Bush actually makes a decision contrary to the interests of big oil.
January 9, 2002 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Not exactly. He also killed all efforts to increase car fuel efficiency.

sorry for the double..
posted by Red58 at 11:31 AM on January 9, 2002

It would certainly be nice to no longer be dependant on foreign oil though no?

I mean it's not like there is intrinsic beauty in fuel efficiency, it's just an attempt to lower your consumption of a bad thing.

If you could choose between half the emissions we currently have or emissions made of water what would you pick?
posted by revbrian at 11:35 AM on January 9, 2002

There are so many problems with this idea, though:

- carrying hydrogen around is increadibly difficult, because of its low energy density and the way just about everything is permeable to it.

- hydrogen still has to be produced, and hydrogen production almost universally uses the reformation of a hydrocarbon fuel, not the electrolysis of water.

- This lets car companies off the hook for fuel efficient cars. Just as we are finally approaching the point where fuel efficient cars can be produced by Detroit, we shift focus and allow them to get by on normal cars for another ten years.

- Isn't this just because the Japanese managed to do it first? They brought to market a practical, usable, fuel-efficient hybrid, so now we switch focus to hide the fact that Detroit has been spinning its wheels and is years behind in developing competition for the Prius.
posted by Ptrin at 11:46 AM on January 9, 2002

from the wired.com source: "Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas aboard vehicles or pure hydrogen can be used, requiring development of a new supply infrastructure. "

meaning we start drilling for more natural gas sources (like off the coast of florida). so, while the emissions would improve, we're still drilling.
posted by bliss322 at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2002

revbrian, of course you are correct. But the point here is by scrapping the already existing program instead of actually putting some teeth into it (and Bush is not the only president to blame here) we do nothing but buy about another 20 years for the auto/oil complex. I'm not so sure this action is not in the interests of 'big oil'.
posted by dragline at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2002

I would choose the latter, but I can't at the moment, and in the ten years or so until I can I would hope that fleet mileage increases would be considered as a good idea.

Kind of do what we can until the big breakthrough comes along. Right now fleet mileage is at a 21 year low, and if dependence on foreign oil is bad, then we should try to do something about that. The light truck loophole in CAFE(and safety standards) might be a good place to start.

And if we have a new found goal of energy independence, maybe tax credits for home insulation and compact flourescents might be a good idea, too.

And could you imagine the howls of agony on one side of the aisle if a Mr. A. Gore had been president, and proposed government funding with the goal of eliminating the IC engine? I guess it's true, only Nixon could have gone to China.
posted by dglynn at 11:56 AM on January 9, 2002

Well, if he's pushing the hydrogen fuel cells, it may be evident his money is pursuing the matter, if you know what I mean.
posted by trioperative at 11:58 AM on January 9, 2002

Actually, this is basically like taking eggs out of one basket and putting them into another. True, the money is being invested in fuel cell research, which in the long run may be contrary to big oil interests, but for the time being (as stated above), he also killed efforts to increase fuel efficiency. There are more than enough SUVs out there (and still being bought) that this is in no way going to hurt big oil for quite some time.

Personally, I'd like to see the administration pull all the money out of creating the silly missile defense shield, and instead pour all that money into research on alternative fuels (not just the fuel cell, but solar, etc). In addition to helping out the environment (oh, I forgot that some people, ahem, don't believe in global warming), tt would also help in weaning the U.S. from the middle-east oil teat, which has caused enough problems by itself.

Of course, that's never going to happen with this administration.
posted by almostcool at 11:59 AM on January 9, 2002

I would say this is more oil-neutral than oil-opposed.

Also, is there any point to linking to the Herald Tribune, particularly on a domestic US story? The IHT is just a scaled-down version of the the NYT+WP with a different skin (pre-Web, it was also the least satisfying publication for a homesick boy in Paris; what's it's raison d'ĂȘtre now?)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:01 PM on January 9, 2002

It seems to me that it's incredibly obvious that alternative energy sources are the way of the future, and it the cost/benefit (think 9.11) of foreign oil dependecy is just too high.

I don't think we'll have just one magical solution (fuel cells! solar! wind!) but rather a combination of many local, national, and global power supplies that reduce the high-profit but high-problem fossil fuels.
posted by cell divide at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2002

It may very well play into the oil industry's hands in the short term. But, we have to get off the oil nipple at some point. If we figure out a way to do it then Kyoto would look like the pointless house of cards it is. How the energy is produced to get hydrogen fuel from electrolysis is another story perhaps. But until someone develops a shipstone hydrogen has a lot more energy per pound than any battery technology available.

