try....?

Lola said...

Sackerson. It's the 'last mile' issue. And to a large degree that's what already happens. e.g. I rarely drive to London (I am in Ipswich) best to get a cab from my rural home to the station - about 20 mins - then train to LLS, about 70 mins and hey presto I am in the City. But to take a load of stuff to or from my daughter in Kentish Town best to take my Disco. It's the choice that works.

Lola said...

Mombers. The whole point of personal transport is that the burden outweighs the advantages. That's what we as the market have decided.

No, the whole point of modern fuels and ICE tech is that the exhaust is not poisonous. Someone tested a BMW some years ago and the exhaust was cleaner then the air going into the engine.

Brake and tyre dust is a tiny fraction of the emissions. What;s more modern brake materials do not use asbestos and the disc is sacrificial. I don't have the data on tyres.

And millions of people lives are saved each year by the use of ICE vehicle of all types - ambulances, helicopters etc. Overall its the trade off and choice thing. The ICE has evolved as the most successful technology to provide efficient flexible transport. As to highway injuries/fatalities if you are living in the UK you are living in the third or fourth safest place in the world for driving/using the highway. What's more a significant number of UK deaths/injuries are from motorcyclists and cyclists who, from my personal observation - are often accidents looking for a place to happen.

But, I fully agree that negative externalities of road traffic need to be considered and where the trade off is positive suitable Pigouvian taxation applied. Trouble with that is is grandstanding politicians who are greedy for our money.

vested interest note. You have not driven since 2007. I retired from motor racing in 2021...

Bayard said...

"ICEs make us vulnerable to Putin and his pals;"

No they don't, the desire for cheap fuels is what makes us vulnerable. Plenty of oil in the world and now there's the possibility of synthetic fuels for those countries with abundant solar or hydroelectric energy (i.e. not the UK), just not plenty of cheap oil. It's like the "housing crisis", which when you examine it, is no more than a shortage of cheap housing in expensive places and not a crisis at all.

" For small scale you could use BEV vans to and from a rail hub. But that was Red Star parcels theory - it failed"

That was then and under the moribund aegis of British Rail. Now there are lots of courier companies operating on exactly that principle: your parcel or pallet is collected from your door by a person in an ICE-powered vehicle and taken to a distribution hub. From there it goes in a much bigger ICE-powered vehicle to another distribution hub, from which it is collected by another small IPV and delivered to your customer's door. Rail could replace the middle part of that process if the hubs were rail-connected.

Lola said...

re cheap fuels 1st para. All true. Plus there is stacks and stacks of oil. Centuries of the stuff. And there are 96 countries in the world digging it out of the ground., Plus not only synthetic fuels but oil from gas. i.e. all that fracked gas can be ,ade into petrol and diesel and again that has less contaminants than mineral oil.

True. Again. I was making the point about rail's shortcomings. The trouble that rail had was that no-one could track where the bloody hell their stuff was. A client tried shipping his print paper in those huge x ton rolls by rail and use the the local distribution thing. Quite often the wagons would not arrive at the destination when agreed. The wagons had been shunted into a siding somewhere and no-one knew where they were.

mombers said...

"No, the whole point of modern fuels and ICE tech is that the exhaust is not poisonous. Someone tested a BMW some years ago and the exhaust was cleaner then the air going into the engine."
Citation needed. Who would have thought that idling a car outside a school actually improves the air quality. You must be joking surely!

Also citation needed on brake and tyre dust.
Pollution warning over car tyre and brake dust.
It's not a stretch to believe that tyres and brakes breaking down through wear and tear leads to significant particulate emissions. I'm not sure if you'll be able to find sceptical scientists on this matter.

Yes ICEs and other motorised means of transport have contributed hugely to civilisation. But the externalities have become significant now and need to be addressed. Not too surprisingly, the externalities are lumped disproportionately onto the poor, example that poor child whose death certificate listed air pollution from the South Circular as a significant contributing factor.

mombers said...

@B as long as the price of oil and gas is so far above the cost of production, Putin et al will have vast economic rent to do all sorts of nasty stuff with. Maybe we can magic synthetic petrol up but is it realistic that it would be cheaper to produce than our dear medieval friends in the House of Saud? Estimate from 2017 was $9 per barrel production cost. Anything above that and the cash keeps rolling in and the citizens of many petrodictatorships are denied civilisation

Bayard said...

"@B as long as the price of oil and gas is so far above the cost of production, Putin et al will have vast economic rent to do all sorts of nasty stuff with."

Why on earth should any country sell their natural resources for the cost of production? Would you be content to work for the cost of your board, lodging and transport?

mombers said...

@B if synthetic oil could be produced at scale for less than the cost of Saudi production, Saudi Arabia would have to stop producing it. Who would pay more than $9 per barrel for Saudi oil if they could make it themselves for cheaper? I doubt synthetic oil could be produced for anything close to that though

Bayard said...

