Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Displacing oil as America's car fuel might seem to be the ultimate in tilting at windmills, but an electric- car future has become a realistic political possibility because of an uncommon confluence of forces. For economic, environmental, and national security reasons, a wide array of interests, ranging from local governments to the neocons, are backing the push for plug-ins.
(Even the new, improved, 'environmenatally aware' and awkwardly 'green' White House is giving voice in support of the plug-in hybrid, in what many cynics see as nothing more than a Rove inspired attempt to divert attention away from Bush's glaring unpopularity and incompetence to lead the country intelligently. See: Bush Urges Funding for Alternative Energy and President Participates in Energy Conservation & Efficiency Panel).
Yes, even such notable national security hawks as Robert McFarlane, Frank Gaffney, and James Woolsey have launched a drive they call "Set America Free" to get our country off oil. Citing shrinking supplies, rising demand, and higher costs of oil that mostly comes from regions of the world hostile to the U.S., the neocons are hot behind a four-year crash program to slash oil consumption drastically. The centerpiece of their plan is to provide governmental incentives and mandates for the mass marketing of flexiblefuel plug-in vehicles.
Both private utilities and public power plants are enthusiastic plugin hybrid backers (for the obvious reason that transportation would be a massive new market for their product). Add in NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and other environmental groups, state and local governments, renewable energy advocates, urban planners, entrepreneurs, health groups, and others—and the impossible becomes possible.
The City of Austin has been in the forefront of this burgeoning grassroots movement. Last September, the council okayed a "Gas Optional Vehicle Incentive Program." It will offer $1,000 rebates to the first 1,000 Austin buyers of plug-ins, promote such vehicles to local businesses, commit the city to purchasing plug-ins for its fleet, work with other cities with municipally owned utilities, and encourage America's 50 largest cities to adopt a similar incentive program.
"The road to a clean-car future will be bumpy, with plenty of false starts, roadblocks, wrong turns, and dead ends. It will be a longer, more circuitous journey than anyone cares to take. But the alternative is paralysis, to stay stuck where we are. And where we are today isn't anywhere we want to remain."Two Steps Forward - Hybrids and Cleaner Vehicles: No Good Car Goes Unpunished
A City in Texas Starts Smart-Energy Driving - Hightower LowDown
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Oilcoholics - Time for a Major Oil Change?
The extent to which the world's largest and arguably most destructive, industry influences and dictates policy and politics--particularly in the United States today--is what is called PetroPolitics. Our collective addiction to oil is at the root of at least six fundamental issues facing our nation, and our planet, today: corporate-driven globalization, global warming, poverty, war, terrorism, and the undue influence of money on the political process.
"Addicted to Oil": How Can U.S. Fulfill Bush Pledge? - The U.S. imports approximately 60 percent of its oil, but relatively little comes from the Middle East. More from National Geographic News.
Bush Pushes for Alternative Energy - Good Morning America aired news on February 21, 2006 of Chairman Bush speaking about alternative energy, and additionally, 100 MPG plug-in hybrid electric cars. View this clip at CalCars.org. (Requires latest version of Apple QuickTime) Download this file (4MB)
'Addiction to oil' cure has a long way to go - The real driver of change is cost, said California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Alan Lloyd. The price of oil on the international market is way up and out of U.S. control. More at SacBee.com
Oil independence is possible, but does America want it bad enough? - President Bush's State of the Union pledge to end America's oil "addiction" and his tour of emerging energy technology centers have touched off a national debate on how to achieve energy independence. There are ways to break America's oil addiction, experts say, but it won't be easy. Cures include stricter conservation, higher fuel-economy standards, alternative fuels made from common crops and next-generation batteries for hybrid cars that could get more than 100 mpg. More at MercuryNews.com
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Austin Leads Charge for Plug-in Hybrids
Go to this article
Bush lacks energy on energy
Bush's remarks were woefully insufficient. The country's future economic and national security will depend on whether Americans can control their enormous appetite for fossil fuels. This is not a matter to be lumped in a laundry list of other initiatives during a once-a-year speech to Congress. It is the key to everything else.
If Mr. Bush wants his final years in office to mean more than a struggle to re-spin failed policies and cement bad initiatives into permanent law, this is the place where he needs to take his stand. And he must do it with far more force and passion than he did last night."
source: The State of Energy - New York Times
L.A. Times Editorial - The Cost of Silence