June 30 Sources: End of QWERTY Ethanol?

We are finally reconsidering our QWERTY commitment to corn based ethanol, so please read Ethanol Demand Outgrows Corn. Also please consider Investment in Carbon Emission Mitigation Could Help the Environment and National Security . Conditions are changing fast. A carbon tax will soon be possible. Even President Bush is turning green, although maybe not for all the right reasons. Other sources follow.

Energy & Environment

EU Could Ban Incandescent Bulbs - The European Commission is drafting energy-efficiency requirements for lighting that would bar old-style lightbulbs

Ethanol Demand Outgrows Corn - Corn is king of renewable auto fuels, for now. But federal and state governments already are racing to find alternatives to corn as they look for ways to use ethanol to help break the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Twelve Principles to Guide U.S. Energy Policy - The best way to facilitate access to oil and gas and foster new alternatives that work for the U.S. economy while addressing homeland and national security concerns is to focus on policies that help America to achieve three overarching goals: unleashing the power of free enterprise, protecting the nation's energy interests, and advancing free global energy markets.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Response to Air Quality Issues Arising from the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 - Samuel Thernstrom testifies at a congressional hearing on the EPA's response to air quality issues in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Regulating to Infinity and Beyond
- The Environmental Protection Agency's new ozone regulations are self-defeating, punish the American people unfairly, and ignore the gains we have made in reducing air pollution.

The Future of the Great Lakes Economy: A Federal-State Compact and Opportunity - Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program hosted the first in a series of forums to highlight ways the federal government can help bolster the economic assets of the Great Lakes Region.

The Double Edge of Globalization - Intensified international trading affects the environment, but also raises global awareness.

The Carbon Cycle: Implications for Climate Change and Congress - Congress may consider incorporating what is known about the carbon cycle into its legislative strategies, and may also evaluate whether the global carbon cycle is sufficiently well understood so that the consequences of long-term policies aimed at mitigating global climate change are fully appreciated.

The Thin Green Line: An Assessment of DoD's Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative to Buffer Installation Encroachment - This monograph assesses the effectiveness of DoD's Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative in helping military installations develop partnerships to address encroachment with buffering projects on non-military lands.

Investment in Carbon Emission Mitigation Could Help the Environment and National Security - Greater recognition that investment in carbon mitigation can yield significant security dividends may alter the political cost-benefit calculus of energy-importing nations and could increase the willingness of some key global actors to seek binding cooperative targets under any post-Kyoto climate treaty regime.


Global Public Opinion Is Wary of Major World Powers and Leaders - A new survey finds continuing anti-American sentiment and significant slippage in China's image among the publics of other major nations. Concern about environmental degradation as a major threat to the planet has increased.

World Public Opinion 2007 - WorldPublicOpinion.org and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs have released an in-depth study of world-wide opinion on key international issues, including climate change, globalization, the future of the United Nations, US leadership and the rise of China

Global IQ Test – How much do you really know? Take the online test from Newsweek.

U.S. Society & Politics

Independence Forever: Why America Celebrates the Fourth of July - The Fourth of July is a great opportunity to renew our dedication to the principles of liberty and equality enshrined in what Thomas Jefferson called "the declaratory charter of our rights."

Who Flies the Flag? Not Always The People You Might Think - A Closer Look at Patriotism.

In Praise Of Imperfect Democracy - If Americans ever lose reverence for their ever-constant, ever-changing Constitution, they need only look at Europe's attempts to draft one.

Ohio Murder Vies with Iraq for Public's Interest - While events in Iraq dominated public interest last week, news about a pregnant Ohio woman, Jessie Davis, who was missing and later found dead drew a large audience. Nearly a quarter of the public (23%) said this was the story they followed most closely -- placing it second in the week's news interest rankings.

"Sicko" Sniffles - The new film confirms Michael Moore’s penchant for agitprop.

Why Is the U.S. Still Overweight? - From Atkins, to The Zone, to Jenny Craig, Americans are trying to slim down. But with so many diets and dieters, why is the nation collectively getting bigger?

