A Quiet City

A Quiet City:  Sadness gave way to Thoughts of a Happy Electric Future

Recently I was walking my dogs around the neighborhood in the twilight before sunset.  Suddenly I was jolted by the echoing boom of a train coupling at the depot a dozen blocks away.  It seemed loud and so much closer.  Then I noticed how the city was quiet.  Saturday evenings are usually bustling with traffic; the intermittent roar of diesel trucks over the steady hum of car engines traveling to and from town.  But sadly in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic all the bustling has quieted.

As I was breathing the pristine air in the quiet, I suddenly recalled the experience I had last November when I borrowed the Nissan Leaf from Flathead Electric.  I thought “Is this quiet what an electric future could be like?  Could we someday be free from the noise and fumes of internal combustion engines?”

The Nissan Leaf was so much fun to drive!  The first thing I noticed was how quiet it is.   Pressing the “gas” pedal quickly zoomed the car forward.  Missing was the roar of the engine accelerating.  I felt like a kid at Disneyland.  It was easy to drive too.  Terri with Flathead Electric took me for a spin around the block to get me acquainted with the controls but everything seemed natural to me – except turning on the car.  That was an un-naturally silent experience!

I drove the Leaf all around town.  I drove it to top of Big Mountain and back down again.  It sprinted up, draining some battery power, but I was surprised at how most of that power was recharged on the way back down.  Amazing!  Each time I parked at home I plugged it in with a simple click.

This experience of driving quiet cars and having clean air could be our future.   How can we get there?  Data shows pricing carbon spurs manufacturer investment in clean vehicle technologies.  With more innovation we would see even more economical substitutes for gasoline-powered cars.

Carbon Dividends is a form of carbon pricing.  Unlike a tax, it provides monthly cash payments to all American evenly.  This protects low and middle income households during energy transition so no “yellow vest” revolts.   Also, it will make electric cars even more affordable for us.

Over 95% of the power provided by Flathead Electric is low-carbon. This means we will see little change on our electricity bills with Carbon Dividends, but still get the same cash payment!  Some day we could all be charging our own electric cars and trucks.  And when we do, Flathead Electric will still be providing clean, non-polluting electricity.

So, the next time you are out walking in these trying times, listen for what you are not hearing and smelling – the noise and fumes of traffic.  Think about what it could be like for you and your family in a healthy and happy electric future.  Tell our Montana Members of Congress you want your Carbon Dividends.  The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is one such bill in Congress now.  And, be sure to sign up with Terri at Flathead Electric to test drive the Nissan Leaf!

Robin Paone, Whitefish