An Alternative Fuel Story
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
June 1, 2006
Once upon a time, there was a young kid who grew up under the flight pattern of Brooks Air Force Base. Life was good on the swing set and in addition, huge war birds and some very noisy fighter planes zoomed into the airfield at about 100 to 200 feet above the ground. The sense of victory seemed to hang in the air for this was the post World War II babyboom era.
Then came Sputnik I. What a shock! We all thought, "That should have been us! Then before we could gather our thoughts, the Russians launched Sputnik II! Shortly after that time, the Germans sought to sell Volkswagens in America. We laughed, let them in and they proceeded to sell them like hotcakes. Finally at a time when "Made in Japan" was a euphemism for junk, Toyota and other Japanese-made motorcycles and cars came into our country. At first they were quite modest. Later they became known as some of the most economical and dependable vehicles around.
Perhaps the worst thing about winning a war is the resultant complacency. When we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with our atomic weaponry, those that in Japan that survived, seemed to have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and said, "Never again!" Japan went on to build some of the most impressive companies the world has ever known: Toyota, Mitsubishi, Sony, Honda, Nissan and Canon for starters.
About six months ago, Bexar County teamed up with Clean Fuels USA and our local AACOG Clean Cities Program to bring Texas its first open-to-the-public E-85 gas station at 4023 I-35 North. It is also the only dual alternative fuel (propane & E-85) station between San Antonio and San Diego, California. See www.E85fuel.com .
Bexar County started in August, 2005 with 400 gallons sold per month and the last two months we began selling 5,000 gallons per month. The bad news: We built a 3,800 gallon storage tank and need closer to 10,000 gallon storage tank. The good news, help is on the way with respect to local storage capacity as well as technological advances and product improvement of E-85!
So, just why does Bexar County have such an interest in E-85 to the point where we put this together? The reasons set forth below are compelling:
- Our lungs - Bexar County is in a near-nonattainment or near "dirty air" position.
- We must think globally and act locally by diversifying our sources of energy.
- Fewer emissions should mean less global warming.
The Future of E-85
Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company has promised that Ford will build 250,000 E-85 compatible vehicles here in 2006. He is not the only one. All manufacturers will eventually follow suit.
What about the naysayers? Anybody remember using a 286 computer fifteen years or more ago? Like all technologies, E-85 will improve and advance incredibly. In the process, we are building options to foreign oil.
Industry is developing cellulosic ethanol as we speak. Added to this development gamma grass which you can cut twice a season and switch grass, which are being developed for use as added sources of ethanol.
With proper leadership from industry as well as from elected leadership, we can bring the same sort of support for alternative fuels that we have given fossil fuels. The New Apollo Initiative, named after the call for a project to send a man to the moon, "calls for an investment of $300 billion in federal money over 10 years, to revitalize our manufacturing capacity, rebuild neglected public infrastructure, close the growing technology gap with our foreign competitors, preserve the environment, and generate good jobs for America's working families."
Some Biblical Guidance
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, ‘perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 24, Verses 1-13
Ladies and gentlemen, especially the very fortunate babyboomers who are in the prime of life, we must do everything we can to provide our communities and our country with sources of energy that are diverse, sustainable and renewable! To do less is unthinkable!
May God bless the rest of the world as much as He has blessed America!