Tuesday, May 17, 2005

US Energy Policy and a Vermont Gas Station

President Bush has recently called on the Congress to develop a new energy policy before the summer travel season. Here in vermont, one gas station has begun selling biodiesel fuel. But there's a little more work to do.

Back in 2002 the President promised to support hydrogen fuel in his state of the union address. Though many pointed out that hydrogen was a means of transporting energy, not actually a source of energy, the administration has followed through with this promise. This site details some of the technical issues involved, but most salient I think is the need for massive infrastructure investment for distribution. Germany is already setting up such a system.

I don't see the advantage to constructing a brand new energy distribution infrastructure for hydrogen, when electricity is such a mature utility. There is already a significant foothold for electrical cars in the form of hybrid vehicles.
Also, it makes more sense to gradually evolve away from current fuel types by introducing bridge fuels like biodiesel which may eventually lead to fully renewable fuels--this lessens the requirement for additional up front investment on the part of consumers.

Federal research funds may be better spent developing alternative sources of energy, and bringing the energy storage and performance characteristics of fully electric cars up to the levels of today's petroleum vehicles, in order to more directly address the issues of pollution and reliance on fossil fuels.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger odograph said...

A good bash of federal automobile programs may be found here

I swing between thinking they are just dumb optimists with these programs, or calculating sneaks.

Heck, maybe they swing between being the two things!


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