I don't mean to say it isn't a difficult proposition but switching to Hydrogen would do more for the environment than anything that has been suggested thusfar. It would redefine world powers immensly as well. There's really nothing I think we can't do if we choose to do it and put enough resources behind it.
posted by revbrian at 12:06 PM on January 9, 2002

I would hazard a guess that if Bush had rejected this proposal and gone with the option of supporting more efficient gas-powered cars then most of the people in this thread would have spun a 180 and stated that he was regressive and trying to keep the oil companies in business.

I don't think Bush can win for losing when it comes to oil.
posted by glenwood at 12:13 PM on January 9, 2002

Personally, I'd like to see the administration pull all the money out of creating the silly missile defense shield, and instead pour all that money into research on alternative fuels

Hmm... no thanks. I'll take the defense shield over alternative fuels for the interim... or maybe we should do both? China, North Korea, et al are developing ICBM's. If terrorists got their hands on one, our whole protection system of Mutally Assured Destruction (a bad policy to begin with) goes right out the window, and there will be no one around to drive your fuel efficient cars. Hopefully fuel technologies will advance enough in the next few years so that our dependence on foreign oil will be alleviated.

Trivia: I think this was the last hydrogen powered vehicle.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:40 PM on January 9, 2002

"I don't think Bush can win for losing when it comes to oil."

He made his bed. Now he's lying in it.

And just wait for the lid to blow off the whole Enron thing.....and we thought Whitewater was a sordid tale of avarice.....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:42 PM on January 9, 2002

"The new effort, which was to be announced in Detroit on Wednesday by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, was devised by the Energy Department and the auto industry."
posted by Outlawyr at 1:41 PM on January 9, 2002

"The Bush administration is walking away from a $1.5 billion, eight-year project to develop high-mileage gasoline-fueled vehicles and instead is throwing its support behind a plan to develop hydrogen-based fuel cells to power the cars of the future." THE FUTURE.

Like estimated by experts, a good 20 years in the FUTURE. Meanwhile, it will take away incentives from increasing mileage for the cars to come out in the next 5 years. If we can drop a bomb in a small cave opening from 10,000 feet, we sure can increase mileage per gallon.
posted by adnanbwp at 2:32 PM on January 9, 2002

Ptrin, "competition for the Prius", you say? Are you suggesting that the Prius is actually selling?
posted by dhartung at 2:35 PM on January 9, 2002

As of November of last year, Toyota had sold 10,616 Prius models, compared to 5,562 the year before.

(Source: bday.net)
posted by 40 Watt at 3:06 PM on January 9, 2002

Hydrogen was the Fuel of the Future, back in the day, until some drunken nazi plowed his air ship into a New Jersey field. I was there. I ran away screaming, losing the onion on my belt, which was the style at the time.
posted by o2b at 3:49 PM on January 9, 2002

China, North Korea, et al are developing ICBM's. If terrorists got their hands on one, our whole protection system of Mutally Assured Destruction

Its just as likely that terrorists can overtake a US or EU nuclear silo than one located in Asia. Not only doesn't MAD work in extreme cases and in a one superpower world, nuclear weapons in any environment are a danger. If anything, your post is a great reason not to build shields and nukes but to work on global nuclear disarmament.

If I was the worrying type I would forget about China and N. Korea and remember that half the practice invasions into nuclear facilities in the US succeeded. Much easier to set off a warhead right there then run a full launch. Just like its much easier to hijack a jetliner then buying one.

Second, I'd much rather see a divestment from the ill-concieved NMD and a push towards an energy policy that gets us out of dirty deals cut with warlords and anti-competitive trusts like OPEC. Not to mention the benefits of less toxic pollutants in our air and water.
posted by skallas at 4:04 PM on January 9, 2002

Send a poor man to Washington and he goes home rich; send a rich man to Washington and he goes home richer. What's not to understand here?
posted by Mack Twain at 4:19 PM on January 9, 2002

Also, dhartung, there is a four month waiting list to buy a Toyata Prius in the DC metro area. They're selling extremely well.

I 'm eagerly awaiting Honda's newer model hybrid cars (I hear that a hybrid CRV is in the works.) I know lots of people who want to make their next car a hybrid.

Why can't the program for fuel efficiency stay in place and add support for fuel cells too? I'll bet that the programs aren't costing the gov't much in relation to the overall budget - or the overall impact to the environment.

Reducing oil consumption is a step along the way - not an alternative path. Less oil need = more national security. We won't feel compelled to keep troops in Saudi Arabia, won't care about a pipeline in Afghanistan, and people like Saddam Hussain will have less motivation to attack places like Kuwait if oil demand drops in the western world. (And logically, everywhere in the world as technology and new cars spread.)
posted by Red58 at 4:51 PM on January 9, 2002

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