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The US Petroconomy

I am a big fan of alternative fuels in spark-ignition engines. Because of politics, confessing that is about the same as admitting to a taste for the cooked flesh of kittens and puppies.

Politics , heavily influenced by campaign contributions, offer a poor idea of the benefits and problems of rechargeables, hybrids, diesels, alcohols, natural gas and gasoline.

The golden rule – whoever has the gold makes the rules – means that information disseminated on the radio, TV, and print media - where sponsorship pays the bills – will suit the advertisers. Many of the studies you believe in, and the politics you are regulated by, are bought and paid for by the highest bidder.

In our culture of politics, sports, popular music, movies, TV, and the ‘celebrities’ involved we don’t get to learn much about the hydrocarbons that get us to work and get food to our grocery stores. We could live without the celebrities, even the politicians [maybe better without the politicians] but life as we know it would pretty much end without our motor fuels.

Without diesel fuel there would be no coal trains. Without coal trains, no coal for electric power plants, and about half of the nation would lose electricity. No cars, buses, trains, no getting to work, no more postal or package delivery, no shipments to the grocery stores, no emergency service vehicles.

Like it or not, our way of life is hostage to petroleum, more than you know. Maybe it is time to think about the fragile nature of a petroleum-based economy, and the possibility that any change away from oil dependence is a good change.

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