Skip to comments.Dreaming of energy independence
Posted on 08/07/2005 8:57:14 AM PDT by SmithL
I HAVE a dream: President Bush pushes through a grand compromise -- he bucks Big Oil and Detroit by raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards, while enviros grind their teeth and support oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
That dream was interrupted Thursday by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, who was in San Francisco to speak at the Commonwealth Club. He arrived here just as Congress passed a 1,745-page energy bill that doesn't do much to improve fuel efficiency but has billions of dollars in tax breaks for energy companies.
I've clung to this dream because raising fuel efficiency would reduce American demand for oil, while opening up ANWR would increase oil supply. Both measures would make America, which imports 58 percent of its oil, more energy independent.
Bodman, however, wasn't too interested in pushing hard for four-wheel fuel efficiency. The administration is concerned, he told me in an interview, about "the unintended consequences of increasing the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards on light vehicles" -- to wit: that higher CAFE standards could cause manufacturers to make lighter, and hence less safe, vehicles.
To my CAFE/ANWR proposal specifically, Bodman responded, "Your trade-off -- Does it make sense? Sure, you get A, and you give up B, and does that sort of thing make sense? Well, if you were going to make the change that you suggest, first of all you'd have to add an additional feature if you're producing vehicles that are just as safe or safer." (In other words, first you've got to call for measures that can impede fuel efficiency.)
The mechanics of legislation also get in the way. Congress had a chance to call for oil-conserving CAFE standards but failed. Don't think it is because Democrats didn't get what they wanted: Labor-loving Dems don't want
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
I would go read the rest of the article, because I think I might agree on some points with the author, but...
...I always feel as if I need to wash my keyboard after visiting the SF Chronicle.
"I HAVE a dream: President Bush pushes through a grand compromise -- he bucks Big Oil and Detroit by raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards, while enviros grind their teeth and support oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "
Apparently opium dens are still legal? What a pipe dream!!
Just think of the fuel savings if only we'd stop illegal aliens from crossing the border.
CAFE standards are exactly why people are paying $2.40 a gallon for gas.
Wow, proof that any thread can be turned into an illegal alien thread within four posts!
Well, as one who started driving in the '70s, in vehicles dating from the '60s and before, I would have to agree about the net effect of the CAFE standards.
Before anyone fires up the flames, keep in mind that crash survivability in the older vehicles, were one to install air bags, seat belts, and the other modern safety doo dads would be likely to be far better given the greater structural integrity of those older vehicles. I remember children getting in trouble for jumping on the car because they would scratch the paint!
When the Bobby Kennedy Jr. enviro-whacko crowd throws their Left-leaning weight behind constructing the Cape Wind project and all start driving hybrids, maybe I'll listen (just a little).
And electrical generation should be 100 percent coal. Zero natgas.
We continue to refuse to face the simple fact that we have killed and seriously injured tens of thousands of people with CAFE standards. There are far better ways but so far, big oil/big ethanol, big environment-as-a-fundraiser and big government have done a waltz to subsidize the problems rather than make any actual attempt to solve them; witness the Department of Energy. What have they done?
Don't forget nuclear.
I'd like to see us exceed france and get nuke power to supply around 85% of our energy needs.
What about all that gas we'd burn chasing after them?
" he bucks Big Oil and Detroit by raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards.... "
Naaah won't happen.
The Japs would dominate the automobile market quickly...
US consumption is about 20 Mb/d.
World consumption is nearly 84 Mb/d
World production is nearly 84 Mb/d
Can coal production be ramped up and coal plants be built fast enough to meet the comiong deficit? Can we afford the investment? Same for nukes, can we get them up and running soon enough to avoid a disjunct in energy production? Can we afford to build the plants in time?
Instead of building vehicles which can last for decades, we build throwaway vehicles which must be recycled and replaced.
Does that really save energy in the long run?
I have not seen anyone factor in the energy cost of replacing those vehicles every few years.
All our vehicles are '82 or older and still running fine.
Ideally production should run apace with consumption or more storage would be required; take out the politics and we could return to a more self-sufficient system.
Aluminum production and other industry such as copper production takes about 30% of our power generation in the northwest. There is some recovery of the metals in cars, but new metal production is needed anyway because there are more and more vehicles. There are about 220 million in the fleet and the number is still increasing.
To continue along the lines of anticipating future numbers, the 84 Mb/d may be very difficult to increase. Consumption would, of course, not exceed production.
And $20,000 for a tomato can to drive around in!
Had you bought a hybrid in '82, you would have replaced the $4,000 battery 2 or 3 times?
As it is we have to plug in engine heaters at night (and during the day, some days) during the winter to keep from damaging engines due to the cold. I doubt that I would only have had to replace the batteries 2 or 3 times since '82.
My daily driver/work vehicle is a '75 van with 282,000 miles on it.
My wife will part with her '78 Lincoln when they pry it from her cold, dead fingers.
CAFE standards have caused more fuel to be used than if they had never been enacted.
That's counter-intuitive. Would you care to explain that?
They caused the end of the full-size station wagon, and more-or-less, the full-size sedan. People wanted large cars, so they began buying trucks, which later became SUVs, once the manufacturers caught on. The end result was more, not less, fuel used.
I did some consulting in northern Canada. They told me it would be -40. I asked F or C? Doesn't make any diff they said, the two scales cross there!
It was -40!
On the one job an elderly lady 4 miles away reported an unofficial static air temp of -60F, and we had a 40 mph wind. THAT was cold. (-146 wind chill, from a US Army chart.) Thank God an Indian friend had given me an old Air Force parka, it saved my bacon...
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