Friday, April 13, 2007

WORLD series: Gas Mileage

A huge problem in this country (even the prez thinks so) is our reliance on foreign oil. You see, whilst people argue about the existence of peak oil in this day and time, the fact remains that peak oil already happened in the US in 1972. That's right, THIRTY FIVE FREAKING YEARS AGO!!!!! Thus, since then, we have been buying ever increasing amounts of oil from foriegn countries whilst our own supply continues to decline.

What's wrong with this picture?

You see, back in the 60's (and a number of other years also) there was this guy named Hubbert. Hubbert made this nifty (prophetic) prediction that US oil would peak around 1970. He also predicted that world oil would peak around 2000. Can the man tell 'em or what?

As you can see in the graph on the right, most of the world's oil supplies peaked in the mid nineties with the total world supply fighting like heck not to peak right now. Some estimated it peaked back in the latter part of 2005 and is just hovering at the same production levels right now. What does this mean? It means that like Natural Gas, we are continuing to use a resource at an ever increasing level, while the resource itself is in ever decreasing supply. And that means: HIGHER PRICES.

So, what would I as the Supreme Leader of the United States of America do about this problem? (I know I will get tore several new ones for this) we must stop driving extremely wasteful vehicles. I would (effective in one year as usual) outlaw passenger vehicles that get less than 25 miles per gallon gasoline and 30 mpg diesel based on actual driving conditions. Individuals and companies wishing to obtain or to continue using large pickups and SUV's would file for a permit based on actual necessity of use. Motorcycles could not get less than 40 mpg.

Additionally, all internal combustion engine vehicles would be required to use only fully synthetic motor oils, gear oils, and greases. This would save gas mileage and allow cars to remain in service for a longer period of time while the economy adjusts to the severe shock.

As a result of all this, I believe that the gas prices would fall in short order, once supply ballooned above demand. However once my new emissions restrictions on oil wells and refining plants took effect, those prices could come back up a bit.

I would also (with props to the ZEV mandate of CARB) require all car companies to be selling 10% of thier total vehicles as electric vehicles in 5 years with 50% in 10 years (tractor trailers excluded, though they'd be required to come up with some hybrids that increased mileage by 20%.) I'd mandate that the company that owns the patents to the large format NiMH (here unamed) to allow it's use in fully electric vehicles with only a nominal fee.

I know these are some radical ideas, and even I cringe when I read what I've read, but this is a quick progression toward a sustainable society, and burning oil is not sustainable. Therefore, we must include greater numbers of fuel sources so that the sudden absence of one does not greatly affect the others. For instance, if we could simultaneously raise and lower the utilization of biodiesel and diesel fuel respectively till the 50/50 level is reached, then a healthy drop in the supply of either will be tempered by the other. This is the same reason electricity prices rise slower than fuels. There are myriad sources of electricity, but very few of fuels.

Wow, that hurt.

Next: Electricity reform.

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