Oil: The Energy of the Future

By Joe Patten

Three years ago, two prominent scientists asked themselves which natural chemical makes the most efficient fuel. Their answer? Oil.

Using synthetic biology, LS9, Inc. has modified bacteria to turn plant sugars into crude oil. This oil can be refined by existing refineries, distributed by pipeline and pumped into cars. The company is further fine-tuning its bacteria to produce pump-ready gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Because these bacteria can turn any plant waste into crude oil, LS9’s bio oil is fully renewable and need not strain the food supply. Synthetic production also allows LS9 to engineer oil with fewer pollutants than drilled crude.

Bio oil is not a dream of the future; LS9 plans to enter commercial production by 2011. Maybe this budding technology will adapt to mass production or maybe not; but as gas prices climb daily, do not panic. The market is working. LS9 and other privately funded companies are scrambling to meet the demand for cheap, clean, renewable energy.

Joe Patten is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.

  • Jerry

    The problem with this, as is the case in so many of these save the world technologies, is the sheer scale needed to replace our traditional sources of fuel. There are not enough plant wastes in the US to feed our need for fuel. The time it will take to get bio oil into production is years and years. At any scale, it is decades and decades.

    Not saying it may not be a good idea. Just saying it will not matter whatsoever, fail or succeed, in the next 20 years.

  • Bob Clark

    Sometimes I worry such energy converting bacteria might mutate and start eating unintended things. I continue to advocate allowing more oil and natural gas drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge where indications show upwards to a million barrels per day in domestic oil production. This would help reduce U.S foreign oil imports by 8 to 10%, helping take a bite out of the trade deficit and maybe shore up the falling U.S dollar. Every little bit helps even if such efforts in and of themselves don’t eliminate all of the current domestic energy demand-supply gap.

  • dean

    Sounds great…cut out the middle man (geology and eons of time). But I have read that every year the world uses up over 400 years of accumulated plant biomass that once covered the entire earth, hence the term “fossil” fuels. If this is close to true, then at best we could substitute 1/400th of our current fossil fuel energy needs by using up every speck of plant material we can harvest and process, leaving nothing to eat, nothing to protect watersheds, nothing for habitat. Of course…it also means no more lawns to mow so we can save some energy there. Maybe Wall-E is not just a cartoon.

    I agree with Bob, but lets not kid ourselves. Once we drill ANWR and the outer continental shelf….that’s it folks. Party over. Reality time. we annex to Saudi Arabia or get serious about conservation, electric vehicles, and alternative energy.

  • mpower

    Right… so the title of the article should read, “Biofuel: The Energy of the Future”

    Failing to distinguish between petrofuel and biofuel – which is the primary point the author is making here – is disingenuous. Petrofuel is non-renewable. Biofuel is renewable.

    Note: every single dime spent on new offshore/ANWR/oil shale drilling is money down the drain. Temporarily boosting domestic petrofuel production will not effect market prices one bit, and actual supply would be 5-10 years away, at best. The country could offset 15-20% of imported energy in that same time period via development and scaling of renewable energy sources (that’s a fact, not an opinion). The pro-drilling crowd is being beaten down by rational cost/benefit analysis, not by treehuggers. For many readers here, learning the truth about energy costs and alternatives is long overdue.

    • Steve Plunk

      Wrong. Wrong on many counts. Not only wrong but misleading.

      Keep in mind we are not talking about taxpayers investing in ANWR, offshore or oil shale but private investors who firmly believe it is worth the risk. They obviously believe the cost/benefit analysis pans out and since they are willing to risk their own money I tend to believe them before I believe those not risking their own money.

      Drilling could very well reduce the cost of fuel by running the speculators out of the futures market. The average citizen could benefit from the oil companies investment before the oil even came on line. Make no mistake about the speculators, if oil can yo-yo like it did last week based upon rumors (not real supply and demand issues) we know the speculators are influencing the cost.

      I question the motives of the no drill crowd. They all of the sudden want to inject business sense into an area the are not familiar with. I expect it is because the traditional arguments are falling of deaf ears with gas well above $4 a gallon and the economy on the precipice. Treehuggers are simply changing the message in order to accomplish the leftist goals they hold so dear. It’s not working on the average citizen. Once they become educated on the issue they see through the nonsense and realize drilling is one part of a many pronged solution.

