This is written in rebuttal to Terry Putnam's July 25 letter responding to mine in response to his.
It appears that we have, at least in part, a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
"Just stir a little water, air and sunlight into useable transportation fuel." If Mr. Putnam had bothered to look up "artificial photosynthesis," he would have found that this is a definite prospect, being seriously researched around the world. It is, after all, what plants do and have always done. "A-P" is, granted, still in the Orville-Wilbur stage, but I expect that the same money, effort and time required to bring in efficient shale-oil production would be sufficient to develop the "stir-up" solution I suggested to the brink of commercialization.
Harvesting sunlight by conversion to electricity is well-established and will soon reach higher efficiency at lower infrastructure cost as polymer solar converters are commercialized. The money being spent in Iraq would likely do the trick to enable us to close the gap here.
I stick with my remarks on the price of gasoline. The price is entirely comparable to that paid in prior years. I am on a fixed income, too, very little more than Social Security. We drive less, our main vehicle is moderately efficient and definitely not a highway monster.
Finally, Mr. Putnam does not defend himself at all from my charges that unrestrained production of gasoline products as were marketed in the 1950s and '60s would now, as they did then, lead to grossly unacceptable levels of air pollution.
Mr. Putnam speaks eloquently that we need more domestically produced petroleum and fuel "to meet U.S. needs." As I glance around town at the plethora of magnificent and grossly oversized, overpowered, over-decorated and overpriced pickups and SUVs, I always wonder about just what those "U.S. needs" are that he speaks of?
Another example in the "needs" department -- the crude and inefficient residential building construction practices applied in this country today likely constitute more than enough waste to account for any present energy shortage. Most dwellings in America today unknowingly develop a very significant fraction of their overall heating/air-conditioning energy demands in their attics and/or crawl spaces.
One thing Mr. Putnam and I agree upon very definitely: We need to get our noses and needs out of the Middle-Eastern/Venezuelan/Africa oil pot and send them all packing. We disagree, however, on how to do it.
Remember that plentiful and therefore cheap domestic oil got us into the pickle we are in now. Of course, our wastefulness helped us mightily along toward that end.
Allen N. Wollscheidt, Payson
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the Payson Roundup 400-word limit for Letters to the Editor.