Fuel Prices too High? Let’s find an Alternative Already.

A guest blog entry by Mike Radeke (teacher, student, world citizen)

Now-a-days no one can say they are not affected by the cost of fuel. This has been a rising problem for the last five years. Only in the last year has it become a major concern.

Fuel prices have more than doubled.

In order to combat this we have started to look at alternative fuel sources. There have been many debates of what the best alternative fuel is. You think in this age of technology that we would not a have a problem trying to come up with a better idea on how to run a vehicle. Some of the ideas that have been tested are: Bio diesel, Ethanol, Battery power, and Fuel cell cars. There are many pro and cons to each.

Bio diesel is a good source of energy but if we switched our vehicles to run on bio diesel it would only be a patch to the problem sooner or later we would be having the same discussion about bio diesel as we now are about gasoline.

Ethanol to me has been GM’s way to throw something out there just to get the government off their backs. Yes, we can produce it in the states and would make us less dependent on the Middle East, but ethanol cars still use oil and still have emission problems, not to mention ethanol does not get as good mileage as standard octane fuel.

Battery powered cars have come a long way since they were introduced. Battery powered cars are not just electrical powered. They are hybrids which mean they still run on gasoline. These cars do get great gas mileage and help with the problem but once again to me they are just a solution for the time being. Repairs for these cars are huge as well as the cost to buy one. Battery powered cars also have another big flaw that when the batteries go out it can cost $3,000 to $4,000 to repair. Now, I know that industry gives you a time frame on how long these batteries last. I don’t know about you, but most of the items that I have that are run on batteries, well generally the time frame is greatly inaccurate.

Fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen. These cars essentially run on water. They have shown some great strides in this technology and these cars generally have run great with good fuel economy. The drawback is that you have to have a cylinder in the car that stores hydrogen (Highly flammable), you also have to drive the car where there is somewhere to fuel up. It is not too common to find a place to fill up your hydrogen car. This would take much time and effort to convert all gas stations over to hydrogen stations.

All of these are options that may have potential, but you have to ask yourself what the big oil companies think about not using oil/gasoline to power cars. I am sure they have some say in this matter.

I teach automotive technology to high school students and part of my lesson plan is to introduce alternative fuel to my students. Once we have started the lesson many of my students ask me the question: “Which alternative fuel is the best?”

I cannot give them a concrete answer.

I just show them all the options out there and let them decide.


23 thoughts on “Fuel Prices too High? Let’s find an Alternative Already.

  1. There really needs to be something done about gas prices. I believe its a big reason as to why America’s economy is the way it is. I have always been taught that ethanol seems to be the best way to go since it is a renewable resource. However, it sounds like that does not seem to be the case. It seems by the gas companies not giving any other option on fuel and simply selling oil that we tend to buy oil cars. No person wants to run out of fuel and be stuck on the side of the road because they have no way of getting fuel. The gas companies make too much money off of oil prices so why would they give the people any other option? Personally, I think the government should step in on this issue.

  2. I think that another option to get out of high gas prices is to try and get rid of regular gas running cars. They should lower the cost of hybrids. This will in the end hopefully push someone into owning a hybrid. I myself know that if I could afford one I would buy one, but the truth is regular gas running cars are way cheaper even with gas prices going up. The other thing is they claim we are running out of oil and that is the biggest cause of higher gas prices, yet there are no gas stations that have went out of business due to not having oil or being able to afford it. I think this is one way the government can keep making money almost like an under the table type situation by telling everyone oil is running out and therefore it is going to go up in price. People may panic, but everyone is still driving and still buying gas no matter what. I also think the government is in on the higher prices because they do not seem to advertise other options as much as they should.

    1. I strongly agree with Rachie113. I think they need to find a way to lower the cost of hybrid cars. The more gasoline becomes scarce, the higher the fuel prices, which also means that regular gas cars will be less in demand and become cheaper. The closer it comes to that time, the higher demand for hybrids. But for now, we have gasoline and the prices don’t seem to be at its highest.

      My parents are currently leasing a car for me and this October I’m going to be buying a car on my own. I would purchase a hybrid to help the environment, but the cheapest and best way for me to go is to buy a regular gas car. If we can find a way to lower the costs of hybrids, I think it will help us in the long run. If we had an evenly amount of regular gas cars and hybrids on the street, I think it’d buy us more time to find a reasonable alternative.

  3. Fuel prices are ridiculous. There has to be something that can be done to stop, or at least decrease, our use of oil without it being bad for us in the long run. It’s crazy to think about what we were paying for gas a few months ago. I remember when I was about 12 years old, there were 2 gas stations near my house who were right across the street with one another. They would often compete on prices and I remember them going as low as 79 cents a gallon!! How nice would that be?

