September 18th, 2005


Yet another pie-in-the-sky look at petroleum

Today's Star-Tribune has yet another look at our dependence on gasoline and proposals for what to do about it. Here's the letter I sent in reply:

David Morris's commentary on electric vehicles and alternative fuels promises a lot. His proposals fall short, though, for those of us who don't live in the city.

I drive from 20,000 to 25,000 miles a year, and 95 percent of that is on the highway cruising at the speed limit. A hybrid vehicle gains me absolutely nothing under those conditions, and a 50-mile pure electric range is completely useless when my average trip is 150 miles.

Ethanol-based fuels make no economic sense whatsoever with current pricing models. E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) has only about 2/3 the energy content of pure gasoline, by the only real-world measure that counts: fuel mileage in real cars. When regular is $2.69, and E85 is $2.64, as it is at the only station selling it in Fairmont, buying E85 is pure foolishness masquerading as environmental awareness.

Until someone manages to produce a different technology that makes sense for me and the driving I do, I'll stick with plain old gasoline, thank you.
  • Current Mood
    cranky cranky

Overheard just now...

vakkotaur is setting up a laptop with Ultima Linux. It's the first small-machine distribution he's tried that hasn't sucked in one way or another. Since this laptop is a PII-266 with 192 MB of RAM, that's important.

He installed the Xfce window manager, and has been setting up various applications. Just now, he was going through themes for the Eterm terminal emulator, and I heard:


People who write apps should take note: cool is, quite often, not good.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused