running cars on sugar or corn…

8 02 2006

In the news today… Exxon-Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill said the U.S. will always rely on foreign imports of oil and should stop trying to become free of it. That seems to be quite a biased statement! Of course we greatly depend on foreign oil at this time, but I agree with President Bush that we should reduce that dependence. We are placing our country in a dangerous situation. Can you imagine what would happen to our country if there was a serious oil & gas shortage? It would greatly cripple our economy. See this page for the article about Exxon-Mobil.

On a related note, Brazil is running ethanol in most of their cars now (or at least a mixture of gas & ethanol). Why doesn’t the U.S. do that? Ethanol burns cleaner, resulting in less pollution & smog, and it’s better for your engine. It costs about 50-66% less than gas (although it may reduce your MPG by about 25%). Ethanol can be produced from sugar cane, sugar beet, corn, wood chips, grass, and organic waste. Ethanol also consumes carbon dioxide as part of its production cycle. I know it takes research to implement such technologies in cars, but get this — both GM and Ford are already selling cars in Brazil that run this way. Click here or here for news articles about this.

I know, it’s all about the money… but is it too idealistic or optimistic to dream that some large corporations might actually make some decisions based on what’s best for our country, our economy, and our environment?

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12 responses

9 02 2006
Kri'

I totally agree that we are extremely too dependent on foreign sources of oil, and so do a lot of other people in this country. This is obvious by the increased news coverage it has received (obviously as a direct result of the increase in prices, as well), and the mentioning it gets from the government – all the way up to the President himself in the State of the Union address.

Now, my personal opinion is that it’s not necessarily the government’s role to “mandate” we become free from oil dependency; they can “encourage” it by tax relief for alternative fuels R&D, etc, but I don’t think they need to step in and regulate this shift of our energy dependence – it will and should occur through the private sector.

I believe (that’s what blogs are all about, right?) that through the genuine creative spirit of Americans, we will resolve this borderline-crisis in our country. Regarding the links you posted of other countries using alternative methods we are seeing, these are being pursued here as well (just not used to the extent it could be, probably because it is not economically feasible yet. I didn’t check, but I’m sure the countries where GM & Ford are building these alternative vehicles are getting some kind of subsidy from the governments). We may be slower to come to terms with our situation, but I think it will be embraced and exploited as the profitability of this measure increases more & more.

9 02 2006
Fab

Our country should do this full-scale and fast-track (say by 2010 all new cars should be flex-fuel, allowing us to phase out gasoline). The benefits would be great. Our economy would surge with the influx of cash domestically, family farms would be revitalized, and we’d remove that cash from the hands of 3rd world Islamo-Fascist terrorist maniacs. Sounds like a good deal to me!

9 02 2006
Beppo

Here’s a neat article about a plan to eliminate the use of oil by 2050, and it wouldn’t cost that much, and it would create a million new jobs. It almost sounds too good to be true, but it makes sense… Check it out : Can the U.S. stop using oil by 2050?

28 02 2006
Ramblin' Stew

I don’t use gas. I have unemployed auto workers push me around. They’re cheaper to hire than to buy gas, and it kills two birds with one stone. I’m doing my part…

17 04 2006
Beppo’s Blog » Blog Archive » cars in the U.S. using alternative fuel sources

[…] A few months ago I wrote about how the U.S. needs to look at alternative fuel sources besides oil and I gave examples of some places in the world where they’re already using other means. Well, finally we’re making some progress here. I know it’s a long process to change our country’s dependence on oil, but I’m glad we’ve started. […]

27 04 2006
Beppo

In the news today…

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest oil company, reported today the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history. … The latest profit figure still places Exxon fifth historically among quarterly earnings. Exxon also holds the first, second and fourth spots; Royal Dutch Shell PLC has the third spot.

Placed in perspective, Exxon’s revenue for the three-month period was still greater than the annual gross domestic product of some major oil producing nations, including the United Arab Emirates ($74.67 billion) and Kuwait ($55.31 billion).

It doesn’t seem right that they’re profiting so much while most Americans are having a tough strain on their budget due to the high gas prices… It’s legal, as far as I know, but it just doesn’t seem right

27 04 2006
Kri'

Yeah, BUT Exxon’s profits ARE lower percentage-wise than Microsoft, Merck, etc…

27 04 2006
Kri'

Exxon currently has about a 9% profit margin (M$ has around 30% – how’s that for gouging???)

27 04 2006
Kri'

All this talk about price-gouging is inane at several levels. If you don’t have some sort of monopoly power, gouging is another word for charging the highest price the market will bear, also known as capitalism. This is why the FTC investigation has turned up nothing. What constrains filling stations from marking up gas excessively is not the fear of prosecution but competition from other filling stations.

Of course, there is outrageous anti-competitive conduct in the petroleum industry—it’s called OPEC, not Exxon…

28 04 2006
Beppo

Today, Chevron Corp., the #2 U.S. oil company, released their numbers, annoucing they made $4 billion this quarter, for a 49% increase.

I’m hearing more folks get upset about this, how they’re making considerably more money and saying gas prices are higher because of their higher cost. While costs of crude oil are higher, apparently the companies are making more profit per gallon because of how much they’re growing. And big companies just aren’t supposed to be able to grow at that pace — it’s just not normal.

8 05 2006
Kri'

A friend of mine watched Dateline NBC last night, and they had a great update on the whole ethanol debate. Here is a link to the story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12676374/

Here is a billionare (with a “b”) that is investing millions of dollars to see this happen in the US. He says it can be done in less than 5 years (because the transition would be easy and GM/Ford are already making the cars). He says the fuel would cost less than $1 p/gallon. It would bring money to midwest farmers. It would greatly reduce our dependency on foreign oil…

Excuse me???!! Where are the negatives in this?! Why don’t we start on this… say… PRONTO?? Sheesh… and to think that Brazil thought of this over 20 years ago.

And what about the comment that he got a call from a top oil exec who said we could lower prices to push ethanol out of the market if we wanted to? Do you buy that? If that were true, then I would definitely have to retract my comments about Exxon’s profits… BUT, you never know when someone might have an agenda, too.

11 05 2006
Beppo

I highly recommend reading that article linked to in the previous comment by Kri’.  It’s really good.

From the news today, I read that gas in Venezuela is cheaper than mineral water!  You can fill your tank for less than the cost of breakfast.  Their price for gas at the pump is 12 cents per gallon.  This is because the government subsidizes it, and they don’t have to import oil.  In fact, they sell 1.2 million barrels of oil to the U.S per day.

In the article, one taxi driver uses 19 gallons a day because he drives a 1976 Chevy Nova.  But he doesn’t care that his car guzzles gas because he can fill the tank for $2.30.

Meanwhile, gas here (in AR) is about $2.69, the national average is $2.89, and in California it’s as high as $3.92 for regular self-serve.

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