Editors Blog

Murphy's Law: The 5th Fuel

November 7, 2007

Oil. Gas. Coal. Nuclear. Efficiency?

The fifth fuel, as it is referred to in environmental circles, is energy efficiency. Oil and gas dependency is old school. Who wants to be at the mercy of the Middle East, Russia, or Hugo Chavez? A single bomb dropped on Iran will make $100/barrel oil look cheap - so says my chief energy advisor, who must remain anonymous lest he start charging me for stock tips.

Coal is dirty and unpopular unless you own stock in Peabody Energy or Arch Coal. And, did you think the phrase “nuke it” only referred to Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn?

The country’s gross national product can increase only to the extent that we have energy to stoke the economic wheels of growth. If everything we currently know is either fraught with risk or unpopular, how are we to continue the dream of a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage”?

Though saving money is important, most experts tell us that no one ever really saves himself or herself to prosperity. So it is that this nation’s growth is more dependent upon investment than it is in savings. It’s the same story for energy efficiency. The 5th fuel can’t reduce energy consumption enough to create energy reserves for the long-term growth of the country.

Energy efficiency is important, but don’t think that it, alone, can feed the bulldog.
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