Monday, August 29, 2005

Tug's Plan For Conserving Fuel.

The Radio News Announcer said "The President is scheduled to speak in a few minutes. It is speculated that he may announce that the U.S will tap into our Strategic Oil Reserve to try to reduce price pressure at the pumps. Details after these messages..."

I haven't found out yet whether he did or did not say that he would tap the Strategic Oil Reserve. I hope that the President leaves it alone. That is to be used in the case of a National Security emergency, not to stop us from whining about high gas prices. I am out there on the highway all day every day, and I can tell you that Americans aren't yet having very much trouble paying for gasoline.

Besides that, if our government is that worried about price shock at the pumps, they could reduce the amount of tax that they collect on each gallon that we buy, but I'm not going to stand on my head until that happens.


All of this got me thinking about things that Americans could do to conserve fuel, and energy in general.
Here are a few suggestions.

Businesses could take an honest look at the duties performed by their employees, and decide realistically which of these duties could be done from home. If they have employees who could work from home, then they should let them.

Large manufacturing plants that run only one shift per day could start running at night instead of during daylight hours, and reduce the workload of their air conditioning systems. They burn their lights inside the buildings anyway, so it does not matter whether it is dark outside.

I drive a 1996 Nissan Sentra to work. It is a piece of junk, but it gets around 35 miles per gallon. The former owner drove it into a tree, and I bought it wrecked, fixed the mechanical damage, and left the body damage alone. I have about $400 in it, and have been driving it for over a year. It isn't much trouble to find little cars like that, and if more people were willing to drive little fuel efficient clunkers, then they could leave the big SUV's at home, at least during the week.

The Department of Transportation could increase the Gross Vehicle Weight limit for Tractor-Trailer trucks from 80,000lbs to 100,000lbs. My truck at work weighs about 30,000lbs empty, so I can legally haul roughly 50,000lbs of payload. I can get more freight than that on it, and the truck would safely haul more than that, (I hauled permitted loads on regular trailers all the time that were heavier than that, back when I was running over the road...) but it is illegal to weigh over 80,000lbs gross. If this one regulation were changed, that would cut out about one truckload out of four, all over America. The fuel savings would be significant.

The government could provide incentives to encourage home schooling, whenever practical, and the public schools could take an honest look at where each student lives, and move them to the closest school to their home.

These are just a few ideas. I may post a few more in the future.

If you have one of your own, I would love to hear it.

38 comments:

Mark said...

I understood that the president was considering that because the hurricane was predicted to damage the oil robs in the gulf, not tho lower prices.

Mark said...

rigs not robs

tugboatcapn said...

Yeah, I took that into account.
It still isn't quite time for that yet.

tugboatcapn said...

I am taking up a collection to buy Mark a new keyboard.
Send your donations to:

Tugboatcapn
14995 Freightliner Drive
Everywhere, USA, 0u812
;-)

screwball said...

wow, that was a very responsible blog.

I agree with most everything except the weight limits on trailers. this is mostly because it just sounds dangerous. when I get on the highway I usually have my 4 kids in the car and those truckers can drive a little crazy sometimes.

on the whole, American needs to curb its energy consumption. this goes beyond oil. we suck up a lot of electricity, too.

tugboatcapn said...

Trust me. If they raised the weight limit on the trucks, it would cut down on a lot of that crazy driving you refer to.
Besides that, of all my suggestions, that one would make the most difference, and the public would not even notice that it had happened.
But let me say one more thing.
Conservation is not the answer, not in the long run, because it does not allow for growth. And for every barrel of crude that we conserve, the Chinese will consume two.
This is a global problem.
We HAVE to come up with some form of renewable, domestically producable energy source, and fast like, or we are screwed.

tugboatcapn said...

See, Screwball, I'm not a raving lunatic ALL of the time...

screwball said...

I agree, but I'm also concerned about hydrogen. remember the hindenberg?

a note of reference, the push for the hydrogen cell is a push to prepare the oil industry for change. the oil industry already produces hydrogen in order to make gasoline (or something or other).

the concept behind my conservation idea is that we need to create machines that use less energy but do the same amount of work.

alaletos said...

The closest I have ever come to bieng really shocked by prices at the pump was in Baltimore. when ten bucks got 2.5 gallons in the tank!!

But other than that I dont really get my undies in a bunch over that kinda stuff. I honestly expected gas to much priceir by now.

On another note. Trying to get John. Q. moneymaker to leave the yukon in the garage. Won't be easy cuz more than likely they can afford to pay High Gas prices. And most of the guys who drive gas suckers love to lay into the pedal. That whole testosterone thing ya know.

It would be nice to have lower prices at the pump. And anything that could be done to do so would be greatly apprectiated. especially since it could get a lot worse.

tugboatcapn said...

