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> Energy Independence, Can this plan work in America?
After reviewing the ei2025 plan, would you support it's implementation?
You cannot see the results of the poll until you have voted. Please login and cast your vote to see the results of this poll.
Total Votes: 26
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overlandsailor
post Aug 27 2005, 01:27 PM
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Thanks to a link provided by christopher in the ad.gif resources thumbsup.gif I learned about an interesting Grass Roots group in America called Americans for Energy Independence.

(I quick plug here. rolleyes.gif With all the information, debate, resource links, fun, etc, that ad.gif provides, have you considered: Donating to, Advertising on, or Subscribing to Americas Debate? thumbsup.gif )

Their goal is to achieve energy independence for America by 2025, focusing first on eliminating the need for Middle-Eastern Oil. The have an interesting and ambitious 20 year "Roadmap" geared towards achieving this.

Please review the plan (link). Within it you will find references to some alternative energy ideas some of you may have never heard of before like Thermal Depolymerization, Clean Coal, and ocean tidal technology development.

The big political problem it likely faces is the use of gasoline tax increases to fund various programs. Considering the high price of gas currently in America, I am no sure the we could get the majority behind these taxes.

However, the first five years of the plan does not include a tax increase at the pump. Perhaps, if American's see the benefits from the first five years, we could "sell" the tax increases of the next phases to them. Maybe we would need to fund the the plan federally for awhile, to get the ball in motion to reduce energy costs and then take advantage of the savings though tax increases of fossil fuels. That might be an easier "sell" (the big question there of course is where would the money come from?). hmmm.gif


For those who read through the plan, a few questions for debate:

Can this plan work? Will the financial gains expected from various parts of the plan every produce more for America then the costs of the plan? Why or Why not?

What would you change in this plan?

Are there technological options that the plan missed? If so, any idea why?

For those that support the plan: What approach would you suggest to help "sell" this plan to America?

For those who oppose the plan: What approach (if any) would you suggest America take instead of this plan?

This post has been edited by Jaime: Aug 4 2006, 11:35 PM
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overlandsailor
post Aug 27 2005, 01:55 PM
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I voted yes, but with some changes. I'll explain.

One interesting area in the plan for me is their seeming "lack of commitment" to hydrogen powered vehicles. They address HP cars through research dollars and then at the 5 to 10 year mark we see the "Go/No Go decision on large scale non-petroleum hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure roll-out". It made sense to me to build into the plan the possibility that hydrogen powered vehicles would not work for our long term needs in regards to reducing foreign energy independence. I think it is rather telling, as to how much thought went into the plan when you see that they address the possibility that hydrogen powered vehicles might not work out.

Looking into the issue a bit further I found another link on the Americans for Energy Independence site discussing the differences between what we can do with hydrogen and what we can do with hybrids. In the Hydrogen vs. Electric Hybrid Editorial on there site, the writer explains the difficulties with hydrogen vs. the possibilities of "Plug-In" Hybrids.

In reading this, I can see that Hydrogen might not be the magic bullet. Not just because of the energy required to create it, but also because of it's rather low efficiency. I think one change the plan could make is in focusing more efforts on the "Plug-In" hybrid vehicle and the development of more powerful, more efficient batteries (like Toshiba's recent advancement (Link)).

It seems possible to me that we could address the need for higher MPG vehicles without sacrificing vehicle size, safety, load capacity, performance, etc if we focus more efforts in this area. hmmm.gif

This post has been edited by overlandsailor: Aug 27 2005, 02:03 PM
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CruisingRam
post Aug 27 2005, 02:35 PM
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Being a car and motorcycle nut/junkie/gearhead- I see alot of "pie in the sky" energy plans out there when it comes to personal transportation.

My grandfather, in a fit of rage usually at one machine or another, and having to fabricate a part, often said "Neccesity IS NOT the mother of invention, it is just a plain mutha"

We change by emergency and pain- never with forsight and careful rationalization when talking about the human species. The internal combustion engine itself is the problem here- we should be talking external combustion engines i.e.- steam powered. We have the tech now to make them safe and not so large- I can't figure out why we are not doing it. Solar and wind power are not reliable 24/7- and some places don't have much sun or wind (Alaska comes right to mind thumbsup.gif w00t.gif whistling.gif )

So what is left? Bio diesel sound great- but how much of what kind of plant do we need? Do we have enough arable land to make it feasible, at full consumption?

The first steam powered vehicles should be of the semi variety- that would probably work, considering thier size and what is demanded of thier engines- they don't have to accelerate fast, gearing could take up most of that issue, and diesel powered semi's operate at a pretty narrow power band already- something suited to steam motors.

I don't think ANY plan we have right now addresses our society's energy needs- we are a society based on personal transportation- and it may be our downfall, more than any other issue, by a longshot.