      More reserves of oil are found every year and our ability to extract increases every year. The no drill crowd plays on our fears in order to get it’s way. The more serious people in the world need to step up and push these malcontents aside in the public debate.

    • eagle eye

      Your “facts” about renewable energy are just plain silly. And if drilling for more oil is such a waste of money, let the oil companies waste their money. The question is whether the oil from drilling is worth having at an environmentally acceptable cost. Given the alternatives — the real ones, not fantasyland ideas — I think we are going to see more drilling.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >The country could offset 15-20% of imported energy in that same time period via development and scaling of renewable energy sources (that’s a fact, not an opinion).

    It’s a fact? Ok, well, if you say so, I guess it must be true.

    Great, so, lets do the math……The US imports about half its oil. …. get out the pocket calculator….divide by two…….lets go high accept the 20% figure……

    Oh wow, fantastic, so even if this fact is in fact a fact you have just come up with 10% of our energy needs.

    10% is ok, but hardly much more of a long term solution than drilling.

    Its a little disingenuous for those who stalled implementation of drilling for years and years to then insist their solution is the only valid one because now drilling would take too long.

  • Bob Clark

    I’ll take the “temporary” boost from oil production which could last some 20 years or more as Prudhoe Bay did since its development. Even if oil prices aren’t much impacted, ANWR’s million barrels per day would cut the U.S oil import bill by over $36 billion per year, or 5% of the total U.S international trade deficit. Like I said, it’s part of throwing in the kitchen sink to kill the energy crisis. Renewables are needed as well, but it will take decades to get a meaningful portion of U.S domestic energy supply from renewables (net basis). Increasing car energy efficiencies will also be huge, and could come sooner. I am really getting hopeful about electric vehicles. Toyota has announced the introduction of a Prius with solar generating/storage capability to partially offset car airconditioning demand. Another idea would be to convert the U.S military from conventional oil to a coal-to-liquids supply. This would remove up to another million barrels per day of our U.S imports.

  • eagle eye

    I would ask if this is another heavily-subsidized energy source (like current solar and wind energy), which would not exist without the subsidy. I don’t know the answer to that.

    Second, how much “waste” biomaterial is there compared to our energy needs? i.e. what scale of oil replacement can it provide? And what other uses would be displaced by converting it to oil? i.e. will it have crowding out effects like the short-lived bioethanol craze?

    Third, what is the long-term effect on the soil of turning all this “waste” into fuel to be burnt? i.e. if it degrades the soil, is it truly “sustainable”?

    These are all meant as real questions, not deal-killers necessarily, but questions that need to be answered, largely by engineering and science types.

    • dean

      The oil in ANWR and off shore belongs to American citizens, not the oil companies. It is in the end up to us whether to allow them to bid on leases and accept the loss and risk to the environment, and up to them to offer bids and risk their capital. Either way, drilling in either area or both will likely have no impact on price. The amount that could be produced in these areas is simply too small to affect global supply, which is diminishing just about everywhere (from the north sea to the middle east to Rusia) more rapidly than new discoveries come on line. The planet is finite, the age of the giant reptiles was finite, hence oil is finite.

      Rupert, according to the CIA world factbook the US imports 62% of our oil consumption, and about 1/6 of our natural gas consumption. Electricity is nearly 100% produced from domestic resources: coal, nuclear, hydro, natural gas, and wind.

      Steve…”speculators” are not going to leave the market if we drill ANWR. They will simply factor that into their speculation. Whether oil futures go up or down depends on projected global demand and projected supply. If you wanted to bring the price down the shortest, quickest, and most effective way would be to reduce our demand. This would also propotionately reduce our balance of payments problem, and our indirect contribution of funds to terrorists.

      Bob…there will not be any “boost” in domestic production if we drill ANWR and off shore. The reason is that decline in wells elswehere will equal or exceed whatever we pump out. We won’t be adding anything. We may manage to slow the decline. That’s where things are unfortunately. We need to stop squandering.

      Eagle…wind power is not “heavily subsidized,” certainly not in comparison to other energy sources. Solar subsidies may be more substantial. I wish they were even more so.

      • eagle eye

        Try this for the subsidies to various energy sources:


      • Steve Plunk


        Demand has decreased yet prices go up. Oil futures went through a sort of deregulation in 2006 and they have proven this to be a bad move. Speculators are not the only problem but they are a part of the problem.

