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Are Alternative Fuels The Best Alternative?

With the millennium just around the corner, new energy conserving ideas are being brought to the market. Among the most prominent are cars powered by electricity, as opposed to gasoline. Electric vehicles seem practical, and they protect the environment by reducing pollution. But our economy would suffer colossal changes in order to accommodate these low-emission vehicles. The entire oil industry would bear an enormous loss, car manufacturing would have to completely change, and many people involved in the gasoline industry would become unemployed. While alternative fuels may help protect the environment, they would destroy the economy.

The oil industry depends on the production of gasoline. Transportation accounts for twenty-five percent of U.S. demand, and it depends wholly on oil. If the transportation industry lost it?s need for gasoline, oil companies, and all of their employees, would suffer major losses. Over two-thirds of our oil supply comes from the Middle East, and without this valuable export, these countries, along with our relationship to them, would weaken. Therefore, using electricity instead of gasoline to power cars would not only cause problems in our country, but in other areas of the world as well.

The car industry would be highly affected financially by the conversion from gasoline to alternative fuels. Presently, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium is spending over 260 million dollars simply on the development of a new battery. Plus, it costs between five thousand and ten thousand dollars to convert just one gasoline-powered car to electric. Automobile manufacturing plants would not only have to carry different parts and use different methods; they would have to completely alter their manufacturing process, which may cost millions of dollars. And who would pay for these alterations? The consumer. The price of cars would skyrocket, leaving many average citizens without transportation.

And what about the people who depend on gasoline vehicles for a job? Not only the oil company employees and car manufacturers, but gas station attendants, car mechanics and auto parts dealers would be unemployed as well. A few may be able to adapt to the new electric era, but too many would find themselves and their families without work, without money. It is the average American who will lose the most in this situation.

I?m not suggesting that alternative fuels be completely outcast. But they cannot be suddenly integrated in our society. Nearly every aspect of our lives depends on transportation, and it would be impossible to accept a drastic alteration from one form of transportation to the other. Our economy would fall into depression if gasoline vehicles were too quickly replaced. Perhaps alternative fuels could be used for government vehicles, city buses, etc. to help cut down on pollution. But the average consumer should rethink their decision to buy an electric vehicle until our society is ready to adapt to the changes it will bring.


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