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overlandsailor
post Aug 27 2005, 03:07 PM
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QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Aug 27 2005, 09:35 AM)
...The internal combustion engine itself is the problem here- we should be talking external combustion engines i.e.- steam powered. We have the tech now to make them safe and not so large- I can't figure out why we are not doing it. Solar and wind power are not reliable 24/7- and some places don't have much sun or wind (Alaska comes right to mind  thumbsup.gif  w00t.gif  whistling.gif )

<snip>

The first steam powered vehicles should be of the semi variety- that would probably work, considering thier size and what is demanded of thier engines- they don't have to accelerate fast, gearing could take up most of that issue, and diesel powered semi's operate at a pretty narrow power band already- something suited to steam motors.
*



Do you have any links to good sites that cover the possibilities of Steam powered vehicles? I would be interested in reading more about this. One of the problems I could see with this is how do we generate the steam? Steam is created and maintained through heat. Something has to create and maintain that heat. I would like to learn more on how this can be accomplished. It would seem to me that steam may suffer from the same problems as hydrogen in regards to generation of it.
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Erasmussimo
post Aug 27 2005, 04:12 PM
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Can this plan work? Will the financial gains expected from various parts of the plan every produce more for America then the costs of the plan? Why or Why not?
I like this plan. It brings together a lot of good ideas and has the guts to require sacrifice in the right places. We can have sacrifice forced upon us by reality, in which case it can hurt in the wrong places, or we can plan the sacrifice so that it does the least actual harm. I think this plan does exactly this. The sacrifices are concentrated on large and less efficient automobiles, which are the single most easily fixed source of waste in our energy system. The plan has a good sense of balance, with efforts directed in many directions.

What would you change in this plan?
I definitely don't like its recommendations about solar electricity, which might become cost-effective in the southwest in the next decade, but is definitely a waste of money anywhere else. We're much better off getting solar water heating first, then partial solar space heating. Solar photovoltaic should come last.
They mixed up "inter" with "intra" when talking about intracity commercial vehicles.
I definitely don't like their proposals that are hostile towards OPEC. Energy independence isn't about revenge, it's about making us independent of OPEC. Hurting OPEC members only stirs up a hornet's nest that we don't need to mess with.
I would prefer taxation to mandation. For example, they would mandate radical MPG increases on all vehicles; I would simply tax vehicles by exhaust pollution and MPG, and then let rich people drive their SUVs -- they'd be paying for the poor people to take mass transit.
I don't think they put enough emphasis on mass transit, the need for which will increase as the cost of automobile transportation increases.
I don't like tax rebates for those who can prove that their vocation requires a low MPG vehicle. That's a can of worms. Let the economy adjust to economic realities.
They place too much emphasis on tidal and geothermal. Geothermal doesn't have much expansion capacity -- we're already tapping all the good spots, except places like Yellowstone and Lassen. Who wants industrial facilities next to Old Faithful? Tidal is certainly feasible but requires some special geography. The Bay of Fundy is the best place in the world for tidal power, but still hasn't reached economic viability. The problem with tidal is that it gives you four big surges of power each day, and during the off-peak period they're useless. Moreover, those surges have no relationship to peak demand, so in terms of peak load issues, they're utterly useless. We can handle this with natural gas turbines to handle peak load, and make the tidal stations partial contributors to base loading, but it gets really complicated, because you can't readily throttle the big plants (coal and nuclear) up and down on short notice.

Are there technological options that the plan missed? If so, any idea why?
They missed oil shale, and they said nothing about nuclear, which should be part of the mix.

For those that support the plan: What approach would you suggest to help "sell" this plan to America?
Right now, there are millions of gas stations all over the country doing their best to sell this plan. Every time a consumer buys gas, he realizes that we need to do something. I think we should jump on the current situation and act while people are still shocked.
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Bill55AZ
post Aug 27 2005, 04:38 PM
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I voted yes, with changes. 20 years won't be long enough to effect the kinds of changes that are needed.
I joined the site, and suggest to any out there who are interested also join. As far as I know, it is the only site/forum of this type.
Correct me if I am wrong....
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Christopher
post Aug 27 2005, 05:26 PM
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http://www.setamericafree.org/

In many aspects of life Americans have become lazy and fail to harness our ability to not just create the new--but profit from it. I would say "American businesses" will soon regret our failings of both work ethic and weak education ethic--but it is the American citizen who will feel this pain. Business will go on--just on foreign shores.

I feel little sorrow for those who hold no decent level of education for I believe firmly you are on your way to a permanent third world style life. Hopefully you have not consigned your children to it as well---although I guess I will always need someone to mow my lawn. thumbsup.gif

The weakness of America in regards to our energy policy and allowing our dependance on yesteryear's technology makes a crackwhore look both responsible and full of will power.

