Oil Forever? (I think not)
By Ed Faust
We all know that this country needs to reduce its dependency on Foreign oil. The question is how (and how long).
Recently Ford Motor CEO Bill Ford addressed his concerns, perhaps leading one to question how long it will be before demand exceeds production. Also; one hopes that his calls for Energy summits are of value.
Perhaps Mr. Fords concerns will nudge the members of congress and the white house to get off their duffs and adopt some energy policies that will make us less dependent and not locked into an inflated oil price venue.
I'm sure Mr. Ford realizes they developed the Gas Guzzlers and some adjustments need to be made.
Lets look at some facts:
Foreign oil dependency has not been reduced. New regulations simply slowed the growth.
The average gas mileage for new vehicles has gone down for the last 15 years.
Technological advances did not improve efficiency during these years. Manufacturers created Faster, Larger and more Powerful vehicles. Should the people who choose to continue buying these gas guzzlers be charged higher fees on certain items to offset the loss of reserves, etc? (Probably won't happen).Yes; Demand was there for these vehicles and still is for some models, but these types of vehicles have proven to be a burden on our oil imports and reserves. If you feel you deserve a Credit, there is an Energy Bill Credit for buyers of Hybrid vehicles in 2006 (limited amount).
The high cost of Oil, etc. will have a huge impact on many consumers this heating season with many experts predicting heating bills expected to surpass last years by as much as 50 to 75 percent. This places a huge burden on many households (lower incomes, etc) and always comes at the time of the year when they can least afford it.
Gas prices (at this writing) have come down somewhat but still quite high by most standards.
Speaking of Gas prices, some states are asking for a vote each year in order to justify a Gas Tax increase, no increase, or would you believe - a decrease? Well, the latter would probably not come into play.
Many question why we don't have an alternative to Fossil fuel.
Well; there is. Usually the problem is they are to expensive and or simply just not available to some. One such fuel would be ethanol - from Grain.
Lets look at one particular form of Ethanol - E85. E85 is a blend of 85 percent Ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline. Just that statement alone sounds good. But wait, Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline, produced in our own country, renewable, good for the environment, (reduces emissions) and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. E85 can also be purchased for less - some areas as much as 40 to 50 cents a gallon cheaper than we pay for other gasolines. So what is the problem? E85 can only be burned in certain vehicles and is not available in many areas although distribution points are increasing. This (E85) seems to be one of the more attractive alternatives at this time and we can hope for further use of our resources.
Another form is Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. Fuel Cells are like batteries. Fuels similar to Hydrogen gas or Methane are combined with Oxygen. The result - Electricity.
Some cities are testing the Fuel Cell powered vehicles but it would appear that this this form of power is more costly than anyone (lets say most) could afford, at least for now.
Some interesting figures on Oil production (and probably higher at this writing).
75 Million Barrels a Day
27 Billion Barrels a Year
19 Million Barrels a Day
7 Billion Barrels a Year
8 Million Barrels a Day (a shortfall of 11 Million Barrels).
Question - Can we run out of Oil? Surely; but probably not in the near future. This gives us time to develop an alternative means of Fuel, Power, etc. Business leaders along with the Government can make it happen if they work together. It will never be easy but we have no alternative and Wait and See is not an option.
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