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June 25, 2008



"Every time the price of a barrel of oil goes down, we lose interest in renewable and sustainable energy programs."

You said it. This, in a nutshell, is the crux of the issue and it points out the difference between Dems and most Republicans.

Too many Republicans seem to like gimmicks, like John McCain's $300 million bounty for a better car battery or his gas-tax holiday. These sort of stunts allow them to say they're trying to do something about energy while in reality they're soaking in big oil money.

Democrats, by contrast, favor long-term investment in alternative energy strategies and green-collar jobs. No matter how much drilling we do, it'll only buy us a few decades of oil production, at best - and the oil we find wouldn't even be in production for years.

Both Mike Simpson and Bill Sali yesterday failed to support a House bill that would've protected consumers from gasoline price gouging. Click my name for the roll call. It needed 2/3rds for passage and fell shy by just four votes, with several dozen other Republicans joining the Dems who overwhelmingly voted to support it.


While the $300 million battery bounty may be a gimmick, there are efforts underway to bring better fuel efficiency vehicles to a car dealership near you. In particular, the X-Prize Foundation and Progressive Auto Insurance have teamed up to bring the Progressive Automotive X-Prize which is a $10M competition to design affordable vehicles that would get 100 mpg (equivalent energy). Here is an excerpt from their press release:
"The newly renamed Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The independent and technology-neutral competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance."

You don't need to give that much prize money away. You have to give it a cool title that a company can advertise and some amount of money. 300 million seems rather excessive. Look at the Nobel prize for example. I was thinking 1-2 million and a cool title that one can be proud of and strive for. The prize money would encourage small inventors to strive for to achieve the goal.

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