Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oil vs Ethanol

I didn't even think of the most obvious downside to relying too heavily on ethanol instead of oil.

So, what relying on ethanol gives us:

  • Less dependence on foreign oil (making oil less expensive) BUT
    • Increased water consumption (making water more expensive)
    • Increased costs in feeding livestock (making meat more expensive)
    • Less corn available for food (making corn more expensive)
  • "Cleaner" car exhaust (debatable) BUT
    • More fuel production plants (who knows what their by-products are?)
  • Increased "consumer confidence" in an American market BUT
    • Reliance on just as unsustainable a practice as relying on oil

Why don't we focus on the root of the problem -- consuming less fuel -- instead of developing quick fixes?

Long-term fixes:

  • Don't bargain with OPEC to get them to sell us cheap oil (if people realize that it IS expensive, maybe they'll stop using so much)
  • Promote using less fuel (if there was an iPod equivalent to a fuel-efficient car, you bet your ass people would want them)
  • Tax breaks for those using less fuel, and increased taxes for those that want to use ridiculously more car than they need
  • Limit the population increase in the US (less people, less consumers) -- a personal favorite, but not likely to go over well

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