Gas, Hybrid, Chevy Volt – I crunched the numbers.

40 Miles electric.If you are buying a “green” car simply to stick it to the man, then the following figures won’t have any impact on you.  If you budget your money and are looking for the best value, pay attention.

Bottom line is this, buy a used gas only car.  You will spend less on the car.  You will spend less in payment + fuel compared to a hybrid.

Note: Electric-only cars are so new, it is difficult to allow them into the discussion…yet.  Maybe in a year or 2 we can.  However, the Chevy Volt is real and deserves some attention.  So let’s break it down.

Let’s start by understanding the Volt and how it operates.  Fully charged, it will run all electric for the first 40 miles, then it kicks into gas power (generator).  If you leave your house fully charged and full tank of gas and drive all day, you can deplete your tank and boast something like 230 MPG.  These numbers are fuzzy and are not realistic for most of us.  But, for the normal person who commutes to work each day, the number and formula for calculating costs will vary.

Here is my math.  I used a 50 mile round trip commute.  This means that you get the first 40 miles all electric and use 10 miles on gas.  At $2.40 a gallon and an approx $1 of recharge costs, you spent $1.96 that day (Your fuel costs = $39.20 a month or $509.60 a year).  That’s pretty good.  A gas car getting 17MPG would cost your $7.06 a day, $141.18 a month, $1835.29 a year.   3 times the fuel costs right?

But here is where you need to pay attention.  The Volt costs an estimated ($40,000).  If you knock off the $7500 federal tax credit, let’s put that number at $32,000 (keep it rounded).  A car payment would be $722.53 (4% for 4 years).   Compare that to a used car of $12,000.  Your gas car payment is $270.95 a month.

Here is the costs per year.  This includes only the fuel costs + car payments.

Gas Car = $1416.09
Chevy Volt = $8160.76
Hybrid = $6394.67

The key point is not to buy too much car.  Consumers get blinded by the shiny and new.  Keep your head on straight and use these numbers to make a wise decision.  I understand that car buyers will make decisions on other factors (interior, options, etc).  I get it.  The numbers above are raw costs and eliminate the emotion.  The need should outweigh the want.

Editorial: As the hybrid and electric technology gets more mass produced, we should see the prices come down (note: this will also drive down the gas only prices too).  Time will also tell us if the battery technology gets more advanced and cost effective.  We do not have any hard numbers on replacement costs at this stage in the market.  Battery replacement might be more expense than you are willing to spend.

Again, if you are simply a hard core tree hugger by all means go buy a hybrid.  That is your right as an American.  Power to the people.

Here are some other ways you can save the Earth, register your company domain name.  Stop printing literature and sending postal junk mail.  Build a website and get your message out.


Or Plant a Tree…

Dawn Redwood Tree

Or replace your lights in your house with Compact Fluorescent…


Blackened Tilapia with Cilantro Mayo

This fish recipe is rather simple and very tasty.  It does require a cast iron skillet which is not as common in most kitchens these days.
1/4 cup paprika
2 TBL ground thyme
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 stick melted butter
4 tilapia fillets (…obviously thawed.  If you are like me, you buy these frozed on sale)

Combine the dry ingredients in a shallow dish in which you will dip the fillets and coat.   Dip the fillets in the butter, then into the dry ingredients on each side.

Using a cast iron skillet, heat to medium-high.  Cook the fillets 3 to 4 minues per side.  *** Warning ***  beware of the cloud of seasoning as you cook.

Cilantro Mayo: (mix ingredients and chill)

1 Cup Mayo
1/4 cut fresh chopped cilantro
1 TBL fresh lime juice

Note:  You can top your fish with tomato or use your favorite mango salsa.  This can also be made into a sandwich.

Grilled Vegetables

Vegetables of your choice.

Zucchini, eggplant, portobello mushrooms for example.  (halve them, slice them etc)

1/2 lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp grill seasoning (we use the McMormick’s Montreal Steak)
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 TBL olive oil.