        You are right about the oil belonging to the American citizens. So I want mine share pumped and I’m sure there are many more like me. What the environmentalists are saying is they want to control all of it even if most of us want it drilled and pumped.

        Why is it when the Nigerian rebels close down a pipeline carrying a 200,000 barrels a day the price jumps yet drilling ANWR and getting 1,000,000 barrels a day won’t make any difference in price? It’s because the leftist environmentalists say so. Sorry, they are wrong and trying to mislead the American people. I would venture to call them traitors. They see their own interests as paramount even if it hurts other Americans.

        Let’s face the fact that the environmental movement will lie, cheat, and steal to get their way. Drilling is one of a hundred solutions we must undertake now in order to save our economy. If the Greens were smart they would understand environmentalism is a luxury of affluent societies and killing the golden goose will do more damage than good in the long run. Rather than work toward responsible drilling and refining they continue to say no, no, no like a petulant child. More serious people know better.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    You know we could do another neat trick that would cut gasoline usage, increase efficiency and increase engine life overnight. Get rid of ethanol.

    Its time for government to admit it made a mistake, just like it did with requiring MTBE in gasoline a few years back. That would result in an immediate increase of 3% in fuel mileage. It would also mean a hell of a lot less trips to the auto mechanic due to ethanol related condensation and corrosion.

    I’m sure corn farmers are nice people. However, when gasoline is over $4 a gallon it might be time to stop subsidizing them through the insanity that is ethanol.

    • Joanne Rigutto

      “I’m sure corn farmers are nice people. However, when gasoline is over $4 a gallon it might be time to stop subsidizing them through the insanity that is ethanol.”

      It’s not the corn farmers that lobby for ethanol, it’s the companies like ADM that make the ethanol that lobby for it.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >Rupert, according to the CIA world factbook the US imports 62% of our oil consumption, and about 1/6 of our natural gas consumption. Electricity is nearly 100% produced from domestic resources: coal, nuclear, hydro, natural gas, and wind.

    Whoopee, so going with the high number of the authors factoid we are now up to 12.4% ( 20% of 62% vs. 20% of 50% ) as opposed to 10%. What’s your point?

    The fact is, even if we accept this authors “fact” it is hardly constructive to say that 12.4% from renewables is the solution and anything else is not arguing rationally.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >Bob…there will not be any “boost” in domestic production if we drill ANWR and off shore. The reason is that decline in wells elswehere will equal or exceed whatever we pump out. We won’t be adding anything. We may manage to slow the decline. That’s where things are unfortunately. We need to stop squandering.

    Sorry, this statement is countered by the Simon – Erlich rule (named after Paul Erlich and Julian Simons famous wager)

    “When an apocalyptic lefty tells you a commodity is running out, they usually are saying so based upon wishes for fulfillment of a vision rather than objective reality”

    • dean

      Only its not a “rule,” and I’m not “apocalyptic.” I’m a realist. Do the math.

      My “point” was to correct your “point” that we only import 50% of the oil we use. The difference between your 50% and the actual 62% is 2.5 billion barrels of oil per day. The Energy Information Administration estimate is ANWR will produce around 700,000 barrels a day. Our deficit is about 14 billion barrels a day plus or minus. What would Simon say? Who cares? He died before peak oil showed up, lucky cornucopian.

      Conservation. Driving 40MPG personal vehicles will make a difference. Drilling for the last drops won’t.

      • eagle eye

        The evidence that we are at “peak oil” is tenuous at best. Look e.g. at this graph:


        It is premature, at least, to say that the recent interruption in the upward trend is permanent. And were it not for instability in a number of places, oil production could easily keep going higher. The limit, for the present at least, is not geophysical, it is geopolitical.

        • David

          Funny, but the oil people make exactly the same argument about global warming — that, with a current lull in the rate of increase, global cooling is here.

          • eagle eye

            Please make some sense. I don’t know what “oil people” you are talking about. Please let us know.

            I don’t see what is the connection between so-called peak oil and the recent pause in global warming.

            In any case, it’s not a matter of a slower rate of increase of global temperature, it hasn’t been increasing at all this century.

      • eagle eye

        Another thing — the estimates of ANWR production are very tenuous. It could be higher or lower than the figure you cite (which is the middle estimate). The high-end estimate is about 1.5 million barrels per day peak. The fact is nobody knows until we try.

