For many years now I, like a lot of liberals, have recognized the importance of changing America’s energy policy, particularly with respect to weening ourselves from the teet of corrupt, greedy, dangerous nations that sell us oil, like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. In the last few years there had been a surge in American ethanol production, particularly in the corn belt. I believe that ethanol fuel, E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), could be the answer to our energy problems. It is renewable, it burns clean, and if we put our industrial might behind it, we could make it all here in America.
But there’s a catch: it won’t be easy. Our nation is currently capable of producing only about half of the petroleum we use every day; imagine how little ethanol we are capable of producing. If we all pulled together and worked hard to change our nation to an ethanol energy base, we could be energy independent in just a few years. There’s just one problem: Americans, overall, are whining pussies, and I cite as an example of this ethanol fuel itself. Here in Oklahoma, we have been led to believe that ethanol will damage our engines and lead to poorer fuel economy. (The first assertion is debatable, and the second one is true – a gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline.) So how does this make us pussies? Easy: as soon as anything is inconvenient or expensive or unpopular or complicated, we abandon it in a heartbeat. Here in Oklahoma, most of the filling stations have big signs that brag, “NO ETHANOL! 100% GAS!” Quite honestly, most of the hicks around here don’t know the difference between “gas”, gasoline, ethanol, or molasses.
Another crippling aspect of this fight is our pathetic amnesia: does anyone remember even a year ago when gasoline was $4 a gallon and everyone was clamoring for ethanol?
I guess the only way America will march toward a moral, sustainable energy policy is if the current energy policy falls on its ass, which it will.