There're promises that American gasoline prices will be around $4 later this year. Many nations already pay much more than that, but their cars keep on truckin'. So where's the pain point when people will stop driving? Far down the road, I'd predict. People will give up a lot before they'll stop driving. Smaller burgers, fewer rentals from Netflix, less money for vacations. In many lives in most places across the U.S., private vehicles are the only choice for necessities like getting to work or getting to the doctor. Mass transit, not an option in many parts of the U.S. Then there's American agriculture which is literally fueled by petroleum in this country.
What's Cookin' ?
Food is fuel? Well, maybe food can BECOME fuel. There have many small-scale moves to use cooking oil to reun vehicles. This ZDNET video shows one example. But now a Southern California company is going after this idea on a much grander scale. Tellurian Biodiesel is now partnering with Golden State Foods to recycle used cooking oils and other food products into high quality biodiesel. Golden State Foods is a supplier of food products to restaurants and other commercial food businesses. So for used cooking oils, it can be out of the frying pan, into the fuel tank.
The joint venture that will recycle the cooking will be called Encore BioRenewable. It aims to begin production of five million gallons of biodiesel per year, then more as the market expands. The first recycling plant is slated to open next year in Southern California. And you thought all those Angelos ate only fat-free foods?
I recently blogged about the opposition to some biofuels, opposition largely blamed on higher food prices. Recycling used food products into fuel escapes that problem. There's been growing interest in biodiesel around the world. One academic study found the U.S. to be among the hottest potential sources for such fuel. One of my favorite candidates for fuelling the next generation of diesel: buffalo grass. But you have to grow that, doesn't come out of the cafe kitchen after a long day's fry.
In general the U.S. has lagged behind Europe in going from gasoline to diesel for private cars and small trucks. But if you can get fries, donuts AND a tank of fuel from the same vat of oil? Could be a winner.