Why are all you scientific Dopers such slackers?

It’s 2006 AD and we’re still burning fossil fuels for the majority of our energy. Why are all you science and engineering whizzes sitting on your hands, and your high priced educations when there’s a world in need of clean energy?

Don’t any of you big brains have a bright idea about how to generate clean energy? Yes, I know it’s hard, but your scientific ancestors stepped up to the plate and gave us a brave new world. Now it’s your turn Poindexter, get cracking! This $ 3.00 gas is a killer!

Read Thomas Friedman’s “A Million Manhattan Projects” from yesterday’s New York Times if you have Times Select.

Here’s a snippet

Bolding mine. I love that part.

Pssht. All us “scientific types” have been driving cars that run on banana peels for years. We are letting the rest of you buy $3.00 gas as payback for calling us “poindexter” since high school.

Hah! That’s nothing. Ya wanna know what my car runs on? MY car runs on those kids in high school who used to call me “poindexter!”

Everytime I bring up my fart powered car, people laugh at me. :frowning:

Then I idle in their driveway for an hour.:slight_smile:

A dude I know goes around town collecting used fryer grease and makes biodiesel. Whenever he comes to visit, the whole neighborhood smells like french fries and chicken.

A friend of mine does this, except he doesn’t go through the entire"Bio-diesel" routine. His fuel isn’t quite as clean as BD, but it’s much more clean than regular diesel. He pays around 43 cents a gallon, and the oil comes from the chain of retaurants he owns. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me. He drives a massive truck, and I’d bet that people next to him in traffic think he’s getting raped at the pump. Not so.

[soapbox]Boo hoo, $3 gas. Try $15 over here in Europe. Anyway, you lot used it all up (ever heard of a mass-produced car with a 6l engine coming from any where but the US? Even Ferrari don’t feel the need to go that far!), so why shouldn’t you be paying for it?[/soapbox]

Sorry if I’ve just irredeemably alienated 90% of SDMB users. I’ll just get my coat…

Brits pay way more per gallon for gas than US citizens do. Granted. Is your economy in crisis-mode like ours is right now? Is the need for fuel the same per mile as ours? The discrepancy between our per-gallon prices has been going on for decades, we’re in a crisis. You’re not. Why is that?

Global petro-nomics is quite complicated, and very politically motivated. In the end, the US is probably at fault. The question is, how do we fix it?

For the reason’s Trunk has illustrated, I’m frankly kinda hoping your gas prices go higher. We’ve already had $4 gas, and are constrained by the U.S. car manufacturers in what’s available on the market. I wanna see 60+ mpg and 150+ mpg cars become standard, and not just be the realm of near-impossible-to-get European imports like they are right now.

Oh yeah, there was nothing really wrong with nuclear power - turf the coal and gas plants and bring that back.

No, since vehicles generally tend to be closer to the size and power output that is practically required rather than desired. Most of them are probably still larger and more powerful than they need to be, though.

Over the last thirty years or so most developed economies have adjusted to an environment where petroleum is treated as a scarce and expensive resource, whereas the US has not, and is now having to deal with a wrenching step-change from high petroleum intensity to low.
Similarly, the UK is used to having lots and lots of water, so a couple of dry years have brought the south-east to the point where they are making contingency plans for switching off the mains water supply and having people get their water in buckets from communal taps in the street :eek:. This will no doubt have people from Arizona or Israel cying with laughter, but it’s just what happens when you find yourself with an infrastructure and usage regime that’s out of whack with the supply of a given commodity. Periodic crises and lots of things to change.

Two and a half years of accelerating economic growth and stable employment rates is a crisis? Yeah, gas prices are high and the budget deficit is too big, but come on. Things right now are looking fairly good.

Oops, I quoted the wrong sentence from dnooman. I meant to reply to this:

Our economy is in “crisis mode”? :confused:

I don’t even know what he means by that; and all the things I can imagine he means, we’re not in.

Assuming he’s talking about the price of oil, he could be thinking that “oil is up to it’s record heights, meaning we’re going to have another late-70’s-style recession”.

Problem with that is I once calculated how much GDP is produced using a barrel of oil (adjusted 2004 figures). In 1978, the US produced about $650 of GDP per barrel consumed. In 2004, the US produced over $1,300 of GDP per barrel consumed. Essentially, the price of oil would have to double it’s current price, (i.e., go to about $130/barrel), before it would have the same relative effect on our economy as the 1979 oil shock.

This is why (in case anybody has ever wondered) why we’ve been able to “suffer” oil prices that are as high as the 1970’s w/o the same recessionary shocks - because we’re far more oil efficient.

Wake up. You aren’t paying the equivalent of US$15/gal for gas. You are paying about as much as anyone else for the gas, plus a boatload to your govt. in taxes. Complain to them. Uncle Sam gets his money eventually, he just gets less of it from gas.

And speaking of Uncle Sam… this scientific type lives in the US, where the good Uncle couldn’t give a fuck about alternative fuels. When he does, and I could maybe make a living at it, count me in.

I’m well aware of that. The point is that those exhorbitant taxes are what cause us to be relatively frugal. If the US had a tax regime even close to other oil importing nations, demand would be lower, and hence price too. And not just for US consumers, but for everyone.

You have forgetton 1/3 of the supply / demand equation, and the savvy of the oil producing nations.

Well, that and the fact that you’re…how do I put this delicately…little.

I just looked up the stats for another thread and discovered that the whole UK is slightly smaller than Illinois, one of our smaller states. Things are simply more spread out here, and require more gas to get to places. It’s not unusual for a suburban person to drive 15 minutes at 40 mph to get to the grocery store, or a rural one to drive an hour at 60 mph. True, those of us in the cities don’t have as far to go, but most of us don’t live in cities.