M, I don't think you know how pricing works. Oil, like everything else, is sold for what people are prepared to pay for it. What it costs to produce is irrelevant. If synthetic oil can be produced at a price that enables it to be sold for the same price as fossil oil, plus a reasonable profit, then it will be produced. It is very unlikely to have a cost of production less than fossil oil, although it might, but, again that is irrelevant. Let's say my neighbour grows fancy potatoes and sells them for £1.00 a pound. I decide to also grow the same potatoes. What do I sell them at? Do I spend hours working out every tiny element of the costs of production and applying a markup? No, I sell them for just under £1.00 a pound, or, if I think my neighbour can sell all his potatoes and more, just over £1.00 a pound.

mombers said...

@B, the cost of production is absolutely VITAL for pricing. If a supplier can't sell their goods or services for more than the cost of their production, all else being equal they will eventually have to stop producing. This then might raise the clearing price in the market, whereupon more supply becomes viable and so on

In my ideal world, Saudi Arabia has to stop producing oil and is forced to allow their population to move into at least the 20th century as a result. How will this happen? They have one of the lowest costs of production in the world. How would we produce petrol, diesel etc at a cost low enough to free the peoples of petro dictatorships from their curse?

Best Video downloading App to Download Youtube videos said...

free internal wall insulation An internal combustion engine (ICE) ban refers to a policy or legislation that restricts or prohibits the use of ICEs in certain vehicles. The goal of such a ban is to reduce the harmful emissions produced by ICEs and encourage the adoption of more sustainable modes of transportation, such as electric vehicles (EVs).

Bayard said...

M, I am sorry to say that neither economics nor politics work that way.
Firstly you have to get every country in the world, all 178 of them to refuse to buy oil from Saudi Arabia for more than the cost of production. When you have achieved that impossible feat, you then have to prevent the same 178 countries breaking the embargo, as the first thing the Saudis will do is offer their oil at slightly cheaper prices than the world market price. Meanwhile, since Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest oil producers in the world and they won't be selling any oil, the price of oil will rocket, leading to rampant inflation and strong pressure on every government in the world to lift the embargo. Enough governments will crack, long before the Saudis do, to make the embargo meaningless. Why do I think this likely? It's exactly what the US is trying to do to Russia and failing miserably.

Lola said...

BVDATDYTV - Go back and read the post again. The point is the policy being espoused is a load of dingoes kidneys and in reality a fascistic reduction in our freedom based on extremely dodgy 'science' which anyway synthetic fuels sort out.

mombers said...

B, no need for embargoes or agreements if the price of oil can be driven down well below $9 per barrel. Saudi Arabia will not be able to sell its stuff for a profit and will need to modernise its economy. Will synthetic fuels or any other substitute be able to be produced at below $9 per barrel? No chance. So as long as we have ICE and rely heavily on fossil fuels, we will have the dreadful behaviour that is seen in most countries that have the stuff in abundance
L, what are your figures on how much it will cost to produce synthetic fuels?
Motorists enjoy outsize freedoms - everyone is excluded from land given over to motor vehicles.

Bayard said...

"no need for embargoes or agreements if the price of oil can be driven down well below $9 per barrel. "

"Driven down", eh? Just how do you propose to do that?

"Saudi Arabia will not be able to sell its stuff for a profit and will need to modernise its economy."

If it is not making a profit on its oil sales, how id it going to afford to modernise its economy and if it can't make a profit on its oil sales, how is modernising its economy going to help?

"So as long as we have ICE and rely heavily on fossil fuels, we will have the dreadful behaviour that is seen in most countries that have the stuff in abundance"

Your obsession with Saudi Arabia appears to blind you to the fact that countries can be terrible places for the majority of people to live in without having the benefit of oil to sell. Look at what used to be called Soviet Central Asia. Some of the countries in this area have abundant natural resources and some haven't, but there is little to choose between them when it comes to quality of life or political freedom. At least the inhabitants of Turkmenistan benefit from not having to pay for their gas.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M "Motorists enjoy outsize freedoms - everyone is excluded from land given over to motor vehicles."

1. Most people are 'motorists' some of the time.

2. Fuel duty is rent for road space. Covers cost several times over.

3. Outside city centres, how would things work without cars?

Lola said...

No. 3 - They would not. I live there. I know this.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M "Motorists enjoy outsize freedoms - everyone is excluded from land given over to motor vehicles."

1a. Most people are excluded from most of the most valuable land most of the time.

mombers said...

3 - outside city centres you need a car for sure. Inside cities, you're imposing severe costs on others, ranging from loss of freedom, time wasted in congestion, to early death from pollution or accidents. I'm driven around by the missus from time to time so yes I do benefit

@B my point is that the status quo of dreadful regimes being kept in power by petrodollars won't go away until they can't sell their stuff anymore. This isn't going to happen - it's too cheap for them to produce. Alternative is sanctions but these have a terrible track record at achieving anything - Iran, Russia, etc

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, re 3, I agree. London Zones 1 and 2 shd be car free.

Lola said...

MW. Well, that's a bit Draconian. And if mandated you can bet your bottom 'petro-dollar' that there will be lots of Zil lanes for bureaucrats, the 'wealthy' and politicians.

Anyway, the agglomeration effects make excellent mass transit provision in cities very economic.

On the subject of Zil lanes, why is Sadiq Khan wafted everywhere in a pair of Range Rovers and not, say, a pair of Hyundai i10's?