Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oil hits $140 a barrel; it's time for plug-ins

It was January 2nd this year when oil hit $100 for the first time. Today it reached $140, and OPEC warns it will only get worse, and soon.

Instead of biting the bullet and facing the need for plug-in cars quick, "solutions" put on the table by the presidential candidates wouldn't have an impact as soon as required to meet carbon and petroleum reduction or national security goals. To say nothing of consumer's need for cheaper transportation fuel. Domestic oil producers apparently aren't extracting domestically where already approved but clamor for access to the coast. Even if Congress authorized coastal and ANWR exploitation as McCain now supports, the impact would be too late and too little. I'm pleased to hear McCain promoting electrics, but his battery contest proposal would at best have a medium term impact.

We need to see policies that will push electric cars and plug-in hybrids with available battery technology. The $9000 incentive California put on the table in the 90s for electric cars wasn't enough to interest automakers. Today, were product available, such an incentive would see consumers lining up for cars they once might have snubbed as range-deficient and over-priced.