Posted by: Jim | January 23, 2007

Tonight’s SOTU Address

President Bush will be asking Americans to cut back on gas consumption.  In a general sense, this is something I can agree with 100%. His request is that we cut back 20% in 10 years.  If you ask me, this might have happened even without asking. The SUV craze has run its course, and very soon we will be seeing more hybrids and all-electric cars. The rising price of gas (which will still go up, even though it did not go up as quickly as I predicted!) will discourage business models that rely on cheap gas.

Twenty percent in ten years is not exactly the Apollo program, and will probably not ruffle anyone’s feathers. If he had said 10% in 2 years, now that would be a challenge–but it would be doable. However, such a proclamation would hurt oil futures–something this president would be hesitant to do.

Still, I don’t mean to sound as if I’m criticizing this move. In a general sense, it is a very good idea.

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Responses

  1. Good call. I still think everyone should own and ride a bicycle. If you’re not able, then go hybrid. I love my Bonneville, but in the interest of health and p0llution, I’d go two wheels as often as possible.

  2. I have not owned a car since it was flooded by the tide, towed away, and crushed. I am not advocating this as a method for severing the bond between owner and vehicle, but it did work for me.

  3. I was not looking forward to the Presidents speech. I believed the President would make a favorable speech that in large part I would applaud and agree with. I was not looking forward to the people that throw stones. Throwing stones because someone has made a greivous error in judgement vs. throwing stones because someone has decided to hate the President and his beliefs good or bad are two seperate things. It seems rare someone is middle ground with President Bush – love or hate with no in between.

    I applaud the acceptance of his reduction in gas consumption goal as a reasonable goal Jim…in a general sense. One cannot help but notice though that you still find a way to pick this apart and show the President lacking.

    As for me, I drive a huge diesel guzzling F250 truck. I have already decided to keep this truck forever as I really enjoy the functionality of the truck and the safe features of this truck including 4 wheel drive and a steel body. I will purchase a car to drive in addition to my truck. This car will be of a large sedan model that will be comfortable to drive and also not likely to save on gas. When some misguided kid runs the stop sign in the little tiny disposable hybrid/electric car and plows into my truck holding myself and my family……I will send flowers to his room in the hospital as it is likely I will drive away from the accident with a dent on my truck while he is driven away in an ambulance.

    I have fun with the ablove and of course I will do my part. As I age I am no longer in a hurry to get anywhere and by simply pressing the gas pedal slower and using my brake less I will save 20% on fuel and do my part for the enviornment.

  4. Bubba, are you assuming that I decided to hate the President on a whim? If so, I didn’t. When he took office, I was somewhat neutral toward him. Then, to use your words, he made a grevious error in judgement. Not only did he, but he has refused to listen to reason and beaten his grievous head against an irrational wall ever since. Even today’s LA Times headline, it reads “President wants to compromise on everything but Iraq.” So no, I didn’t decide to hate him just because he talks funny or has funny ears.

    But regarding the 20% decrease in gas, you sort of proove my point. How big of a goal is it if people can accomplish it merely by coasting a little more? Again–I LOVE the idea of asking Americans to conserve, but 2% a year for 10 years is like asking your kids to clean up their rooms once every 3 months.

  5. I posted this on the energy plan:

    Ethanol is a stop-gap at best. If you took ALL the farms in the USA, and only grew corn to ferment in to ethanol, you could maybe reduce the gasoline consumption by 1/3.

    We could realistically have at least ½ the passenger cars in America running on electric or hydrogen power in a decade or so if we are willing to increase our nuclear energy output by a minimum of an order of magnitude, if you want a carbon-neutral solution.

    As it stands now, the only way to get economically viable amounts of hydrogen gas to power anything commercial is by the catalytic oxidation of natural gas (methane) which in turn releases vast amounts of CO. Carbon monoxide prevents the dissipation of methane present in the atmosphere, (methane is about 23x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2) therefore the only realistic way to produce green-friendly hydrogen is, at the present time, electrolysis; the physical cracking of water molecules with electricity. This takes a vast amount of energy, however.

    The only carbon-neutral way to produce that much power is to build many new nuclear power plants, but will that help? The combustion of hydrogen produces water vapor as a result… yet another greenhouse gas. Can you imagine what it would be like in a city, 10s of thousands of cars spewing tons and tons of extra water vapor in the air every day? Fog every morning and evening rush hour along the highways. We could go with pure electric, but again: Are you willing to have that many more nuclear power plants built? I would vote yes.

    And what about air travel? Think about that one for a bit.

