The Growing Need for Fuel Substitution, Efficiency, and Conservation

  • Published on January 25th, 2008 by
 

trafficjamStacy Feldman of solveclimate.com wrote a prescient post today about the coming clash between growing car demand and peak oil. Basically, there will be so many new cars added to the road in the next ten years (think China, India) that global petroleum usage will increase overall, even with drastic fuel efficiency increases. Add to that the eventual economic depletion of oil, and we have a a bit of a situation on our hands:

(1) The number of cars on the road globally will hit 1 billion by 2011.

(2) The world’s oil will peak by 2015, according to the CEO of Shell.

Better fuel efficiency + more cars = more oil burned.

Mull this over and America’s new CAFE standards of 35 mpg seem rather impotent. What’s needed is a multi-pronged approached to energy independence, based on three primary concepts:





  1. Conservation: Improving public transportation and increasing average fuel efficiency above 35 mpg.
  2. Substitution: Increasing biofuel use to at least 35% by 2020 (see previous announcements 1 and 2).
  3. Technology: Implementing advanced technologies like plug-in hybrids and electric cars.

Each of these has the potential to make a substantial dent in America’s petroleum usage, but none of them can do it alone, and none of them should be overemphasized.

What will it take to move all three of these forward? Mandates? Incentives? Dictatorship? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

For a few ways you can reduce your dependence on petroleum, see the Biodiesel Guide:

7 Steps to Buying a Diesel and

6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere

Learn How To Make Biodiesel On YouTube

Related Post:

U.S. Gasoline Still Among World’s Cheapest

Photo Credit





About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.

  • Public transportation is a massive issue, one that, coming from the UK, I don’t see much of in the US – perhaps it varies massively city by city. The investment required in public transportation is probably not much greater than the combined investment car companies will need to put into alternative fuels (with the hope of continuing to sell more cars). Perhaps I’m naive, it just seems to me that traveling in your own vehicle is so much more preferable to public transport (excluding traffic and cost issues) and to get people who are used to the former to use the latter is going to be very difficult indeed.

  • Sorry – comment posted before I was finished. Essentially I mean that creating a car that is zero-emission will, to a high proportion of consumers, be much more appealing than public transport will ever be.

  • Sorry – comment posted before I was finished. Essentially I mean that creating a car that is zero-emission will, to a high proportion of consumers, be much more appealing than public transport will ever be.

  • Sorry – comment posted before I was finished. Essentially I mean that creating a car that is zero-emission will, to a high proportion of consumers, be much more appealing than public transport will ever be.

  • Good points Joel.

    The amount of money invested in the highway/freeway system in the United States is tremendous. If even a fraction of that had gone into the development of public transportation I think things would be quite different.

    But yes, it does vary considerably by city and state. Portland, Oregon, for example, has excellent public transportation including buses, a light-rail system, and Flex Car system (not ethanol cars, but ones parked around the city you can rent for $7 / hour). Other cities I’ve lived in have virtually NO public transpo, unless you can afford to wait an hour or more if you miss the bus.

    The issue of personal, independent transportation deserves some thought, and ultimately I think you’re right – people want their own car. But once you’ve ridden the light rail at 55 mph, watching stop-and-go traffic on the freeway, that sensibility can change. I believe that there’s a lot of room for improvement, in both public transpo and individual zero-emissions vehicles.

  • Good points Joel.

    The amount of money invested in the highway/freeway system in the United States is tremendous. If even a fraction of that had gone into the development of public transportation I think things would be quite different.

    But yes, it does vary considerably by city and state. Portland, Oregon, for example, has excellent public transportation including buses, a light-rail system, and Flex Car system (not ethanol cars, but ones parked around the city you can rent for $7 / hour). Other cities I’ve lived in have virtually NO public transpo, unless you can afford to wait an hour or more if you miss the bus.

    The issue of personal, independent transportation deserves some thought, and ultimately I think you’re right – people want their own car. But once you’ve ridden the light rail at 55 mph, watching stop-and-go traffic on the freeway, that sensibility can change. I believe that there’s a lot of room for improvement, in both public transpo and individual zero-emissions vehicles.

  • Good points Joel.

    The amount of money invested in the highway/freeway system in the United States is tremendous. If even a fraction of that had gone into the development of public transportation I think things would be quite different.

    But yes, it does vary considerably by city and state. Portland, Oregon, for example, has excellent public transportation including buses, a light-rail system, and Flex Car system (not ethanol cars, but ones parked around the city you can rent for $7 / hour). Other cities I’ve lived in have virtually NO public transpo, unless you can afford to wait an hour or more if you miss the bus.

    The issue of personal, independent transportation deserves some thought, and ultimately I think you’re right – people want their own car. But once you’ve ridden the light rail at 55 mph, watching stop-and-go traffic on the freeway, that sensibility can change. I believe that there’s a lot of room for improvement, in both public transpo and individual zero-emissions vehicles.

  • Robin

    I was listening to NPR this morning and there’s a proposal to change the max speed limit in Oregon back to 55mph, which will reduce emissions, if my memory serves me correctly, by 15%. The prompt of this proposal is exactly what you write about – oil depletion. This proposal will most likely be rejected because of the safety issues that result from people who refuse to drive slower colliding with those following the new law. What do you think about this proposal? It seems kind of futile to me.

  • Robin

    I was listening to NPR this morning and there’s a proposal to change the max speed limit in Oregon back to 55mph, which will reduce emissions, if my memory serves me correctly, by 15%. The prompt of this proposal is exactly what you write about – oil depletion. This proposal will most likely be rejected because of the safety issues that result from people who refuse to drive slower colliding with those following the new law. What do you think about this proposal? It seems kind of futile to me.

