Filed under: Biofuels, cars, ethanol, Farm, food, history | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, cars, climate, ethanol, farm, Food, fuel, horses, machines, science, transportation
Now stop and think about it. You are concerned that foods you eat may be diverted to use for fuel. You consider that this is a new phenomenon. The truth is that only in the last century or so has the earths surface not provided the world with fuel. Only when we dug down for coal, oil and nuclear energy did man move away from the fuels provided by the forests and fields of agriculture.
How did the horses and oxen of our great grandfathers generation move? They ate plant materials and turned them into energy. Before WWII most of the production of a farm went to feeding the horses and oxen that pulled the plows, wagons and buggies. Very little of the food produced on a farm actually made it into town.
When the train and the automobile were first introduced they was powered by ethanol, from fermented grains or other food crops, or steam, produced mostly from coal or wood, not oil, thus powering early trains and autos on the produce of farms and forests. Early oil discoveries were used in medicines and as lubricants. Then some oil man figured out how to make a motor fuel cheaper than ethanol and we moved into the modern era with our addiction to oil.
When Germany went to war it had very little for oil reserves and initially powered its war machine on potato alcohol. When bootleggers needed a fuel to outrun government pursuit they fueled their boats and cars with alcohol and ethanol. It is only since WWII that man has depended almost solely on oil for his motor fuels.
So you see, except for a brief part of history, man has relied on farms and forests to provide him with food and fuel. It is only in the “modern” era, an era of smog, pollution and global warming, has man relied on the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas. Perhaps it’s time we got back to the farm to fuel our world. I’m not such a fan of pollution and global warming.
Filed under: cars, history, Politics, time | Tags: car, cars, fuel, gas, gas prices, history, machines
One advantage of getting older is we get to remember just the things we want to, and pretend the rest did not happen. That may be what is happening as people consider gas prices today. We are all upset because they are going up, we remember how good we had it yesterday, but forget how it was 50 years ago.
Truth be told, the low gas price we were used to are only a product of the last twenty years. I’m not talking about the dollars per gallon, I’m talking about the percent of our income that goes to pay for fuel.
I’m old enough to remember gas prices at 19 to 25 cents per gallon, that was a long time ago. I was not driving in those days. My driving started more in the dollar plus per gallon era. Back then filling your tank was a big deal. People were paying out up to 30% of their income for transportation fuel when my dad was born, and more like 15% of their income by the time I started driving. For the last 20 years we’ve been paying about 3% of our annual average income for transportation. No wonder Americans have fallen in love with the automobile.
When compared to the last 50 years we are only at an average cost for fuel as a percent of average income. We’ll need to go much higher to get back to the price levels of the 60′s. Remember those glory years of the auto? Those big, high powered cars were expensive to keep on the road compared to today.
So go ahead, moan and groan about the high price of fuel at the pump. Some of us are going to remember that we have seen worse and survived it. The price of transportation fuels is going to get worse before it gets better. That is something you can depend on.