    -Tommy

  6. Thanks Tommy. I, for one, am totally in favor of Nuclear Energy. Granted, we need to produce it safely, but it’s a shame to see nuclear power plants closing all over the country. They were Jimmy Carter’s answer to the gas crisis he foresaw us having now. A few poor implementations (common of new technology), in combination with a lot of bad press, and corporate mishandling have seen them go away.

  7. Every day brings me closer to defecting.

  8. How would defecting solve anything aside from making yourself feel better? People die trying to make a difference in this country, and even more die trying to get into this country illegally. Alec Baldwin stated that if Bush won the election (I forget which term), he would literally up and move from the United States. To this date, he has not. Why do you think that is? That’s right, because we have the most to offer, the most to take, and he takes quite a bit. I’m also sure he gives back to charity and so forth, but you get my point. I don’t care if you’re a soldier in Iraq or someone who carpools to save gas, at least try.

    Think of JFK when you repond.

  9. Jane, I know it may seem hopeless at times, but if people band together for a cause, something will be done about it. It only SEEMS larger than you, but it doesn’t have to be. The way I see it, is that we are so very fortunate to live in this country and to have a voice. Use that gusto to make a difference. Join ‘Toastmasters’ to brush up your public speaking skills. 🙂

  10. todd, i know people die for this country. many of my family have. my father, uncles, brother and nephew have all served in the armed forces and because of their ideals, not because they liked guns.

    but what they were fighting for no longer exists if it ever did.

    and suzanne, i too believe that if enough people band together something may be done. but i no longer believe that people WILL band together. there are too many who no longer care.

  11. Yes, I agree, apathy IS nocuous. Combatting that begins with educating the populace on the critical issues in our country so that they DO care – Though I do think we lack incredibly in that arena in comparison to other countrys, I also see strides being made. I work for an Energy company that has created a curriculum for hands-on education for our Jr highs and highschools on alternative/renewable energy resources and efficiency. Not just lecturing, but rather having the students do group projects to solve critical issues, and figure out how to provide energy to increasing population by these methods.. It’s exciting actually because THEY are the generation for whom this will all matter.

  12. suzanne, THAT is fabulous news. as you know, i used to live near you and have dealt with your company for many years. and let’s face it, the schools where you are are some of the best public schools around.

    there is no doubt that educating the populace on critical issues is important. my fear is that there are not enough people who are willing to be educated or to do what is necessary once they are.

    but you’ve given me hope!

  13. I’m doing my part to conserve energy. I’m saving all my energy for Suzanne.

    🙂

    * * *

  14. When it comes to nuclear energy, “A few poor implementations” is like saying “oops” when dropping the baby from a six story window. The risks from nuclear energy are real. While looking for alternative energy sources, doesn’t it make more sense to spend our considerable talents developing sustainable energy that doesn’t produce thousands of tons of lethal radioactive waste?

  15. Jian,

    It does make sense to spend our resources developing alternative fuels. Absolutely! But right now there are no fuels (in my limited knowledge) that can replace fossil fuels and come close to its efficiency and economy like nuclear energy can.

    Additionally, nuclear energy was implemented in the 70s. We’ve made advances since then.

    I guess it’s a question of which you would rather have: another 3-mile island or World War 3? It might be too late for WW3, but if it isn’t it will take drastic measures to avoid it–measures like re-adapting nuclear energy so we can stop funding the jihad.

  16. Yes, radioactive waste is an issue. But it’s not the reason we are behind the rest of the world when it comes to utilizing nuclear power. The reasons for that are: 1) paranoia; and 2) the existing energy monopoly of the unsustainable but exceedingly powerful status quo.

    Go to Western Europe and you will see nuclear power plants EVERYWHERE. I don’t know what they do with their waste and it is certainly a concern to be considered, but you rarely if ever hear of meltdowns or other accidents.

    Chernobyl was certainly a horrible catastrophe that made the near-miss of Three Mile Island look like Punch & Judy, but that was the result of inept Soviet mismanagement of a zillion factors on a grand scale, from inferior technology and training to virtually nonexistent safety precautions; the same ineptitude which eventually dismantled the entire USSR. Nuclear power itself was no more to blame than a car is to blame for its drunk driver going the wrong way on the freeway. That’s why Chernobyl didn’t scare Europe into abandoning the technology; unfortunately Americans tend to be more frightened of things than Europeans are, for a lot of reasons. So Three Mile pretty much ended our flirtation with Nuclear energy, because it scared the shit out of us.

    But kids, if you want to be REALLY scared, envision the world 20 years from now if we keep relying on OIL.

    * * *


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