Gore Calls for Electric Vehicle Future

Former Vice President Al Gore wants the United States to shift its entire electricity sector to carbon-free power within 10 years—and use that power to fuel a new fleet of electric vehicles. Gore challenged “all Americans in every walk of life” to support his ambitious plan, which he compared to President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 call to put a man on the moon.

Critics immediately responded by calling Gore’s plan overly ambitious. “The comparison [to the Apollo Project] would be economically apt,” wrote James Pethokoukis, in U.S. News and World Report, “if rather than putting a man on the moon, President Kennedy’s goal had been to build a massive lunar colony complete with a casino.” In Time Magazine, Bryan Walsh accused Gore of gross over-exaggeration—Gore said that “the future of human civilization is at stake” if we do not quickly shift our energy use away from oil. Walsh wrote, “If the earlier, personal solutions to global warming—drive a hybrid, put in better insulation—were far too little, Gore’s goal seems far too much.”

Even groups that support Gore’s call for electric cars and renewable energy view Gore’s plan as unrealistic. Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities that produce 70 percent of the nation’s power, said there’s no way that wind, solar and geo-thermal energy could meet all the country’s energy needs in 10 years. Owen told the San Francisco Chronicle that “We have to have a balanced energy portfolio that includes [renewables] in even higher percentages, but also has to include nuclear.”

While the appropriate mix of energy sources for the electric grid remains an esoteric matter for most citizens, America’s need to modify the source of energy to fuel our cars has become painfully easy to understand. Nearly all cars in the United States run on gasoline—which currently averages more than $4 a gallon. “There actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years,” said Gore. “The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.” The cost per mile of driving an electric vehicle is a fraction of the expense associated with a gas-powered car.


  • Richard S

    The people who think Al Gore’s plan is unworkable and will bankrupt our country (like John Stossel on Larry King last night)
    are the same people who said invading iraq will be a huge success and be paid for by Iraqi Oil. What could possibly go wrong in Iraq? Seems like a damned good investment to me.

    Give me a break they would have railed against FDR’s New Deal, and the Manhattan project, hell we’d be speaking German now. And when JFK promised to put a man on the moon we didn’t have a fraction of the technology necessary. What happened to America rising up to a challenge.

    With the $700 billion we pay for foreign oil per year the situation is critical and requires an ambitious program.

    As Bob Dylan wrote “Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled.
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  • Bryce

    I am all for renewable sources of energy and electric cars, but 10 years is unreasonable, and to attempt to send us down that path would just bankrupt an already cash strapped nation. Make that guestimate 20 or 30 years, and it would be a little more reasonable…..even that though is optimistic.

  • Bryce

    hmm……well I guess a cool head and an understanding of economics makes me some sort of evil communist Nazi hoping to destroy the nation and environment. : )

  • geber22

    Gore is 100% on time. The troll calling for Nuclear wants it subsidized, and we don’t need nuclear! This the current lie with the oil and natural gas industry. We can provide all of our electricity with concentrated solar, hydro, and wind. The only problem with that is the greedy people in charge of oil, natural gas, nuclear, etc… would be out in the cold.

    It’s a shame that will never happen, because our politicians have already been bought and paid in full.

  • jackie

    Trying to reach an ambitious worthy goal wouldn’t hurt the USA or the world. Just lolly-gagging along sure hasn’t had any pay-back.

  • Yngve

    What really bankrupts the country is an unnecessary war or a war for oil. That money and the money for imported oil would pay for conversion to electric cars and a lot of other things such as national health care that every other industrial nation has.

  • J

    Sounds nice, but coming from a man whose own home uses more energy than 3 average homes combined, I think he’s still trying to find his place in this world.

  • Duncan

    What I can see is that there are a lot of people who look old and reactionary; where I can see opportunity. They only see loss and cost. If Americans doesn’t take the lead in this field, somebody else will. It seems that yet again America will miss a great opportunity and lose yet another (huge) market. The future belongs to those who can see opportunities. Evidently, these critics are not among them. If our ancestors had practiced this brand of foresight we would still be burning whale blubber for light and paying through the nose for the last whale. I’m sorry to say that the future of energy is not in that 19th century oil based technology. There may be money to be made for the oil industry in this dwindling resource. I don’t foresee prosperity battling with China, India, and the rest of the world for dwindling oil resources. The market volatility and inherent restraints posed by an oil economy will stagnate, if not kill, any chance of prosperity for the rest of the economy. It is asinine supporting an industry which should be resigned to the annals of history. Oil is bad for national security, bad for the long-term growth and independence of the United States, and detrimental to the health and well-being of the rest of the economy. Get with the program.

