Gas Pains

By Rona Johnson
This month's Biomass Magazine focuses on future fuels. With gas prices at $3.89 a gallon as I write this column in the first week of June, I'm thinking there's no future for me and regular unleaded gasoline if the cost continues to climb.

It's gotten to the point where I salivate when I see one of those Geo Metro cars. I downright drool when I pass a scooter on the road. Although my Toyota Tacoma isn't bad when it comes to mileage, it could be better. Then I have to remember, if it weren't for those high gas prices, there would be no incentive to find an alternative to gasoline. It's just too bad we didn't finish that job in the United States when we first felt the impact of high gasoline prices.

After reading freelance writer Jessica Ebert's feature "Breakthroughs in Green Gasoline Production," I'm convinced that we need to have, as Don Stevens of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory put it, "multiple approaches and multiple fuels, and part of those have to be infrastructure-compatible because if we try to do it all with ethanol, we have to have a huge infrastructure investment." I think what's he's saying is that there's some amount of comfort in not putting all of our eggs in one basket. Although I believe the ethanol industry has done its part to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, they could use some help.

Until those breakthroughs become a reality, I-and possibly many of you-am seriously considering trading in my vehicle for a Geo Metro. I'm also being careful to stay off the interstate. The speed limit in North Dakota is 75 miles per hour on the interstate, and somewhat similar to Sammy Hagar's song, "I Can't Drive 55," I can't drive 75. So I'm just better off driving on highways where the speed limit is lower. I am also hopeful that recent news articles about crude oil prices possibly going down are true. That will surely ease my gas pains.