31 July 2011

No Quick Fix for America's Rising Gas Prices? Think Again.

The comment below, from "Neil" on LinkedIn's Clean Energy Community, makes a good point about the speed with which things could change:

Did President Obama get it wrong when he just said that there is no “quick fix” for America’s problem of rising gasoline prices and vulnerability to spikes in the price of foreign oil?

Sorry, Mr. President, but you are simply wrong. There is a “quick fix” that can massively reduce U.S. oil consumption, and make our vulnerability to price spikes in the foreign oil market a relic of the past. To draw that solution into focus, we need to understand that 70% of the oil the industrialized world uses is needed for transportation and nearly none for generating electrical power. So, shocking as it may seem coal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal all have nothing to do with our dependence on oil.

What really matters is the amount of gasoline and diesel we use in cars, trucks and buses. We could reduce that amount cleanly and economically by turning natural gas to methanol and by turning non-food crops and cellulosic waste to ethanol or to synthetic gasoline and diesel – and then use these as a substitute to oil-based fuels. But that won’t happen until we put in place THE ONE POLICY THAT COULD CREATE A MARKET FOR THESE ALTERNATIVE FULES AND SPUR THE INVESTMENTS NEEDED TO BRING THEM TO MARKET: an “Open Fuel Standard” for autos.

To learn more about the Open Fuel Standard and how it could change the way in which we fuel transportation, I invite you to visit our website at http://www.ea-21.org. The Open Fuel Standard is the “quick fix” to America’s dependence on foreign oil.

One of the most encouraging things about the Open Fuel Standard is how quickly it could change things. Anne Korin, Gal Luft, and Marc Goldman state in their paper, Energy Independence Myths and Solutions:

The challenge with flex fuel is the difficulty in locating a station that pumps it...

That will change when all cars come flex fuel capable. At 10-12 million new cars per year in the U.S., it will take only about three years for flex fuel to reach the 30 million cars needed to justify most gas stations to invest in flex fuel pumps.

Our presidents have been struggling to make the United States independent from foreign oil for over thirty-five years. But with the passing of this bill, things will begin to change within three years. That's pretty quick.

If you'd like to help make this happen, there are a few simple actions you can take, and they won't even take much of your time. Go here to get started.


Flex-Fuel Cars Only Add $70 to Cost

GM has produced four million of the seven and a half million flex-fuel cars now on American roads. GM's Vice Chairman Tom Stephens says it adds "as much as $70 to the production cost" of a car to make it a flex-fuel car. Says Stephens:

Today there's 2,200 (ethanol fuel stations) that are out there but that's not enough. Two-thirds of the pumps are concentrated in 10 states and those 10 states have only about 19 percent of the flex-fuel vehicles that we have on the road.

"That will change when all cars come flex fuel capable," says Anne Korin. "At 10-12 million new cars per year in the U.S., it will take only about three years for flex fuel to reach the 30 million cars needed to justify most gas stations to invest in flex fuel pumps."

Alcohol is a cleaner, less-polluting fuel to burn. It is economical (right now it's 90 cents cheaper than gasoline), and it puts less carbon dioxide into the air than gasoline. It can be produced within the United States, adding jobs and stimulating the economy. It adds very little to the cost of the vehicle, and costs the U.S. taxpayers nothing at all. And it will end OPEC's ability to deliberately damage the U.S. economy, as it did during the recent recession.

Passing the Open Fuel Standard Act will get more and more of these flex-fuel cars on the road, spurring competition between fuels, bringing down fuel prices, and motivating fuel stations to add alternative fuels. Do you want to help make this happen? Click here to get started.

Read the whole Reuters article here.

Most of the time when you read an estimate for how much more it costs to make a flex fuel vehicle rather than a gasoline-only car, the number is usually $100. But if GM is already making flex fuel cars and they say it costs $70, why is there any variance in the number?

Here's why: The definitions employed by the Open Fuel Standard Act are unique in a few ways — one of them being its use of the term "FFV" for cars that can operate on E85, M85 and gasoline blends. The four million GM cars on the road today do not meet the definition because the automaker has not warranted them to run on all three fuels.

The types of cars called for by the Open Fuel Standard may cost a little more — most estimates say around $100. It varies a lot, depending on the type of car and the kind of fuel lines used. But when the industry has fully switched over and cars are routinely made into FFVs, the cost may well come down (because of the economy of scale), so most experts simply use the conservative figure of $100.

Compared to the cost of a new car, any of the estimates, by any measure, add an amount so small it would probably be unnoticeable.


How to Launder Text

When you want to copy and paste some text, often the text has some formatting embedded with it. When you don't want that, you must launder the text — you must strip the text of its embedded formatting so you have nothing but pure, plain text. Here's how:

1. Copy the text.

2. Paste the text into Notepad. This a free program that comes with Windows. Notepad is a very simple program and only deals with plain text, so when you paste text into it, all the embedded formatting is automatically eliminated.

3. Copy the text you just pasted into Notepad.

4. Now paste that text where you want it.


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