New US Energy Bill Becomes Law

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 2jaded2care, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I know it lacks the charm of such topics as Iowa mudslinging, celebrity closet-exiting, and righteous-outrage-at-whatever-Bush-or-Cheney-did, but... hey, the Dems pushed an energy bill, and Bush signed it!

    It increased the Corporate Average Fuel Economy for cars and SUVs/trucks by about 40% by 2020, and requires increased production of ethanol/biofuels as well.

    Of course, everyone's got something to complain about with the bill, but it's a good step I think. Whether you're concerned about global warming or our dependence on foreign oil, I would hope most people would support it.

    I don't know whether to thank Pelosi and Reid, or OPEC, frankly, but whoever's responsible, thanks!
     
  2. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #3
    I happened to be reading this while surfing MR (yeah multi-tasking!), and it only focuses on the bulb issue, but still relevant (yeah relevance!). Yeah parentheses!
     
  3. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
  4. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #5
    Finally enough incentive for manufacturers to offer diesel models of all their cars and light trucks.
     
  5. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #6
    This is good news only it took our d.a. congress/ president years to figure it out. Should have done this a long long time ago. instead we get this during the end of jr's 2nd term and half of congress up for election. I can only wonder at the loopholes that will be in this one like the loophole of calling a car a truck/suv like they have done the past 20 yrs. Seems only at election time do these dirty dogs pretend to listen to the people.
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    And now GM is claiming that GWB just signed the death warrant for the American muscle car.

    What a bunch of whiners...
     
  7. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I agree it should have happened sooner. However, it seems our elected officials, like most of us, operate under the principle of inertia; they resist change until external forces (such as oil prices) make them change.

    I'll take this though, better late than never.
     
  8. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #9
    You mean they won't be able to sell many cars that seat 2 people, have 600+ horsepower and have a top speed of over 200 mph? Sounds like the end of the world to me! :rolleyes:

    GM signed a death warrant for attractive, reliable cars (other than the 'Vette) a long time ago.
     
  9. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #10
    I'll be the first to dump on this bill.

    It was originally meant to be a comprehensive energy bill and barely achieved fig-leaf status. That the Democrats are touting it as a major victory is nauseating. It was a big win for The Decider.

    The bill originally repealed tax cuts for oil companies in order to give credits to alternative energy. These were nixed because W is a "fiscal conservative" and opposed raising taxes.

    The bill originally mandated that utilities generate 15% of their energy from renewable resources within 10(?) years. This was nixed because utilities claimed it would increase costs to consumers. (Duh. So will dramatic climate change.)

    It created giant giveaways to the corn industry (because the $500 billion farm bill apparently wasn't enough) for bio-fuels, which are of questionable value because of their low input-to-output efficiency compared to sugar ethanol. Not to mention we're still going to be burning hydrocarbons instead of researching electrics.

    The cafe standards were the weakest part they could pass and claim victory. It mandates a 40% increase over 13 years, fleet wide. And I'm sure there's absolutely no accounting loopholes that will allow the Big 3 to sneak by 2020 without actually meeting the goal.

    ...

    The Democrats let the Republicans threaten a filibuster, caved, and came out looking even more pathetic than they did going in. Our "comprehensive" energy bill is a joke. We need Kyoto-level planning and leadership. Instead we're getting playground-level politics.

    The lobbyists earned their pay this session. The Democrats should be ashamed. The Republicans should be impeached. The President should resign in disgrace.

    Imagine fighting efficiency, forward-thinking policies and saving the environment and claiming a it victory. Asshats.
     
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #11
    As a Saab owner, I am not sure whether to protest your point or agree...Saab has gone downhill in a lot of areas since the merger...though my'03 9-5 Aero is attractive, fast, pretty fuel efficient and reliable for me (knock wood).
     
  11. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #12
    It's not a large victory, probably not even a victory at all, but hey, it's about as good as we're going get. That's not great, and actually a little sad, but they can at least claim some victory. We don't really have much else.
     
  12. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

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    #13
    The Democrats and Republicans are fighting a war through proxy ideologies to which no one actually subscribes. Everyone knows that corn is a really cruddy fuel source -- but we're going to keep talking about corn. As long as there's an argument about corn, we can maintain the current dynamics.

    Damn near everyone -- whether you're a die-hard paleoconservative or a granola-munching hippie -- knows that our dependence on foreign parties is terribly dangerous, that our dependence on government is almost as bad, and that our dependence on corporations is, at best, ominous. We all know (although we might disagree as to why) that the quality and quantity of self-sufficiency and efficiency we exhibit as individuals will strongly influence what happens in this next century.

    **** corn.
     
  13. 2jaded2care thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    The Dems I've heard are all referring to this law as a "first step". I'm sure they will be trying to get more passed, especially if they get a Dem president.

    I'll admit I don't understand most people who get something significant, but immediately dismiss it as not enough. The Dems got what they could, given the circumstances. I'm grateful it got passed, even though, like you, I would rather have seen more for research in true alternative energy sources, as opposed to "renewable" hydrocarbons.

    And what GM needs to do instead of whining is get serious and build that battery factory for the GM-Volt.
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    The new law mandates up to as much as a 150% increase in corn-based ethanol, and a six-fold increase in ethanol. "Wood chips and grass."

    There is already suffering from the already-higher prices of food grains. There have already been food riots. You might even have noticed the rise in the cost of various foods in your friendly Hoggly-Woggly or A&Poo Feed Store.

    Anybody checked the price of wheat, lately? If not, do so and compare with a couple of years back. But be sitting down when you do so.

    We're fighting water shortages all over the place, but Congress wants more industrial process with high water consumption. Duh? Plus, any monoculture burns up soil nutrients, so that means more fertilizer--and it takes energy to make fertilizer.