    I personally think that our gas prices are VERY much based on our government’s discretion. I’ve noticed in the past 2 major elections that right when election time rolled around, gas prices went down. Then what happened when elections were over? They went back up. Yes, it could be a coincidence, but it’s a subject that I feel we will never be told the entire truth about.

  4. We have other fuel options out there. There is ethanol, there are cars that can run on corn oil, there are electric cars, solar cars, and hydrogen cars. The problem isn’t finding an alternate fuel, the problem is money. Oil companies have so much money and power, they are the ones keeping these alternate fuels at bay. Implementing these alternate fuel sorces would be more than a minor blow to these big money making oil companies, it would be detrimental as they would lose enormous amounts of their revenues and sales field. I am almost convinced that oil companies send money to the car manufacturers to hold off on their production of alternate fuel cars, as the oil companies, especially as of late, have been after our money and not looking for the best interests of our economy or our environment.

    1. Andrew is right. I think soon we will start to see electric battery cars. Well, at least more of them. Some cars I’ve seen on the news where they drive using corn oil or water, etc…. soon, as we reach more and more into the future, we will see new cars that don’t require us to use gasoline and oil and hopefully save our eco-system.

  5. I just wanted to comment on the gas being high. I’ve notice these last few weeks gas has been going up pretty quickly and I think its crazy cause I got two jobs and one of them seems like my whole check goes to gas. I think I should be fine because gas is cheap down south so when I go back home I’ll be okay.

  6. I have to agree with Travis. The gas prices were nice and low for a quick moment, now it seems the prices are starting to slowly but surely sky rocket again, and I think that’s outrageous. Especially for people who are working hard every day to make cash that goes right into the tank and it seems everyday I cash a check, I’m right back at the gas station. The time it takes me to get to work and grab my check, the gas lowers, then I fill up, and barely have any money to buy anything I may need to survive the rest of the week.

  7. There should be more fuel efficient cars on the road, or hybrids. Many companies are starting to make hybrid cars, such as Toyotas, Hondas, and even Cadallacs. There are a range of different types of cars people can now choose from that are hybrids such as a Camry and now even an Escalade.
    The fuel prices are growing higher and higher. Ever day I look at the gas prices and debate if I should fill up today or wait until tomorrow, because maybe tomorrow the prices will be cheaper. Most of the time though, if I wait the price is higher the next day. Also, the gas prices depend on the weather. If it is warmer the fuel prices are higher (This is probably the only negative thing about summer). One time I drove by a gas station at 7am and when I drove passed it again at around 10pm the price rose by about 20 cents, which is insane. In my opinion, fuel price should defenetly not be more than $1.75 a gallon.

  8. I agree that fuel prices are growing higher and higher every day. Just last week i was driving down rt 59 to work about 1:30pm. The BP gas station price was $2.25. By the time I left work going down rt 59 it was $2.55. The good thing for me is that I am lucky, I drive an SUV and my job is only 6 miles from my house so my gas lasts me about 9 days. Well, any way it goes we are still trapped. No matter what kind of car we drive, we will still pay for gas or if we have a hybrid car the repairs for the car are extremely high. The batteries are very expensive. We are still paying out of pocket expensive, any way it goes .

  9. Yea I agree that we are screwed any way you slice it. The real problem in my opinion, is that we are trying to think of other resources to waste! We can’t just burn through one option to the next, wasting every resource imaginable just so we can get to our jobs. We have to change the entire style of living, and perhaps realize that we use way too much of everything. Now I realize that no one is just going to stop driving because people need to get places, but eventually I think we need to be more self sustaining, and maybe even give up some of our luxuries in return for energy. But that is practically unamerican because I have the right to get rich and waste money! This is a biased post- I haven’t driven in almost a year due to a suspended license.

    1. I agree with PDZ . Yes, we are screwed and way it goes. The oil companies know that we need gas regardless of how much we fuss about it, we still put it in our tank. If we ride a motorcycle we still need gas, if we ride a bike it will need repairs soon also if it rain you cannot ride a bike or motorcycle. I agree we need to change our lifestyles, the way we do things, the way we spend our money. We need to think twice.

  10. Yes, I agree with you Charles, the prices were low, real low, for a while it seems like, but as the weather got nicer the price of gas got higher. It seems like to me, do you notice this to or am I the only one? Last year, I really noticed it but I don’t know, maybe it’s me. And why is the price of gas so high in the city of chicago compared to in the suburbs and the south like Atlanta for example.

