Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Immediate Future of Energy

What is our Glorious Leader doing about current energy issues? He's offering tax breaks for hybrids, clean diesels, and more oil refineries built on military bases. The latter is somewhat clever considering the obstacles states put to making refineries since they are filthy, loud, and enormous and no one wants them in their backyard. By putting them on federal land, the federal government can do what it wants no matter what the complaints are by the state government surrounding the military base. Military bases tend to be utterly polluted pieces of land anyway, mostly unfit for human life, so putting something just as filthy atop it wouldn't be much of a difference.

It's true that our refinery capacity slows down how much fuel can be processed, and raises the price of oil for our pumps. But the fact remains, if you have all the refineries in the world, you still need oil for them to refine! All these solutions being implemented will help, but they are all gasoline based. And that makes sense since many members of the Bush cabinet are ex-oil company employees. Condoleeza Rice has an oil tanker named after her, Cheney worked for Halliburton, a company whose speciality is drilling for oil, and Bush owned an oil company called Arbusto. So by telling the public to use alternative cars that still use oil, albeit less, but giving handouts to those uses of fuel instead of electric cars or hydrogen cars, we still have an oil dependent society. And the President looks like he still wants oil conservation. Clever.

What does this mean for the car industry? The auto industry needs to realize that it will be around long after the world runs out of oil. The need for independent transportation will always be very important. They need to demand more from the government, more money for hydrogen technology, natural gas technology, cleaner diesel technology, and perhaps alcohol technology. Any major technological shift will require massive amounts of government aid. It cannot be done by companies on their own. Our system of rail, our highways, all these things were constructed with tax payer dollars. And the future of the automobile will be as well. Car companies stand to make billions by implementing a new fuel system with government help, and selling that new fuel out of their dealerships, rather than through fillup stations. Honda is already doing it. They are selling natural gas Civics, and they can fill up at the owner's home, as well as Honda dealerships. Honda now controls the entire means of production for their cars, as opposed to losing money to Exxon for their regular Civics. I don't think natural gas cars are the final solution for the fuel crisis, but when and if hydrogen cars come on-line, car dealerships could potentially replace fillup stations. In short, car companies' future profit lay in a new fuel system, not an old one. Challenge this current government to help make that dream a reality, and the profit potential is endless.

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