  • john granes

    Consider the 36 years since the gas lines of 1972, we need to make that up fast and now ! The writing was on the wall then , and we squandered the opportunity to effect change at our own will. How can anything be more important than taking absolute care of this little beautiful blue marble we all are stuck on together. The measures to achieve Peace Love Harmony are severe, as a young child forced to eat vegetables for its own good. Come on people now, maybe we only have 8 years to do this. Humanity has no option but to effect change immediately.

  • Science-Based

    Well 10 years *might* indeed be too ambitious, but we need some kind of ambitious goal and plan, or things will move at a glacial pace as they have for the past 30+ years on energy.

    I have read a lot lately about alternative energy, and I am sure we could get 50% of our electricity from wind, solar and geothermal with commitment, but without heroics, in 10 years.

    And as far as cost goes – just imagine if the 1 Trillion Dollars plus that we will spend on the Iraq War adventure were instead devoted to improving our energy position and reducing our greenhouse gas output. We would have been *so* much better off and so many people would still be alive and unharmed. Why are people so easy to spend vast sums of money killing and destroying but not to actually do something positive and useful?

  • Alan Koenig

    We can’t elliminate oil consumtion in the short term. But by maximizing use of alternatives and providing incentive, we could at least change the direction we are heading. Solutions may arise from that point in time that can’t possibly emerge today.
    “Don’t allow what you cannot do to prevent you from doing what you can do”

  • MattB

    A cool head is a fine thing, but it shouldn’t stop you from speeding your pace to get out of the way of a bus.

    I honestly do not know if we can or even should do everything that Gore calls for in ten years, but I do think that we desperately need well reasoned statesmen of all stripes to step forward and call the nation to urgent action.

    Every increase in the price of oil fattens the coffers of those who would do us harm, while it enfeebles many of our most important public and private enterprises. We cannot afford to let the wise men who let our national energy efficiency slip into reverse for 20 years lead us in a slow and steady think about whether we ought ever to do anything significant about energy.

    In the forties, the United States, and much of the world radically increased and transformed its entire industrial base while dispatching most of the traditional workforce oversees. We are capable of big disruptive change over relatively short periods, if properly motivated. Gore is right in recognizing that we ought to be so motivated right now. If his call to action is heeded and it takes 15 years instead of 10 to meet the targets he has set, we will still be better off for having gotten started.

  • exibmr

    We have enough oil in the US to last another 200 years, but we don’t want to use it. We don’t want to burn coal to make electricity or have nuclear plants to make electricity, but we think electric cars are the answer to the oil prices. Any of you liberals got any other brilliant ideas????

  • uktiger

    I think we can do it. Republicans have been trying to destroy this country from within since raygun. Hopefully a Democrat will once again rally this country.

    Obama is a transformational leader who will put the Saudi’s and the Texans out of business.

    Go Barack!!!!!

  • Darrell

    Politician BLAH BLAH BLAH!
    The same tripe we’ve heard since 1973. Every national leader since has called for a decrease in oil dependency. All the calls went no where. When will America and it’s leadership realize that embracing an ambitious plan could be an economic boon of unbelievable proportions? If our leaders were truly interested in easing our burden, they would make fuel expended commuting to work a tax deduction.
    It is time to step out, and like the steam engine, step away saying “there is something better”. We need high mileage cars by next year, not 2015. We need redical change in energy sources. Ones that do NOT cosume more energy to create than they generate. I am all for it.

  • Bryce

    Don’t forget about the Candadians…..and the Mexicans…..and the poor Africans…… We should make sure to put them out of business too. It isn’t like we get more oil from them than from the middle East. lol

    fact: Africa 24% of our oil
    Middle East 20%

    Pentagon just created Africom to oversee that region…..I wonder why. American interests ever expanding. (not necesarily a bad thing, just globalization) Less from the powder keg (middle east) the better. : )

  • J

    “Any of you liberals got any other brilliant ideas????”

    The whole idea is not being political but being smarter about Energy Policy, National Dept, Consumer Spending, Anti American Threats & Increasing American Jobs. Does this sound liberal? No it sounds American, even John McCain supports some tax break ideas, is he Al Gore or a “Liberal” And yes more advances are needed in tech and power grids. Along w/ dev in other sectors

    exibmr we can’t close our eyes and cover our ears and pretend its the SUV days of the 90′s-early to mid 2000 Make a stand for your country

  • uktiger

    Well exibmer and other typical Republicans… tax breaks are your only proposal.

