Monday, November 10, 2008

Between a Rock and a Rock

GM, Ford, and Chrysler, the American Auto Industry... needs a bailout.  Given what was just done for AIG, Fannie, Freddie, Goldman, Morgan, etc... I won't argue that the Auto industry should not get some of the Government's largess.  The idea of saving jobs in the Auto industry is a noble, if not misguided, effort.  The idea of saving the PENSIONS of the UAW, or any employee of the Big Three or their suppliers at the expense of tax payers that have no such pension, no such health plan, is likely to be one of the causes of the coming political crisis (it just seems unlikely to me that we can have a credit crisis,  stock market crash, housing crisis, and an energy crisis, etc... and avoid a political crisis - particularly if the other crisis' lead to a food crisis).

We cannot legislate that Detroit be the winner of an electric car breakthrough.  Said breakthrough might come from some other corner, or not at all.  We also cannot legislate a FUEL supply.  Remember, we need FUEL - and we need said FUEL supply to keep on growing.  If said FUEL supply should go into terminal decline/then we do not need a single addition to the U.S. automotive fleet.  We have enough cars to consume our current supply at a 10% annual decline in oil imports.  

Let me ask The Powers That Be in Washington:  

What will we do with all of the cars that the jobs you "save" churn out if we don't have the necessary FUEL?

Central planning won't work.  Unfortunately, the "Free Markets' are not working either.

The Fiscal stimulus about to come out of Washington really needs to be "energy" aware.  If there was ever a time to "write your Congressman"... this is it.

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com


bureaucrat said...

And what exactly are the Congresspeople going to do? Retract the laws of physics and chemistry? Oil/gasoline/diesel was the most amazing substance we were lucky enough to have discovered. Nothing packs the energy of oil (thanks to millions of years of temperature and pressure). Gasoline has 80 times the energy pound for pound of a lithium-ion battery and 250 times the energy of the standard wet cell battery. All the alternatives to oil are lesser fuels, and that will not change because of Congressional laws. The best alternative fuel will likely be electricity, but it is hobbled with inferiorities (in the batteries mostly). Gasoline and diesel will continue to be the fuels of the future -- life will just be a lot more expensive, and we will waste a lot less of it. More walking and less damn travel awaits.

Dan said...

Check out this cool nuclear reactor, this opens up a world of opportunity and not just with electricity. Just about anything made of carbon can be converted to hydrocarbons with enough energy inputs, coal liquefaction is a prime candidate and it can be done cheaply and cleanly if the coal isn’t also burned to provide the heat to power the process, manure can also be readily converted to oil. Oil from deep wells that is currently uneconomical to extract, due to the tremendous amount of energy required to lift it from extreme depths will now make sense. This is a big thing.