Clean, safe, guilt-free SUVs are in our future

It’s as American as apple pie to want to drive our large cars on our large best-in-the-world roads. And why shouldn’t we? I’ve dreamed of cruising this great country of ours in a class-A motorhome someday. I used to own a king-size 30 ft. trailer that put a strain on the biggest tow vehicles. I know about the pleasures of the open road and the enjoyment of America’s great parks and campsites. It’s a valuable part of our way of life. And we can have it without guilt. But not just yet….

Not while gas is $1.39 a gallon. Last year’s $2.00 gasoline was just about the best thing that could have happened to America. People hate the idea, but high prices discourage consumption and encourage research into alternatives. And alternatives there are. Fuel cells and hydrogen are the key to guilt-free rolling living rooms for our retirement and the next generation. Algae ponds in the desert can make enough hydrogen to meet all these needs and desires and then some. But not with the Bush/Cheney administration in the White House. This team has always preached the gospel of big oil, and now we’re paying the price. Actor Robert Redford has recently penned a compelling missive on the subject.

The hydrogen economy offers vast promise and a limitless supply of what is essentially stored solar energy.

But it won’t happen unless we are willing to postpone our gratification and our love affair with palaces on wheels for a few more years. We’ve just seen the costs of our oil dependence escalate beyond our worst nightmares. Would we pay $3.00 a gallon to have the twin towers and thousands of dead Americans back with us? I would in a heartbeat. When you look at the total cost of driving, including taxes, insurance, capital cost of the vehicle, etc, the price of gas is only about 20% of the cost of driving. So even if the price of gas were to double, the cost of driving for the average family would only go up 10-20%. America’s oil dependence prevents us from taking a stand against the radicals in Saudi Arabia, and corrupt governments elsewhere in the region. Even as our soldiers fight the terror war, our oil money goes to Islamic religious schools training the next generation of screaming American-haters.

Forget the lame too-little-too-late tactic of freezing terrorist assets. Freeze their whole way of life by weaning ourselves from the oil! If we continue with our profligate insane love affair with cheap Middle Eastern oil, we may sacrifice more buildings, more people, and even an entire city to nuclear or bio-terror before it’s over. The very least that will happen is environmental devastation as CO2 increases and warms our planet beyond recognition. We’ve got to call a halt to this NOW. This is perhaps the most important public policy issue we face today, and we’ve just been given a new incentive to act. We should endorse the Kyoto protocols on global warming and start to take this seriously. The libertarian in me hates this idea, but if market forces won’t mandate a change, how about a gradually phased in $1.00 a gallon alternative energy tax to go directly to construction of a self-sufficient American hydrogen economy? The price will jump anyway in a few years as supplies tighten. So let’s get ahead of the curve, and help set the Islamic world straight at the same time. This is serious, folks. It’s a matter of life and death, national security, and worldwide importance.

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