    To defeat the Nazis, Reagan would have proposed tax breaks. To send a man to the moon, you guessed it, more tax breaks.

    If Repugs were in charge of the Manhattan project they would have created a 40 year schedule and outsourced it to their friends.

    We can not solve this problem by cutting taxes, this is not liberal or conservative it is a fact. We can not educate our children, raise an army, provide social security, etc. with tax breaks.

    Obama will provide transformational leadership for the country to invest in a new energy production model. Is that liberal?

  • J

    Uktiger try reading what I said, my comments were directed towards EXIBMR, posted above me. U should not say typical republicans instead bring others into the mix I believe it has more to do w/ talking point zombies on Tv & radio not all Republicans are bad.

  • RandalH

    Gore had 8 years in office as VP and several years as Senator. He had his chance then and blew it (well, someone was getting blown, anyway). He should stop embarrasing himself and dedicate his life to reducing his own enormous carbon footprint.

  • Anonymous

    u corrected your comment sorry my apps. Uktiger

  • TD

    Gore did try very, very hard while in the Senate and as VP to get the political class interested, but unfortunately both Democrat and Republican politicians are more interested in lining their patron’s pockets. It isn’t just Republicans that are stalling energy policy. The Democratic delegation from Michigan opposes every attempt to get the car industry to improve their mileage standards.

    We can easily afford to spend $50-$100 billion a year over 10 years to work on solving this problem. We dump $600 billion a year on defense. We could easily take that money from the Pentagon and redirect it towards alternative energy development. The Pentagon would just have to give up a few of their toys like $3 billion destroyers and $15 billion aircraft carriers. The money would be much better spent getting us off of our oil addiction and we would no longer give a damn about the Middle East.

  • RandalH

    TD. He was my senator for a number of years as well as a representative of two districts in my state since the late 70′s. We are fully informed of his “accomplishments”. He was a tobacco growing, zinc mine owning/operating hypocrite. The tailings from the zinc mining operation on his farm did damage to the Caney Fork River for years. He has had moneyed relationships with the petroleum industry (through which he also received the above stated farm and mineral rights as payback from Armand Hammer) throughout those years.

    Mr. Gore has successfully swindled the public (and apparently you, as well) into believing in his new persona. He gave the environment almost no notice until after his failed bid to be president, when he realized he needed a makeover. He continues to this day to be an energy hog, living in a home that uses many times the electricity of the average American. He’s even turned into a hog, quite literally, bloating up in girth to an embarrassing degree. I can tell you he’s not wrapping his fat a** around a bicycle seat to save gas.

  • Anonymous

    Haha….Seriously Gore. This ain’t gonna happen as long as the American car companies continue to sleep with the oil companies.

  • mdensch

    Geez, folks, let’s back off a bit, we’re all in this together.

    We DO have to find solutions to our energy problems and those solutions have to be environmentally friendly. Perhaps Gore’s proposals are unworkable, perhaps not, but they point our discussions in the right direction.

    One thing is clear: given the nature of the debate in these forums and level of intelligence involved, our energy and transportation problems are not going to solved on this web site.

  • MattB

    Here’s a wacky liberal idea for exibmr, actually checking your facts — not just other people’s.

    According to the EIA, the US has proved oil reserves of 21.8 billion barrels (if we wanted to use it). In 2007, we consumed 7.6 billion barrels, so actually we have enough oil in this country for three years — not 200 as you stated. But hey, think of the fun we could have in those three years trashing pristine lands to get out the last drop!

  • David

    If you haven’t noticed, were already bankrupt. We have NOTHING to lose but our ego. The only way to change is abrupt and swift.

  • BB

    How come bold ideas about conservation (e.g., driving less, public transportation, telecommuniting, bicycle infrastructure) are not a major part of Gore’s plan or this discussion?

  • uktiger

    Jimmy Carter was right. Conservation is more than 1/2 of the solution. Remember Ronnie Raygun laughing about taking down the solar panels on the white house?

    Ronnie Raygun stopped the conservation parade in the 70′s and now we are way behind the europeans.

