The Cost of Depending on Gas

Since the combustion engine was developed a hundred years ago, North America and Europe have been gasoline dependent -- despite the availability of alternative fuels like electricity and steam.

Gasoline conquered the market because it was cheap and convenient, two things that have made it a hard habit to break -- even when a Superstorm makes it no longer cheap and convenient

The U.S. depends on gasoline not only to move passengers but to transport freight, consuming about a quarter of the world's oil supply in the process.  Our entire transportation infrastructure is gasoline-dependent.

Reducing our dependence on oil and gas is going to be very hard.  The roads have been built, combustion engine cars are relatively cheap, and there are gas stations everywhere.

Innovations that help cut gasoline dependence, like hybrid technology, haven't penetrated the market enough to make a major difference yet. But more alternative fueled-vehicles -- ethanol, hydrogen fuel cell, all-electric -- are coming on the market all the time.

New technologies still cost more than combustion technology, but as more auto companies begin moving to alternative fuel vehicles, and as more people buy and drive them, the costs of making them will come down.

Remember how expensive computers used to be?

The article from How Stuff Works.

Gas lines in Hurricane Sandy's wake [Daily News.]

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