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Getting Cheap Gas Is Not As Big A Problem As One Might Think

Jul 5, 2008
Hurricane Katrina's showed us very clearly that we are very susceptible to any major halt or reduction in oil production. With prices souring since the Katrina tragedy the term "cheap gas" is as extinct as the dinosaurs. The Hurricane Katrina cutoff came from a natural disaster, of course, but the larger threat is a political.

Amazingly enough, two-thirds of the world's established oil treasury lie in and around the Persian Gulf area; these countries, led by Saudi Arabia, now supply about a quarter of today's oil. This flow could be interrupted at any time for a wide range of reasons -- terrorism, war, domestic upheaval, deliberate cuts, just to name a few. Many other major oil exporters are equally unpredictable: Russia (the No. 2 exporter), Venezuela (No. 5) and Nigeria (No. 8).

More than 60 percent of our oil use goes for transportation, subjugated by in large by road travel. It's a fable that encouraging more fuel-efficient vehicles means that we will all have to drive the smallest of autos. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fuel efficiency isn't dictated by the size of your auto but by the performance of its engine. We will not go back to having cheap gas until we utilize the technology to make more efficient automobiles.

The introduction of "hybrid" vehicles -- combining internal-combustion engines and electric motors -- promises fuel efficiency gains of 10 percent to 50 percent based on accessible technologies. But it's also a myth that simply issuing tougher fuel standards will bring instant relief. We have to look at the efficiency of the cars we are driving and that will determine how much or how little fuel we use. And, of course that does determine if we will be buying cheap gas in the near future or not.

It's going to take a long time; you've got 225 million vehicles out there. It may take as long as 15 years to turn over the entire fleet of automobiles on our highways. In fact, the math is worse than that. From 2008 to 2025, the number of vehicles may grow by 50 percent, projects the Energy Information Administration. The swell reflects more people (from today's 297 million to 351 million in 2025) and potential higher incomes. To keep total gasoline utilization stable, average fuel efficiency must improve by approximately 50 percent.

We should be able to do this. Car companies can shift decisively toward hybrids and it is now very easy to convert your existing auto into a hydrogen from water hybrid very cheaply. Regardless of the hype, annual new hybrid sales will amount to a meager 234,000 sales out of about 17 million.

If companies are to be pushed toward building more hybrids, they have to be assured of strong demand, because there's a downside. On average, hybrids cost $3,000 to $4,000 more than conventional cars. Again, as of late, many people are finding it much cheaper to convert their own vehicles to hydrogen hybrids for less than a couple of hundred dollars.

The traditional U.S. car companies -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler -- are unfortunately the least prepared for change. They tied their fortunes to the biggest SUVs and pickups and right now the smaller foreign car producers seem to be leading the push toward hybrids. Cheap gasoline can come from two areas, at the pump or by how much, or more precisely how little fuel that auto uses.

Government needs to cultivate a market for fuel efficiency, although the consumers are no longer waiting for the government to act. With the public becoming more aware of the water for fuel technology people are starting to make the shift on their own. Americans now know that the era of cheap gasoline is history and are now purposely looking for more cost efficient ways to travel.

It's not a national tragedy for someone to trade an Expedition for a Taurus. Some drivers will want to turn to a hybrid versions of their present vehicles; others will downsize. Cheap gas may be history, but greater fuel efficiency is the mark of the future for us all.
About the Author
Michael Littles is a big supporter of the continued development of Hydrogen as a fuel source and provides a free video for all those who want to learn more about this technology in order to save 35% to 50% on your fuel costs. Get your free video by visiting: http://www.h2o-n2fuel.com
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