        Add in potential increased offshore oil production, and we’re talking about a real difference both in supply and especially the price of oil.

        It’s very strange that the United States is about the only country that is deliberately restricting its oil production (while complaining among the most loudly about the price).

        Of course, the real cause of the recent price runup is the deliberate devaluing of the dollar, not the world supply.

        The controversy about whether the U.S. should exploit its oil resources is largely a smokescreen on both sides to distract attention from this — because both political sides have been very complicit in the debasing of our currency.

  • Jerry

    We should go back to the 55 speed limit. That will save enough fuel for us to figure out all this biofuel stuff in time to save us.
    Or, if 55 works, then I say 45.

    • dian

      I drive a 2002 Ranger XLT 5-speed. Normally I get about 19 mpg. Just curious, took a 300 mile trip setting cruise at 55. That boosted my mileage to 24. Next trip, we set cruise at 50 and got 26 mpg. I was impressed, but it made a long drive.

      I agree slowing down will make a difference, but it’s still time for a reality check. Sorry dean, but I don’t have any studies in front of me, but reality and common sense tells me we are not realizing our potential in this country, rather saving it for somewhere down the road, where it won’t matter any more any way.

      • dean

        Dian…I’m not against drilling in ANWR or off shore. I’m just saying I’m unconvinced it will make any appreciable difference in price or available supply or on imports. And we need to admit to ourselves that these are very likely the last places in our political jurisdiction that may have unexploited liquid oil. There is also a good argument for using up everyone else’s oil before we suck up the last bits of ours, conserving our last stocks for national defense purposes rather than suburban commuting.

        I get about 26-27 MPG on my 97 Ranger. Dropping the tailgate seems to help.

        Eagle…the problem with estimating peak oil arrival is that we can’t know until several years after it actually happens because the supply-demand-production curves will not be smooth. They will be herky jerky, and we can’t know right now if we are in a herk or a jerk. We do know the price has shot way up, we know world consumption is way up, and we think we know world production appears to be topping out. If oil ocmpanies and nations are not ramping up all the production they can at $150 a barrel, then what would it take? $200? $500? At some point the price is high enough that either demand will drop or production will increase, regardless of the international value of the dollar.

        • eagle eye

          Yes, we don’t know if oil production has really leveled off or not, we simply don’t know and will not know for years, perhaps decades after the event, when and if it occurs.

          You ask

          Don’t ask me, ask Congress why the U.S. is deliberately curbing its oil production. Will it take $500/barrel for them to wake up? I hope not. As for other countries, some of them are basket cases and it has little to do with price, and also little to do with “peak oil”.

          When you look at the price per barrel, it is misleading to look in dollars, which are a deflating measure of price. A more accurate picture if you look in euros.

          If the dollar had maintained its value, oil would probably be more like $80/barrel, McCain would be ahead in the polls, ….

        • dian

          If I were not driving a 4X4 I would do better, but I have a problem digging a 2 X 4 out of the mud.

  • Joe Patten

    Excellent comments, keep them coming. To the best of my knowledge, LS9 is funded by venture capital without government subsidies. The discussion of new sources of supply and energy market pricing is all well and good, but it is really a secondary consideration.

    Will drilling offshore and in ANWR significantly affect the global price of gasoline? I don’t know. Will LS9’s oil-excreting bacteria capture any meaningful share of the American energy market? I don’t know. Would the infinite effusion of hot air harnessed from Salem eliminate the demand for fossil fuels in Oregon entirely? I don’t know.

    And I don’t need to know. Investors and entrepreneurs can see the price of gasoline on every street corner, the price of crude oil on the front page of every newspaper. These oil men all seem to think that drilling for oil is a profitable venture. Since they are cutting checks to that effect with vapor trails of zeros, considering even the devalued dollar, I tend to believe them.

    What I do know is that many savvy people are searching to augment the current supply of oil, eventually forcing the price down toward the cost of production. During the heyday of the Industrial Revolution, Standard Oil Co. cut the price of oil from 58 to 8 cents per gallon at a razor thin margin through zealous thrift, impressive economies of scale, and shrewd expansion, bringing cheap oil to the poor and earning John D. Rockefeller one of the greatest fortunes in American history. Cheap oil can and has been produced; the principle is no different today.

