I go back and forth on our energy problem. Let me say, that I truly believe in alternative energy. Electricity producing windmills, solar power, certain energy conservation measures, etc.
Now I like my truck, but I would enjoy, someday, being able to drive a hybrid gas/electric truck — it just sounds cool. And if we had had light rail transit, similar to Atlanta’s MARTA system where I lived/worked, I would have ridden that every day to work, instead of dealing with the gas, oil, repairs and depreciation on every second vehicle I had.
There are a few things that befuddle me about the energy situation.
We are enticed and soon to be mandated that every incandescent light bulb will be replaced with a curlique one. Apparently these new light bulbs require 60% less energy. (I like saving energy, I save money, in the short run — that is until the electric utility sells less kilowatts, so they get a rate hike to compensate and I wind up paying as much or more.) But these curlique things are mercury lights. I remember trying to hold mercury in my hand in Jr. High, it just rolls around. We recently learned that mercury is hazardous to us, hence we have limits on the amount of fish we should eat. We took mercury out of thermometers years ago. Disposal of these lights requires special handling. So, here’s my befuddlement–why is our energy conservation solution based on polluting the ground (even more)?
Petroleum is another befuddlement–now when I was young my father told me, and I think the rules still hold true today, that out of one barrel of sweet-crude (30 gals) you can only get a set amount of, oil, gas, diesel, or aviation fuel gallons. The theory behind refining oil, isn’t any different than distilling alcohol. The more you heat and “purify” the alcohol, the better the separation (proof) between types of alcohol. It is also true of crude oil. No matter how much you refine crude you can’t get any more gasoline than nature lets you have. You can’t turn a barrel of crude into a barrel of gasoline. So, I am befuddled, when I hear that the refinery’s are switching over to making heating fuel. Heating fuel is #2 diesel; if you’re making #2 diesel, a by product has to be gasoline. You can’t change nature, you get gasoline and all the other products when you make heating oil. And yet, when the refinery’s switch to heating oil production, gasoline prices go up–I’m befuddled.