Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fuel For Thought

Gasoline prices at-the-pump today in Gainesville, FL: $2.45/gallon.

Tonight the television news reported that oil company profits are up 46% over the past year. Now this might be a temporary Good Thing for my 457 investment plan, but I still cry "ouch!" when the pump passes the $20 mark as I'm refueling the little 12-gallon tank of my Sentra. The other temporary Good Thing: most of the 350-400 miles of driving I chalk up every week is in a company vehicle, fueled by my employer's gas card and annual fuel/operations budget.

Ford Motor Co. has intimated that it might produce, as part of its restructuring plan, a line of vehicles including a pick-up truck, that run on E85 - a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Hey good news, right? Yes, but....

Biofuels are attractive alternatives to foreign oil sources of gasoline. Shoot, even Willie uses biodiesel in his
Bus. However, consider the inevitable tipping point, at the intersection of the production of food, fuel, and industrial chemicals, when it is more profitable for Big Agriculture to market fuel products and industrial chemicals derived from traditional food sources such as corn and soybeans.

What will happen to the food supply when major food sources can more profitably be converted to industrial products, like fuel and chemicals? The sooner we wean our economies from *fossil fuels* (alarming term, isn't it?) the sooner we approach a fuel-for-food crisis. "It was cheaper (=more profitable to shareholders) to make biofuel than to make food, then millions starved."

Put that thought in your pipe, and, as they say, smoke it. Smoke it long and hard. Then, eat a good meal, and start planning for the future of your children and grandchildren.

, , ,


CGHill said...

The laws of economics are inexorable.

When fossil fuels become too expensive, they will be replaced. However, they will not be replaced until they become too expensive.

I'm not too worried about E85; it's easier to grow more soybeans than it is to get OPEC to change the position of the spigot.

CALL said...

I just want to be assured that the world's natural areas that support our greatest diversity won't be converted to soybeans and corn to supply an addiction to fossil fuel, or an unsupported reliance on a temporary resource.