    1. Travis, the only reason all those things have been happening, is because the oil companies know we’re going to go on vacation somewhere, most families and adults do. And iIm sure it happens in all the states but for example, Illinois doesn’t have the greatest weather, I know SO many people that go out of state just to get away. And with all the airplane scares and the bad security rep at the airports, this just pushes us to drive instead.

  11. Yeah, gas prices has gotton really high over the years, and this effects the whole economy because the higher the gas prices the more it cost to ship things, so then everything goes up in price. They also have figured out better ways to get cars to run more efficiently, they just don’t want to use them because they’re already making so much money because they care about making money more than our country.

  12. I have to agree with Charles and Travis. It is true, the gas prices are absurd I don’t even like driving now. I look up and it’s almost to a buck thirty than look up again it’s two forty five. It makes me not want to drive anymore and just ride my bike. I have other things to pay for and not just fill up my gas tank every other day from driving from work to school, then from school to work. Something has to change sooner rather than later because I can’t afford the prices anymore. It’s eating up my pockets.

  13. I don’t think alternative fuels will become accepted in America for a long time. The car industries in America are doing poorly and don’t have money to invest in all the different options for alternative fuels. Hybrid cars I think will be most accepted because you don’t have to find where to get alternative fuels. They would have to improve the technology to be better than gasoline for a large amount of people to change to alternative fuels.

  14. It’s just companies and businesses use their marketing abilities. And I know I’m not the smartest person in IL, but I do believe that the way gas stations work is that they have to compete against other gas stations around them. I live down the block where this side street had four gas stations all competing for business. Now half of the gas stations are gone and are now open lots. I predict that gas prices will be twice as high in the middle to early summer than they are now.

  15. I agree with Andrew B and Jordan. I feel someone will make life easier and make your pockets more fatter. I have also seen cars that run on water which I hope they make more and make it less stressful for everyone because the gas prices aren’t going to go down anytime soon. So I feel that people need to just try and get the car that runs best on gas right now because the gas prices aren’t going to drop. they may be 4 bucks during the summer and that will hurt people pockets even more, including the recession.

  16. Here are my thoughts on a few things:

    We will never be able to get rid of all cars running on regular gasoline, we are addicted as a country. It is a great idea, but I don’t believe it will ever happen.

    I don’t know about the viability of Hybrid Cars, there are limited service considerations. The batteries are costly, and the high voltage can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken.

    I heard throries flying around many years (10+) ago saying that we should be paying around $4 per gallon, to force the automakes to build more fuel efficient cars and to force us to be less wasteful in our driving habits. It is sad to see that while it had a small effect, it did not change things drastically. Maybe $10 per gallon would force us to be more efficient (I would kick and scream about this as much as anyone else, but it would be good for us to be less wasteful)

    Maybe if we reduce our extravagant vacationing habits and carpool more, the price will remain lower because the demand will be lower.

    Just my $.02

  17. I agree there is no solution at the moment for fixing the gas problem. Everytime someone comes up with a new solution it is still expensive and it is still wasting another source of something. For instance if we use corn then the demand for corn goes up and so do the prices. No matter how we look at it the price of whatever we use will increase. So far the most efficient way to run a car is gasoline and oil. Although I know we can some intelligent person out there that can come up with a solution, I do not see it happening any time soon. Every summer the gas prices are going to sky rocket and people are going to be complaining about it and it will be all over the news. As a matter of fact that time is coming up in a couple of weeks. All in all there is currently no solution for the gas problem.

  18. I think that it’s really interesting to read this article now considering it was posted a couple years back. Reading through the comments I saw a few people mention that the gas prices were around $2.45. This made me giggle a little considering I paid $4.49 a gallon just yesterday. It’s interesting to see that this issue was acknowledged a while back yet there is has been no significant progress in this time. I feel that if we are going to make progress, it is going to have to be in baby steps. Obviously just getting rid of all fuel powered cars seems ideal, but it is just not realistic. The gas companies need to start making a bigger transition to ethanol and as people begin to buy newer cars they should start looking into smart cars, or at least hybrid. In all honesty, I don’t forsee people taking this issue very seriously until it is much to late. Too late meaning that we will have no fossil fuels left and we will be forced to switch. It’s sad, but true.

  19. I completely agree that we need a solution to this gas issue as fast as possible, but not only for the price…more for the environment. After that B.P. oil spill, I will never go to B.P. again. I would rather run out of gas than support them. Hybrids are awesome, but at the same time those can only get you so far. It is really about the gas pollution. There has to be something else!!! I used to think that maybe they were raising the prices in order to deter people from driving, but that is clearly not true. It is the greedy oil companies…B.P.!…but unfortunately we need them in order to “survive” as Americans. WE NEED A CHANGE!

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