The lame story excuse of " the consumer defines the market" is pure garbage because if offered a decent vehicle that does not look like a lump on wheels for a decent price American consumers would snap up vehicles that save them money--which for most Americans is dearly needed at home.

But hey for those in the oil business
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/b...pt11boom27.html
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1207035.cms

Our oil dependance is great news. Anyone want to guess if alquaeda will also benefit from this? I certainly think so.

Instead of being the leaders in the fields of not "alternative" fuel sources but "THE" fuel sources of the future, we are the followers. We should own these new ventures and be the first to create these markets. Instead we have become either followers or worse--customers.

For those that support the plan: What approach would you suggest to help "sell" this plan to America?

I would start by appealing to the greed. Less fuel is more money in your pockets.

Americans sense of decency: Why should we send our own to die to maintain oil access for the benefits of the few.

If Unions ever want to regain any power they should hammer the auto industry to get ahead of the curve and should also make the sacrifices to get these technologies on the streets. This will give you great jobs for future union members.

This goes for my fellow Americans--wanna make money off the stock market--these new technologies mass produced and sold to a energy starved world will result in untold amounts of wealth to those who produce them---Those who buy will get squat.

Think about all the new jobs!!!!!!!!

What about simple pride. We are Americans--We should be better than the rest. us.gif

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CruisingRam
post Aug 27 2005, 10:03 PM
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OS- sorry I do not have any links, only can tell you some of my families own experimentation with it-

A couple of points gearheads know, that escapes those that, jump in thier car, turn the key, offer a prayer to the transportation gods, and go to work LOL w00t.gif

1) internal combustion engines are used NOT because they are or can be over 30% efficient, but rather, because they are small and light- it is a tradeoff for size and explosive power vs using every erg of fuel for forward movement.

2) Most of your power in your car goes right out the exhaust- it is lost energy- i.e.- heat.

Also, the fuel we burn today, no matter what the induction system, is a "heterogeneous mixture"- meaning, there are drops of fuel atomized and floating in air, and in the most effecient and best motors "X" amount of raw fuel goes out the tail pipe.

So- with an external combustion engine- HEAT provides the power itself- so, there is very little "going out the tail pipe"-

Diesels are more efficient simply because they don't use a spark plug to initiate combustion- no parasitic power loss just to keep the combustion going, compression itself creates pressure, which creates heat, which creates "boom" LOL

Turbine engines are the most efficient internal combustion of all- because combustion is not started and stopped- it is continually burning, and no moving part provides the initiating spark- and the fuel, in a good turbine is burnt almost completely, though some raw fuel does escape.

Turbines are expensive for parts though- that is why they are used primarily for large scale expensive items- jets, power generation plants.

Now, back to steam, it is scientifically POSSIBLE to obtain 99% efficiency from a steam engine- because all power generating combustables can be used to create power, with cool air exiting the stack.

I have built a steam engine to run logging equipment with my father- and burnt about a cord of wood in a day, and had we a diesel generator of the same power output- we would have burned hundreds of dollars of diesel per day! As long as you keep the pressure up on the steam engine, and have a good heat recycling system (think of a liquor still here with coils transfering heat back to the combustion area) - you don't need much energy to maintain it once you get combustion started- though, bringing the water to a boil initially takes some energy- and that is why steam engines, from what I have read, haven't achieved maximum efficiency yet- once they are producing steam, it doesn't take much energy to keep the "mo" going.

However:

Steam engines are large

Steam engines operate with, usually, air packed into a tiny space, which means, it is not idiot proof right now and could go "boom" - but I think if we concentrated as much effort on building safe steam engines as we do making gas motors more efficient, which is really a lost cause in the end, we would probably have vehicles that use 1/10 the energy our most fuel efficient cars do now!

And something I mentioned about heterogenous mixtures earlier- the late great race car pioneer Smokey Yunik came up with a homogenous system in the 80s, looked very promising, but I think it had longevity problems, Toyota made him a very rich man for the patent, but they have never produced it, and the conspiracy theorists point to it like the modern 200mpg carberator (never existed, a fairy tale) as car companies buying patents and hiding the tech, but most think it had some safety and longevity issues - remember, a car made and sold in a western market has to meet rigorous "dummy proofing" LOL

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TedN5
post Aug 27 2005, 10:17 PM
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Can this plan work? Will the financial gains expected from various parts of the plan every produce more for America then the costs of the plan? Why or Why not?

This is a good plan for discussion but very very difficult to gain public support for and even harder to get enacted into legislation. The public is too wedded to their big cars and wasteful ways while both the President (any president) and the Congress are too tied into the fossil fuels industry to take such a fundamental step - even with the "clean coal" subsidy included. Politicians on the right would continue with their cry against any new taxes and the public would respond - at least until we are over the energy cliff.

