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Oil crisis fuels thought

Dear Editor:”Build it, and they will come.”This line from the film “Field of Dreams” keeps coming to mind as I reflect on the oil and energy crises. There’s been talk of an imposition of up to $2 a gallon increase in the gas tax to try and force people to use their cars more efficiently, and buy more fuel-efficient cars (hybrids, chiefly).That’s just plain nuts! People won’t be able to afford it, and believe me, they’d have one’s head on a stake if one tried to impose it. Americans love to drive, and are going to, come hell or high water. Want to know why folks aren’t lining up in droves to buy hybrids? They cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 more than their normal counterparts and are slower, to boot. Then there’s that nagging issue of the battery packs only being warrantied for eight years or so and the need to replace the packs at considerable expense after about the same amount of time. Well, duh! Imagine that, money is an issue. Go figure. A “carrot and club” never works well.I think the cheapest and most feasible way to solve most all the oil, energy and environmental problems we face today is to switch over from fossil fuel dependence to biofuels. Biofuels burn cleaner (helps the environment) and are renewable (helps out farmers, provides economic stability, reduces fossil fuel dependence and also helps our environment, and the list of benefits goes on). Engines that are properly designed or retrofitted run perfectly fine on 100 percent biofuels without petroleum. People worldwide are proving that every day.Current U.S. taxation policies and regulations for motor vehicles and fuels are designed to keep petroleum part of the picture (all scientifically supported, of course.) The fact is, fossil fuels aren’t needed anymore. Ethanol and hydrogen can both be produced without resorting to fossil fuels; we simply haven’t truly availed ourselves of the potential that solar, wind and hydroelectric, etc., have to offer. Ethanol can easily be imported from Brazil at competitive prices. Brazil, by the way, runs most of its vehicles on ethanol.Most people want to do the right thing, and will, if it’s a viable option for them. Give people a choice of fuels, and they’ll pick the cheapest and most environmentally friendly one every time. Make hybrids affordable if you want people to use them. Mandate that those gas-guzzling SUVs get better mileage. But more importantly, give up the fossil fuels! I read about how unhappy Saudi Arabia is that we might be pulling back from our oil use. Of course, any dealer would be upset when their best customer decides to “go straight” and give up the “junk.” It’s just their tough luck that we’ve “seen the light.” Oh, well, they can always peddle the stuff to China.Bob KeenanCarbondale


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