Monday, April 12, 2010

Gas price surge - why we need change

I filled up the Honda Sunday at Fred Meyer in Bend. It was $2.87 per gallon of regular gas, including my 3-cent rewards card discount.

Most stations around Bend are at $2.99 per gallon. I imagine that it is at least $3.10 in the Willamette Valley and well over $3 bucks a gallon in California, where you have to pump it yourself.

So much for the economic recovery.

Forget the Tea Party upsetting the Obama "change" machine. Leave it to Exxon/Mobil and oil futures speculators to control the destiny of any American president. For as the price of oil goes, so goes the American economy. And this is precisely why alternative energy sources are so critical.

Yes, those alternatives are going to include nuclear energy. They'll include fuel cells as well as water, wind, solar and, unfortunately, coal. Hopefully one day, coal will be that barely used alternative, much like solar is today.

In Spain this last winter, the wind was so strong that, for the first time, the country got more energy from wind than coal.

Germany, with winter weather as cloudy as in western Oregon, is the world leader in solar energy. And China, with the world's worst pollution and limited oil production, is as fanatical about alternative energy as it is producing Zhu-zhu pets.

Throw in the global-warming angle and it's more critical than ever that we develop "clean" energy as quickly as possible.

After 8 years of the Bush administration with its complete reliance on oil and coal, it's going to take this country a while to catch up to countries like Spain, Germany and, most importantly, China.

It shows how Big Oil runs our country, no matter who is in power. Ironically, because Big Oil rules now, it ensures America will not rule later.

There are a few out there who realize that Big Oil is the key to our potential downfall, but they haven't mobilized effectively enough to make a significant difference. The Enron fiasco in California earlier this century convinced the techy crowd in the Bay Area that it had to rely on itself for its energy needs.

And yet, what did we get? The iPhone, iPad and Google Earth. As cool as those things are, what we really need from Silicon Valley is a way out of our energy death spiral.

We need fuel cells, solar and wind power at the homeowner level to make a big difference in our energy needs. Hybrid vehicles and the future fleets of electric cars should steer us in the right direction as far as the automobile is concerned.

But, come on, you tech-heads. Create something that matters other than video games. Drop the joy stick and grab the wheel of change.

Get your act together.

If you do, you'll be able to play with your xBox until the cows come home.

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