Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gas Prices: What's the Future Look Like?

A reader posted a comment on the "NREL, A123Systems battery research" post. He/she said,

"Within 10 years half the automobiles on the road will be battery powered. They will be able to go 200 miles on a charge and be as capable as our current autos. Most power plants will be powered by natural gas or wind and some solar."

Having said this, do you agree? What does our future look like with $10 a gallon of gas? There's no way that our stagnate incomes/slowing economy can afford 10 bucks a gallon. No way. So if gas does get that high what does the world look like? How do we get to work? How does our food get transported to the grocery store? How do our kids get to school? What will containers (made out of petroleum-based plastic) become? Lots of things will have to change with $10 a gallon.

It is an exciting time to be alive and change is coming whether we want or not. But after so many years of easy living in the states (relative to other places around the globe) don't we need a challenge to get the blood moving again, the old brain thinking again, and the will power thriving again? I think so, do you?


David H said...

Justin Rickard, you are a hero.

I hope this quote comes true. The automobile part is certainly possible, if you consider the very short time it took for us to go from the first car in the late 1800s to the mass-produced Model-T and all the infrastructure that came quickly with it. Or the time it took for us to get all the tanks and planes ready for WWII . . .

And it took the island of Samsø 10 years to go almost all renewable; see this great article in the New Yorker if you haven't:

But I am skeptical the U.S. will make such huge changes in utilities in 10 years. The price of coal isn't crazy high like oil right now, and the nuclear business is still kicking . . .

Still, we should give it a go. There's a quote in that article about how the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones . . .

Justin A. Rickard said...

Thanks for the article "DH." I will peruse it this weekend while enjoying a Heath bar and a cup of tea. :) We should definitely give it a go. You're right, coal is still cheap and in abundance, but the price of PV is coming down rapidly (once silicon production ramps up) and the efficiency is improving. Combined these will give coal a run for its money very soon (3-5 years?). Not to mention the increasing awareness by everyday people that coal-burning electricity plants are a major contributing factor to declining air quality. I really hope we don't wait until we are literally choking (like the attendees at the summer Olympics in Bejing will do) until we demand change. Let's keep educating and writing and spreading the word about renewable energy. If we do that it'll happen.

And you are my hero DH! Keep writing.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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