The General Public Supports Breaking Drug Patents To Ensure Access To HIV/AIDS Drugs In Poorer Countries Overall, sixty-one percent of U.S. adults believe poorer countries should be allowed to break companies' patents on HIV/AIDS drugs if doing so would help them treat more of their population.

From the Ten Commandments to Christmas Trees: Court Rulings on Religious Displays in Public Places - As a supplement to a Pew Forum legal backgrounder, Prof. Robert W. Tuttle discusses how current law might apply in circumstances such as a recent religious display controversy in Louisiana.

Mean Teens Online - Forget sticks and stones, today's teenagers have got the web at their command and about a third of those online tell a new Pew Internet survey that they have been targets of annoying and potentially menacing online activities.

Caught in the Middle: A Look at Middle School Perspectives – How American middle school youth learn to handle social situations influences the kind of person they grow up to be, and the character of their participation in society.

Capital Punishment's Constant Constituency: An American Majority - Beginning with its temporary moratorium on the death penalty 35 years ago this month, the Supreme Court has changed its view of capital punishment more than once. The public, however, has not.

The Real Deal - We can criticize the New Deal for its statist tendencies without losing our moral legitimacy.

It's Still about Bill - Although Hillary Clinton is the leading Democratic presidential candidate, her success depends on her husband's willingness to help her.

The Candidates on Domestic Intelligence - With recent controversy over President Bush's domestic surveillance program, candidates must weigh their support for civil liberties against protection from attacks.

The Candidates on the War on Terror - Republican and Democratic candidates generally agree a major campaign is needed to combat radical Muslim fundamentalism but differ on whether it amounts to a “war on terror.”

House Transparency Rules Reveal that Pork Projects Tilt Heavily Toward Appropriators - Although lawmakers claim to fund projects based purely on merit, the two latest spending bills suggest that committee assignments play a large role in the distribution of pork.

Federal Farm Subsidy Programs: How to Discourage Congressional Conflicts of Interest - Members of Congress who receive federal farm subsidies should (1) declare them in annual financial disclosures and recuse themselves from voting on legislation that would directly benefit them financially or (2) agree not to accept them and provide the public with detailed information on family members who will benefit financially from their vote in support of farm subsidies.

The State of the Military Today - The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the U.S. military thin. In the words of retired General and former Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane, "Never has the country asked so much of so few for so long."

Foreign Policy & Security

"What If . . ." No matter what happens in Iraq, we are still better off with Saddam Hussein out of the picture.

Iraq: Is the Escalation Working? - The surge of U.S. troops in Iraq is generating some promising results. While we cannot yet call it a total success, we likewise cannot yet call it a failure.

Operation Phantom Thunder Factsheet - Information on Operation Phantom Thunder in Iraq.

Iraq: RFE/RL Report Reveals Weaknesses In Sunni-Insurgent Media War - The greatest strengths of the Iraqi Sunni-based insurgency's media strategy -- decentralization and flexibility -- are also its greatest weaknesses, according to a report officially released today by RFE/RL

Adventurous Men of Peace - The story of two men involved in the Iraq war shows why the United States must reach out to the pro-Western religious element in Iraq.

Iraq: Oil and Gas Legislation, Revenue Sharing, and U.S. Policy - Iraqi leaders continue to debate a package of hydrocarbon sector and revenue sharing legislation that will define the terms for the future management and development of the country's significant oil and natural gas resources.

Iraqi Force Development: The Challenges of Transparency - The current status of the Iraqi Security Forces development effort.

A Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq - U.S. policy on Iraq must address both diplomatic and military strategy together to realize any chance for sustainable peace.

Warnings from Gaza - The recent triumph of Hamas is yet another indication that the West is fully at war with Islamist extremism and that it is losing that war.

Governing Gaza: Hamas's Dilemma - Now that Hamas has taken complete control of Gaza by force, what will result? Mogadishu on the Mediterranean? Or will the sole responsibility for governing 1.5 million Palestinians force Hamas to moderate its militancy?