    Energy is not an inherently limited resource. Government restrictions on nuclear power, new oil refineries, and existing oil reserves artificially limit the supply of energy, yet companies like LS9 are working around the meddling hand of the state. Drilled oil may be finite, but the human capacity for innovation is infinite. Human ingenuity is the ultimate resource.

    • dean

      Eagle…I don’t agree that the US is “deliberately curbing oil production.” 80% of our off shore areas are already open to oil and gas drilling, as is most of the continental United States. A few areas have been deemed too important for other purposes to risk oil development.

      Dollars are way down against the Euro, but oil is not traded in Euros. We can’t raise interest rates to prop the dollar because we have a crashing housing market. If the Fed props the dollar it probably raises unemployment, and McCain would be toast. We are on the proverbial horns of a dilemna. Bar tab is due.

      Joe….human capacity for innovation is not, for practical purposes infinite. It tends to be incremental with occasional limited breakthroughs. We cannot innovate anything equivlant to the amount of BTUs packed into a barrel of oil, but we can innovate by designing and driving more fuel efficient, or alternative fuel vehicles for a start. A hIgh speed rail network conecting major cities would also be a good innovation, and would solve much of the airport hassle problem.

      Dian…I could have used a 4×4 on a few occasions, like in My Cousin Vinnie. “De one tiyah just spins and de udder one does nuttin.”

    • Steve Plunk

      Joe you are right.

      First, there are a hundred solutions to our problem and we need to be working all of them at once. Oil from bacteria may only supply a small percentage but so what? If it makes somebody a buck and adds even a little to the supply it’s a good thing. What if it turns out to be 10% or more? Let ’em at it.

      Second, none of us need to know if there’s profit in them thar hills, there are people willing to take a risk with their own money and we should be allowing them to do just that. Instead the Greens want to suddenly jump into business mode and tell what is a good investment and what isn’t. Yeah, right.

      Once again, a hundred 1% solutions. No silver bullet. No magic cure. At least a hundred ways to save, produce, and invent our way out of this problem.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Dean – “Only its not a “rule,” and I’m not “apocalyptic.” I’m a realist. Do the math.”

    Of course its a rule, the left has been wrong every single time when they have predicted a set date for running short on a commodity.

    Anyhooo, have it your way, Ill do the math. What is your source for the statement that any new oil sources we bring online will only account for the loss of wells currently going dry.

    Dean – “My “point” was to correct your “point” that we only import 50% of the oil we use.”

    Big whoop, I conceded the point to you on going from 50% to 60%. That gets you whopping 2.4 percentage points. Now, would you care to actually address the issue that 12.4% is hardly more of a solution than more drilling? Or are you going to continue to flail around?

    Dean – “80% of our off shore areas are already open to oil and gas drilling, as is most of the continental United States.”


    You have your statistics confused. 80% support lifting the offshore ban not 80% of off shore areas are currently available. That’s why Bush lifted the presidential portion of the ban and has asked congress to lift its portion.

    • dean

      The 12.4% represents 2.5 billion barrels each and every day. It is helpful to deal in actual amounts rather than in percentages.

      Total estimated oil supply, all countries data is at:

      Total consumption is at:

      You say “the left” has been wrong every single time……
      What about Hubbert? Was he wrong about his prediction on when the US would see its oil production begin to decline? Was he a leftist? In 1956 he predicted our domestic production would peak and decline in 1965-1970. His 1970 number turned out to be right. We peaked and have been declining ever since. He also predicted world production would peak in 50 years, meaining 2006. Looks like he may ave hit that on the old nosie as well.

      I’ll check on the offshore stat and get back.

      But lift the ban or not lift the ban….it won’t make a difference. not enough recoverable oil out there. The absolute highest fantasy is 4 years worth of US domestic consumption.

      • dean

        Self-correction…the estimate of recoverable reserves on the outer continental shelf equals as much as 10 years of US consumption, not 4. However….this estimate is not based on any actual exploration. Until rigs get out there capable of drilling down thousands of feet through thousands of feet deep water to test the waters so to speak, for all we know, outside of the gulf there isn’t any oil to be had.

        Also…oil companies presenlty hold 90 million acres of US off shore leases and produce oil or gas from about 20 million of these, nearly all in the gulf.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >The 12.4% represents 2.5 billion barrels each and every day. It is helpful to deal in actual amounts rather than in percentages.

