For a long time our unofficial company slogan has been, "We at Bucks County Renewables are in favor of high gas prices." Of course it's no fun to have to pony up more cash at the pump, but apparently only pain in the pocketbook will drive consumer attention to the need to find alternatives to our current oil-guzzling transportation model.
We're also cognizant that gasoline prices are actually low in this country. The Energy Information Administration (home of official energy statistics from the US goverment) gives these averages as of 11/12/2007:
Of course there are countries where the prices are lower -- sometimes substantially so. China and some Eastern European countries continue to subsidize the cost of gasoline, keeping consumer price below what we pay in the US; and in oil-producing countries like Iraq and Venezuela, a fill-up can cost just pennies a gallon!
More food for thought on the issue:
According to the National Defense Council Foundation, the economic penalties of America's oil dependence total $297.2 to $304.9 billion annually. If reflected at the gasoline pump, these “hidden costs” would raise the price of a gallon of gasoline to over $5.28. A fill-up would be over $105. http://www.iags.org/costofoil.html
A 1998 report by the International Center for Technology Assessment examining the hidden costs of gasoline offered a high estimate of over $14 a gallon http://www.icta.org/doc/Real%20Price%20of%20Gasoline.pdf
A more recent (2006) report by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security put the true cost of Persian Gulf-derived oil at just under $10 a gallon -- at those rates, the "real" cost of filling up a family sedan would be $217.20, and filling up a large SUV, $325.80! http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=11520
These abstract considerations aside, $3/gallon gas got me thinking about next summer's EV conversion workshop, and preliminary preparations are getting underway for that program. We may be expanding the focus to incorporate other alternative fuels -- stay tuned!
Phooey -- I was just going to write that I was still waiting to hear about the PA DEP Energy Harvest Grant I applied for to cover the costs of this workshop, and then I thought I'd better hit their website and check (again) to see if they'd announced the winners yet. Apparently they did so on November 13, and Bucks County Renewables did not receive one of the 28 grants awarded (nor so much as a "sorry, you didn't make the cut" email, which is a little disappointing -- you would think the state would notify all the program applicants and not just the winners).
Um, so that means figuring out a different way to pay for the project. Too bad they aren't adding on a tax to our cheap gasoline here in the U.S. in order to fund research and education programs like ours, eh?
More soon! Thanks for following along, everyone.