Winds of War - Islamist regimes in the Middle East increasingly see the United States as a weak, retreating power. This makes war with such regimes more likely.

An Honor Worth Defending - The burning of effigies of Queen Elizabeth II and Salman Rushdie by Muslim students in Pakistan should remind the West of the importance of defending its cultural symbols.

German Paradox: Shortage of Skilled Labor - Germany's economic recovery is at risk as business laments the lack of qualified workers—despite 3.8 million unemployed

How to Confront Russia's Anti-American Foreign Policy - As Moscow rejects Western norms, sells weapons to America's enemies, and seeks a natural gas monopoly, especially to influence Europe, U.S. policymakers need to remember that Moscow values certainty in relations and respects power and action. Deeds, not words, are needed to send a message to the Kremlin that the U.S. and its allies will not be bullied.

Russia’s Soviet Past - Backgrounder: Some say Russia’s Soviet past continues to color relations with the West.

After the SED: Evaluating the U.S.-China Economic Relationship - The United States and China enjoy a mutually beneficial economic relationship. Aggressive U.S. diplomatic policy toward China could hurt this.

Potential F-22 Raptor Export to Japan - Japan has expressed interest in purchasing the F-22A Raptor aircraft from the United States. Although the export of the plane is now prohibited by U.S. law, Congress has recently and may again consider repealing this ban.

Gordon Brown and the Future of the U.S.-U.K. Alliance - In practice, Brown is unlikely to immediately transform the essence of the Anglo-American alliance, but he will adjust its style, tempo, and priorities as well as the dynamics that drive it.

Foiling Terrorists in Our Midst - The London bomb scare raises the necessity of preventing homegrown terrorism.

Double Standards in Nigerian Health - What if Muslim clerics were held to the same standards as Pfizer?

Posted by Jack at June 29, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #224480

Ah, the latest dump from the think tanks. Thanks Jack.

In case some people don’t understand how think tank papers get written, here’s the process: Somebody shows up at their door with money and a conclusion and the think tank spins and cherry picks data to support it.

As for this alleged corn shortage for ethanol, I first heard the story from a buddy of mine at Chevron. It’s poppycock. There are millions of acres in America that are available to grow corn when it becomes profitable to do so. There’s no corn shortage.

Posted by: American Pundit at June 30, 2007 3:03 AM
Comment #224487


Everything is available at a price. I have often made that argument about that “peak oil” crap. The price of corn has gone up a lot this year. The price of fertilizer used to grow corn has nearly doubled. The price of other agricultural products that compete with corn or use corn as a base (milk, meat) have been affectd. If you own a big agrobusiness growing corn, you are very happy. Others are less pleased. I do not have a problem with prices changing to relect changing demands and structures. But this corn price is not natural. It is created by tax dollars.

You are paying more for milk and bacon BECAUSE your taxes are paying for corn that would have been animal feed to be turned into ethanol and you are paying more for ethanol becuase your government is keeping out ethanol from Brazil or other places to protect its subsidy of corn - the perfect storm of government screw up.

Corn is not the best way to make ethanol. I think we started a good experiment to test it. The experiment indicated corn was not the way to go on a large scale. What I fear is that we have enriched so many powerful special interests that they now will not back off the corn. It is a QWERTY problem. I do not want to lock in an inferior method by using the tools of big government.

We encourage corn ethanol with hefty subsidies. We protect it with high tariffs against things like Brazilian sugar cane ethanol. This is a variation of the infant industries argument.

Re acres availble to corn you are right as long as you do not care about the land or our environment. We will plant more corn acres this year than any time since WWII. Some of this land will come from other crops, some will be former pasture and some will be from conservation reserve. Corn requires significant inputs of fossil fuel, fertizer, water and time. We CAN do it, at the expense of other products, water quality and wildlife.

I will fall back into my carbon tax grove, but it makes sense. We should begin to take away the subsidies for corn ethanol and we should never have set up that tariff on the Brazilian product. A higher price for oil will be sufficient to encourage alternatives and a carbon tax will ensure that continues.

