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Monday, July 03, 2006

Ethanol whiplash

Two researchers from a maglev research center wrote an ethanol hit piece for Sunday's WaPo. The researchers James Powell and James Jordan had written a warning salvo concerning oil depletion for the Washington Post two years ago. Even though they probably have a scientific bias in favor of electrical technology, the two appear to have interests in a variety of research areas so like Robert Hirsch they at least have some background in energy policy. I tend to agree with their poor prognosis of biofuel technology's potential.

Sheldon Drobny, one of the founders of Air America Radio, has a provocative piece on the profits from gasoline here. I consider it provocative because it flies in the face of what constantly hear: that oil companies make most of their profits at the pump and actually consider the gasoline a by-product of the refinery process. Through some very straightforward math, Mr. Drobny shows that the oil companies will barely break even selling their oil at $3/gallon. They instead consider it a cheap way of "disposing of refinery waste". (Drobny picked up this information while working at his real job of IRS auditor, where his auditees included big oil)

Hmmm, if big oil does consider gasoline waste, then they might as well give it to the farmers, who can dispose of it properly in their quest to produce ethanol. Sometimes I think we live inside a large Klein bottle or travel on the surface of a Moebius strip, never getting to the bottom of anything. Oh well.

Speaking of AAR, Jim Earl of The Marc Maron Show has a wicked War on Brains segment courtesy of Patrick at TheSnotGreenSea.com. We find Earl questioning the pending relaxation of California offshore drilling regulations, in the meantime hilariously dragging Barbra Streisand and Marcus Welby's "butt-boy" into the argument.
Short Audio [MP3]

If you understand BitTorrent, you can get the whole show here, as Marc and Jim also interview TV guy Peter Horton on his featured role in the documentary "Who Killed The Electric Car?". At one time Horton had in his possession a real-live electric car and recounts how it got pried from his fingers when GM decided to recall the fleet of leased vehicles all at once.


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