    Whence cometh the wood? Anybody checked the growth rate of trees? Even fast-grow pulpwood pine takes 13 years to get to the thinning size. And if one considers the two- to three-year cycle of grass as a feedstock...

    What's that movie? "Dumb and Dumber"?

    Putting the onus on the car makers for the 35mpg deal is wrong-end-to. Get the (bleep) consumer persuaded via his billfold to quit buying the big heavy stuff and get into rationally-sized cars that are more suitable for those one-person trips to work, the mall or the grocery. Plenty of those already in production.

    'Rat
     
  15. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #16
    Isn't the higher cost of food and production/harvesting mostly due to the much higher cost of fuel? It's a vicious cycle. As said, they need a better way to increase the output ratio, or focus more on things that could work like ethanol or sugar, but this is a first step at least. We can't keep going on oil forever, and it would be better to find alternatives sooner than later.

    And people are buying them, or want to. But there needs to be some push from someone with the power to since even with the consumer asking for more and complaining about fuel prices, they seem to want to drag their feet doing so. Other countries do it, and their people reap the rewards. It would be in the car makers best interest to as well, but would require effort and cost more up front, and they don't want to do that for some reason.
     
  16. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #17
    And what sucks is that they'd get much more energy out of making it into biodiesel instead and it would take less energy to make it. I can't figure out the push for ethanol over diesel.

    From the discussions I've had with people it seems to boil down to smell (?) Get over it!
     
  17. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Sure, fuel costs are part of the equation for higher food prices. But demand for food also plays a part. If you've kept up with news from China, you'll know that they're more upscale now in the types of food that are in demand, particularly meat. That diverts feed grains into meat production.

    The demand for ethanol from corn reduces the amount of corn as a foodstuff. So, corn products rise in price. Not just Fritos and Post Toasties, but products with corn syrups--such as candy. Then factor in poor harvests in some areas and the price of corn just keeps on rising. Not just in the U.S. is this ethanolitis a problem: German farmers are raising more corn and less hops, so the price of beer is up some 15% or thereabouts.

    Food prices: http://money.cnn.com/2007/12/19/news/companies/food/index.htm

    Car companies produce what people will buy. We're a money-driven society, and people equate success with McMansions and fancier, bigger cars. At one time, there was a fairly rigid sequence in life: The one-bedroom, one bath house with no garage. With pay raises and promotions, larger houses. Same for cars: First a Ford or Chevy. Then a Mercury or Olds. Then, eventually, on up to a Caddy or Lincoln. That general psychology still exists, although nowadays it's not the window-sticker prices so much as, "Can I afford the payments?" and balloon notes.

    Business success is based on "Find a demand and fill it." There is too little demand for the existing 35mpg-50mpg cars; too much demand for the hogs. Psychology. Change the public attitude about what is a proper car--and that's got zilch to do with laws about CAFE.

    'Rat
     
  18. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #19
    And if it could be proven that fuel could be made more efficiently from hemp thereby freeing up corn for food again do you think our government would get behind it and fund it so profusely?

    It was a rhetorical question btw.:rolleyes:
     
  19. pdham macrumors member

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    #20
    I must agree that corn based ethanol is not a long term or viable solution. The net carbon output is higher than gasoline.

    But I would disagree that biofuels have increased food prices - corn prices yes - but not food prices in general. As skunk said price increases in food are mostly due to transportation costs.

    --Begin Aside--
    That being said, I recently finished a farmalnd preservation job for a county in Wisconsin under intense development preassure. The reality of farmland conversion in this country is this: only one thing is going to stem the tide and that is increased food prices. We pay the least for food out of any developed nation. Therefore, I don't necessarily mind an increase in food costs. Unfortunately because it is due to transportation it isn't actually translating into more capital for the farmer. Anyway, not related to this thread... continue
    --End Aside--
     
  20. pdham macrumors member

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    #21
    Thanks for the article. This is slightly frustrating however. Certainly milk has gone up, which is an important food stuff to consume. But, the reason why families have such high food bills is becaue of what they choose to purchase. Pre-prepared and processed foods are considerably more expensive than purchasing ingredients and cooking. My wife an I eat all organic, as local as possible, food products. Including organic milk at slightly over $6.00 a gallon. However, we by zero pre-prepared food and don't eat meat; I am relatively positive we spend less on groceries than other two person families that eat a typical American diet.
     
  21. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    The net carbon output for ethanol is not higher than for gasoline. All of the carbon output from burning the ethanol itself was recently removed from the atmosphere by the corn that it was made from. This means that the net carbon output of burning ethanol only comes from the fossil fuels that were used to farm the corn and deliver the ethanol to the filling station.

    I personally would like to see a carbon neutral business plan for producing ethanol where all the farm equipment used to grow the corn and the tankers used to transport the ethanol only used ethanol as a fuel. It would be interesting to see how much net ethanol was actually produced.
     
  22. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #23
    And taking your question a step further, I'd like to know if the corn was converted to corn oil and then biodiesel whether the energy return on the crop was less, the same or more.
     
  23. pdham macrumors member

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    #24


    http://www.slate.com/id/2122961/

    The ethanol industry will oppose this of course, but from what I understand, mostly second hand from a friend that does energy policy analysis, the above statements hold true.
     
  24. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    That is interesting data. I have seen it presented before where ethanol looked a lot more competitive. I will look for the study I saw about a year ago.

    Even with its inefficiencies, ethanol has the potential of being low carbon. If the plants that process the ethanol use renewable energy like wind and the trucks that haul it use ethanol, the entire process could be carbon neutral. No matter how efficient gasoline producers become you are still burning 1 gallon of gasoline to get 116 MBtu of energy which emits a set amount of carbon into the atmosphere.
     

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