Well, the problem with Hydrogen is that it takes more energy (Electricity) to produce Hydrogen than we gain by producing it. Using hydrogen just shifts the energy burden from "Fossil Fuels" to Coal or Nuclear energy. Besides that, Hydrogen is such a small molecule that it will escape from almost any container that you put it in. There will be an awful lot of waste involved with Hydrogen powered cars.
What we need to do is figure out a way to burn Tobacco in an internal combustion engine. That would kill a whole lot of birds with a single stone.
It would save the Tobacco industry, when they finally make smoking illegal, and solve the Energy crunch as well.
(Im joking, if you couldn't tell.)
My point is, there has to be something like that that we could do. We just have to make it worthwhile to invent it, and I believe that the time is right.

screwball said...

it is not so much the price of gas, but how much we have left.

screwball said...

okay, this is weird, Tug, we agree. who woulda thought?

tugboatcapn said...

Oh, and AJ, I know John Q. Moneymaker, and he wouldn't be caught DEAD in a Yukon...He drives an Escalade. ;-)

tugboatcapn said...

Common sense is Common sense, Screwball...
Pretty much universal...

screwball said...

well, both right and left wing kooks read "Mother Earth News." (and "National Geographic" which really covered the nitty gritty on this subject.)

tugboatcapn said...

Are you ready for another one of my "Kook" theories?
I believe that the Oil Industry already knows what will replace "Fossil fuels". They already have the technology, but they are sitting on it until they can drive Energy prices just as high as the Global market can possibly bear, screaming all the time about "Fossil Fuels" running out.
When they reach that point, they will then introduce this new alternative at a very slightly reduced price, and look like Heros for coming up with it.
I do not offer this theory as absolute fact, only as a possibility to be considered...

alaletos said...

I saw recently on the news something about Soy bio-diesel. What about that it's supposed to be a heck of alot cheaper, and better for the enviroment to .

A bunch of guys where running it in they're boats.

I mean there is most definatley no shortage of soy beans that I know of.

tugboatcapn said...

Yeah, Hanoi Jane Fonda is using Bio-Deisel to power her Anti-War-Protest-Hippie-Bus across America to undermine American interests and the war effort, and to insult the contribution of American Service Men to the cause of Freedom and Justice around the world.
The way it works, basically, is that you can pull up to McDonalds, and fill up for free. The problem with this plan is that there aren't enough French Fries being cooked to meet the transportation demands of all of America.
Another problem is that there are very few Diesel cars in America, and Gasoline engines will not run on diesel fuel.(Not even Bio-Diesel.)
The soybean oil solution would be a good one except for these snags...

tugboatcapn said...

Something else that Hanoi Jane failed to take into consideration was that Petroleum Products were, and are used in the manufacturing process of the vinyl seats, the plastic interior panels, the tires and gaskets that were used to build her Hippie Bus, not to mention the oil and grease that lubricates every moving part in the engine, transmission, and suspension on the Hippie bus.
Bio-Diesel and soy bean oil does not take the place of these products...

Francis Lynn said...

Increasing the number of nuclear plants would save a lot in fuel consumption, but people freak out when they here 'nuclear'. Developing fusion energy would be a godsend. And then there is that huge amount of hot air coming from liberals. Gotta be a way to tap into that.

Anonymous said...

Jesus loves you, Bruiser!

Erudite Redneck said...

I like all yer ideas but the school one. "School" is more than book learning, it's socialization -- and you can't get that at home.

Also, although it seems like ancient history now in some ways, there are good reasons to keep public schools from being all white or all black or all whatever the locality is.

My inner liberal social engineer had to weigh in. He will go back to readin' "Mother Jones" now.

Mark said...

Well, I drive my car for my living. I drive an economy car. I get 32-33 miles to the gallon. But it's still too high, I pay almost 30 dollars a day for gas.

I had a new keyboard once, but it developed problems and I had to go back to my original one which has most of the letters worn off.

@ weeks ago a trucker purposely ran me off the road just because I was attempting to pass him, and he didn't want to be passed.

screwball said...

there has been enough historical evidence that fission is bad. yes, it works real good, but when it breaks--it breaks real bad.

as far as fusion is concerned cold fusion seems to not be panning out, and hot fusion is elusive because of the problems with plasma.

to get the scoop on this stuff check out the August 2005 issue of National Geographic---"After Oil: Powering the Future."

tugboatcapn said...

I believe that human beings will perfect cold fusion right after we perfect time travel, and just before we cure AIDS.
Nuclear Fission is a lot safer than most people believe it is, but not as safe as i would want it to be if there was a Nuclear powerplant in my neighborhood.
That being said, it is pretty much the cleanest, safest source of electricity that we have been able to come up with yet. We desperately need to build a lot more Nuclear Powerplants over the next couple of years.
the thing about Americans is, the more we use something, the better it gets.

tugboatcapn said...

Mark, if that ever happens again, remember the name of the trucking company, and call them and complain.
You may need to try to get the unit number off of the tractor, if you can.
If you do this, his dispatcher will make him sorry he ever took the job.
I usually am not the kind of person who would reccomend ratting someone out, but I have absolutely no patience with reckless or agressive truck drivers. There are just a few guys out there who make everyone scared of the rest of us, and most of us are careful, courteous drivers.

screwball said...

