Bring It On!

The End of Big Oil and the Middle East Strangle

May 31st, 2007 | by Matthew OKeefe |

I’ve heard it said that the very last stage coach company in the world built the best damn coach around but the end of the horse and stage coach was inevitable with the invention of the combustion engine. Isn’t it ironic that the hay that once fed horses to pull that same stage coach is now somewhat replacing the fuel that runs the combustion engine little by little?

Our world is held hostage by our energy needs and the ones holding the knife to our throats are not just in the Middle East. Corporate America with its own multi nation partners is hijacking your wallet every time you pull up to the pump.

With any monopoly in any given industry comes the frugality of the American people in our selfish desire to overcome that strangle hold on our lives. Such is the American spirit that the brightest amongst us have had enough and all it took was the oil industry stealing not just food off of our tables but the unmitigated audacity of the oil barons of today telling us to pay it or do with out it. New inventions are popping up daily on saving gasoline in your car or mini-van and the tide is just starting to rise as far as more savings and new ideas go.

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, the gas refining plants are pretty much rebuilt and yet gasoline is over $3.00 per gallon. My only thought on this is that the industry is robbing the American people blind while they still can and the President simply has no authority or desire to intervene.

When faced with a bully, Americans fight back. Then we spread the word on how to fight back. There is a great web site on the daily progress of Biodiesel as it is happening in this country and around the world. It’s called Biodiesel America .org and it is a wealth of information. This is just one solution to the crime that is happening at the pump every single day…

Over at the New York Times they are pointing out that the threat from big oil that is raping and pillaging Europe much like Attila the Hun of centuries long ago has finally had its people saying enough is enough. Farmers are being paid higher premiums for raising crops that can be converted to biodiesel…

Europe Pushes to Get Fuel From Fields
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: May 30, 2007

ARDEA, Italy — The previous growing season, this lush coastal field near Rome was filled with rows of delicate durum wheat, used to make high-quality pasta. Today it overflows with rapeseed, a tall, gnarled weedlike plant bursting with coarse yellow flowers that has become a new manna for European farmers: rapeseed can be turned into biofuel.

Motivated by generous subsidies to develop alternative energy sources — and a measure of concern about the future of the planet — Europe’s farmers are beginning to grow crops that can be turned into fuels meant to produce fewer emissions than gas or oil. They are chasing their counterparts in the Americas who have been raising crops for biofuel for more than five years. – The New York Times

I was watching the local television magazine program the other day and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy that has over one thousand students is almost an entirely off the grid educational facility. With a constant breeze off of the ocean they have a huge wind turbine that runs non stop. If that isn’t supplying enough power for them then they are installing solar panels on the roofs of many of the buildings on the campus. At some points during the generation of all this green electric power the local utility is paying the MMA for excess power generation. That is just one campus in America. Can’t this be duplicated across America?

This movement towards alternative clean energy is not going to end any time soon. With the knives to our throats on our energy needs America has a few new solutions that pretty much turn that knife into a limp noodle. Europe and the rest of the world will follow our lead.

I do have to say that much like the attack on Pearl Harbor at the start of World War II, I believe it was Admiral Yamamoto that said we have only woken the sleeping dragon. America is an industrial nation and if our source for energy is threatened then we can fight on the fields of foreign lands to secure our needs or we can think of a better way to turn the wheels of our industry and society. One simple fact is that if the American people want independence from foreign sources for our energy needs then no amount of money will stop us to fight this side of the war on terror. Take away the source funding them and they have no teeth to bite us back with.

My only concern with this new alternative energy market is that the good old boys with the tens of billions of profits quarterly are going to try to buy up the future of America’s and for argument sake the world’s energy movement away from fossil fuels.

Cross posted at Papamoka Straight Talk

  1. 5 Responses to “The End of Big Oil and the Middle East Strangle”

  2. By SteveIL on May 30, 2007 | Reply

    Biodiesel? Hell, even the price of regular diesel moves independently of gasoline. But that isn’t the issue either. It’s one thing to want people to use biodiesel; it’s another to have to pay to replace the vast majority of automobile engines in the U.S. that currently only handle gasoline as the fuel that makes it run.

