Why Can’t America Make Alternative Fuels Work? – Gas 2.0
60 years ago, there didn’t seem to be a single challenge America couldn’t overcome. Now, there’s just a lot of negativity about America, especially when it comes to alternative fuels. What are these people so afraid of?
In particular, I’m talking about how in the same breath a person can criticize Big Oil for rising gas prices, and then start talking trash about any kind of alternative to gasoline for fuel. It makes no sense to me that we, as Americans, should have nearly infinite options when it comes to buying just about anything you can imagine, except fuel for our cars. That’s all I really want. Options. I want a gas station that sells more than gas. I want CNG, I want propane, I want different ethanol blends, and I want charging stations that are built by a combination of private and public investment. Is that really asking so much?
For some people, it apparently is. It’s as though we’re afraid of messing with the formula that has made America the most effective economic giant in the world for the last century or so. Make no mistake about it, putting cars into the hands of the common people radically altered the human dynamic. No longer were people confined to the towns where they were born, or reliant upon massive railroads who dictated where tracks were or weren’t laid.
If I had to pick one symbol for America in the 20th century, it’d have to be the Ford Model T. For thousands and thousands of years, the fastest mode of overland travel was the horse, which like humans required lots of food and lots of rest. But with the advent of the automobile, people now had a source of mobility that could take farther and faster than even the swiftest thoroughbred, and required only a few gallons of a seemingly inexhaustible source of fuel.
But we’re in the 21st century now. America may no longer be the world’s most prolific economy in as little as 5 years. There are many billions more people in the world today than there were 60 years ago. And there people are starting to get their hands on automobiles too, changing the dynamics of their lives as well. The world is changing, and if America wants to stay on top, we need to be the innovators in the 21st century that we were in the 20th century.
The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of things left that we can take the lead in, and not everything we’re first in is exactly admirable. So why would anyone believe that, at a time when the entirety of the rest of the world is leaning towards renewable fuels, would we want to in the other direction? If Europe and China want solar panels and electric cars and wind turbines, well they should buy it from America. That’s a surefire way to get our economy back on track, and the oil companies called before Congress this week have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. So why don’t they?
We’re afraid. We don’t want to mess with success. Oil is cheap and abundant, except its not anymore, and we’re afraid that our lives our going to be lesser for it. So we want to drill for more oil and build bigger highways to we can sit in longer traffic jams and pay ever more for gasoline, because there really is no other option?