Peak Oil and Solutions…

Oliver Sacks, a wonderful writer on science of various sorts, points out the logic in converting to hybrid cars now – enough oil could be saved that way to replace the expected content of the ANWR reserve every few years.

The April issue of Wired magazine also has an excellent cover story on hybrids and the new generations of efficient cars coming along, with their opionated comparison of the vehicles available (a little too heavily weighted in favor of performance over efficiency).

Meanwhile, back at the NY Times, Thomas Friedman fills out his geo-green strategy with a specific suggestion on gasoline taxes in the US: add federal taxes to keep pump prices fixed at $4 a gallon. This would still be less than Europeans pay, but could make a huge difference – though he wants the taxes to pay down the deficit, not necessarily fund energy research; he also advocates more nuclear power, probably a dead end.

Worldchanging and slashdot both discuss new super charge battery hardware developed by Toshiba – the batteries apparently use some “nanotechnology” to allow very fast recharge times (minutes) and high energy density. If this plays out commercially as a successful product, it could make a huge difference to the battery market – exactly the sort of innovation needed!

At least a few of these are about real actions that could indeed help solve our energy problem – kudos to the NY Times for starting to pay attention!

Original text was posted on And I might be buying a Toyota Prius hybrid today…

5 thoughts on “Peak Oil and Solutions…”

  1. A congressman by the name of Roscoe Bartlett gave a fairly intelligent presentation about the oil peak. The transcript is here.

  2. Prius apparently get only 20 mpg if you turn on the defroster in winter or A/C in the summer.

  3. It’s averaging 45 mpg after 1 day’s driving – but it is spring. There are plenty of ways to decrease (or conversely improve) the gas mileage, outlined in the owners mannual, but one really nice thing is it makes you constantly aware of how well you’re doing. It may be as important for the way it adjusts behavior as for the actual fuel economy of the car itself.

  4. I have owned a Prius for over 4 years now, and never gotten below 35mpg on a tank of gas – in all extremes of weather and driving conditions from highway speeds (70 mph+) to stop and go city street driving, to extreme hills (Seattle, San Francisco), from fairly cold (snowy and 15degrees) to Mississippi Gulf Coast heat (90 degrees or more). During that time I have never hesitated to use the heater or the air conditioner as appropriate.

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