  • RandalH

    mdensch: Al Gore is to the environment as Jessee Jackson is to race. He is a charlatan who has but one agenda, which is himself. He benefits financially from the carbon trading scheme he helped create, and his proposals are designed to either be preposterous so as to create attention for himself or to benefit him directly in some way. As long as people who are interested in solving energy and transportation problems allow Gore to become the “media go-to-guy” and the driver of the debate, it will be the subject of ridicule. Like everyone here, I have a great interest in seeing problems solved. Heck, I even voted for this guy in the past, and at one point I even had some degree of respect for him. But no more.

  • RandalH

    By the way, I just saw a news report that’s typical of the type of face that Gore puts on the energy sustainability movement. He was speaking at a recent event. He had encouraged everyone to arrive at the event on foot or bicycles. Meanwhile, the camera caught a fleet of limos idling behind the arena for over an hour with air conditioners blasting. Who was nestled away in this energy disaster on wheels? Gore’s own family.

  • Bryce

    That is funny Randal. I believe it. U live in a hut, I will live in a mansion. : )

  • uktiger

    Bryce and Randall will find fault with any leader unless they have an R next to their name. The bush and cheney crime families make billions by stealing from the commonwealth but they choose to focus on Al Gore’s electric bill.

    fools.

  • uktiger

    Hey bryce, 10 years is too optimistic to implement technology that we already possess? On the current path this country will be bankrupt in 10 years. Nearly 10% of our gdp is spent on foreign energy. The dollar has lost more than half of its value since shrub has bee in office. what more do you want to see?

  • sri

    It’s funny how the conservatives quickly become communists if they have to attack democrats. (Al gore should move to a 2 bed room apartment and ride a bike to his meetings around the country. John edwards should get a hair cut at great-clips, etc). People, The idea is to have sustainable development, not going back to stone age.

    I fail to see how Al Gore’s plan will wreck the economy. If we spend a trillion dollars to build renewable power plants, it creates jobs, provides free fuel for the life of the plant and helps the planet. When we spend a 700 billion to buy oil the money goes down the drain and the co2 up the air. Why is that a better economy?

  • RandalH

    uktiger: Conversely, you will be willing to forgive any degree of hypocrisy in a person (I decline to call Gore a leader, as he failed to lead when he was in a position of leadership) if he makes a self serving proclamation so long as it strokes your G spot.

    sri: Although I don’t spend time categorizing myself, I find myself at odds with most if not all conservatives on the issue of energy, transportation, and suburban sprawl. Just because I can’t stomach a self-serving, hypocritical charlatan doesn’t mean I align with any particular political viewpoint. Both sides have their share, in my opinion. My point is that if this clown is to become the face of science, technology, and the wave of the future, we are in for some serious embarrassment and ridicule.

    Someone mentioned Jimmy Carter above. At least Carter had the grace to live by his convictions. And I agree that his message of conservation will reap the most immediate benefits (it’s already beginning to happen). And unlike Gore, Carter doesn’t stand to benefit personally from it.

  • alma L Aguado

    Gore is on the money, India is getting a Nuclear plant for her electric cars.

    Mother nature is not giving us options, This is a transitional period from oil to electricity.

    It will make US more independent from the manipulation from the middle east.

    We will not export any more US dollares purchasing oil.

    We will have works available building energy plants.

    Since Eisenhouer’s doctrine we have spent 20 t0 80 billions of dollars a year not counting the wars patrolling the oil pipelines from the middle east. All that money can be used in education for our american children. US has been importing brain power for years, now it is time to export intelligence.

    For decades we have been victimized that the oil producers, weapon manufacturers, automobile manufacturer who lobby goverment.
    They had the knowldge that there were ways to live better using less money. We amricans with the help of the american legislators build few billioners who are trying to remain in power.

    we cannot wait 10 or 20 more years for this transition, politicans are out of touch with the needs of the american people. old cars must be recycled and converted in electric yesterday.

  • uktiger

    This country was electrified by wall street led debt financing of large projects. The answer, the sustainable answer is small production for small jobs. We will each need power generation and storage equipment in our homes. Government must lead the way on this.

    Randall, you are a conservative dittohead who repeats Republican propaganda. Gore will not make money off of you conserving fuel.

    As far as leadership…. funny you mention leadership on an internet site. Where did the internet come from? Did private industry fund it with tax cuts? dufus.

  • RandalH

    uktiger: Sorry Gore fanboy, I’m not a dittohead; you’re wrong on that issue as well. Face it, you’ve been duped by the great Gore farce. That’s OK, lots of people have.

