>>Gasoline vs. solar-powered transport
April 24, 2008, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Transport

By Seth Masia

My old friend John Howe lives sustainably on a farm in Maine. Among other things, he builds solar-charged farm tractors, and converted an old MG Midget to solar-charged battery power.

John Howe with his first solar-powered garden tractor

In my recent SOLAR TODAY story on low-carbon cars I cited some figures on the astonishing quantity of gasoline we burn in the U.S., and what it costs us in terms of trade imbalance. I got the numbers off a lying, cheating government website, and John spotted the blunder. Here’s his note of admonition:

On page 36 of your article on low carbon cars, you say, “the U.S. burns 1.1million gallons daily of gasoline and diesel fuel”. This is off by about 400:1.

The world presently uses about 85 million, 42 gal. barrels of liquid fuels daily with about one-fourth (22 million) consumed by the U.S. Of this stupendous quantity, about half (11 million barrels or almost 450 million gallons) is gasoline! At $110 dollars per barrel and 60% imported oil, This amounts to about $726 million dollars per day sent overseas, not $100 million. The other 40% is the last vestiges of our kid’s domestic inheritance.

These very facts explain very simply why our economy is tanking and a few billion gallons of biofuels, and higher food prices, won’t make a difference. These are our most serious issues and the crux of our dilemma….here, now!.

We certainly will not have the time or money to;

  • Change our automotive fleet.
  • Build many extravagant “green” homes.
  • Purchase, or build very many PV panels.

We’ve wasted our time and are sending our remaining wealth chasing oil. We need national awareness of the truth and rationing to buy us time and avoid extreme polarization between the few wealthy and the growing poor. I think these issues will become very clear in 2008.


2 Comments so far
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Your comments are right on. We need to get the word out that our government must support clean energy sources (primarily wind and solar). I would like to see America eliminate the huge tax incentives now given to big oil companies and transfer the incentives instead to subsidizing residential solar (by 50% or more of the cost); as well as to encourage EV cars for common use. Home owners could furnish the grid during peak demand hours, and at night (when demand is less) charge up their vehicles (a win/win for the economy and our environment). With all the pain we’re experiencing at the pump these days, can’t our government put some of it to good use solving a real problem with a real solution. Instead we seem determined to keep exporting our dollars and our future to foreign powers. P.S. everyone should watch “Who Killed the Electric Car” – a real eye opener (as was “An Inconvenient Truth”).

Comment by Michael Moore

I agree with you man.

Comment by Austin Stause

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