        Not generally when dealing in numbers like a billion, which the average person has no concept of. Why would you make a blanket statement like this?

        >In 1956 he predicted our domestic production would peak and decline in 1965-1970. His 1970 number turned out to be right.

        Danger Will Robinson, Danger Danger…..Sound Red Alert Dean Obfuscation technique bearing 0-9-0.

        Missile alert – The inbound bogey is a LTR with a fully armed idiocy warhead.

        I have never once said the left was wrong in anything regarding production of a commodity. Stop trying these witless techniques of substituting production for supply. That kind of argument might work with a dull potato but it wont work in the adult world.

        >We peaked and have been declining ever since.

        Gee, I wonder if our production has been in decline because ….hmm….oh gee…. because we have effectively banned production or certainly the expansion of it.

        Now, here is the really cool part. Lets adopt your logic just to see where it leads us. We start by doing as you did, equating the production of a commodity with its supply. Now, if we simply start drilling, production has just gone up and therefore supply.

        >But lift the ban or not lift the ban….it won’t make a difference. not enough

        Of course it will make a difference. Remember now, I am still going with your logic, production of a commodity is the same as its supply. Lets lift the ban, double our offshore platforms, thus doubling our production and we have just doubled our supply of oil! Energy crises solved!!!


        >The absolute highest fantasy is 4 years worth of US domestic consumption.

        And you have a citation for this or is it simply another factoid you are kinda pulling out of the air.

        • dean

          I self-corrected to 10 years for absolute highest fantasy. 4 years is the “mean” fantasy. We consume 21 billion barrels of oil a year. 4 times 21 = 84 right? 84 is close to 89. see below.

          The data from the Minerals Management Service, the same arm of the government Bush cites, is that the mean estimate of “undiscovered, recoverable reserves” on the outer continental shelf is 86 billion barrels. Most of that is presumably in the gulf, nowhere near Oregon.


          They go on to say that this oil represents 60% of ALL THE UNDISCOVERED OIL THERE IS IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES. So..that’s it folks. Have at it. There ain’t likely any more. Not in Nebraska….not in Rhode Island.

          Further…they don’t know how much of any of this is economically recoverable. Current technology is limited to drilling in 10,000 feet of water world and 31,000 feet total depth. That is dang deep. It requires a high price to make recovery worthwhile, therefore this oil is not likely to end up lowering prices much if at all.

          Rupert….we “ran short on a commodity” when OPEC embargoed us in 1973. We ran sort again in the late 70s. Then we adjusted and passed CAFE and other sources of oil gradually came on line. Prices moderated, we elected Reagan and forgot about conservation, bought Explorers and Hummers, exported our industry to China, and what do you know….we seem to have run short again. But not a problem. We are going to use a lot less because it is going to cost a lot more. Demand and supply will equalize. Easy to predict that one. But it is the demand curve that will be doing the adjusting, because the supply curve is likely stuck at mid 80 billion barrels per day, poised to decline, no matter where we open for drilling.

  • jim wilcox

    the answer to this is to think what was it like 100 years ago. oil was used to make kerosene to use in lamps. 70 years before that it was unheard of. what would it be like if we were to be forced to live under those conditions?
    that might be the answer.

  • Anonymous

    Liberals liike dean are doing to our energy what they did to logging.

    No to drilling, no to LNG terminal, no to coal, no to nuclear and the alternatives will be as succesfull as the alternatives to logging our Oregon counties are now “enjoying”.

    And Human global warming is as real as the 911 inside job delusion.

    • dean

      I don’t know about “liberals like Dean,” but Dean himself has never been anti-logging, has worked with foresters and for timber companies, has designed timber harvest projects, and served on the board of a land trust that managed 400 acres of timber in southern Oregon. He is also not for or against an LNG terminal.

  • Jerry

    ANWAR will provide more fuel for cars than biofuel possibly can for the next 50 years.
    However, if it is funded privately, then full speed ahead!

    On a recent trip I took I went 45 and got 20 MPG in my MASSIVE Yukon 4X4. Everyone was pretty mad at me as they passed, but I felt good! I was making a difference. I was saving money and fuel and greenhouse gas emissions were less due to my efforts. It is hard to go 45. I had to use cruise so I would not creep up to 70 like the thoughtless majority were going on I-5.

