Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alternative Energy

This morning, I read an entry from my little brother's blog about ethanol. He's probably on to something (as usual). I know it's hard to take a man seriously when his profile picture is of two Storm Troopers taking a leak, but it's worth the read.

It seems this is the article that got him fired up, and for good reason. We're taking it in the backdoor at the pump. I'll avoid the political debate, but one thing is for certain--the fault lies with two people: George W. Bush and the American Consumer.

Gas prices will never (and I mean it) go down. You'll never see gasoline under $2 a gallon the rest of your life. I don't care if Saudi Arabia says we can just have all of theirs. It still won't be $2. Our supply is fine. It's the demand that's the problem. The only way to get prices to come back down is to use less gasoline (like I am by getting a hybrid. Now I just need 100 million of my fellow Americans to do the same). While we're talking about the kind of cars we drive, the next time you see a guy driving a Hummer through town, follow him until he pulls over, punch him in the head, and take his wallet. That guy is costing you money at the pump. The way I see it, he owes us.

I found some good news for my brother, and the rest of us who give a shit about a) the environment b) our health and the one that everyone who doesn't care about the first two should, c) money that we could spend on anything else that we're currently sinking into our gas tanks. Currently, if I wanted 85% Ethanol to toss in the tank, I'd have to drive to New York City. That's the closest station. This year, however, things should start to get better. You can read about it here.

Because we are creatures of habit, and selfish by nature, I suspect things will remain the same for about 30 more years. I'm an early adopter. I try new things regularly, like ethanol or hybrid cars. Unfortunately, people aren't like me. They like to do things the way they've always done them. And those assholes who drive Hum-V's don't care if you think they are assholes. So people will make the change when we start talking about gasoline like we talk about social security. Eventually, the money is going to run out. I'll bet anyone my life savings that when it starts to run out, you won't find a bigger supporter of ethanol or another alternative energy than Exxon and the other oil companies. They're gonna look like heroes. Sorta like a cop who rapes you while wearing a mask, runs around the corner, removes the mask, clubs the nearest citizen and stuffs the mask in the citizen's pocket while he cuffs them. Some hero.

Oh my...Feel Goods Galore today:

I never got teachers like this...maybe because I wasn't special ed.

At least you can live with someone without being married to them...unless you live here.

How unobservant have we become as a nation? Well, if someone next to you on your flight dies and you don't notice, that's an indication of 'pretty fucking unobservant.'


Jake said...

Hmm. Not a myspacer, so I can't see the blog post, but the About post doesn't really answer the question about higher blends. E85, as I understand it, isn't good for most cars, but the About dude spends most of his time talking about 10%. (And that's good stuff to know.)

Anyway, cutting consumption won't work very well. Why?
1. If demand is cut, the price will drop - but that encourages other demand, pushing prices back up.
2. Increased demand from Asia. Our economy is stagnant, but China's doing 8% annual growth. Lots of their factories are off-grid, and petro-powered.

I think a lot of our problems in the States comes from the FTC. We've had so many industry mergers that we have a nigh-oligopolistic refinery situation. The more you cut refining capacity, the more you make on the rest of your refining. Man, it would have been a good idea to break up Standard Oil - OH, WAIT, WE DID.

But for as expensive as gas is, it's still cheap. Look at it this way. Let's say you get 20mi/gal. Let's say you only average 20mph in your car. (Both are probably low.) That means you're paying ~$3/hour to operate your car. What's your time worth? The most expensive part of operating the car is the driver's time!

(I think my next car will probably not be a hybrid, but I will look for one that runs E85.)

Ben said...


I'll comment more a bit later, but the whole E85 is bad for engines concept is a common misconception. 50% of Brazils cars run on it, from engines made here in the states. Yes, the engines need to be modified from what they are today, but it's very inexpensive, and the gas is about 40 cents cheaper.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'encourages other demand.' If we use less gasoline in america, the cost of importing it will go down. China's price of petrol goes up, but that has little to do with the demand here. The king of Saudi Arabia has plenty to go around for the next couple decades.

The vast majority of China's population is no where near buying cars yet either--and most of their factories are coal powered. I recently bought stock in a company that produces natural gas. China is looking to use gas as the alternative of the future because it burns so clean--and pollution is a huge problem there.

Make sure you're near a station that offers E85 if that's your next vehicle. Like I said, I'm 100 miles away from one right now, making my choice simple. We'll see if things get better this year as predicted.

There's no reason for oil to be above $35 a barrel right now. The reason is we're willing to pay for it, and as a whole, we're not that interested in alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.