Overall, the plan isn't too different than what the Carter Administration attempted in the 1976 to 1980 period. Their program included heavy subsidies to improved energy efficiency, wind, solar, and other renewable energy research - which I whole-heartedly supported. It also included heavy subsidies to create a substantial synthetic fuels industry including $20 billion for oil shale, another large commitment for coal gasification, and other technologies - which I opposed and still do without tight environmental controls including CO2 sequestration.

Even if there were some dead ends in subsidized technologies the benefits to the general society would far out weigh the costs.

What would you change in this plan?

Because of the political difficulties alluded to above, I favor a plan that subsidizes new technological development and eliminates subsidies to fossil fuels use, but that allows the market to chose between the available alternatives. The one thing I would subsidize heavily is a massive improvement in the end use efficiency of all energy. This potential is not emphasized enough in the roadmap. I highly recommend reading at least the Executive Summary to RMI's Winning the Oil Endgame. This is a detailed 372 page analysis of what is possible using existing technology to achieve energy independence. Some of you may want to look at the Rocky Mountain Institute home page and link to things like RMI's Advance Automotive News and from there to their Hyper Car, Hydrogen, and the Automotive Transition.

Are there technological options that the plan missed? If so, any idea why?

The potential for improved efficiency is the main oversight.

For those that support the plan: What approach would you suggest to help "sell" this plan to America?

Changing it to eliminate the tax or at least change the tax to one that is refunded on a per vehicle or per commuter basis which would punish large and inefficient vehicle owners and reward efficient ones and those who rode mass transit. This could be advertised as revenue neutral and might go over better. Subsidies for alternative research could be funded from subsidies removed from fossil fuel production.

For those who oppose the plan: What approach (if any) would you suggest America take instead of this plan?

I don't really oppose it but view it as politically unviable. I have suggested that the Lovin's approach as presented by RMI is more soundly researched and more practical politically. On the other hand, the power of the entrenched fossil fuel industry to resist any change that hurts it financially or lessens its control of energy should not be underestimated. It will take a protracted struggle to enact any positive energy policy.

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Trouble
post Aug 28 2005, 07:27 PM
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QUOTE
Can this plan work? Will the financial gains expected from various parts of the plan every produce more for America then the costs of the plan? Why or Why not?


I think some parts of this plan could work. Until the discussed systems are in place and people can assess the extent of their use - finding a dollar cost will be difficult.

Of the three technologies listed I know of two that are in development.

For clean coal I watched Alberta's Epcor plant finish contruction last year

I heard that New York is setting up an underwater wind farm around the manhatten area. I don't have a link.

QUOTE
What would you change in this plan?


After reading Matt Simmon's book Twilight in the Desert the biggest motivator for change will be 100 dollar/barrel oil. Speculation among economists have put oil around the 70 dollar mark for the winter of 05-06.

Should another unforseen jump in oil occur, Simmons recommends first cutting the trucking industry and returning to a rail system. Supposedly the largest gains will be from taking trucks off the road.

Not really mentioned but I have watched new investment into LNG terminals take place. I do not feel this is a step in the right direction with falling production.

I would reduce importing liquified LNG into the american economy. It is declining in Canada and is America's largest importer. Money spent in this area will be diverted capital that could be better spent elsewhere.

QUOTE
Are there technological options that the plan missed? If so, any idea why?


I think there should be a greater emphais on making existing homes R2000 compliant.

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Hobbes
post Aug 29 2005, 04:47 AM
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Can this plan work? Will the financial gains expected from various parts of the plan every produce more for America then the costs of the plan? Why or Why not?

Let's play devil's advocate a bit, here.

1. We buy new vehicles with the goal of improving MPG by 30-40% . Where is the money for this going to come from? How much more are these new vehicles going to cost? How many people will actually buy them (high mileage vehicles are available today...if the public really wanted them, we wouldn't need this plan). I think this is very pie in the sky, and completely devoid of any details--which is indicative of either naivete or the difficulty of achieving this result.

2. We retrofit homes with solar electric installations
Again, where is the money for this coming from? Solar panels are available currently...if they were that economical, they'd already be everywhere.

3. Federal Government phases in a $1 per gallon tax on gasoline and a $10 per barrel VAT tax on all OPEC imported oil .

The problem with oil taxes is that they are very regressive. So, who is actually going to push for this? Especially given that the returns are 20-25 years down the road...which is of little concern for politicians trying to get or stay elected now.

I don't see any cost-benefit analysis...maybe because there aren't any costs present...or economical benefits, either.. What would be the impact on our economy of a $1/gal tax on gas? How much money would that raise? What would be the costs of all these proposed programs? Would the money raised be sufficient? What if it isn't?

