Re-Fueling America’s Economy for Unprecedented Growth
“The Economy Can’t Improve Unless There’s a Reason to Improve it”
By: Marc J. Rauch, Executive VP, THE AUTO CHANNEL
The United States needs a new industry that necessitates a vertical range of jobs and which spawn additional supportive industries with an even greater vertical range of jobs. This industry must produce products and services that: benefit all Americans; save money; are healthy (or at least healthier than the products being replaced); and that improve our overall standard of living. In other words, products consumers actually need and want to buy.
The solution is alternative energy and fuels. But, most importantly, the alternative energy and fuels must be produced domestically and controlled by American entrepreneurs. The raw materials used to generate the energy and produce the fuels must come from our own domestic resources that generate domestic jobs reserved for our citizens (the operative words being “our citizens”).
Lately there has been a great deal of attention focused on new domestic oil drilling and shale oil production as the solution to our economic problems. Headlines proclaim that the U.S. will once again become the world’s dominant exporter of petroleum oil (Yes, America was once the dominant oil exporter).
New domestic oil drilling would be acceptable if the industry was not controlled by foreign national interests and if we knew the oil would be used in America to lower the cost of gas and home heating oil and alleviate our need for foreign oil.
But that will not happen. In fact, we don’t ever hear American oil executives suggesting that will happen even if new drilling and exploration is allowed. In all likelihood the oil will be sold elsewhere and Americans will receive no greater benefits than those enjoyed by British citizens from the United Kingdom’s share in the North Sea oil fields (regular unleaded gasoline currently sells for a bit more than $8/gallon and Britons are as dependent on OPEC’s capricious dictates as we are).
Moreover, recent analysis of America’s oil potential supports this conclusion. Saudi Arabia, for example, only needs to increase its pumping capacity to remain a larger exporter. This is in addition to the actual protracted time required to perfect shale oil technologies, locate and drill oil deposits and bring it to market. We could be left for many years just chasing a carrot instead of putting into play a solution that is readily at hand. TODAY.
The burning question is: which alternate fuel solution is right for America in the near term and foreseeable future? The main contenders are:
* Electric (straight plug-in battery or fuel-cell related)
* Hydrogen – internal combustion engine
* Ethanol (and methanol)
* Compressed Air
* Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
The answer is ethanol. The reasons for this choice will be explained in follow-up Papers. Those follow-up papers will also explore the pros and cons of each potential contender, the history of how gasoline and diesel became the primary engine fuels and will address the common misconceptions and myths about ethanol.
For now, let me just say the choice of ethanol is not predicated upon the use of corn as the primary raw material. The optimal raw materials are sweet sorghum, cattails, buffalo gourds, fodder beets, fresh water algae and kelp (seaweed). These crops require less (or no) irrigation or fertilizers and can produce ethanol (alcohol) yields substantially higher than corn.
For instance, one acre of corn yields approximately only 250 gallons of ethanol/year. By comparison, buffalo gourds can deliver more than 2,000 gallons/year/acre while cattails can yield as much as 7,500 gallons/year/acre. Seaweed, however, can produce an astounding 30,000 gallons/year.
In addition, while sweet sorghum can be grown on less fertile farmland and in conditions that are not suitable for corn, buffalo gourds and cattails don’t require any arable farmland. Of course kelp requires no land of any kind. The technology for this ethanol production is as inexpensive and available as the technology used today to distill alcohol from corn. This alternative solution is available right now anywhere in the United States.
What makes ethanol an even more potent solution is that it can be used in nearly all gas-powered vehicles currently in service. Its optimal use in gas-powered vehicles does not require any changes to EPA or state regulations to make necessary engine adjustments (unlike the onerous regulations governing the conversion of existing gas-powered vehicles to Compressed Natural Gas). Furthermore, while dedicated CNG-powered vehicles can only be fueled by CNG, ethanol-gasoline powered engines can use either fuel as availability warrants.
The bottom line, as you will come to learn, is that a robust domestic alternative fuel industry not only frees America from dependence on foreign oil, it would provide a new industry that employs millions, reduces transportation expenses, and is environmentally friendly.
NEXT PAPER: How America lost its energy independence and became enslaved to the oil industry.
About the Author: Marc J. Rauch is co-founder and Executive Vice President of The Auto Channel LLC. The company was founded in 1987 and it owns TheAutoChannel.com, the Internet’s largest automotive information resource, and a broadcast television network based in South Florida. Marc has been involved in the broadcast and advertising industries for more than 40-years. He has won dozens of international and national creative awards as a writer/producer/director, and has been a frequent speaker at media industry events around the world. Marc’s political editorials has been published on print and online publications such as David Horowitz’ FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE, Edwin Black’s THE CUTTING EDGE NEWS, the JEWISH PRESS, and ConservativeTruth.org, among many others.