Posted by: Jack at June 30, 2007 9:35 AM
Comment #224504

You’re right about corn being a poor feedstock for making ethanol. The best approach, if you could get it to work, would be cellulose-based ethanol. Switchgrass is one of the main candidates for this use. The advantages here is that you can recover most of the carbon emissions created by the processing and the burning of the fuel, and many of the plants that could make the Cellulose-based alcohol can be grown without a lot of fertilizer. Additionally, the whole plant can be used to create the fuel, not merely the corn.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 30, 2007 5:12 PM
Comment #224518

“Somebody shows up at their door with money and a conclusion and the think tank spins and cherry picks data to support it.”

Yeah, when it comes to the discussion of energy policy, I’m afraid I can’t take Pew Research or stateline.org very seriously as being independent and non-partisan. Maybe because the Pew Charitable Trust, where both of these entities get their funding from, was established by the sons and daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph Pew — all of whom were very politically conservative.
Indeed, when the Pew Trust began its mission statement claimed it was founded to “acquaint the American people with the evils of bureaucracy”, and “the values of a free market.” One of the sons, Joseph Pew Jr., called FDR’s New Deal, “a gigantic scheme to raze U.S businesses to a dead level and debase the citizenry into a mass of ballot-casting serfs.”
Therefore, I find I have to take Pew’s views on things like this with a grain of salt.

“As for this alleged corn shortage for ethanol, I first heard the story from a buddy of mine at Chevron. It’s poppycock. There are millions of acres in America that are available to grow corn when it becomes profitable to do so. There’s no corn shortage.”

It’s true, corn is doing quite well at the moment.

As for that opinion piece on ‘Sicko’, don’t trust what that link had to say Jack, because they’re wrong. It’s a really good documentary, and you only need to go see it to know this is true.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 30, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #224539

Corn, whether it’s in short supply or not, doesn’t have the supply to handle the demand for gasoline, to replace it.

Meanwhile, it’s a net carbon emitter. Thought chemically speaking, ethanol is ethanol, growing it from corn requires more fertilizer and the use of fossil fuels in the process.

Ethanol might be useable as an alternative fuel, but an alternative method is needed to generate it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 1, 2007 8:33 AM
Comment #224549

Celulosic ethanol production is already under way.There are already working plants and more on the way. Useing the entire corn plant instead of just the grain will improve efficiency. Use of wood chips,grasses,rice hulls,sugar cane waste,municiple yard waste,algea are all feed stock possibilties.Ethanol will grow in importance.

Posted by: BillS at July 1, 2007 12:38 PM
Comment #224555

Stephen, you’ll get no argument from me, because I agree with what you wrote completely. I just gave that link because AP was right, and because Jack’s second link claimed that the ‘ethanol demand has outgrown corn’, while (at least currently) that doesn’t seem to be the case at all.

BillS, good points. I hope we’ll find a way to use all of those things you listed, while simultaneously working to develop other efficient forms of renewable energy.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 1, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #224561

Hey Jack, guess what?
‘Sicko’ facts check out.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 1, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #224577


You know the old saying that you should not learn more from a lesson than it has to teach?

Re Sicko – I suppose most of his facts are correct, but as the article you mention says, it lacks context. It is, in other words, what we would call “spin”. People do not respond relationally. We focus on some points depending on how they are presented. For example, more people would risk something if they were told there was a 95% chance of success than if they were told there was a 5% chance of failure. Moore is very good at setting these sorts of frames and he is very entertaining. So what?

Re corn – I am not saying corn is at a state of catastrophe. What I am saying is that corn is not a very efficient way to make ethanol (which is a fact) and that we should not push the technology of corn ethanol too far with subsidies and tariffs which may mock us into a less useful system. It is a QWERTY problem. Nobody says that our QWERTY typed do not work, but it would be better if we were not locked into that particular technology because it is not the best.

