If we could become independent from foreign oil, many of our problems will be solved. We wouldn't have to make up excuses to occupy and control oil producing nations. Our reputation in the world would grow from destabilizing fewer nations. The money we would save from not having to protect foreign oil investments alone is worth the change. A combined effort consisting of alternative fuels, conservation, and efficiency will play a role in shaking off this evil monkey.
Many years ago, some long-haired slacker had nothing better to do than watch apples fall from the tree; he came up with this:
Force = Mass * Acceleration
In this formula, if the acceleration is kept the same and mass is halved, the force is also halved. If you reduce the weight of a vehicle by half, then the amount of energy needed to move it is also cut in half. Although this does not equate to a doubling of mpg, because other forces (resistance) are acting equally on both examples, there will still be a significant increase in mileage. Half the mass traveling on the roads saves not only fuel, but a tremendous amount of natural resources along with their associated transportation costs.
Reducing the mass in cars through the use of different materials and by innovative design is helping to bring the average mass per passenger vehicle down. The popularity of the SUV, however, has more than offset these advances. When you drive to work, observe how many people drive alone in a vehicle that will carry five, six, or sometimes 13 passengers. Some people need the capacity or capability (4WD) of certain automobiles, and they should have the right to use them. Most of us are driving way too much automobile. Reevaluating your present transportation situation could lead to changes that benefit the environment and your pocketbook.
When the weight of automobiles was reduced in the late seventies through the mid eighties, traffic fatalities went up. Today, through design and the use of constantly developing alloys and materials, cars are retaining the crash survivability of heavier models. Packing a few thousand pounds less to the convenience store is a simple and inexpensive (probably saves you $) method of energy conservation.
Efficiency is a percentage of how much power is produced compared to the potential power of the fuel being consumed. There is no argument that the potential energy of ethanol is less than gasoline. The people who argue against ethanol stop giving you information at this point. What isn't addressed is the fact that you can modify your gasoline engine to run pure ethyl alcohol and achieve greater returns. There are numerous websites with this information. Race cars use alcohol, and they are all about power and efficiency.
Using food crops, or crops within our food chain (feed corn), can not be expected to fulfill our fuel needs without adversely affecting the food markets. Also, corn isn't a very good source of ethyl alcohol. Many crops can be grown in a wide range of climates that are better suited to producing fuels.
Problems exist in the transportation of ethyl alcohol, due to a caustic interaction with certain types of rubber. The seals in established pipelines and their replacement costs are the main concerns in this area. If the alcohol being produced is wide-spread with many smaller refineries, over-the-road transportation is all that is needed. Transportation costs overall should come down as fuels are produced locally. Related industry will then supply steady jobs benefiting the local economy. Biodeisel does not share the transportation issues that exist with alcohol.
These are a few of many steps toward freeing ourselves from the shackles of foreign oil, and remember, freedom is neither easy nor free.Tweet