I just got back from a vacation in Minnesota. I grew up there, but I haven’t been back much in the past 20 years. It was shocking.
Living in Europe, you get the sense that most people, governments, companies are in agreement that climate change is real and cutting hydrocarbon usage is the right thing to do.
In Minnesota, not so much. If I had been in Louisiana or Texas or Wyoming where oil is big business and “climate change is a hoax” is a common refrain, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But Minnesota has almost no oil to speak of and one would think there would be some evidence of environmental consciousness.
Looking at it from an outsider’s perspective, it appears as though they are having a competition to see who can consume the largest volume of hydrocarbons. The majority of vehicles seem to be trucks and large SUVs, many of them pulling boats, jet skis, and quads. I get it, it’s the great wilderness and the toys are fun, but the scale has gone insane. I started calling it hydrocarbonland.
When I was a kid, a “big” outboard motor on a boat was 50 hp; now 200–350 hp seems to be the norm. The 50 hp motor will consume about 4 gallons per hour; the big motors 16 gallons per hour.
Over two weeks, we saw two Teslas (granted, MN is not a nationally representative sample location because electric cars are problematic when it is 40 below in the winter).
The main concern of people in hydrocarbonland was the price of gas. No one mentioned the fact that the rest of the USA was boiling and Europe is frying. It’s close to 100 F outside today in Luxembourg. It will probably be the hottest day ever recorded here. We came back to brown grass and water restrictions, as if we were living in CA or AZ.
And I will confess, I contributed to the consumption by paying a fishing guide for a day where we probably burned 20 gallons of fuel to catch our limit of walleye. They were delicious.