Friday, March 21, 2008

The Best Tool We Have

"The oil rig rumbles to life, breaking the early morning quiet in this neighborhood of urban townhouses and big box stores with a deafening screech and roar."

So reads the lead in a story by Gillian Flaccus for Newsweek. Because the price of oil is so high, many wells previously deemed empty enough are being revisited with new and better technology to drain every last drop.

There are some concerns, according to the article, that some of the wells have been in disrepair for a long time, that some of the new ways of drilling and extracting could prove unstable, and that unforeseen environmental effects could be big.

I am intrigued by this.
What do we revisit when the stakes are raised -- when time passes...
The crumbs we leave behind during prosperity may be nourishment later.

Then I came across a great website. The website for the Union of Concerned Scientists. They have all sorts of great information there!

And look at this:

"Increasing fuel economy is by far the best tool we have for cutting our oil dependence. It will deliver fast results. It has been proven to work from experience—we roughly doubled the fuel economy of our cars between the 1970s and the late 1980s. We can do this right now. The technology needed to increase the average fuel economy of our cars and trucks to 40 miles per gallon (mpg) has already been developed, but for the most part is collecting dust on automakers' shelves.

If we increased fuel economy to 40 mpg over 10 years, then within 15 years we would have saved more oil than we would ever get out of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge over its entire 40-50 year life. And the savings from better fuel economy would keep on growing indefinitely, while the oil wells would dry up."

I'm not exactly sure what these two things have in common -- but I know I was relieved for the second -- and desperately needed a story that sounded not quite so desperate.

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