    The essence of the internet (packet switching) was created by the RAND Corporation. My dad worked there at the time. Its development was funded by the DOD. Oh wait, as a Gore fanboy, you believe that he invented the internet. Did you know he was the inspiration for the main character in Love Story as well?

    By the way, I assume you wanted to write “doofus” and not “dufus”.

  • uktiger

    no sorry, but dufus is what I wanted to say. So the government funded the development of the internet? Hmmm, how was it made available to the general public? tax breaks? You do know that the DOD is the government don’t you?

    If you repeat limbaugh lies you are a dittohead.

    So energy is not a problem? Yeah, Randal solved the problem with rhetoric. Randal’s dad invented the internets with tax breaks. Yeah, all we need is more tax breaks to drill more oil. Just what the country needs, an oil platform 100 feet off of every beach.

  • Bubba Nicholson

    Graduate school in economics:

    Former vice-president Gore is right that our automobile companies are having trouble building electric cars that Americans will drive.

    American car giants are also resistant to changing a winning formula for sound economic reasons. Their customers don’t want to buy electric cars. They cost too much and can’t be sold in numbers large enough to justify their manufacture. American car companies would rather wait for things to shake out and then follow the leaders, which will be Toyota and Honda by that time.

    The reason for American automotive inflexibility and Gore’s spirited call for change is something economists call externalities. The car companies (and oil companies) don’t pay for any of the damage they do to the economy and to everybody’s health. (They also do not benefit from all the good things that their cars being available to us produce, but that’s another analysis. My point is that the balance has now shifted.) Gore’s leadership toward switching over follows from his awareness of the high cost of those externalities: pollution and national economic dependence upon ten cent kings and two-bit dictators, and the unsustainable economic reality of these high oil prices.

    Almost nobody pays the spot market price for petroleum. Most gas production, for instance, is tied up in long term delivery contracts and price fluctuations make no difference in the short term. The same can be said for oil being delivered on futures contracts profitably made months ago when expectations were lower. But that is changing. As more producers seek that spot market price, that market will be drowning in oil very soon.

    Gore’s plan would impoverish us compared to just leaving the market to run its course. Markets are almost inevitably better at making participants better off than central party commands from Moscow, that’s now obvious even in Moscow, finally.

    However, Gore deals with reality, and political reality often requires hyperbole. Subsidies of efficient automobiles do need to be augmented and are worth their cost, if nothing else than to reduce the externalities of petroleum pollution.
    In other words, more money for green cars means less spending on lung disease and prisons (most crime is caused by air pollution, particularly smoggy ozone), don’t even start about climate change, going into the future. We can spend A LOT on green cars before they will cost us anything, too. Gore has calculated about right, actually: the economics AND the hyperbole.

    Right now, that realization is dawning everywhere people think.

  • mdensch

    Bubba:
    I’m sorry, but if you’re going to speak thoughtfully and intelligently in here, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.

  • Allen

    I truly appreciate all the optimism here, but reality has to set in sometime. Gore is an idiot. Anyone who thinks trying to push an electric infrastructure is the answer to oil is either uninformed or deluding themselves.
    Just with basic numbers, done in about 5 minutes, you can see that the oil issue is not JUST about cars. We use about 500 million gallons of gasoline annually, but close to 20 billion gallons of jet fuel.
    even if those numbers are drastically out of range, there is no way any plan that uses as it’s premise, the “power to fuel a new fleet of electric vehicles”, is going to have any chance to succeed.
    I agree that we need to change to electric and hydrogen based infrastructure, but we need to do it towards a realistic end.
    Any plan that does not include cargo trucks (18-wheelers) and planes, is a waste of time. Right now, electric is great for cars and hydrogen is a great jet fuel replacement. The problem is PR. Just like Gore, when most people see something, they believe it. Unfortunately, we don’t reward the people with the smart convictions, because it takes knowledge to recognize it.
    I also agree that had we started this in the 70′s, we probably would not even be having this discussion, but then, we also have a lot better technology now and that gives us the advantage to make the transition smoother. (Fingers crossed.)

  • uktiger

    bubba, you may want to study more. Is oil extraction and distribution an example of a classical free market? “nobody pays attention to the spot market”, you are kidding right? Sorry bubba, but you get an F today.

