How much money is the United States putting toward researching alternatives to crude oil?
That is a complex question. Do you mean the US government or the US as a whole? And it would be difficult to say exactly what qualifies as an alternative to oil and what doesn’t and where do you draw the line in how directly the expenses go to finding an “alternative”. Other countries are also doing research and have their own programs which may be in conjunction with US programs. I do not think it is an easy question to answer with a simple figure.
As an alternative to oil for what?
Synthetic motor oils are extremely common.
Back in the late 70s & early 80’s (after the big gas crisis) the US government funded work in this area. They even paid for pilot plants to be built to prove that the technology would work outside a lab. They made synthetic gasoline, but it would have to sell for $3/gal so it was not commercially attractive.
There’s plenty of work on electric cars. Since most electricity is not produced from oil, that also is an alernative to oil.
In the US, almost no electricity is produced from oil. It ranges from 2-3.5% most years.
Coal, on the other hand, produces about 50-55% of our electricity.
I like coal.
Oil isn’t just a useful fuel but it is very useful in making things like plastics.
In a way we are looking into other sources of fuel to produce energy. Nuclear has been around a while but no one wants to have a nuke plant near by. Natural gas (and LP for that matter) is a major competator for home heating - as is electric heat pumps. Wind and water is used also. we are starting to see more electric cars and hybrids (which just go easy on the gas). CNG buses have been around for quite some time also. There are many more examples of other energy sources and uses.
As for products go, I think we are able to produce some biodegradable plastics w/ bacteria and other substances with plants (soy comes to mind) but for the most part oil is so useful in making things it’s a shame we burn so much of it.
The biggest problem is that oil is so cheap and the infrastructure is built on such a large scale further reducing the cost and making it harder for alternatives to get a foot hold.
According to Arianna Huffington, the Bushies re-appropriated half of the DOE’s renewable energy & conservation budget ($135K) to pay for printing up 10,000 copies of their energy plan.
This would suggest that the total DOE budget for renewable energy was rather less than $270K, probably about the same amount that the White House spends on toilet paper.