California's Dirty Secret Means it Needs Tesla More Than It Thinks

The Sunshine State has a dirty little secret.

Mar 2, 2014 at 2:30PM


Source: Wikimedia Commons, Tewy. 

California's tree-hugging, solar-roofing residents have a dirty secret: Their state emits more carbon dioxide than 48 others. With Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) offering zero-carbon cars, here's how this automaker could help crush Cali's carbon conundrum.

Carbon crush
With 38 million citizens and an economy the size of Italy, California makes Texas look tiny. The Sunshine State is a leader on several environmental fronts. It's installed over 145,000 solar panel systems -- more than seven times second-place Arizona. It is almost always the leader in pushing for new federal environmental and fuel efficiency standards. And last year, frustrated by national inertia, it started its own carbon cap-and-trade system. 

But despite its best efforts, only coal-centric Texas tops California on the list of carbon dioxide emitters. In 2011 (most recent available data), California pushed out 346 million metric tons of CO2 -- that's more than the 15 cleanest states combined. 

Ticket to ride?
But Tesla Motors, may hold Cali's ticket out of pollution. Petroleum products consumption in the transportation sector accounts for a whopping 198 million metric tons -- 57% of total emissions.

According to Tesla Motors, its electric cars offer zero-carbon emissions -- for the careful consumer. Since Tesla Motors, vehicles are entirely electric, the transportation sector can chalk up a big, fat goose egg for petroleum product emissions from the Model S, Model X, and whatever's yet to come.

Tesla Motors Inc

Source: Tesla Motors, Inc. 

But Tesla cars might fall short if an owner's electricity comes from coal, petroleum products, or natural gas. Luckily, California's 145,000 solar panel systems have their part to play. 

Dr. Rob Wilder, CEO of WilderHill Clean Energy Index, Wall Street's first clean energy index, is practicing what he preaches. In a Tesla blog post, Dr. Wilder describes how he gets 72 miles per day from sunlight.

Wilder owns two solar panel systems that boast a collective capacity of 6.65 kW. That provides him with around 24 kWh per day of solar power. And while that's not enough to fully fill up his 2008 Tesla Roadster's electric fuel tank, it's enough to drive him 72 miles. 

Even in California, which boasts three of the top 10 worst commutes in the U.S., that goes a long way. Wilder refers to his cutoff as "72 MPS," or 72 miles per day of sunlight.

And for those who can't or don't want their own solar system, California's utilities are continually investing large-scale solar farms. There's currently no way to pull power directly from solar, but the state's scattered solar projects continue to push clean power to Californians all around.

Utility Solar


Taking the guzzle out of gas
If every Californian were to drive a clean-power Tesla, the state's transportation sector would cut carbon emissions by a massive 199.3 million metric tons. That's roughly equal to Indiana's total carbon emissions. 

With no transportation pollution to worry about, California's total emissions would clock in at 147 million metric tons -- the same as Kentucky's -- dropping the state's pollution place to 13th. 

If California is serious about its clean and green image, it needs to take control of its transportation sector's carbon addiction. And Tesla Motors may just be the answer it's looking for.

Can Tesla turn China green?
Tesla started in California, but its recent decision to head to China may be its smartest move yet. U.S. automakers boomed after WWII, but the coming boom in the Chinese auto market will put that surge to shame. As Chinese consumers grow richer, savvy investors can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the help from this brand-new Motley Fool report that identifies two automakers to buy for a surging Chinese market. It's completely free -- just click here to gain access.

Justin Loiseau owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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