Response to your OT thought: It's still probably a net gain, mostly because gas-powered personal vehicles are just horribly inefficient. Consider this: it is more efficient to use the gasoline intended for your vehicle in a full-size gasoline-fueled power plant, generate electricity, send that electricity across power lines across long distances and incur lossage there, store it in a battery, incurring additional lossage, then use that to power an electric vehicle. All of those extra losses are still more efficient than just using the gasoline directly.
Do you have a source for this? I'm not saying it's false, I'm just curious.
a larger TV and such will match the significant difference of reducing the initial consumption by 1/4.
I didn't mean to suggest that buying a single TV would incur that much of an environmental cost. I meant the TV to be an example of increased spending on other things. I.e. if you're not spending money on a car, you might spend the money on more consumer electronics (not just a single TV), more travel, more beef, more furniture, etc. I think you're right that spending money on a car has less environmental impact than spending an equivalent amount of money on most other goods. I'm just saying that the effect of getting rid of the car is tempered by spending money on other things, and production of those other things are not captured in household electricity usage because they are produced outside the household. I.e the trick to reducing your environmental footprint is to buy fewer things in general -- not just spending less on cars.