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Transportation Considerations

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An observation worth noting ... and pondering, from the 2012 report "The New American Oil Boom," issued by the Energy Security Leadership Council (a project of Securing America's Energy Future).

Fuel efficiency is not enough on its own. The long-term goal of energy security policy must be to break the petroleum's stranglehold on the transportation sector.

Fuel efficiency is all fine and well, and there's no question that continuing improvements should be a staple of ongoing energy policy. But given our almost-complete dependency on fossil fuels to power our transportation needs, it's not anywhere near enough. Stalled efforts to get any type of federal funding bills out of the increasingly cement-headed House of Representatives is a step in the Right direction, but not the correct one.

It's well past time for the adults in the room to step up and begin to do what they are (at least in theory) elected to do: make difficult decisions for the long-term well-being of the nation, and set aside ideologies or narrow-interests which do not serve that greater good.

Coupled with fuel efficiency improvements as mandated by federal legislation, industry hype suggests that conversion from oil to gas will also provide dramatic decreases in our need for oil in the transportation sector. Nice thought; sounds great; but not really helpful....

Converting from oil to gas requires a wee bit of modification to engines, for one thing. Providing supply is also more than an overnight production. For all the marvels of hydraulic fracturing and the attendant increases in oil production totals, geology and economics are telling us it is not the long-term solution.

Infrastructure modifications will be required as well, but given the allergic reaction Republican leaders have to spending and their inability to consider the benefits of doing so given the ideological wall they stare at constantly, it's hard not to doubt the capacity of our nation to meet the challenge.

None of the immense changes that would be required to convert enough of our transportation providers from oil to gas so as to make a meaningful dent on our oil dependency will happen quickly, easily, or inexpensively. (Natural Gas-powered airplanes, anyone?)

That part of the discussion tends to get overlooked by the cheerleading squad. They can continue to overlook those pesky considerations, but they won't go away. Thinking about what's involved, why it's important, and then implementing plans will prove to be much more advantageous to us all in the years to come than merely spouting context-free, feel-good statements which ignore the hard work needed.

Adapted from a blog post of mine
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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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