Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union

So I've been reading the synopsis of Bush's state of the union address on the net. I didn't actually watch it, since I have better things to do than listen to Bush spout a prepared speech for a couple hours in his favorite environment (i.e. one entirely free of criticism).

No surprises in most of what he said -- yep, we're winning the war in Iraq, pay no attention to those news reports about IEDs and body counts -- but the one that really yanked my chain was this quote:
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."

Really? And you just figured this out today? Or is it, perhaps, that you're just figuring out that sending in the troops and taking control of the oil supply isn't quite as easy as Cheney and Rummy told you it would be?

His solution? A little bit of spending, a lot of hand-waving, and some prayer (the duct-tape of this administration, it would appear):
"The best way to break this addiction is through technology," he said, adding that technological advances will help achieve a "great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

The sad thing is, we don't need any technology to solve our oil crisis. We have the solution in hand -- it's call ethanol. The government currently has regulations for a fuel type known as "E85", which is 85% ethanol, 15% gasoline. Almost any modern engine will run on E85 after a minor refit (ethanol eats some rubber and plastic, so vulnerable parts of the engine need to be replaced), and a number of vehicles come from the factory equipped to run on either gasoline or E85.

Research? We don't need no stinkin' research. What we need is a little public policy.


American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

We got the public policy -- and the E85 pumps -- and 160,000 drivers who can use E85. We used 8.5 million gallons of U85 in Minnesota last year.

See details at:

Guy said...

Which helps me not at all, because I live in California. California has 33.8 million people driving 17.5 million cars, and I don't think many of them are using the 1 E85 gas pump available in the state.

Minnesota has a population of 4.9M, and a car population of 2.5M, which puts E85 vehicles at just over 6% adoption. To meet Bush's goal of reducing mideast oil by 75% (mideast oil is 20% of our oil consumption, to that translates to a total reduction of 15%), we need to have about 20% of the car population across the nation running on E85 (or something other than gasoline).

So, to clarify, we need either national policy or pervasive local policy, and policy that is tailored to the geography -- for example, in California, you need to encourage Japanese manufacturers to make FFV-ready vehicles, and encourage older vehicles to be retrofitted.

Guy said...

Oh, and even more significant -- Yay! I got a real comment on my blog! :)