I await the development of cellulose technology more eagerly than most, but we are not there yet. I include links to a variety of think tank sources, moderate left to moderate right. PEW, BTW, is generally acknowledge to be moderate left. It is run mostly by Dems, many of whom worked in the Clinton Administration. In previous sources, I have linked to articles by Robert Rubin and even Al Gore. My sources postings are innocuous and informative, not very partisan. My sources are idiosyncratic but not unbalanced ideologically. If you find Pew, Brooking, RAND or the CRS right wing, perhaps you should consider how far left you stand on the American political spectrum.

Posted by: Jack at July 2, 2007 8:01 AM
Comment #224583

Don’t forget that much of that mass-produced corn requires petroleum-based fertilizers. So switching our dependence from gas to corn-based ethanol only adds another layer to the process but still requires oil.

Posted by: Michael at July 2, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #224586

A little background on QWERTY for those mystified by Jack’s usage of the term.

The Modern Keyboard arrangement is not all that efficient, and it’s intentionally so. In the early days of mechanical typewriters, the quicker users would type so fast that they’d jam up the works on their typewriters.

To remedy this, those using the typewriters changed around the keys, intentionally trying to make the typing slower, more counterintuitive. Though the problems of mechanical typewriters are long gone, the Keyboard configuration is not. So many people learned it, taught it, got use to it, made keyboards and typewriters with it, that the QWERTY configuration, despite its unwieldy setup, is reinforced by the infrastructure surrounding the relevant industries.

I would say this is a relevant point to our current use of Ethanol, as corn is a inefficient feedstock for it. Corn-based Ethanol can only use the sugars in the corn for its purposes, instead of being able to use the complete plant, which is what cellulosic methods, which depend on the tough, fibery material that provide structure for many plants.

One advantage is that less fertilizer is required, and one doesn’t have to stick with plants like corn. One can use varieties of plant with no food value whatsoever, too, and which need not be so picky about growing conditions. Better yet, the plants themselves draw the CO2 out of the atmosphere that their use as CO2 puts in there.

Last but not least, such plants can be grown in sufficient quantity to replace gasoline. Corn could not possibly be grown in such quantities, and we hardly have the cheap labor and climate to use sugar cane as our base.

In the end, Ethanol Production by Corn is a boondoggle, and unlike QWERTY, which is function for people’s use, Corn-Based Ethanol cannot be sustained for its purposes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 2, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #224588

The problem is some refuse to read anything that doesn’t come to the conclusion that agrees with their current beliefs, no matter the amount of facts or supporting documentation. That is a problem with most people who think that they are politically aware, what they really are are just shills for some group or another, never questioning, always parroting.

I haven’t read the documents to determine whether or not they are valid, but you make it clear that neither have you, yet I will at least read it and give it a try before supporting or bashing it…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 2, 2007 3:42 PM
Comment #224589


I agree with you and Jack on the Ethanol issue, it has become far too politicized and backed by special interest groups that the ‘right’ solutions are being ignored. With concerns of sounding like a ‘single-issue libertarian hippie’ the use of hemp for such a purpose is considered a non-starter because of the drug connotations, no matter the legitimate value that using the plant for fuel would bring. Soybeans and other plants are far much better than corn for use as a fuel alternative, yet the push for corn is deafening…

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 2, 2007 3:46 PM
Comment #224592

Yes, my state — Tennessee — is betting heavily on cellulose ethanol. The issue, really, is cost, and R&D dollars are being used to try to make cellulose ethanol cost competitive. We’re building a demonstration plant that supposed to be able to produce 5 million gallons annually; the eventual goal many years down the road is to produce a billion gallons annually, or about 30 percent of our present consumption. It’s very promising; net c02 emissions are at least 80 percent less than net gasoline emissions.

