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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The following is an e-mail I sent to Tony Alva, part of a discussion we're having about gas prices, hybrid cars, and drilling for oil in Alaska.

I am not Al Gore, I have no PowerPoint presentation - yet, but what I do have is logic, reason, and historical perspective.

Lastly, Tony is not a 'bad guy'. He's a working dad with the same concerns we all have, sure he may have voted for George Bush - twice! - but it is not my suggestion that he is on the wrong side of any equation. I simply wished to share my astoundingly succinct observations with all of you.

"It's a worldwide thing. The 4 bucks a gallon we're paying is still much better than most industrialized countries. In Ireland, for an example, gas is up over 9 dollars per gallon. This drives up food prices, as we're already seeing. At this rate you're gonna pay 10 bucks a pound for hamburger within 5 years. People get angry when they are hungry. Historically speaking, we're going to see violence in the streets very soon if the problem isn't addressed.

And it can be addressed. The technology is available, it's just severely underfunded - again worldwide - because the oil companies spend more on maintaining the status quo than they do on R&D for alternative energy. Sure they pay lip service, they say they are investing, but they are so entrenched in oil that they refuse to disappoint their shareholders by doing what is right by society in general. They need to be taken out of the equation (along with the Insurance companies) before we'll get any relief, at the pump, at the grocery store, you name it, you're gonna feel the hit in your wallet.

The times they are a changin'.

You say the 'floating alloy air car' of Red Barchetta is a long way off, and strictly speaking that may be, but I guarantee you that in ten years time you will not be driving an oil based automobile to work and back. Oil is a limited resource. The lakes of oil underground, underwater, wherever, will eventually dry up. Renewable energy is the future, and America should lead the world down that road. Certainly if we do, we'll be back on top in the eyes of the world, and our own."

My name is Jackson, and I approved this message.


Tony's reply:

"I take my queue from your brother and others on his blog on this issue. An awful lot of smart people have riffed on the subject there...

The new energy solution will NOT come from oil companies, that's a fallacy. Oil companies may BUY that technology once it becomes adoptable, but they will not R&D it. Entrepreneurs will. The truth is that there is plenty of oil to be had out their and the discovery of the Brazilian reserves is proof, but we both agree that for autos and domestic/commercial use energy needs its not where we need to be going. Here's the challenge:

1. Despite the potential of more abundant reserves yet to be discovered on our planet, Oil is NOT easy to extract from the ground.

2. Oil is NOT easily converted to gasoline and it takes shitloads of cash to refine it. So much so that even when oil is cheap and abundant, there can still be shortages due to refinery capacity. These shortages keep prices inflated.

3. Oil is NOT eco friendly and whether or not the science validates it or not, the world will be going greener.

4. Oil/gas is NOT easy to distribute. Distribution burden's the cost of a gallon of gas immensely, in some cases and depending how far down the pipeline you live up to 45% of the cost.

5. The new energy MUST be NET eco positive

From all I've read on the subject I maintain that, while advances have been made, we're a long way off even if all that oil money was backing the R&D. Without even addressing the MASSIVE tech refresh that would have to be done to incorporate the use of this new fuel/energy, all of the above noted major issues would have to be successfully addressed one way of another. You only have to think about how much the WORLD's machinery depends on oil to make shit work.

By no means am I nay saying the need or the efforts under way. I'm a big fan, but sorry man, it's going to be a long time coming. What should we the people of the world be focused on right now? The free world should be divorcing itself form ME dependence and leave the wacko's and the totalitarian regimes to their own demise (since they haven't invested/shared the wealth with their own people and have failed to build thriving economies beyond the single resource that is oil, their countries will become ghost towns in a sandbox). We do this by taking short term measures that include domestic drilling in the interim, NOT to go back to everybody driving gas guzzling SUV's again, those days are gone forever (thankfully), but to ease world tension. Conserve, develop, innovate, put ours and the free world's destiny in our own hands. I think you'd agree that ratcheting back our ME meddling would not only be good from a doomsday clock perspective, but also allow us some breathing room for the enormity of the transition to the new energy source.

I kid about mourning the loss of my flat six boxer engine driven ride to work, and have always contended that whether or not there's scientific truth to the global warming issue, the migration off of fossil fuel is of primary importance for the good of the planet anyway and is well worth our best efforts.

I just gotta have a way to get to work in the meantime... " - T. Alva

I thought that's what I said........

but... If you could find me a Red Barchette with low miles (or flight hours as the case may be) for a decent price, I'd certainly be interested.

It'd have to have a decent stereo in it too of course.
Of course....
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