What If We Continue To Do Almost Nothing At All About Implementing Biofuels?
I could not find any database which lists the numbers of vehicles that our Federal government owns. If we were to include our overseas territories and colonies, as well as our 50 states and Washington,D.C., our military, our Federal prison system, Customs and Immigration, the National Parks Service, NASA, as well as the rest of all of our various Federal agencies, I suspect that our Federal government currently owns many tens of thousands of automobiles, trucks and buses, road, trail and lawn maintenance vehicles (such as lawn mowers, snow ploughs, pavers, street sweepers, leaf sweepers, etc.) emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances, plus some passenger ferries.
If we add the vehicles that are owned by our state, county, city, town and village governments, that number grows much higher.
So, why do most of them still run on gasoline or diesel fuel?
There are now additives which will enable biofuels to work in even the coldest temperatures, so nearly all of our government’s vehicles could be converted to operate on either ethanol, biodiesel, or a combination of both.
All government owned vehicles are refueled either at refueling facilities that are owned by the government agencies themselves (for example, the larger prisons and military bases have their own fueling facilities), or the drivers refill them at gas stations while they are driving the vehicles for business trips, then they submit the receipts to their supervisors and they are reimbursed.
Because most of the gas stations in the U.S. still sell only gasoline ordiesel fuel, and not biodiesel or ethanol, and because just like the rest of us, the government employees who drive government owned cars on business trips for the agencies that they work for use those same gas stations, the government currently has no choice but to continue to purchase cars, trucks and buses which run on gasoline or diesel fuel.
In order for ethanol and biodiesel tobecome viable alternatives to gasoline and diesel, gas stations throughout the country would need to start to sell it. You can’t stop every 30 or 40 miles to look for a restaurant and ask them if they’ll give their used cooking oils to you- that actually won’t work.
In order for the corporations who own the gas station chains to want to start to sell ethanol and biodiesel, significant numbers of people will have to want to be purchasing it, and in order for significant numbers of people to want to purchase it, auto dealerships will have to start selling significant numbers of cars and trucks which operate on biofuels.
The change really has to come from the Federal government itself.
If incentives are offered to auto manufacturers to manufacture cars, trucks and buses which operate on ethanol or biodiesel (or a combination of both), then the vehicles will become more affordable for consumers- and we’ll be able to begin to phase out fossil fuels as the primary source of fuel for our vehicles.
And What If We Continue To Do Almost Nothing At All?
Many years from now, I will probably have children. And someday, I’ll probably have grandchildren, and if I live long enough, I may even get to meet my great grandchildren. And some of them will likely bring children, grand children and great grandchildren into this world.
And in 2216, my great grand children can take their great grand children to vacation in the Rocky Mountains, to the Cascade Mountains, the Brooks Range Mountains, the White Mountains, the Sawtooth Mountains or to the Aleutian Islands, and they can tell them that way back in the 21st century, those mountain peaks used to have glaciers and snow on them. They can go to science museums and see photos of all of the species of plants, fish and animals which became extinct due to global warming. And they can go snorkeling off the Gulf Coastand see the first 20 feet of coastline where streets and towns once existed.
Realistically, this scenario probably won’thappen. At some point, investing in researching and implementing green technologies will stop being a “fringe”issue and become a mainstream issue for politicians, candidates and the media. The real question now is how long do we want to wait?
There is a seemingly very popular misconception that the international oil companies and automobile manufacturersare opposed to biofuels, and that they are intentionally making large contributions to political candidates whom they believe will be less likely to advocate for researching and implementing green technologies.
I don’t actually know or understand where this misconception originates from, and I do encounter this a lot. In reality, nothing could be further from thetruth. The major automobile manufacturers as well as the oil companies have put a lot of effort over the course of the past 100 years into advertising and publicity because they understand that without brand recognition and name recognition, they’d all cease to existvery quickly.
The automobile manufacturers want to be known as the companies which provide vehicles for consumers around the world, and the oil companies want to be known as the companies which provide the fuel which operates those vehicles.Neither the automobile manufacturers nor the oil companies have anything whatsoever to gain by becoming known as companies which refuse to research newer cleaner technologies.
If it were profitable to do so, the major vehicle manufacturing companies would switch to selling vehicles which operate on biofuels immediately, and if it were profitable to do so, the executives at the oil companies would have no problem shutting down half of their drilling operations and setting up factories which convert used cooking oils, and fruitand vegetable byproducts into ethanol and biodiesel.
The executives at these companies fully comprehend that showing that their companies are willing to embrace new cleaner technologies would be good for business. The reason that they are not doing so on a larger scale yet is that the financial incentives for them to do so are not yet in place- at least not inthe U.S. The coal companies may be frightened of solar power and wind turbines, but the executives at the automobile manufacturers and the oil companies have no opposition ethanol and biodiesel.