Empty Tank Empty Wallet: For Those Who Don't Own an Oil Well by MR William M Ferree (Paperback / softback, 2013)
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- DescriptionMost of us don't own an oil well. We're on the pay side of our fossil fuel ecomy. It's expensive. If we live in a state that doesn't produce natural gas, oil, or coal, our burden is even greater, because ne of the money spent stays home. Places that produce fuel are enjoying a bonanza. High prices make production profitable from reservoirs that were thought to have commercial value. Texas, Alaska and North Dakota enjoy a stream of money coming from the rest of us who have choice but to pay. But maybe there is choice. In fact, it's pretty clear there are better options than continuing to burn with abandon. Electricity for transportation-electric cars-is lower cost. Making the electricity from renewable sources for all uses is lower cost than just about every alternative except perhaps natural gas at today's depressed wellhead prices. Perhaps allows for some uncertainty in assessing the destructive environmental effects of producing and burning gas. How much methane leaks is an unanswered and crucial question. Regardless, there is real cost, and odds are it eventually will be counted and included in the price. The high probability that conventional fuels won't get cheaper, even if there is carbon penalty, piles weight onto the case for electric drive and renewables. Quite the opposite seems likely because all the easy to get reservoirs have already been tapped. New ones are deeper and more tightly locked into the earth's crust. Extraction is feasible, but it's costly. An additional inescapable factor points to higher prices at the pump: much of the 95% of the world's people who live outside the United States and use energy at a fraction of the rate of Americans, is getting richer. People are buying cars and gasoline. In spite of the obvious fact that fossil fuel consumption imposes a heavy burden, getting relief is difficult. The money trail helps explain why. For Florida, a red-ink state, the financial drain is $100 million, every single day. Texas, on the other hand, produces oil, natural gas, coal and wind power. It brings in close to $300 million a day. The story is similar for other states. The producers, black ink states, are doing great. Consumers like Florida are bleeding. That many states are beneficiaries of continued high fossil fuel consumption, helps explain why evolving the energy ecomy is challenging. Producer states, and commercial interests that support elected representatives from those states, essentially control national energy policy. So the fix must come at the state and local level- help from Washington. Communities, and individuals, who take charge of their destiny and invest to end fossil fuel dependency, will be the winners. Fortunately, techlogy is off-the-shelf ready to enable the switch. The cost of solar electricity is down dramatically over just the last two or three years. Photovoltaic panels, previously the most expensive component in a solar electricity system, have dropped from $3/watt or $4/watt to less than a dollar. Capable, and enjoyable to use, electric cars are available to anyone in the market for a new vehicle. Though the battery techlogy is still relatively expensive, the twenty year lifetime expense of perhaps $15K for electricity compared to a very plausible $60K to fuel a similar gasoline car makes the electric choice quite attractive. The final, perhaps biggest, piece of the story is the environmental impact of CO2. Monumental difficulty and cost awaits future generations. Our grandchildren will judge our response to the challenge. Expect them to be critical, especially since even if only contemporary costs and benefits are counted-the future discounted to zero-financial analysis argues for transition w. Resistance is weakening and the organized effort to deny anthropogenic climate change is losing force as scientific observation continues to deliver evidence of existential risk to human survival. So what are we waiting for?
- Author BiographyBill Ferree has had a lifelong affinity for technology, especially the technology of machines that move. His parents described a young Billy obsessed with trains. Ferree grew up in farm country, but left for school and never went back. A degree in mechanical engineering was followed by service in the Navy, and then a career as an airline pilot. It was a career built on fossil fuel. Bill's more recent experience has included local government elected office and membership on a regional transportation planning board. This is the front line where financial constraints, some caused by the drain of spending for energy, must be resolved with the demand for services now, and the need to set aside resources for the future. Protection of the environmental future is one of the most difficult challenges. Ferree takes seriously his role as a grandfather. The obligation to pass on to grandchildren and future generations the best world possible, one with minimal unwanted residue from our time here, is the organizing principle for life and work. He is optimistic.
- Author(s)MR William M Ferree
- Date of Publication21/05/2013
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectEconomics: Professional & General
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight277 g
- Width140 mm
- Height216 mm
- Spine12 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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