Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Former dealer warns users about addiction

I didn't watch President Bush's fifth State of the Union Address last night. But I read it on his Web site this morning. This is my favorite part:

A single chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen generates energy, which can be used to power a car -- producing only water, not exhaust fumes. With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.

Sounds pretty darn simple to me. A single chemical reaction? How hard could it be? Sort of difficult, it turns out.

This morning, the Savannah Morning News printed a story by Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven. Here's a snip:

"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," Bush said.

Our president has crafted a very instructive analogy: We are addicted to a drug called oil. And he should know. He's a former dealer. His observation about the oil coming from unstable parts of the world is also very keen. To feed our addiction, our Uncle Sam is constantly looking to score and that takes him into some of the sketchiest neighborhoods on the globe. He's obligated to do business with some pretty unsavory characters, all to make sure we don't go into withdrawal.

It seems to me, however, that even if we do manage engineer our nation's fleet of private automobiles to burn hydrogen, ethanol or Jesus Juice, we are essentially swapping one addiction for another. Instead of the street drug (oil) we'll be hooked on the pharmaceutical-grade stuff that Bush says his proposed 22 percent increase in clean energy research will deliver. And we will still have many of the same problems, at least in my town.

Hydrogen-powered vehicles will be lined up for miles in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 16 every workday morning. Neighborhoods will be bulldozed and all kinds of other expensive schemes floated to maximize ethanol-fueled vehicle volume and speed on Derenne Avenue. Owners of alternative fuel vehicles will still be clamoring for more structured parking in the National Historic Landmark District.

What if you can't afford to purchase or lease one of these new "clean" cars? What if a medical condition prevents you from operating one of these advanced vehicles? I'm sorry, friend, but in the future you'll be treated like a second class citizen, just as you are now.


Evan said...

Great point. Every time my wife suggests that we get a second car for our family of four I always respond, "there's no place I need to go that I can't get to on my bike."

Anonymous said...

*former* dealer???