Southern Sojourn

A visit to the U.S. South and South West in wintertime. Links to all pages:

Use of Resources

American power plants' carbon intensity per produced kWh is 360 grams of CO2, well above a European average of 310 grams. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

12 transformers in an alley in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. There is a large loss of energy on the way from American power plants to consumers. This is due, among other things, to the fact that the voltage at consumers is only 110 volts, not 220 volts as in Europe. The low voltage causes a large transmission loss.

Almost all power lines are overhead lines. Galbraith wrote in 1958 about "posts for wires that should long since have been put underground" but they are still here. Clarksdale, Mississippi.

The USA is the country without sealing strips. Here is 10 millimeters of free air under the door of my motel room. Outside it is freezing weather and snow. Seen in Cuba, New Mexico.

Only at the Kokopelli Inn, Bluff, Utah, have I seen double doors with sealing strips that could keep heat and cold out.

The original shower with fixtures from 1930 in the Hotel Paisano, Marfa, Texas.

In a shower in the US, you can typically regulate the temperature, but not the amount of water. If you want more or less water, you cannot get it, as there is only one handle to turn. First you get cold water, and if you turn more, you get hot water. The function of standard fixtures has remained unchanged throughout the United States since 1930.

Not to mention toilets (now I do, anyway): In Europe you can choose between flushing 3 or 6 litres. Standard American toilets flush 12 liters of water, every time, even in the middle of a desert.

Air conditioning systems can produce both cold and heat. But how is it mounted? Typically in a leaky window. To the left of the A/C is a 1 x 15 cm crack where cold winter air comes in and keeps the milk cold in a hotel in New York.

Many Americans do not give it a thought that they are wasting resources. I stopped at this gas station and enjoyed a cup of coffee. The black car was idling for at least 10 minutes while the driver stood in the shop talking to the shopkeeper. Blue Ridge Mountains, Tennessee.

Trucks drive faster than other vehicles on the highways. The speed limit is 70 mph (112 km/h), and many go significantly faster. Here's a four-mile climb on Interstate 64 in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sign calls for trucks to drive no more than 65 mph (105 km/h) uphill.

From Financial Times, 24 February 2023: American cars are much heavier than European ones, and coupled with slow adoption of electrical vehicles (EV) this means they emit twice as much CO2 per mile. The average car weight in Norway is high because of the weight of batteries.

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