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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-17-2007, 09:20 PM   #21
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by unclemick2
Ok I'll bite - duh? How does our govenment subsidize oil - looks to me more like we piggy back a cash cow and tax the piss out of it.

heh heh heh
Oil is "only taxed at 11%", non-oil industries are taxed at 18%. Don't know any specifics/details on this, but if you type in 'oil subsidies' into Google, this is the first link you get. Dunno if it's a good source.

The Cato Institute, which I consider to be somewhat reputable, goes on a tirade about oil subsidies .

I'm certainly no expert. They get into politics to muddy everything up, too. I don't think they care, everyone is suspect, and they are extreme idealists.

Edit: they = Cato Inst.

-CC
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-17-2007, 10:23 PM   #22
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by unclemick2
Ok I'll bite - duh? How does our govenment subsidize oil - looks to me more like we piggy back a cash cow and tax the piss out of it.

heh heh heh


Putting that curmudgeon cert to good use, hey?
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-18-2007, 04:07 AM   #23
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Putting that curmudgeon cert to good use, hey?
Too many wealthy people have business interests tied to oil... why upset the apple cart. I might change the status quo (their wealth)!

Too many congressional palms get greased (campaign fund donations). Not to mention the cushy job after they get voted out.

We could become much less dependent on foreign oil if we set our mind to it. In fact, Carter had an initiative to begin doing so in the late 70's. Reagan administration killed it.

We as a country need to work both side of the equation. More internal energy production (less imporation) through a variety of ways and less consumption (via technology improvement).

On automobiles alone... we as a country consume too much gas because of all of the gas guzzlers. When I drive to work... I see a huge number of SUVs on the road.

It is every one's choice about the car they drive... however, one way to clip the large guzzler is to implement a more progressive tax based on consumption. To keep it simple, this could be done when a new vehicle is purchased based on the expected lifetime consumption of gasoline over a baseline for the average car. Or some other clever approach.

The government has not prodded the industry along to increase efficiency on large vehicle or small for that matter.

Bottom line: Old line american business does not have a good track record for making future looking adjustments... they tend to ride the horse into the ground and then wonder what happened. We could be tops in fuel efficient vehicles... but instead the japanese are moving ahead of us because they are a bit more aggressive.

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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #24
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by chinaco
Too many congressional palms get greased (campaign fund donations). Not to mention the cushy job after they get voted out.
A local political writer had an interesting perspective on campaign contributions:

"If you and your ideas can't get someone to support you with their dollars, then why do you think anyone would support you with their vote?"

Speaking of dollars & votes, Warren Buffett was on Charlie Rose again a couple weeks ago. He said he'd be thrilled to see either Clinton or Obama...
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-18-2007, 12:13 PM   #25
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

I think a lot of it is simple laziness. It would take effort to change & become more energy efficient. A lot of people don't care about anything other than getting their McDonald's food & watching American Idol (like my own family memebers).

If global warming continues, then we *will* be able to grow more sugar cane here. I saw a TV show the other day that discussed how the planting zones in the US have changed over the past few years. Plants that used to need serious babying, because they were more tropical, can now get through the winter with minimal care in a lot of places.

I think that what it comes down to is that most governments (and people) won't change until they absolutely have to - and maybe not even then. And once we get to that 'absolutely have to' point, it may be too late anyways. It's a shame we have to drag the rest of the world down with us.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-18-2007, 02:52 PM   #26
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by Celany
If global warming continues, then we *will* be able to grow more sugar cane here.
Judging from Hawaii's experience, if you're planning to plant sugar cane then you'd also better be able to hold your wage expenses down to compare favorably with Thailand & Malaysia...
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-18-2007, 06:53 PM   #27
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
Uh, because sugarcane doesn't grow all that well in most of the US and labor is a lot more expensive here than it is in Brazil.
Yes, but I think that a more significant factor is that we use a lot more energy than they do.

These are some old statistics but my data shows that the US uses 340 MBTU per person while Brazil only uses 29 MBTU per person.

WE USE 10x AS MUCH ENERGY PER PERSON AS BRAZIL AND ABOUT TWICE A MUCH AS EUROPE WHERE THE STANDARD OF LIVING IS SIMILAR.

The real problem is that we are energy "hogs."

Technology and developing alternatives to oil can help but the best thing to do is put a $2 to $3 tax on gasoline and then let the market adjust to higher prices.

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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-19-2007, 09:49 AM   #28
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

I think the two most likely alternatives to reducing imported petroleum will be the growth of the ethanol and plug-in hybrid technologies.

It may take 20-30 years, but replacing a large percentage of the current auto fleet with vehicles that are both flex-fuel and electric-only capable without a huge impact on driving experience (range, power, safety) is where we should be focusing.

Using the electric grid (can be powered by nuclear, coal, solar, wind, tidal) to re-charge vehicles during off-peak times night makes a lot of sense. We just need to get battery technology improved and bring down costs.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-19-2007, 09:58 AM   #29
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by kjpliny
I think the two most likely alternatives to reducing imported petroleum will be the growth of the ethanol and plug-in hybrid technologies.