Right now cellulose ethanol is several times more expensive than corn=based ethanol, which itself is more expensive than gasoline partially because it contains less energy per gallon. And for the near future, cellulose ethanol will be quite a bit more expensive than gasoline. Processing is more expensive, for one. However, as several have noted, we have plenty of sources; conceivably cellulose ethanol could virtually replace gasoline.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, this is exactly the kind of projects a carbon tax would help; it would accelerate how quickly cellulose ethanol can be cost effective, and it helps planners estimate potential return. A huge concern is that gasoline will drop dramatically in price as it has before and derail our best intentions.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 4:56 PM
Comment #224593

Well, the other issue here is which way do we go? GM is saying that by 2011 they will have 1 million fuel cell cars available, that will require a huge infrastructure to fuel and maintain those cars. Are we going to do the same with ethanol based? Will our gas stations now be fuel cell/ethanol/gasoline/vegtable oil/electric refill stations? How do we decide to best spend our future technology monies when the government is involved as opposed to a free market system?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 2, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #224595


Good question. I would point out, though, that a million fuel cell cars is almost the same as none. (There are roughly 30 million vehicles on the road now, I believe). Personally, I think we will have a variety of different options — electric cars, flex-fuel cars, some hydrogen. (I’m not really crazy about the hydrogen/fuel cell car angle.) It will probably make sense to consider what area of the country you live in — if you can get clean electricity, then electric cars might be the way to go. If your electricity is from dirty coal, than some sort of biofuel, perhaps. Even hydrogen could be good if you can use solar cells to power the process to get it out of water — Norway is doing that now.

One of the advantages of cellulose ethanol is that we can use existing infrastructure for delivery. One of the disadvantage of electric cars is that they require more time to charge than it takes to fill a tank, though vast improvements have been made.

Government involvement is a mixed blessing. We’re politically stuck with corn ethanol subsidy for a while. However, if not for government investment, we wouldn’t be were we are now with a host of other techologies, including cellulose, solar, fuel cells, etc. Jack will tell you otherwise, but he’s wrong — and I’m stealing the simple assertion tactic so prevalent here:) —I’ve discussed that before and I don’t wish to engage in that research again.

Slap on the carbon tax, invest in promising technologies, maintain minimum standards by regulation, subsidize weatherization of lower-income homes, let the states do their thing, etc., and see what happens — that’s my approach.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 6:15 PM
Comment #224600

Oh, ack, I skipped a “0” — should be 300 million vehicles. And that’s probably too high — last estimate I remember reading was in the 200-250 million range.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 8:54 PM
Comment #224683


Besides a carbon tax and investment in alternates,as you mentioned,we need to deal with the potential threat of oil producers dumping to contain alternate developement. They have done it before and will again if allowed. Its near immposible to adequately capitalize an industry when the market value of the final product is in doubt.The only way to do it is through government investment. Then when the industry fails because of oppec dumping the taxpayers are left holding the bag. That is exactly what happened with the synthetic oil program.The solution everyone knows about but does not want to talk about is a flexible tariff on imported oil. Oil drops below a given level, the tariff goes into effect. This would have the added advantage of encouraging domestic developement also as opposed to middle-east oil.

Posted by: BillS at July 3, 2007 2:25 PM
Comment #224692

Ethanol is a prime-time boondoggle for the American public…we subsidize it and we get less mileage with it…plus, doesn’t anyone care that we’re using FOOD to make our cars run???

Worthless unless you own a cornfield…

Posted by: Rachel at July 3, 2007 3:31 PM
Comment #224723


I think a mechanism to control oil volatility is worth considering.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 3, 2007 6:14 PM
Comment #224777

Gerrold et al
Another possible mechanism is the expansion and enablement of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to morph it into a sort of Federal Reserve Bank for oil. When prices fall below a given level the SPR starts buying bigtime,even acerting priority in purchases. When prices are at or near target it adopts a hold position. If prices spike dangeriously wether from market forces,geo-politics,or disasters the SPR starts selling.They would have three positions to influence stability.
Some advantages to this include:Much of the basic physical infrastructure already exist; It would largely be self supporting. Buying low and selling high is a pretty good business model;It a fairer,more direct way to address inflation than what we use now. The Fedearl Reserve Bank only addresses wage inflation by tightening credit to slow the economy rater than addressing the real causes of inflationary pressures.

