Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Rambling Insights on Energy & Alternative Fuels

After the first series of uplifting and exciting price hikes in the price of gasoline at the pump, gas for heating our homes and what we pay for electricity I felt that it was time to have a discussion on this wonderful and enlightening subject! So do you like my since of amusement with this ever burdening issue we all face?

I felt it my duty to help at least some of us understand the morbid reality of where our country stands with respect to alternative fuels and what is truly available as an alternative. I gues it would be about 12 years ago when I had the opportunity to write a small disertation concerning alternative fuels, and what we could use to address the ever burdening need for a energy alternative that would replace fossil fuels. I am sad to say that over a decade later we are no closer to utilizing or developing, within the US, true alternatives to fossil fuel now than we were then. After that sad fact, it should be noted that there have been significant strides in many other countries to address the reliance on fossil fuels and there is hope that we could tag into these programs with little significant effort. Unfortunately, we are also dealing with a US Presidential administration that has significant ties to the oil industry, regardless of their current postering.

Let's review some simple facts. Although Oil reserves today are not an issue, they are not limitless. Burning of Oil and oil related fossil fuels is the single largest contributor to pollution. Burning of Oil and oil related fossil fuels is the single largest contributor to global warming (I know this is a contentious topic, but many scientist believe this is a very real issue). The price of gasoline has more than tripled in 2 years, which is 12 times that of the level of inflation, and of course now is driving US inflation. These simple realizations have prompted a renewed effort to look at alternative resources, at least on the periphery of a socially concious society.

Finally, the Federal government has begun pushing for the development of at least electric vehicles and biofuel, such as Hybrid (gas/electric vehicles), High-efficiency Electric vehicles, BioEthanol, BioDiesel, BioGas, Biobutanol, Biohydrogen and fossil fuel derivatives like E85 Etanol which is a mixture of roughly 85% ethanol to 15% gasoline (hydrocarbon fuel). It is still somewhat unclear what the financial assistance will be in this development, but at least the statement has been made. As you might be able to imagine there are some enormous hurdles to climb when it comes to utilization, distribution and migration to alternative energy fuels. Additionaly, there are some other critical public opinion hurdles that must be overcome in the process of address alternative fuels, alternative propulsion vehicle. The US has spent the better part of the last 100 years building up a reliance and a sole source infrastructure on fossil fuels as energy for their cars, the production of electricity and for heating their homes. This means that making a change to an alternative fuel source will cost money (huge money) and require a long period of time. More importantly it will be a mindset issue, American, the US imparticular, have a major issue with changing what they know as their vehicle and hate the idea of having a Nuclear or a Hydrogen fired power plant to close to their home. This is the number one reason you see hybrids doing reasonably well, where all electric cars failed to garner acceptance, aside from the fact that they are rediculously priced.

Well, this should be enough rambling for the day. It all comes down to a couple of simple decisions; do we want to continue paying $4.00 or more a gallon for gas, do we care about the environment at least a little and are we willing to sacrifice now so that we can have better future. These are just some of the many questions to think about, and believe me for someone that is a car fanatic, even considering a hybrid or electric car is almost an impossibility, although Hydrogen as a combustible alternative to gasoline could be something to think about, and yes I am writing about myself here.

Happy reading the Rambling Jester

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