Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Biofuel Stupidity

This story about biofuels contains so much stupidity that it’s hard to know where to begin when critiquing it.

Basically, some dude has been fueling his diesel Mercedes with soybean oil (spending a pile of money to convert it for that purpose), and now he’s being fined for not paying fuel tax. The article is telling us that we are supposed to think this guy is doing us a favor because it’s supposedly eco-friendly or because this reduces US dependence on foreign oil, and that we are supposed to get angry with the state and federal governments for fining him because of their short-sightedness.

Sure, fining this guy for using vegetable oil that doesn’t include the fuel tax is petty. But the real stupidity is that the federal and state governments are promoting biofuels, which we know are a total bust. And there is more stupidity in the belief by drivers that they’re doing good by using them, and “thumb[ing] their noses at oil sheiks.” Doesn’t anyone notice that copious inputs of fossil fuels are needed to make biofuels? You end up putting more energy into them than you are getting out.

Then the article says, “State Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Denton, is known around Raleigh for his diesel Volkswagen fueled by used soybean oil. The car sports a ‘Goodbye, OPEC’ sign.” We know that many lawmakers are stupid, and here is another example. Does the good senator have any idea how soybeans are grown and processed to produce soybean oil? The irony of using soybean oil whose production is heavily dependent on foreign petroleum, and then putting a sign on your car that says “Goodbye, OPEC” is a howler. Not to mention that it makes food more expensive.

Also, we see that governments are after that fuel tax because the money is needed for road construction. Doesn’t anybody think ahead? As fuel becomes more expensive and a significant portion of the population gets priced out of the market, governments will be faced with the dilemma of lowering fuel taxes to make fuel more affordable while giving up the money needed to maintain roads. So to keep people on the road, they will have to let roads and bridges fall into disrepair. It’s a classic catch-22 that will further push the petroleum economy into a downward spiral.

But stupid is as stupid does, and now you can watch as governments around the world grasp at straws and try to keep a dying system afloat.

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