  • Robin

    I was listening to NPR this morning and there’s a proposal to change the max speed limit in Oregon back to 55mph, which will reduce emissions, if my memory serves me correctly, by 15%. The prompt of this proposal is exactly what you write about – oil depletion. This proposal will most likely be rejected because of the safety issues that result from people who refuse to drive slower colliding with those following the new law. What do you think about this proposal? It seems kind of futile to me.

  • Suzanne

    –“Other cities I’ve lived in have virtually NO public transpo, unless you can afford to wait an hour or more if you miss the bus.”–

    Like living outside of Corvallis, frex. 😛 The bus system in town isn’t too bad, but I live just a couple miles away because rent is cheaper, and there’s almost no public transport options.

    When I was in Wales, I lived in a town half the size that I do now, and you could go ANYWHERE on a bus, including out into the country. I miss that, especially in a two-person, one-vehicle household.

  • Suzanne

    –“Other cities I’ve lived in have virtually NO public transpo, unless you can afford to wait an hour or more if you miss the bus.”–

    Like living outside of Corvallis, frex. 😛 The bus system in town isn’t too bad, but I live just a couple miles away because rent is cheaper, and there’s almost no public transport options.

    When I was in Wales, I lived in a town half the size that I do now, and you could go ANYWHERE on a bus, including out into the country. I miss that, especially in a two-person, one-vehicle household.

  • Pingback: Europe Faces Biodiesel Feedstock Crunch : Gas 2.0()

  • Pingback: 6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere (Part II) : Gas 2.0()

  • Pingback: 6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere (Part I) : Gas 2.0()

  • Pingback: US Will Export $440 Billion For Oil In 2008 : Gas 2.0()

  • Pingback: CNG as a Vehicle Fuel - One Way Nuclear Power Can Help Motor Fuel Crisis : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • It goes without saying that fuel consumption is tied directly to the number of miles driven every day by American commuters. It also goes without saying that the easiest way to cut back on commuter miles is for people to work remotely.

    In the past, this required people to telecommute from their own home. There is a new option for people who want to work remotely, but prefer working in a professional office space outside the home. The new option is based on people working from Remote Office Centers.

    Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip the long commute by taking advantage of office space located a mile or two from their home.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

  • It goes without saying that fuel consumption is tied directly to the number of miles driven every day by American commuters. It also goes without saying that the easiest way to cut back on commuter miles is for people to work remotely.

    In the past, this required people to telecommute from their own home. There is a new option for people who want to work remotely, but prefer working in a professional office space outside the home. The new option is based on people working from Remote Office Centers.

    Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip the long commute by taking advantage of office space located a mile or two from their home.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

  • It goes without saying that fuel consumption is tied directly to the number of miles driven every day by American commuters. It also goes without saying that the easiest way to cut back on commuter miles is for people to work remotely.

    In the past, this required people to telecommute from their own home. There is a new option for people who want to work remotely, but prefer working in a professional office space outside the home. The new option is based on people working from Remote Office Centers.

    Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip the long commute by taking advantage of office space located a mile or two from their home.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

  • There is a new option for commuters who want to save fuel and cut down on their daily commute. Workers can work remotely out of a Remote Office Center. Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip long and expensive commutes, by taking advantage of office space near where they live. Most office workers spend their day on the phone and on computer systems that are hosted in some remote center anyway. There is no reason to drive to some distant office when a remote office will work just as well.

    Remote Office Centers offer a simple solution to the high price of gas and endless hours wasted in heavy traffic every day. If you can pick the location of your office, then you have more options on how to get to work: walking, biking or mass transit. In any event, it is going to take less time and fuel than commuting across town through heavy commuter traffic.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

    It goes without saying that the best way to conserve fuel is to cut back on miles driven. There really is no reason to drive back and forth to work every day, if you have the option of working in an office near where you live and connecting to the corporate network across the internet.

  • There is a new option for commuters who want to save fuel and cut down on their daily commute. Workers can work remotely out of a Remote Office Center. Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip long and expensive commutes, by taking advantage of office space near where they live. Most office workers spend their day on the phone and on computer systems that are hosted in some remote center anyway. There is no reason to drive to some distant office when a remote office will work just as well.

    Remote Office Centers offer a simple solution to the high price of gas and endless hours wasted in heavy traffic every day. If you can pick the location of your office, then you have more options on how to get to work: walking, biking or mass transit. In any event, it is going to take less time and fuel than commuting across town through heavy commuter traffic.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

    It goes without saying that the best way to conserve fuel is to cut back on miles driven. There really is no reason to drive back and forth to work every day, if you have the option of working in an office near where you live and connecting to the corporate network across the internet.

  • There is a new option for commuters who want to save fuel and cut down on their daily commute. Workers can work remotely out of a Remote Office Center. Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet, and phone systems to workers from multiple companies in shared centers located near where people live (around the suburbs). Remote Office Centers allow people to skip long and expensive commutes, by taking advantage of office space near where they live. Most office workers spend their day on the phone and on computer systems that are hosted in some remote center anyway. There is no reason to drive to some distant office when a remote office will work just as well.

    Remote Office Centers offer a simple solution to the high price of gas and endless hours wasted in heavy traffic every day. If you can pick the location of your office, then you have more options on how to get to work: walking, biking or mass transit. In any event, it is going to take less time and fuel than commuting across town through heavy commuter traffic.

    There is a free web site for people who are interested in finding a Remote Office Center near where they live: http://www.remoteofficecenters.com

    It goes without saying that the best way to conserve fuel is to cut back on miles driven. There really is no reason to drive back and forth to work every day, if you have the option of working in an office near where you live and connecting to the corporate network across the internet.

  • please inform about latest substitutional fuels…