I once had a pissed off trucker make me have to come to a complete stop on the highway. He intentionally cut me off after a heavy rain. He cut me off so sharply that it created a missive arc of water and blinded me. if I hadn't stopped I would have most likely ran into his trailer.

cats dig me said...

Well, good to see everyone getting along so well. Thanks to everyone who visited my blog and made a comment or two. (Hollanderspace.blogspot.com)

I did some research into hydrogen power a few years back. The latest technology doesn't use that much electricity and the containers have been nearly perfected. I actually bought stock in the company (Canadian company, natch) and made a few thousand bucks off it back in '99. Now screwball and I have been discussing the ramifications of releasing too much water into the environment over, say, a 50 year period. His take is that man is artificially producing extra water and my stance has been that we are simply releasing water from one form into another. Any thoughts?

tugboatcapn said...

I'm with you on that one, cats.
We neither produce nor destroy water, we only convert it from one form to another.
Anyway, the environment can dissipate artificial water a lot easier than it can do away with the pollution produced by exhaust from internal combustion engines burning fossil fuels, so even if he is right, he's still wrong.
I did a little research into Hydrogen power myself over the course of the past couple of days, and what I found out was that the risk of fire or explosion is virtually non-existant. Hydrogen is MUCH safer than gasoline on this point.
I think that Hydrogen power has a lot of potential,when we get the bugs worked out of it.

screwball said...

kudos to you, Tug, for not missing any opportunity to call me wrong. it builds my confidence, you see.

I still have worries about "artificial" water, but it doesn't keep me up at night. I'll put it this way, when it comes to nature everything affects everything. I'm sure it's different than a build up carbon monoxide and dioxide in the atmosphere, but it very well could have some effect. I'm not saying we would have "waterworld" but we could have some form of "water pollution"--swampiness, maybe.

tugboatcapn said...

Don't get too confident, Screw.
It wasn't personal.
They run commercial messages in my local Radio market all the time encouraging us to "Conserve water."
The water vapor dispensed into the air by combustion of Hydrogen fuel would be the most pure water on the planet. It would be pure down to the molecular level. How could that possibly be worse than exhaust from millions and millions of gasoline burning engines, idling in traffic jams, all over America?
I live in Florida, where swampiness is a way of life. That's no big deal.
Oh and don't worry, Cats and I will have arguements in the future, on which you will agree with him. Count on it.

tugboatcapn said...

By the way, Screwball, both you and Cats seem to be very reasonable people.
I don't believe that either of you lean as far left as you would have us believe.
I think that you guys could eventually be converted over to our side.
It could take years, even decades, but I believe it could be done... =)

screwball said...

it's just a social facade. I'm as red as they come.

screwball said...

not red like "red state"

red like "pinko," comrade

cats dig me said...

Bless you for trying to convert us Tug. I know you firmly believe in all of your ideas. I firmly believe in mine as well. My hope is that rather than anyone converting, that we all instead come to a whole new way of thinking that both conservatives and liberals alike really hate. That would probably mean we are on the right track.

tugboatcapn said...

You are probably right, Cats.

I just hope that the left hates it more than the right does... ;-)

tugboatcapn said...

And Screwball, that's what i have always said about liberals...
They're all pink on the inside...

BRUISER said...

So you freedom loving half-wits think you can delete and censor every criticism of this failed president?

Responsiblity is certainly not a Bush trait...unless he is responsible for:

The Defecit
The War In Iraq
The 3,000 Dead Soldiers of said war
The 20,000 Wounded of said war
The Closing of Military Bases
The Benefit Cuts of Active Duty Military
The Benefit Cuts of Veterans
The Cuts of Subsidies to America's Farms
Getting Scott McClellan's boyfriend James Guckert / Jeff Gannon a press pass
Letting the voice of treason Karl Rove Out a CIA official in a time of WAR
Rushing back to Terry Shciavo's "aid" while waiting three days to think about the Katrina victims
Giving Rudy Guliani a reach-a-round
Giving medals and promotions to the people in his administration who seriously failed this country on and or prior to 9/11
Trying to steal social security and reduce future benefits of the entire populace of America
Man I could go on all day...
Refusing homosexuals equal rights ...i mean come on we all know Rumsfeld and Rove are into Judy Garland...
Refusing to be a leader for America in the nations biggest disaster in History (except for his running for office) during and following Katrina
Hating "the Blame game"..where exactly does the buck stop?
Eating pretzels of mass destruction and almost passing away...which proves there is no GOD...
Renting Our US Military to the highest bidder this decade being Saudi Arabia to fight its enemies who we supported for many a moon...lest we forget

etc...etc...etc...

And the final responsibilty he will have when congress is taken back in 2006 is being impeached with a worse approval rating than NIXON...

Delete me censor me ---you freedom loving jagbags!!!