Saturday, November 24, 2007

Democrats will thank George Bush for the Iraq war, but not for the reason you think

A Gallup poll reports the majority of Americans who oppose the Iraq war are Democrats. A majority of Americans who believe global warming to be a major problem are also Democrats. Therefore, we can assume that the same people who oppose the war are the ones asking us to change our lifestyle when it comes to global warming.

Many people are looking for alternative forms of energy that are supposedly cleaner and more environmentally friendly than oil to reduce global warming. We have technology for alternative fuels or making current fuels go farther but the solutions are just way too expensive.

Take hybrid cars, for example. Right now, the Honda Civic sedan price starts at about $15,000. The car is represented to get 36 miles per gallon. The hybrid version of the Civic starts at about $23,000. The hybrid is said to get 45 miles per gallon. Obviously, owning a hybrid will require refueling fewer times a year and should be better for the environment. But the question is whether the savings in gasoline consumption and the alleged beneficial environmental effects are worth paying $8,000 more for the "green" vehicle. Based on driving an average of 12,000 miles per year and paying $3.50 for every gallon of gasoline, the savings you get by choosing the hybrid car are only $237 per year. It would take over 30 years to make up for that extra cost. That hardly sounds worth it to me.

Probably the only way hybrid cars will become worth the cost is if oil prices increase even more. The higher oil prices get, the more economical alternative fuels and use of 'green' cars will become by comparison. Not only will higher prices balance the differences between oil and alternative fuel, but the more expensive oil gets, the greater a national emergency energy becomes and the more incentives to make use of alternate fuel technology, use hybrid cars or biofuels there will be.

The incentives will also increase when political pressure on the government causes subsidies for alternative fuels to increase because alternative fuels such as biofuels, e.g. ethanol, are not as economical to produce or use as gasoline and diesel. If political unrest continues in the Middle East and the countries that control OPEC refuse or are unable to step up production, we will have no choice but to curb use of oil in some way.

Already the issue of government subsidies for alternative fuel is having an effect. Companies in the energy business are pushing for subsidies and recently the world’s most famous environmentalist, Al Gore, became a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that backs many eco-friendly startup companies. Kleiner Perkins claims that Gore will be an integral part of the running of the firm, but many believe his ‘use’ will be for his many connections in Washington. If Gore can help get more subsidies from the government, the money that a firm like KPCB stands to make could be huge. If the price of oil becomes a major problem facing the United States, we can be sure that Congress will attempt to do something to appease the voting public.

This scenario shows that by creating an oil crisis, Democrat environmentalists may finally be successful in cutting down on use of oil and may actually have to thank George W. Bush and the Iraq war for doing that.

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