America's Thirst For Gas



Gasoline guzzling America

I've been watching the news about how gas prices are going up; how truckers cannot make a living because of high fuel costs; and how higher fuel costs affect the price we pay for food, products and services.

It's being reported that demand is greater than supply, or any number of reasons why fuel should be more costly. Solutions being offered are hybrid cars.

"Nice ideas," but small cars and trucks are already available worldwide with much simpler designs and meet or exceed 40 mpg. Hydrogen cars would be great, but government and corporate America wants to depend on nuclear and coal energy to make hydrogen.

There is talk of putting mini-nuclear power plants all over the country for making hydrogen. Not a very earth-friendly idea. A major car company's American headquarters in California has a solar-powered hydrogen fuel station for fueling their fleet of hydrogen-powered test cars. This same station also helps supply energy to heat and cool their offices. Great engineering? Well, yes.

Oil companies want to drill in pristine wilderness or deep sea areas, or mine oil shale to extract every last drop of oil. An earth-friendly idea? No.

In many countries around the world, fuel has been more than $3.50 per gallon for years. Most have adapted their cars and public transportation to deal with it. America has not.

Oil reserves, no matter where on earth you mine it, are running out and should be used very conservatively for what we really need it for. That's reality -- embrace it now. Here's my short-term fix for demand being greater than supply, and you are not going to like it.

1. All "certified" commercial diesel use be charged at $1.90 per gallon, plus keeping food, products and services cost effective. Make bio-diesel the normal fuel of choice.

2. All private domestic gas and diesel use be charged at $3.50 or more per gallon, with 20 cents per gallon going to development and infrastructure for non-gasoline cars and trucks and to bring public transportation into the real world.

Hate the idea? Then buy small cars and trucks that get 40 mpg, plus. Yes, most all auto makers already have them. They just don't sell them to America yet. Why not?

It's time to get our heads out of the sand and embrace the fuel problem. Decrease demand by driving way less and smarter. Demand that auto makers give us the (low-tech) 40 mpg cars they already make. Crush and recycle the gas guzzlers for steel. Become part of a clean air and sustainable future.

Your children will be proud of you. Would not golf carts, small "quiet" motorcycles (my own gets 85 mpg plus) and bicycles be good for Payson? Well, yes.

R. J. Bikewell, Payson

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