    A friend of mine told me a story of the time she and her family were driving through Tennessee, stopped at a gas station to fill up, and ended up getting the tank filled with diesel because the distributor had accidently filled the station’s gasoline reservoirs with diesel fuel. This happened to a number of people filling up at the same gas station at the same time. Within a short amount of time after restarting, the engine was ruined beyond repair because of the use of diesel fuel in an engined designed for gasoline. (All of the appropriate parties accepted responsibility and paid to get all those engines replaced.)

    Ranting about alternative fuel for America’s cars is pointless unless it includes replacing the engines in those cars to handle the fuel, and how much it will cost.

    By the way, U.S. farmers have also begun selling corn (a lot of it) to those producing 85% ethanol fuel (and those producing the ethanol are also financially assisted by the federal government). Corn prices have skyrocketed, and this has raised the price of other things that use corn, mainly feed animals that eat it, including cattle. Which has caused milk prices to rise.

    It’s a vicious circle. Growing food as fuel unnecessarily raises the demand and price of food as food. To me, it is a bad idea as a stopgap measure while other alternatives are mulled over. Better to drill for oil in the U.S., and build more refineries, in order to maintain a balance between supply and demand. The profits can be used to research new fuels, and possibly new business ventures into new engines (soma have been discussed on this blog). But, corporate subsidies to oil companies would have to end. No sense in giving them corporate welfare if they aren’t going to use it to do what they need to do.

  3. By Matthew O'Keefe on May 31, 2007 | Reply

    It has to start somewhere Steve and regardless of what the alternatives are then we have to adapt. How long are you willing to have them all hold a knife to your throat?

    The change from oil dependence is slow here in America but it has to happen and your Chevy or Ford will have to adapt or go the way of the stage coach.

    Hybrid cars are moving up in the market for a reason. We all need to get on board and get away from OPEC and anyone else with a knife in our back.

  4. By Froenx on May 31, 2007 | Reply

    no, the industry doesn’t have to redesign anything.

    They have diesel engines already. people just need to buy them.

    and you can create biodiesel easier than you think. See all those vats full of oil behind mcdonalds? there’s your biodiesel. The only thing you have to do is process it. and that’s pretty easy in itself.

    Rudolph Diesel originally designed his engine to run on Peanut Oil. I’m not sure what happened but somewhere down the line, things got switched over to petroleum diesel.

    Gasoline engines, when first invented, ran on alcohol. the same alcohol you can buy at the drugstore. the same alcohol you drink. If you or someone you know was involved in creating moonshine, they have the required knowledge to make alcohol fuel for your car.

    If you’re worried about the price of food going up because of this, simply grow your own.

    SteveIL: I checked into the price of corn. December 8, 2005; the price was a little over 4 dollars a bushel. Today, May 30, the price is $3.82 per bushel. So it’s gone down a bit. Hardly the skyrocketing price you insinuated.

    There are many sources of alcohol and oil. you just have to look into them.

  5. By Jersey McJones on May 31, 2007 | Reply

    I’m solidly with SteveIL on this and proud of it. The bio-fuel movement is stupid, misguided and will have tragic consequences. Deforestation in the third world, skyrocketing food prices worldwide, more pollution (the “clean” biofuel is a MYTH), less carbon absorption - it goes on and on. This is the dumbest idea I’ve seen since a certain Bush decided to invade Iraq… maybe even dumber. Yes, much dumber.

    I may be a liberal and a progressive, but I’m no idiot. The answer to the oil/pollution/Middle East crises is HYDROGEN. We should be pushing that technology with everything we’ve got. If we go the way of Bio-Fuel, it will be a curse on the world on par with the invention of the gun. And just as deadly.

    JMJ

  6. By rube cretin on May 31, 2007 | Reply

    we humans are harvesting the products of millions of years of natures bounty we have probably peaked on oil and gas and coal. are not far behind. biofuels produce no faster than natures best converters and all i have looked at are net energy loosers. the point is not to continually talk about how we fuel our autos and trucks. we must reframe. transportation is the concept must be revisited. face it, very soon, a decade or less, we will have transportation for only the most essential activities and it will be in the form of mass transit. sure the rich will always be around driving their Humvees, but the rest of us poor smucks will have to adjust. spend your time figuring out how to survice with a lot less, because that is what you are going to have.

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