    We use over a third of the worlds liquid petroleum, more than two thirds of that is for transportation. Reforming the electrical power grid is a strong first step. It is not the only thing we will do in the next 10 years but it will definitely get the ball rolling. As far as the American car companies “winning formula”, is that why gm is worth $5 billion (toyota is worth $150 billion) and is cutting retiree health as it waddles into bankruptcy? (doe.gov)

    As far as bankrupting the country, what are the wars in Iraq doing to the treasury? How about $1 trillion of oil imports in an economy that has a gdp of $12 trillion? Don’t yap about supply and demand and free markets. Energy has NOTHING to do with free markets, talk to the Saudi King if you think this is not correct. (bea.gov)

  • Dee Mullen

    While I think it would be great to lessen our dependence on oil and look towards alternative energy means… It is near impossible to make that much change in such a short amount of time. Gore is a goofball. It takes time and effort to achieve big changes, not just big words from an overly zealous politician.

  • Gerald Shields

    10 years isn’t a bad goal. Remember that the technology behind electric cars is sound and let’s face it, we can’t be satisfied with the status quo. Though it’s easy for more conservative types to dismiss Gore, what about T. Boone Pickens?! He’s talking about replacing a little over 20% of what we use to generate electricity with a combination of wind, solar and geothermal sources.

  • uktiger

    Picken’s economic argument is sound, he cites doe and he understands the unprecedented wealth transfer that is taking place. His and Gore’s positions are not terribly different. I hate pickens, but I will listen to him when he makes sense.

    My big difference with tbone is he is for large scale production wind farms, solar plants, etc.. I want government to lead the way in small scale energy production. This will mean we each have our own power plant (5 kw) and some storage. We will also have liberal sell-back rules to strengthen the grid.

    10 years is appropriate because we posses the technology right now. All we lack is the polical will to implement policy.

  • circlecube

    Al Gore invented the internet and now he claims to invent the Electric Car. Wake up and smell the coffee Al, electric vehicles are already being delveloped and that direction is going forward.

  • sri

    Allen, Your no.s are more than way off. There are about 250 millions cars on US roads. If your 500 million gallons/yr figure is right then a car on average uses about 2 gallons of gas per year. Here is a link from DOE website.

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbblpd_a.htm

    The jet fuel usage is only about 15% of total consumption. While that may still be a concern if all the electricity and personal transporation is made carbon-free that willl make a huge difference. The aviation can be handled with high-speed trains for short hauls and bio fuels for long hauls.

  • oilguy

    The high price of oil is creating the necessary demand destruction required to get Americans off their addiction to oil and in turn destroying and creating chaos in the american auto industry. Creating change to address environmental issues is great and makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but change always comes down to economics. Al Gore and the other well meaning environmentalists are not going to change anything. The high price of oil and increased inflation are the only major catalysts that will drive innovation in a free market society. Get used to high gas prices it is the only way Al’s vision is going to happen. The US auto industry is way behind the paradigm shift that is occurring. The american oil and auto industrial complex needs to be retooled. Hopefully GM and Ford can survive long enough to produce the hybrid and electric autos necessary to meet the increased consumer demand and competition from Japan. The symbiotic relationship between the American auto and oil industry is finally beginning to crack which will hopefully accelerate change. What is disappointing has been the long term myopic vision of the american auto industry leaders who always tied their existence to the oil industry. Since the last major oil shock in the 1970′s they have had lots of time to develop and innovate. Where are the Edison’s, Bell’s, Franklin’s, Jobs’, Gates’ and other innovative industrial leaders that made America a global powerhouse? We need them today but sadly the American industrial and government complex is lacking visionary and ethical leadership, creating all kinds of short term and long term domestic and global economic and geopolitical problems which are leading to the decline of the great American empire. Good luck Al, GM and Ford. I just hope it is not too late to save Americas auto industry.

