Breaking Down the Oil Barrier

February 17th, 2008 at 10:03 pm by Mark
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     It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything logical and sensible, so here goes…

     While everyone goes on the Hybrid trip, paying astronomical prices for cars with no real fuel savings, some of us hang on to older cars from the 80′s which have real fuel savings without the need for all the extra garbage.  Cars like the Pontiac Sunbird/Chevrolet Cavalier with the 2.1 OHC engine, or even the Subaru 1600DL, still get 40+mpg on the interstate.
     Yes, they really do.
     My 1984 Sunbird, for instance, consistently ran at about 42mpg and the OHC made it a nice, quick car.  Meanwhile, the old Subaru consistently ran up to 48mpg. 
     With kick-ass gass mileage available with older cars, why bother with a hybrid?

     The fact is, as far as Automobiles go, very little has happened since the 1980′s except to make vehicles more complex.  Despite the Government’s cries about efficiency, and even tax relief for high-mileage vehicles, gas mileage has done nothing but suffer.
     Meanwhile, our dependence on foreign oil has increased exponentially.  Why should we continue to subsidize the economies of a chosen few in foreign nations when we could easily reduce our dependence while increasing our innovation and exports?

     There have traditionally been two barriers: Political and Economic.

     Our artificially inflated economy in 1990′s and our Government’s subsequent “lifestyle of excess” bear a substantial portion of the blame, as we simply made too many under-the-table deals with foreign countries.  
     As a case in point, China, for instance, continued to have Favorite Nation status.  Mind you, this was absolutely necessary to make it a viable and reliable country for low-cost, high-quality manufacturing like its predecessors, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.  However, the strong increase in the Chinese economy came at the expense of other Asian economies.  Proof of this is shown in the economic collapse in 1997, and the subsequent recession which struck all other APaC nations in 2001.  Meanwhile, tax and import subsidies, cuts and rebates for domestic corporations purchasing Chinese products have continued, while China continues to produce the “same old, same old” products cheaper than we can manufacture them at home.

     Economically, with our own post-9/11 “lean times,” many domestic corporations have adopted the attitude that research and development of new technologies is too risky, and thus continued to attempt to make innovations geared in familiar directions with familiar technology.  Using familiar technology (with cheaply acquired foreign components) has allowed for more modular designs, thus reducing the amount of labor, manufacturing and maintenance costs in our domestic auto factories.  For corporations, this spells profit even when their economic future is unclear.

     In this video, Amory Lovins comes up with some seriously compelling ideas.  It’s a long one, so grab a snack:

     It’s really compelling stuff. 

     And, besides, something like this should even make the Moonbat segment of the global warming argument happy.  But then again, they’re usually really easy to get calm once you know which buttons to push. 
     I mean, dinner with E.T and a roll of Reynold’s Wrap can go a long way.


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