Throw all the ingredients and vegetables into a bag or container to marinate until needed.

Grill the vegetables for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Mashed Cauliflower

mashed cauliflowerThis is your faux mashed potato dish.  There are many variations out there mainly because you can make this dish to your liking.  Experiment as you see fit.  The important factor is that now you can eat a healthy substitute.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
2 TBL butter (or reduced fat margerine)
2 TBL 1% milk
2 TBL ricotta cheese
2 TBL sour cream
salt/pepper to taste

Use fat-free as you see fit from the ingredients above.  Cut the cauliflower into 6 pieces.  Microwave for 6 minutes per pound until tender.  Drain and put in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and process a little more.

Optional: add a couple cloves of garlic (minced).  Put the minced garlic in the microwave for the final minute to release the love oils from the cloves.

Optional 2: Add cheddar cheese to your liking.

Nebraska and the HealthCare “reform”

The obvious outrage with the Ben Nelson deal is that a state gets special treatment.  (Read the Article)

Kudos to Senator Ben Nelson for leveraging a deal, but shame on Washington for allowing this special case to get this passed.  As a conservative, I applaud his fight for his state.  The bigger outrage is this statement below.  This statement is the general problem with the health care reform as it stands now.  Consumer costs are going to go up.

Mutual of Omaha and other Medigap providers won’t see a surge in customers and revenue because of health care reform, Thompson said. So if Medigap plans aren’t exempted from the new, industrywide tax on health insurance companies, Medigap recipients would see their premiums rise, he said.”

Google working to eliminate MS Office

Google Docs

Whether you love or hate Microsoft, the way we create documents will change in the future. Google is working to enhance their position in the document creation space by acquiring some related companies.

I have used Google Docs and for simple word processing, it is fine. For the power users, maybe not. Read more about Google and their recent business moves.

Nothing would please me more than using a reasonably prices (or FREE!) product.  If you have not looked at what Google is doing in the collaboration arena, you should check it out.  They are working on projects for users to create documents real-time online.  In the future, you will work on documents with your co-workers (fellow creators etc) with full Instant Messaging or other communication methods at the same time as you modify a document.

The Rick “Sanchez Salsa”

The recipe originates from co-worker Rick Sanchez.  This is a great demonstration that not all salsa’s are created equal.   Enjoy.

Sanchez Salsa
Serving: A blender full of salsa

Ingredients
3 Roma Tomatoes (Roma tomatoes work best because of their texture)
9 Tomatillos (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatillo for more)
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion (depending on your taste)
Chili(s) of choice
 Mild = 2 jalapeños (seeded)
 Med = 2 Jalapeños (1 seeded, 1 whole)
 Hot (several options) = Jalapeño (2 whole), 1 Jalapeño (whole) 1 Serrano (whole), or 1 habanero (whole)
1 – 2 garlic cloves – either 1 large one or 2 regular sized
1/2 lime = I also like to zest some of the lime skin into it
1/3 bush of cilantro
salt to taste

Directions (Workplan)  <— that’s an inside joke
1) Grill (preferably with wood or wood chips on coals) or broil tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, chiles, and garlic. Cook each side for 5-10 minutes or until it is slightly charred, then flip. The tomato and jalapeños will be done sooner and the skins will start to tighten and peel back. The tomatillos and onion will take slightly longer to cook and the skin will not peel back. They are ready when they become soft. Some of them might pop. You want to try to remove them just before they pop. This is an acquired skill ;).

2) Remove cilantro leaves from stems and chop. I usually just cut the whole bush in half and throw away the bottom stems to save time. Seed (if needed) and slice chiles into 1/4’s. Slice the onion into 1/4’s (no need to finely chop since it will be blended).

3) Add all ingredients into blender or food processor (preferable) with a splash of lime and salt to taste, then blend on a low speed. Stop the blender occaisionaly to allow the larger chunks to sink to the bottom.