  • Halo9x

    Dear Libs,
    I’m sorry to tell you , BUT AlGore is an idiot. The car companies produce vehicles that use gasoline BECAUSE this nation made a decision years and years ago to use gasoline that was cheaply produced by the oil companies. In short it made economic sense. In many ways it still does. The infrastructure is there and it works. We have more than enough natural resources to produce cheaper gasoline if CONGRESS LIBERALS would get out of the way. Electric cars are nice, expensive and there is virtually no infrastructure to support them beyond plugging in at home. This works for short commutes to work or the shopping mall. However, how do you get from city to city or go on vacation, or haul that boat, etc… Even the highly anticipated Chevy Volt has an ICE to extend the range which has now dropped from 600 mile to about 350. Cost? Estimates are between $30,000 to $35,000! Wow! That’s affordable, NOT! Get real, most people in this country can’t afford a $30,000+ vehicle. IS Gore going to provide electric vehicles for the poor or lower middle income? NO, he’s not and neither can the government. The truth of the matter is all electric vehicles are gong to be a niche player for the for next 20 years at the least. I like my Prius but it still requires gasoline and always will. While Toyota is going to introduce a plug-in hybrid next year, it will still NiMH based and go only 5 to 7 miles on all electric at 35 mph. That’s still not going to help that much. A converted Prius to PHEV recently caught on fire. Cause? The Lithium Ion battery did what Lithium Ion batteries did in some laptops. That isn’t going to work.
    How about Fuel cells? Great idea. hydrogen costs about the same as gasoline and the cars cost about $100,000 and there is NO infrastructure. Gore can rant all he wants (by the way, why does it matter what HE wants? That only works in a dictatorship and this is still America!) but the fact remains gasoline is still the most workable and feasible power source. Can we use it more efficiently? Yes, Hybrids are a great answer and the technology is mature, it works. I have over 3/4s of a tank full and have driven over 160 miles! I fill up once every two weeks and that’s for half of my tank. I could actually drive 3 weeks between fill-ups if I wanted. Every 2 weeks is over 300 miles. So, hybrids are the answer until the battery and fuel cell problems are solved and made affordable. Sorry Libs, Mr. Fusion only existed in the movies…
    My house here in Texas will soon be powered completely by wind power and yes, it will cost more but not by that much.
    The answer to higher gas prices is two fold, Drill more and consume less. Those two things will drive the price down. T. Boone Pickens’ plan to move vehicles to natural gas may work but not for all vehicles. It would work for Pick-up trucks and truck vehicles but not for cars. Why? Simple, the tanks would take up too much space. Its just not practical. So, we’re stuck with gasoline for the near term. What’s needed is a balanced approach which combines all of the above. Car companies could switch their trucks to propane or natural gas and make fuel efficient hybrids that are economical and affordable until electric or fuel cell vehicles can be affordably offered without breaking the back of the economy.
    As for the environment, real progress has been made and you would only know that if you are over 50. I remember how it was with cars passing by as I walked to school. It was hard to breath. Now you hardly notice when a newer car passes by. Some of our cities suffer from the effects of pollution but that’s more because of their location than anything else. As for global warming, its a hoax and over 31,000 scientists have said so. One thing is certain, China and India are doing everything to get more oil, even drilling where our companies are forbidden by Congress. How stupid to not develop our own abundant resources. There is no reason for our country to be dependent on foreign oil. As for BIG Oil you libs need to understand something. The days of family ownership have been over for a number of years. Big Oil is US. They are publicly owned and traded companies that support pensioners, 401K, IRAs, etc. If they were to fail, many people would be economically hurt, not too mention this country would have to go back to the horse and buggy. I don’t hear anyone wanting to do that, so get a clue. Gasoline is here to stay, get over it. By the way, I asked about the price of converting a VW Jetta over to all electric. The cost $20,000! Range? 30-40 miles. Wow, I was underwhelmed.
    Go get a Prius and get over it!

  • ADVILL

    A blind and “I´m going alone” approach puts U.S where it´s now…having to fight for oil in farther and increasingly dangerous coutries,spending hugh amounts of fiscal dollars in the effort (military, diplomatic, etc.).

    Energy problem in US is to big and different to be solved with only one approach. Regions with sun in Arizona or TX, requieres a different solution of Maryland or Alaska but solutions are this:

    1. Nuclear Energy
    2. Wind Energy
    3. Solar energy
    4. Oil with different mix (less gasoline, more diesel cars,hybrid cars)
    5. Small regional solutions (biodiesel or biomass, ethanol, shale oil, etc.)
    6. Carbon (creating fuel products of it is expensive but it works and is in the U.S)

    A single approach in a country so vast as U.S. is not longer feasible, a mix of solutions will be in the future the base of 21 th. century.

    After that, Physics will provide others.

  • Andy

    10 years is very ambitious. But 10 years is the timeline scientists have given us. If we don’t change within that time, it’ll be too late to heal the damage we’ve done to the planet. If we can’t do it in 10, it won’t do us any good if we meet 20 or 30 year goals.

