Friday, January 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Pintos

The big push to eliminate the use of fossil fuels has finally "jumped the shark" (as they say).
The Democrat ruled congress is calling for increased emission regulations and decreasing consumption of fuel just like they did in 1972.
President Bush has even called for ending our "addiction" to oil and for reducing our consumption by 20% in the next few years. (yeah right)
We are supposed to reduce fuel consumption while increasing the economy, increasing business, increasing travel and increasing the population...uhhh... NOT gonna' happen.
What was sold to America as the answer for our addiction to oil back in the 70's?
The Pinto (and Vega, Chevette etc.) I use the Pinto as an example because it was prone to burst into flames.
So, would you prefer an electric Pinto, a ethanol powered Pinto, a Hydrogen powered Pinto or a Rubber band powered Pinto? (They might give it a new spiffy modern new PC name... but it might as well be a Pinto)

Experts are pointing to ethanol (made from corn and/or sugars) as the glorious answer to all our energy problems, however "the proof just isn't in the pudding" (as they also like to say).

One major problem is that ethanol is not cost efficient to produce since it takes more energy to produce ethanol than it yields as opposed to petroleum which yields 5 times the energy required to refine it.
Additionally, to produce ethanol, coal is usually used to heat the corn and release the sugar which is converted to ethanol alcohol... this process eliminates any potential environmental gain from ethanol usage over gasoline.
Lastly, ethanol doesn't perform anywhere near as well as gasoline and therefore mileage goes down 20%-30% compared to gasoline (along with performance).

The same problem exists with hydrogen in that it takes more energy to produce it/refine it than it yields in return. In addition there is storage and refueling problems along with performance issues yet to be resolved.

Electric cars are really just golf carts with an ugly body on top... underpowered and low range between recharges make them unusable, uninteresting and un-fun.

Then we have this... Several scientists believe that oil sources may actually be self replenishing as an ongoing result of the earths core activity and NOT derived from organic material like fossils, animals and plants and is not a limited quantity. There is much evidence to support this theory... certainly MORE evidence than there is to support man's influence on global warming.(which is debatable and very questionable).

So, before you go out and buy yourself a brand NEW hybrid electric ethanol hydrogen powered
ford Pinto wagon(or whatever)...
you might want to think back to the 1970's (or do some research) when they claimed to have killed the muscle car and saved the planet from the evils of OIL, by introducing us to the NEW 1972, enviroment friendly, high gas mileage, Ford Pinto wagon. It was a huge failure, flop and actually dangerous. (Worse than the Edsel itself)

Meanwhile, the "muscle car" lives on and Hemi Cuda's, Z-28's and Shelby Mustang GT's are worth hundreds of times their original value... and the Pinto.... well you can get one at the salvage yard for about $200, or you can get one which has been turned into a muscle car by stuffing a big American gas guzzling V-8 hotrod engine under the hood for a few thousand.

Score: Muscle Car-1, Pinto gas saver- 0

Look, fleets of cars across the country (like the city of Denver) have gone to LP gas (propane), ethanol and every other alternative fuel out there and the result is always the same. The cars don't run as well, have more mechanical problems and they don't end up getting better mileage.

The reason we are not already driving a non-combustion engine powered vehicle or alternative fuel vehicle is simple.
Americans won't buy one UNTIL it can out perform the cars we are currently driving.
The instant you see a factory built ethanol car produce 12 second ET's in the quarter mile... or a 13 second golf cart for that matter... Americans will switch to ethanol or whatever.

Personally, I love the smell of nitromethane in the morning... (my favorite alternative fuel) ...but that's just me.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about this 12.47 second "golf cart"? No big block, no methane, no combustion, just ~$0.20 in electricity per 12 second run.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

The pinto pictured runs low 10's in the quarter mile and you don't have to plug it in all night to make a pass either... btw, where did the electricity come from to power the 12 second golf cart?
Answer: Coal.

9:55 AM  

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