In short, while there are many things in this 'plan' I like...it has a long, long ways to go before it deserves that moniker. Right now, it's essentially something a couple of knowledgeable people might put together over a few beers on a couple of napkins. It might take 20-25 years for it to become enough of a plan to even start to be something that could be enacted. The most glaring omission is any mention of the cost of any of the programs proposed. Until that is present, this isn't a plan, it's a wish list.






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Just Leave me Al...
post Aug 29 2005, 07:02 AM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 29 2005, 12:47 AM)
Federal Government phases in a $1 per gallon tax on gasoline and a $10 per barrel VAT tax on all OPEC imported oil .

The problem with oil taxes is that they are very regressive.  So, who is actually going to push for this?  Especially given that the returns are 20-25 years down the road...which is of little concern for politicians trying to get or stay elected now. 

I don't see any cost-benefit analysis...maybe because there aren't any costs present...or economical benefits, either..  What would be the impact on our economy of a $1/gal tax on gas?  How much money would that raise?  What would be the costs of all these proposed programs?  Would the money raised be sufficient?  What if it isn't? 
*


I was completely with you Hobbes, until you got to the gas tax. I had to cop out on this one and put I don't know because of exactly what you said, we don't know the costs. This roadmap seems to be rightfully concerned with oil, but it seems to me that we wouldn't want to encourage solar in the Northeast as it is less effective there. Yet the Northeast is where much of the homes heated with oil are. They would be better served with geothermal. There is no distinction and therefore, no incentive to make smarter choices based on effectiveness that I see. If the solar panel is free, why not get one no matter where you live.

We have answered many of the gasoline tax questions here. If phased in at 10 cents a year for 10 years, it raises over $100 billion in year 10(about $12 billion in year 1). I don't know the costs of the programs, but that amount of cash could certainly cover business expenses to lower fuel economy to meet a new fleet average. As for how to sell it, I don't know. The tax is regressive, but it would fix the problem long term. How do you sell a long term fix to the American public? Social security reform has come close after 20 years of education efforts. unsure.gif

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Hobbes
post Aug 29 2005, 02:51 PM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Aug 29 2005, 01:02 AM)
We have answered many of the gasoline tax questions here.  If phased in at 10 cents a year for 10 years, it raises over $100 billion in year 10(about $12 billion in year 1).  I don't know the costs of the programs, but that amount of cash could certainly cover business expenses to lower fuel economy to meet a new fleet average.  As for how to sell it, I don't know.  The tax is regressive, but it would fix the problem long term.  How do you sell a long term fix to the American public?  Social security reform has come close after 20 years of education efforts.  unsure.gif
*



Calculating how much the gas tax might bring in (Thanks!) is the easy part...figuring out realistically how much the proposed programs might cost, or the economic impact of imposing the tax, is the hard part. The plan talks about replacing the entire gasoline distribution system...and that's just one part of their plan. That part alone could easily eat up the entire amount collected from the gas tax, leaving nothing left for the other programs.

Other aspects not dealt with in this plan:

What about workforce relocation for all those employed in the oil industry?
What about decommissioning the refineries and gas stations, which could otherwise become an environmental hazard?
What about the impact that collapsing the economies of the Middle East (already in shambles) will have on foreign relations and our fight against terrorism?
What about the impact singling out OPEC oil for the VAT tax might have on the same?

I bring all these questions up not because I am against coming up with a plan, or disagree with the goal. As I stated in other threads, there is a reason our energy plans have focused on supply as they have...and its not just because of Big Oil. Our entire economy is oil-centric. Changing that is going to going to be extremely difficult, and will certainly cost many hundred of billions of dollars. That is very hard to justify when you have an existing system that already provides everything that is needed, and provides them more economically than the alternatives. It is further harder to justify when all of the various alternatives can take off on their own when, as the price of oil rises, they become economically feasible. Is it really justified to spend those hundreds of billions of dollars on a problem that is self-correcting? Or, to put it another way....which governmental programs should we cut to come up with the money (and I can tell you right now that defense, while an easy answer, isn't going to be it)?

