Today, hundreds of truckers are protesting in D.C., circling the National Mall, horns blaring (Maximum Overdrive, anyone?) and demanding steps be taken to lower fuel costs. Among them, ending the subsidizing of Big Oil, releasing fuel from our Strategic Petroleum Reserves and ceasing the exportation of oil from Alaska.
In this editorial, Glenn Beck suggests that, given the current circumstances, we can finally revisit previously dismissed alternatives, like synthetic fuel:
Definitely something worth pursuing.For example, back in 1980, Congress passed the Energy Security Act, which led to the creation of something called the Synthetic Fuels Corp. (SFC). Lawmakers provided SFC with up to $88 billion in loans and incentives to get started (the equivalent of about $230 billion in today's dollars) with the goal of creating two million barrels a day of synthetic oil within seven years.
So why aren't you putting SFC oil into your SUV right now? Well, it turns out that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries didn't appreciate the competition so they started bringing down the price of oil. From 1980, when SFC launched, to 1986, when it was shut down, oil went from more than $39 a barrel to less than $8 a barrel. Suddenly, synthetic oil didn't seem so important anymore.
In announcing the SFC's closure, then-Energy Secretary John Herrington said that oil prices had simply dropped too low to make it a viable business.
But the good news is that those economics don't work anymore. The state of Montana, which is leading the synthetic fuel charge, says we can now make it for somewhere around $55 a barrel. That's more than a 50 percent discount from what it costs to buy the real stuff.
What I am curious about is this - Are we finally desperate enough to look at drilling in ANWR? There are ways to probe for oil that are more environmentally friendly, limiting damage to the area. With the economy suffering, food prices rising and the gas situation touching nearly everyone, will we finally tap our resources?
Tips for saving fuel:
- Keep it at 60mph on the freeway. Increasing even 10mph past that increases your fuel consumption. Hovering around 60mph can save you up to $.55/gal.
- Check and replace air filters regularly. This can save you up to $.35/gal.
- Drive less aggressively. Rapid acceleration, breaking and speeding can save about 5% around town and 33% on the freeway.
- By planning ahead and combining trips, you can save a significant amount of gas each week.
See fueleconomy.gov for more tips.