Biofuels & the Oil Industry

I was reading a NY Times article yesterday, called "Oil Industry Says Biofuel Push May Keep Gases Prices High". In the article, oil executives are pointing an accusing finger at the government’s direction for promoting biofuels as the latest reason for high gas prices. "Congress is considering legislation calling for a nearly fivefold increase in the use of ethanol" and that consideration and not the explosion at a BP refinery in Texas, nor the abduction of oil workers in the Middle East nor the desire for tidy profits is what is keeping gas prices high.

Are they kidding me? Exxon had its most profitable year ever last year. Ever.  I just don’t believe that a consideration has caused the industry to react that quickly to rethink their investments in new refineries, which would then influence this current spike in oil prices right before the busy driving weekend of the year.  Gosh, such market nimbleness. You would think that an industry able to react that quickly to market changes would also be on the leading edge of R&D and would be at the forefront of any new alternative fuel research.

It is absolutely frustrating to read articles like this. On one hand, you have this spurious claim by oil exec. for rising prices and then you hear that congress wants to increase the use of the ethanol, the least efficient biofuel – it takes as much energy to convert corn to ethanol as it creates. Where is the gain in that?

Having said all that, we are still going away for the long weekend. I am toying with the idea of trying to limit the amount I drive by car to 50 miles a week and those miles I don’t use, bank them for another time. I work from home most days and go into work one day a week, sometimes two and the office is 26 miles round trip.  Maybe 50 is too high. I’ll have to wait and see but I think the idea of working toward limiting the miles I drive for routine errands might be a way to counter the mileage we drive when we go on trips.  Sort of like a savings account.

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