Plans to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil have been in the works for several decades. There is a very simple reason none of them have been successfully implemented...oil is very hard to replace economically. The cold hard reality is that it probably is better to extend supply, and that as prices rise, other alternatives will become economically attractive and take off on their own. ANY plan that seeks to change this MUST demonstrate need and economic justification, or it's dead in the water.
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Just Leave me Al...
post Aug 29 2005, 03:11 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 29 2005, 10:51 AM)
Calculating how much the gas tax might bring in (Thanks!) is the easy part...figuring out realistically how much the proposed programs might cost, or the economic impact of imposing the tax, is the hard part. 
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We can certainly guess the impact to the economy from a gas tax. Prices have shot up $0.73 from last year. It's reasonable to think $0.10 a year would have less economic impact than the natural price adjustments that we are seeing now.
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 29 2005, 10:51 AM)
Plans to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil have been in the works for several decades.  There is a very simple reason none of them have been successfully implemented...oil is very hard to replace economically.  The cold hard reality is that it probably is better to extend supply, and that as prices rise, other alternatives will become economically attractive and take off on their own.  ANY plan that seeks to change this MUST demonstrate need and economic justification, or it's dead in the water.
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Please show me a serious plan that has addressed lowering demand Hobbes. Have we closed the loophole on SUV mileage standards? Lowered the fleet average? Increased the gasoline tax? Token tax incentives and the allowing of highway funds to be used for sidewalks and bike paths are the only things that I have seen. Our demand for oil has increased year over year for two decades. Am I missing something?

The cold hard reality is that you can not extend supply to a point that it will make America independent of foreign oil. Extending supply just lines the pockets of many of the countries that are sympathetic to terrorists because it just leads to extending demand. We need to do both because continuing down the path we are on will prolong the war on terror IMO. Why attack militarily if you are not going to attack economically? It's infuriating because dollar for dollar, the terrorists are kicking our butts. We spend way more to hurt them and promote our cause than they spend to hurt us and promote theirs. If this continues on, we have to lose. That is unless we can convince the American people to sacrifice so that we can hit the fundamentalists where it hurts - the wallet.

This post has been edited by Just Leave me Alone!: Aug 29 2005, 03:12 PM
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Bill55AZ
post Aug 29 2005, 03:23 PM
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Well, Hobbes, if you are going to interject cold, hard logic into the equation, you are going to take all the fun out of this issue. tongue.gif

Certainly just about anything we decide to do as a nation, with both sides of congress cooperating, can be accomplished. Hopefully the next presidential election will provide us with some leadership that can accomplish that first hurdle, again, getting both sides of the political arena to agree that we must do something now. A gas tax to pay for it is basically a consumption tax, so the heavy users pay the heavier price. I can go for that.

I don't see us being able to simply or easily leapfrog from what is currently a liquid fuels supply for our vehicles to a gaseous fuels one. Currently existing gaseous fuels may become more expensive or in short supply, just like oil. Hydrogen is still a long term prospect. And if what we do ends up making our cars extremely complicated to maintain is part of the answer, we had better beef up our schools so we have the large numbers of technicians that will be needed.

If car makers will first provide us with more multi-fuel engines, it will be a major first step. But there has to be a multi-fuel supply, and until government gets behind the idea and subsidizes the startup phase of such a transition, it won't happen. That takes money, so we are back to more taxes.

Until the taxing/funding for new fuels happens, we will just have to learn to use less of what we have.
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Hobbes
post Aug 29 2005, 03:41 PM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Aug 29 2005, 09:11 AM)
Please show me a serious plan that has addressed lowering demand Hobbes.  Have we closed the loophole on SUV mileage standards?  Lowered the fleet average?  Increased the gasoline tax?  Token tax incentives and the allowing of highway funds to be used for sidewalks and bike paths are the only things that I have seen.  Our demand for oil has increased year over year for two decades.  Am I missing something? 


There have been some implemented, but the lack of any major plans is proof of exactly what I have been talking about....most of them have never been implemented, or even gotten into serious discussion in Washington. Why? Because of all the problems I am trying to bring to light.

Consider this: Washington State eliminates HOV lanes
HOV lanes are underutilized around the country, and yet they represent probably the simplest, easiest way to reduce gasoline consumption. People who use them would save not just gas, but time as well. Yet they're almost always relatively empty. This is very indicative of the problem....Americans love driving their cars, they are going to drive the cars they want to drive, and it will be very difficult to get them to change.

QUOTE
Extending supply just lines the pockets of many of the countries that are sympathetic to terrorists because it just leads to extending demand.  We need to do both because continuing down the path we are on will prolong the war on terror IMO.  Why attack militarily if you are not going to attack economically?  It's infuriating because dollar for dollar, the terrorists are kicking our butts.  We spend way more to hurt them and promote our cause than they spend to hurt us and promote theirs.  If this continues on, we have to lose.  That is unless we can convince the American people to sacrifice so that we can hit the fundamentalists where it hurts - the wallet.