    I know a nationwide ban on driving over 50 would help us immediately. Then we can work on other solutions while saving countless hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day. Like people in Hummers – we should make fast driving be wrong and worthy of our scorn and disdain. Could anyone buy a Hummer today? Would they? Would anyone even think of it? NO. Same with speeding, if we can just get everyone excited about this proven technological solution to saving fuel. Speed kills and speed wastes. Go slowly – smell the roses – and SAVE SAVE SAVE.

    Let’s all be thrifty
    And keep it under fifty

    Wouldn’t it be great
    If we would all hesitate

    And not stab the pedal
    All the way to the metal

    Mother earth deserves a rest
    Let’s giver her all our best

    And slow down now
    To save and how!

    Keep it under fifty
    Let’s all stay thrifty.

    We can do it if we try
    We can do it my oh my

    We can do it right away
    Save the fuel for another day

    Slow – take it real slow
    What’s your hurry when you go?

    If fifty is not enough
    Then you are surely in a huff

    So please all peoples of USA
    Slow down and slow down today!

    • dean

      Jerry…have you considered trading in your Yukon for a more fuel efficient vehicle? That way you could drive faster and have fewer bicycles passing you on the right.

      • Joanne Rigutto

        Good one! I almost blew wine all over the computer. 😉

      • Jerry

        No, I have not, because I need the room and space and comfort the SLT Yukon provides me. So, I will just go slow and get the good mileage I know I can get. I will stay to the right. That is the best way to stay anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Jerry,, I hope you never use the left lane. In fact , not even the freeways.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >Rupert….we “ran short on a commodity” when OPEC embargoed us in 1973.

    Ahh, the old Dean dodge. When I catch you at your old tricks of word substitution, I can always depend on you to do the same old thing, the irrelevant history lesson.

    Lets see, I think we were talking about forestry last time, and you launched into the Mexican American War. Now this time you have been caught making the foolish error of trying to interchange supply and production. And so you are launching into the history of oil in the 70’s. Why you think this corrects your mistake is beyond me. I figure its some sort of reflex response you have, When you get caught in this sort of rhetorical error, you need to substantiate yourself, so you attempt to condescend with a history lesson.

    I’ve got news for you, the history of oil in the 70’s has no relevance whatsoever to the confusion between supply and production of a commodity. You got caught in a pretty big mistake, equating production with supply, why not just fess up to it? Why flail around with the history lesson dodge that fools no one and which I will consistantly call you on when you attempt it?

    I mean do you think you are fooling anyone?

    • dean

      Rupert…I’ll confess that I have no freaking idea what you are trying to get at with differentiating between “supply” and “production.” First…oil “producers” do not “produce” anything. “To produce” means to make, and drillers do not “make” oil. Nature made oil. They extract it from wherever it happens to be and transport it to somewhere else. Some of them “produce” gasoline, kerosene, and other useful things from the oil they extract. “Supply” simply means to make something available for use. So in effect, oil producers are actually oil suppliers and producers of things from oil.

      But I’ll play along. Lets pretend oil “producers” are actually making the gooey stuff. If the world is “producing” 85 or so billion barrels of oil per day, and they are “supplying” this production to consumers at a price of $140 or 150 or whatever it is today per barrel….and if that represents a 5 fold increase in price over 5 or so years, and yet production and supply of that production have not increased….then what is your point? Mine is that they will supply what they produce as long as someone is willing to pay for it at the market rate. Thus we will never run out, we will just pay more and more for a diminishing supply (from diminishing production) until and unless we bring demand down though conservation and/or a switch to alternative energy.

      Alternatively the “producers” will find new reserves, pump these out (produce if you will) and supply enough to outrun an ever increasing demand, in which case price may come down. The 70s are instructive because supply was restricted, price went up, demand came down, production and supply of that production went up, and then prices came down. That does not appear to be happening this time around, unless I missed something. Did I mis something? Wouldn’t one think that a 5 fold price increase would spur a whole lot of new “production” if there were any out there? Isn’t that econ 101? So where the hell is it? Increased production or supply of that production. Where is it?

      As to the forestry issue….as I recall I pointed out an error in your own interpretation of history, when you claimed the Oregon enabling act included a promise of timber revenues from federal lands. It doesn’t, and you nevefr acknowledged that. I don’t recall mentioning the Mexican American war in that exchange, except perhaps as part of history of the transfer of western lands into US hands.