Posted by: BillS at July 4, 2007 11:14 AM
Comment #224792

I just watched a documentary on the death of the Electric Vehicle in America. If ever there was proof that our government, our corporations, and our political system are aligned with the profits of special interests instead of the needs of the American people, the death of the All Electric Vehicle, stands as the most astounding proof of all.

Ending dependence upon foreign oil was, and is, available, the technology already created. But the EV1 battery patents were bought up by Chevron and the murder of the electric vehicle became inevitable despite public pressures and blowback. GM chose to destroy their EV1’s rather than sell them to highly motivated lease owners. The other manufacturers followed suit. The government, corporation, oil industry conspiracy to deprive working Americans of a clean, efficient, and vastly lower cost maintenance vehicle, stands as testament to the forces that now control America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 4, 2007 6:15 PM
Comment #224807

David R.,

Yes, the technology already is available for getting off gasoline. It’s a matter of cost.

I’m excited about the possiblity of electric cars too, and good candidates for practical daily use are already here or will be here shortly. The plug-in hybrids we should see in the next few years are exciting, too.

However, until they are cost competitive with traditional cars, adoption of them will be slow. Further, if we did see a wide scale adoption, we would have to greatly increase electricity production. And in terms of carbon emissions, electric cars are not clean unless the electricity that powers them is clean.

We need to increase the cost of gasoline and of dirty electricity in order to discourage their use and to encourage adoption of cleaner end-uses and production.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 4, 2007 8:12 PM
Comment #224809

Gerrold, you should watch the documentary. Many of your impressions are mistaken. All electric vehicles have come and gone. Unless you wish to convert internal combustion vehicle yourself, or pay someone to do so, you can’t buy, nor will you be able to buy an all electric vehicle.

Here’s the deal. The oil industries realize full well that if they can keep alternatives off the market as oil prices rise, their profit margin percentages will rise geometrically with increased scarcity. Investors demand this strategy, boards of directors approve of it, and thus a billion dollars have been spent to influence government to move away from or compromise viable alternatives like all electric vehicles.

Second, the savings in pollution of an all electric vehicle are more than just the absence of gasoline. If you have seen the hands and clothes of an internal combustion mechanic compared to an EV mechanic, the difference cannot be missed.

Our nation is moving to cleaner electricity production even with coal production. So, that is not the issue it once was just a couple years ago, when the oil companies were spending 100’s of millions on lobbyists and false advertising regarding global climate change.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 4, 2007 8:22 PM
Comment #224823

David R.,

That’s not correct. There are electric cars on the market in the United States; here is the website of one California dealer already delivering electric cars. Here’s another website showcasing electric cars for purchase from a variety of dealers. A number of big car companies worldwide, including the United States, are working on plug-in hybrids, which deal with the problem of range. The electric car is here, albeit in small numbers, but that number will grow. Tesla has created an electric sports car with mindboggling stats — 0-60 in less than 4 seconds, 250 mile range, 3.5 hour recharge. They will begin delivery in 2008; they’ve already presold hundreds.

CO2 emission from electricity production is a huge problem, mainly because of coal. Check out EIA figures to see how much electricity generation, mostly from coal, is projected to increase over the next couple of decades and the resulting carbon emissions, which are projected to continue their sharp climb under present policies. If we are serious about mitigating the worst effects of climate change, we need to do far more.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 4, 2007 10:14 PM
Comment #224854
But the EV1 battery patents were bought up by Chevron and the murder of the electric vehicle became inevitable despite public pressures and blowback. GM chose to destroy their EV1’s rather than sell them to highly motivated lease owner

Sounds much like how GM bought up the mass transportation systems around Los Angeles and then killed that mass transportation so people would buy cars instead…and we’ve been paying for it ever since…in cement covering the area, in pollution, in cost to the ordinary person…”what’s good for GM is good for America” has never been true.

Posted by: Rachel at July 5, 2007 8:23 AM
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