Yes, cutting off funding to these countries might indeed have a positive effect..but then again it might incite mass violence and make the problem much worse. My point is that it must be discussed in whatever plan is put forth, with reasonable analysis and justified conclustions. It isn't even mentioned in this plan, which is a glaring omission, IMHO. In fact, this plan doesn't really discuss anything...it is simply a wish list of available alternatives. Any one of us could come up with a similar list in 30 minutes or so....and those lists would probably look very good on the surface. But, dig in a little deeper and start examining real costs and real impacts, and most plans rapidly fall apart, mainly due to the massive scope of the issue, and the fact that alternatives simply aren't economical. Put another way...all such plans skirt around the fact that our entire economy is based on oil. Changing that is going to take a MASSIVE investment, which is going to require MASSIVE funding. A few billion here and there isn't even going to dent it, or even a few tens of billions...we would more likely be talking hundreds of billions or even several trillions of dollars. This plan talks about retrofitting homes with solar panels...lets do a little math on just this one, small part of their plan. Forget the solar part...investment in any alternative is likely to be similar in scale.

Let's assume 4 people per house. Let's further assume $20,000 per house to retrofit. That's $5,000 per person...just for that one part. Do you have $5,000 to give? I don't. Then start mulitplying that for the other parts of the plan. You're going to quickly get to $40,000 or $50,000 per person (not taxpayer...person). That's $150-$200,000/household. Sure, there would be some cost savings to offset this...but the investment comes up front, and that money has to come from somewhere. Just a cursory examination of the costs shows why it is omitted from this plan....the numbers simply wouldn't add up. That is why we've got the energy plan we do...and why any plan seeking to really change things must have sound economic justification to be considered. Otherwise, we're likely to spend many tens of billions of dollars, and still have the very same situation we do right now, only with more debt.

Again, I'm intentionally playing devil's advocate here. Solving this problem is not going to be easy, and it will take a lot more than a little wish list. Facing up to the tremendous costs of changing things must be done to have a realistic chance of success. I'm not against doing that...I am against going off half-cocked without a reasonable idea of just what things are really going to cost and how we're going to pay for them. Otherwise, we're going to be stuck with both high gas prices AND higher taxes...not exactly the outcome any of us should want.
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Just Leave me Al...
post Aug 29 2005, 03:54 PM
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I'm not arguing that this plan is feasible, or even good for that matter. So we are in agreement on this plan. I am arguing that the gas tax by itself is a feasible solution so maybe this would be better served under that topic. I am also arguing that nothing serious has been done to decrease consumption and that it is paramount to national security that this change. Of course it isn't going to be easy. My question is where has been the call to sacrifice from our leaders been these past 4 years? The military men and women are frustrated that the public does not seem to even notice the work they are doing, or that the public does not seem to want to be a part of the solution. If asked, I believe that the public would step up.

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Bill55AZ
post Aug 29 2005, 04:59 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Aug 29 2005, 03:41 PM)
Put another way...all such plans skirt around the fact that our entire economy is based on oil.  Changing that is going to take a MASSIVE investment, which is going to require MASSIVE funding.  A few billion here and there isn't even going to dent it, or even a few tens of billions...we would more likely be talking hundreds of billions or even several trillions of dollars.  This plan talks about retrofitting homes with solar panels...lets do a little math on just this one, small part of their plan.  Forget the solar part...investment in any alternative is likely to be similar in scale.

Let's assume 4 people per house.  Let's further assume $20,000 per house to retrofit.  That's $5,000 per person...just for that one part.  Do you have $5,000 to give?  I don't.  Then start mulitplying that for the other parts of the plan.  You're going to quickly get to $40,000 or $50,000 per person (not taxpayer...person).  That's $150-$200,000/household.  Sure, there would be some cost savings to offset this...but the investment comes up front, and that money has to come from somewhere.  Just a cursory examination of the costs shows why it is omitted from this plan....the numbers simply wouldn't add up.  That is why we've got the energy plan we do...and why any plan seeking to really change things must have sound economic justification to be considered.  Otherwise, we're likely to spend many tens of billions of dollars, and still have the very same situation we do right now, only with more debt.
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Retrofitting homes for solar electric, IMHO, is the most wrong thing we can do at this point, especially if those homes are old, drafty, poorly insulated, etc. Wait, old doesn't matter, there are new homes being built that fit that description.
The progress that we have made with vehicle emissions is partly due to better engine design, lighter materials, overdrive transmissions, and the like, but mostly due to the fact that the average age of a car that could be considered a daily driver is probably only a few years. Nearly all the really old cars are gone, with a great deal of those that are still here being used infrequently. I have a 79 that gets used less than 2000 miles a year, and it still easily passes the emission requirements for its age bracket.

Consider the average age of our houses. We should have mandated stiffer requirements, on our buildings the same time, and same way, that we did for our vehicles. That was over 30 years ago.

And there should be expensive civil penalties for those builders/contractors who knowingly violate those requirements. My home is 11 years old, and I watched over the construction carefully. I caught the drywall man putting up sheetrock BEFORE the insulators had completed their job. He was on a schedule, and it wasn't his house, so he didn't care.