Look at this hybrid. It runs on compress air or gas.

http://www.theaircar.com/

http://www.theaircar.com/genealogy.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_car


Clever idea... But when the balloon inside of it pops... I wonder what it will cost to replace it?
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-19-2007, 10:20 AM   #30
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by brewer12345
Uh, because sugarcane doesn't grow all that well in most of the US and labor is a lot more expensive here than it is in Brazil.
And they have about 9 cars in brazil, and they're all small enough to be put in a pocket.

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I have a mulching mower and just let the stuff work its way back into the grass. Most neighbors, though, collect the waste into poly bags and set it out, where a gas hog trash truck hauls it to be buried at the county dump.
I do the same thing and its my secret. Makes my neighbors nuts to see my nice rich thick green lawn. They're out there pouring fertilizer on theirs, dumping water on it and then cutting it ever 3 days.

Mulching and periodically letting it grow out so it'll set deeper roots. No fertilizer, much less water, much less lawn mowing.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-19-2007, 11:16 AM   #31
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

Here's a nice one...gotta get that price down though:

http://www.teslamotors.com/
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-19-2007, 07:53 PM   #32
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by kjpliny
Here's a nice one...gotta get that price down though:
http://www.teslamotors.com/
His point is that the market is full of cheap golf carts electric cars, and a really sexy testosterone rocket will give the company enough revenue to make Tesla 2.0 a little more downscale with workable margins.

Sorta like DeLorean. No wait, I meant Lexus.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 03:00 PM   #33
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Judging from Hawaii's experience, if you're planning to plant sugar cane then you'd also better be able to hold your wage expenses down to compare favorably with Thailand & Malaysia...
ooo...ouch! good point!

but couldn't it be like biodeisel? I don't know crap about this, but I know a few people that pick up cooking oil at their local restuarants & make their own biodeisel fairly cheaply (this is in MA).

If people in the south could grow their own sugar cane, could they harvest it & make their own fuel, I wonder?

Also, I'm wondering how much of the process could be automated, the way that we've automated corn harvesting. If people put their minds to it, perhaps they could come up with the technology to make it work.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 03:25 PM   #34
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

As I listen and read about alternate fuel generation it is evident that search is in progress for enzymes that will break down biomass into chemical sugars suitable for fuel at temperatures that make the conversion economical. The type of biomass could include re-cycled paper, grasses, sugar cane. It won't happen over night, but I think we will see it in a couple years.

One research projected started with enzymes in an elephant's gut. Humm, wonder if they looked at termite guts?
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 03:48 PM   #35
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

Yeah, termites are trying to turn my house into biofuel...
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 04:03 PM   #36
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

The current level of interest in alternative fuels and energy is fine, but all of these technical fixes are ignoring the roots of the problem, namely, overpopulation.

Yearly Americans are using twice as much fossil energy as the total solar energy captured by all plants through photosynthesis in the United States each year.

Even if that estimate is off by a factor of 10, it gives you an idea of how hard it will be to use biomass to replace fossil fuels, given this country's 300 million energy hogs.

Yes, technical fixes like solar power and better cars are needed in the short term, but someone should start thinking about policies that reverse the growth of demand, and that begins with population. Population policy isn't even on the radar of the politicians or the media.

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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 04:08 PM   #37
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
The current level of interest in alternative fuels and energy is fine, but all of these technical fixes are ignoring the roots of the problem, namely, overpopulation.

Yearly Americans are using twice as much fossil energy as the total solar energy captured by all plants through photosynthesis in the United States each year.

Even if that estimate is off by a factor of 10, it gives you an idea of how hard it will be to use biomass to replace fossil fuels, given this country's 300 million energy hogs.

Yes, technical fixes like solar power and better cars are needed in the short term, but someone should start thinking about policies that reverse the growth of demand, and that begins with population. Population policy isn't even on the radar of the politicians or the media.


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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 04:12 PM   #38
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Population policy isn't even on the radar of the politicians or the media.
Probably because it would be so massively unpopular (not to mention unChristain, way to alienate a huge number of americans!), that the person who suggested it would have to look out for hit men for the rest of his/her life.

Don't get me wrong though, I support population control ideas. Procreation should not be an unalienable right, especially past the first kid. But I know I'm hugely unpopular on that end (& probably just opened myself up to get hugely flamed).
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 04:37 PM   #39
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

Just reducing our population won't help much. It is our energy consumption per person that is the problem. We have a lifestyle that ignores energy consumption at every level.

IMHO we must change for security reasons, as a start.
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???
Old 05-21-2007, 04:49 PM   #40
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Re: If Brazil can do it, why can't we???

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Just reducing our population won't help much. It is our energy consumption per person that is the problem.
Sure, they're both important, but a 10% change in population will help as much as a 10% change in consumption.

Current population 300 million. Projected population for 2050: 419 million. Just keeping the population steady at 300 million would "cut" energy consumption by 29%.
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