  • ACAGAL

    We installed 60% of our solar needs a year ago. Since then we’ve figured out additional ways to cut electric and gas utility bills. Since FEBRUARY ’08, we have not paid electric bills and reduced gas (natural gas for heating, cooking, etc) by 80%. We did not put up solar to be green, but to hedge against energy cost increases.

    Being GREEN isn’t the only reason for solar?

  • chukcha

    Al Gore is right,
    We have the technology and money to make it happen.
    http://cleantechnica.com/2008/07/14/dying-to-boost-solar-efficiency-by-50/

    What we’re missing is unity on this matter.

  • Mr. ?

    Who is Al Gore?? And what does he have to do with anything?? Is he a President or a government representative or something?? That picture makes him look very self-absorbed…

  • jerry

    Speaking at the event, General Motors’ Keith Cole, director of legislative and regulatory affairs, said, “We can’t afford to run a business in that kind of scatterbrained approach.”

    can they afford to run it the way they have been runnign it.

  • chukcha

    geber22,
    Amen!

  • Allen

    @Sri
    Thanks for the link.
    That’s what I get using shoddy, knee-jerk numbers. I didn’t calculate for barrel-gallon and daily figures. I recalculated and found (according to the DOE site you provided) that it shows “Finished Motor Gasoline” as having usage about 142 Billion gallons/year.
    The strange part to me is that it also shows that “Kerosene-type Jet Fuel” as only using 24 Billion gallons/year, and “Distillate Fuel Oil” (Diesels and the like) as using 64 Billion gallons/year.
    With about 28,000 (major commercial) flights a day (only counting major airlines like Southwest, United, American, and so forth) and burning an average of 40-60 gallons a minute (and twice that for take-off) I would have thought there would be a lot more used. Especially considering that that doesn’t include all the tourist, private and courier flights.
    I also would have guessed that a lot more Diesel would have been used considering that most large trucks get 8 MPG (or less) and that is what is moving most of our goods.
    I still hold to my main point, though, about needing to consider the usage in the infrastructure. As the (DOE) numbers show, we are using almost as much in commercial usage as personal. If the current infrastructure is not being used as much, there will not be as much of it and the cargo vehicles (not feasible for electric) will pay the price, increasing the costs of our goods. Also, the fuel prices for planes are already hitting us and cutting back the infrastructure for that will only worsen it. I agree that we need an alternative, but trains are only efficient if tracks are near the location, and biofuels are (IMHO) only a stop-gap measure. I have been waiting for electric motors and batteries to get affordable for 20 years. While (compared to cost-of-living) they are getting better, they are moving at a snails pace and it would still cost me $15k to go electric and I still have to keep a gasoline car for trips. I’m getting an e-bike for commuting, but I still need the car for when it rains.
    Thanks again for keeping the facts straight.

  • Anonymous

    Mining and burning coal is catastrophic for the environment, not to mention dangerous for miners. I guess “all us liberals” prefer breathing clean air.

  • uktiger

    The oil companies pay losers to go to internets sites and post crap at 10 cents a word. Have fun boys, enjoy your dimes.

    Al Gore has done nothing but good for this country, nobody with a brain would call him “crazy” or an “idiot”. Go play some more video games halo, I think your mom wants you to cut the grass.

  • RKRB

    It’s not just the Iraq war, amigo. We spend more to essentially subsidize illegal immigration than on the war in Iraq, we spend far more than that on useless and rapidly obsolescent trinkets that soon wind up in a landfill, and we spend more than the Iraq war on junk food and soda that kills as many of us as the war has. Neither candidate seems to have much promise of actually doing something about changing this greed into something positive and useful. Unless we do something like put a heavy tax on carbon use, which would be political suicide, we are looking forward to more of the same. It’s pretty depressing and wishful thinking isn’t going to help much.

  • Bryce

    That greed, my friend, is what makes the world turn round. : )

  • Kevin Dunbar

    Before this recession hit there were parts of the U.S. that were turning into ghost towns. Unemplyment was on the rise and you already had trillion dollar deficits. You produce something like 10% of your oil needs. Drilling in Alaska will only offset a small percent of that. Where are you going now? Clean electric could be your savior. Start building windmills, and yes, nuclear. Amercian made windmills that will employ the masses. And build electric cars. Gore is right. I hope we listen to him.

  • Bryce

    30% of oil comes from state side. Trillion dollar deficits are a new thing special and unique only to this recession. Still, even though all of those things you said were innacurate and largely exagerations…..I do hope the electrification of the car continues.