We may not be able to make everyone else care, but we can make it expensive enough for them to consider changing their attitudes about wasting energy whether in their homes or vehicles.
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Hobbes
post Aug 29 2005, 05:02 PM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Aug 29 2005, 09:54 AM)
I'm not arguing that this plan is feasible, or even good for that matter.  So we are in agreement on this plan.  I am arguing that the gas tax by itself is a feasible solution so maybe this would be better served under that topic.  I am also arguing that nothing serious has been done to decrease consumption and that it is paramount to national security that this change.  Of course it isn't going to be easy.  My question is where has been the call to sacrifice from our leaders been these past 4 years?  The military men and women are frustrated that the public does not seem to even notice the work they are doing, or that the public does not seem to want to be a part of the solution.  If asked, I believe that the public would step up.
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The gas tax is indeed a potential solution...economically. It simultaneously raises money while making alternatives more economically viable. However, it's effect on the overall economy should be considered...and ignoring the political repurcussions might doom an otherwise sound plan to failure. But, in all honesty, I don't see an energy plan working without a gas tax...otherwise there won't be sufficient incentive to change.

I also think the American public would step up if required. Unfortunately, this goes against everything else they've been told the past few decades...namely that someone else is always responsible; hat the government is there to give them money, not the opposite; and that everything has a quick fix which won't really cost them a thing. Changing that is possibly an even bigger problem than our dependence on foreign oil. I also think they'll only step up if the economics of whatever plan is put forward are sound, and that the costs and benefits are clearly laid out. They'll need to know exactly what sacrifices they're going to make, why they're making them, what will happen because of those sacrifices, when it will happen and how much it will cost, and what benefits they'll get from it. I would also add that they should know what the other options were, and why they weren't chosen.
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CyndiLoo
post Sep 13 2005, 03:17 AM
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While I applaud the people attempting to implement the changes indicated in this plan for their willingness to address these difficult issues, I have to vote no. It seems the only goal of this plan is to attempt to become independent of foreign dependency for fuel sources. This plan is not scientifically researched from a technological perspective. The technologies in this plan do not a) alleviate dependency on fuel sources from the earth which are limited and at some point will be depleted, cool.gif promote the wellness of the planet, or c) realistically address cost effectiveness issues associated with the implementation and operation of the stated fuel alternatives.

Bio-diesel and Thermal Depolymerization burn just as much energy as it takes to create them. Clean coal would still be limited in scope, and stripping the coal from the earth damages the earth. Wind Power is not reliable, and needs batteries to store the energy, which would continue to contribute to issues concerning battery disposal. Ocean Tidal Technology systems can have environmental impacts on tidal basins because of reduced tidal flow and silt buildup. Photovoltaics are not cost effective or practical, and again there is the issue of batteries, which are not only limited in the amount of energy they can store, but also a waste hazard.

There is one technology not cited in this plan that to my knowledge is perfectly clean, stores energy for a week without using a battery, and is amazingly cost effective to implement as compared to other technologies now in use. This technology is called a Solar Power Tower. Here is a link: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumerinfo/pdfs/solar_tower.pdf

A Power Tower generates electricity from sunlight by focusing concentrated solar radiation on a tower-mounted heat exchanger (receiver). This system uses sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight onto the receiver. It utilizes molten salt stored in an insulated storage tank. The insulated tank can retain the temperature of the molten salt for up to a week, much longer than current battery storage is able to achieve. The idea is the concentrated sunlight hits the mirror, is reflected to the heat exchanger which heats the salt. The salt is stored in the hot salt storage tank. The salt proceeds to be processed through a conventional Rankinecycle turbine/generator system. The generator uses the molten salt to create steam in which it uses to create electricity. The salt is recycled back through a cold salt storage tank where the process begins again.

Power Towers are already in use in Spain, Italy, Japan, France, Russia, and the U.S.A. One thing to note about this perfectly pure stand-alone solar process is the government is attempting to modify it into a partially fossil fueled technology. Excuse me one moment while I gasp with exasperation!

If this type of stand-alone technology were used widespread, then perhaps some of the hybrid and electric vehicles would be much more feasible as a reliable, although not entirely environmental friendly option.

It is not effective both from a cost perspective or an energy perspective to burn as much or in some instances more fuel than what a process is able to generate during the creation of some of the fuels listed in this plan. In addition, the cost to implement some of the technologies listed in this plan does not justify the amount of energy savings to be realized after the technology is in place. It seems really unrealistic and disappointingly not thought through to consider only the manipulation of tax dollars and consumer consumption costs when creating a multi-diverse plan with widespread implications.

My thought is perhaps the U.S. Government should declare a national emergency and provide funding for research into new applied technologies in which America can truly become not only nondependent of foreign fuels, but also environmentally sound. We have only one planet in which to live.

Cyndi

This post has been edited by CyndiLoo: Sep 13 2005, 03:18 AM
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