Thursday, December 22, 2005


I read that the Arctic National Wildlife is safe, for now. That's good news. The bad news is that Senate Republicans are not happy about it. The good news is that the Senate Democrats have offered a counter-proposal for decreasing our dependency on foreign oil: by increasing gas mileage requirements for automobiles. The bad news is that Senate Republicans don't like this idea as it would cause an undue stress on industry, especially their buddies making automobiles and refining gasoline.

The worse news is that neither of these solutions actually solve the problem.

The solution to the problem is to stop using oil. How is that going to happen? A lot of ways. Some of them are much easier than you would imagine.

My solution: What about Bio-Diesel? Did you know that the Diesel engine was designed to run on just about anything and was originally demonstrated at the 1900 worlds fair using nothing but Peanut Oil to power it? Why can't we have all the farmers whom we pay to not plant food just plant rapeseed and use that for fuel? Then we could all just start using diesel cars. Wouldn't that increase demand for new vehicles that use pre-existing technology?

This would help global warming. This would help foreign oil dependance. This would make the air cleaner. This would make driving to work affordable. This would allow John Q. SUV-Driver to commute to the city from the suburbs again.

Can anyone give me a reasonable argument against this? Seriously, let me know if there's something I haven't considered.

In addition to things like Bio-Diesel, why not move towards things like solar power and wind energy? And why can't we pour cash into hydrogen cells?

There's a lot of things we can do. ANWR shouldn't be the top of the list of ways to fix dependancy. If you ask me, neither should gas mileage requirements. Alternative fuels should be at the top of the list, special interest groups be damned.


Anonymous said...

'"What About Biofuels Such
as Ethanol and Biodiesel?"

Biofuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, methanol etc. are great, but only in small doses. Biofuels are all grown with massive fossil fuel inputs (pesticides and fertilizers) and suffer from horribly low, sometimes negative, EROEIs. The production of ethanol, for instance, requires six units of energy to produce just one. That means it consumes more energy than it produces and thus will only serve to compound our energy deficit.

In addition, there is the problem of where to grow the stuff, as we are rapidly running out of arable land on which to grow food, let alone fuel. This is no small problem as the amount of land it takes to grow even a small amount of biofuel is quite staggering. As journalist Lee Dye points out in a July 2004 article entitled "Old Policies Make Shift From Foreign Oil Tough:"'

Anonymous said...

not all true, you can make bio disel out of used vegtable oil, lye and i cant member the other ingredient, but its on the net, u just mix it, stir it, strain it and fill up, im sure mc d's throws away tons of veg oil a year after its used, and thats just one fast food chain. I looked into this last year as a cheep fuel alternative and was told it was not legal for a private citicen to produce fuel, nor was it legal to drive on public road's with it b/c the gov didnt get their freakin taxes, good old uncle george, always lookin out for me, and protecting me from saving money

Bryan said...

Actually, in Seattle there's a guy who's been converting thousands of gallons of used restaurant waste into Bio-diesel fuel. So, this solution keeps getting better and better: We just recycle it!