Biofuel Comparison Chart Highlights Hypocrisy

Illustration for article titled Biofuel Comparison Chart Highlights Hypocrisy

The problem with the green movement isn't its goal of conservation — that's admirable — it's the gullibility many of its proponents suffer from and which big companies and governments are able to exploit to sell them on far-from-friendly products and policies. Take biofuel for instance. Many of its sources use more energy and effort than they're capable of producing, yet they receive subsidies and publicity over sources that might actually prove sustainable. This chart, put together by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer neatly sums this up. We only spot one glaring omission, poop.

[Seattle PI via Treehugger]
Photogrpahy credit: Daniel Leininger

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@Elhigh: Re: Solar

I'm only waiting for it to be cost efficient for a working stiff like me. My house has a great, broad roof that faces South and has no trees to shade it, so it's perfect. We've been talking about doing it ever since we moved in last year.

But we can't afford it; at least, not justifiably. If I drop $20k in roof panels, inverters and, optionally, batteries, I'll get a nice warm fuzzy feeling and little to no electricity bill from my utility company. But all I've really done, financially, is shift where and when I'm paying for my electricity. Instead of paying $80/month to a utility, I'm paying $20,000 either in one lump sum, or in payments to a bank to repay a loan.

For the average consumer, solar is a great idea, but too expensive.

Now, back on topic, automotive fuels. Like solar, the problem is the alternatives are either too cumbersome to obtain (no stations serving it up), or too expensive to purchase the fuel/convert existing vehicles/buy new vehicles. When it comes down to it, Joe American (or James English, or Sven Russian, or whoever) put dollars over environmentalism. Most people will do the right thing, environmentally/politically, but only if it's cheaper than doing the easy thing.

It'd be wonderful to say that people use their morals and values to go about their business, but nobody wants to be a martyr. If they have to choose between doing what's right and feeding their family, they'll choose feeding their family every time.

Find a way to reduce the cost (actual dollar cost, mind you), and you'll see widespread adoption. We may get there by other means — raise the cost of everything else, for instance — but the basic principle remains the same. Cheap == in use.