The Chronicle’s View: Alternative fuels are good for U

By and

The use of fossil fuels for transportation’s sake is so prevalent that most people don’t think twice about filling up at the local gas station.

But a new study performed by Jeff Dukes shows that for every gallon of gas that goes into a car, it took 196,000 pounds of prehistoric plant matter to create that gallon.

That’s roughly equivalent to shoving 40 acres of wheat into a car to get it to go an average of 20 miles.

These amounts are not only shocking, but clearly demonstrate the necessity for finding alternative fuel sources.

The Earth can only provide so much fossil fuel, and we are quickly running out.

While the U commendably supports mass transit with its shuttle system and UTA buses and TRAX running around the campus, increased public transportation is only a piece of the answer to the fossil-fuel problem.

When President George W. Bush came into office, one of the first moves he made was cutting the funding of research and development for alternative fuels-not a surprising move from a Texan.

However, appeasing a few large, oil-drilling donors will prove detrimental to society as fossil fuels run out and pollution continues to increase.

More funds for research and development need to come from the federal government.

The need to protect the environment is only increasing, and continuing to use huge amounts of oil is only furthering the problem. It needs to stop.

The recent introduction of hybrid electric cars is a step in the right direction.

A gallon of gas goes dozens of miles further in a hybrid car than it does in one that runs on gas alone.

As time goes on, the price of these cars will drop, and more people need to purchase these energy-saving vehicles.

But more time needs to be spent on developing fuels that produce little or no pollution, such as hydrogen-power and electricity, to run vehicles.

That will never happen without increased federal funding and the appropriate allocation of that funding-the money needs to go to companies that aren’t already selling oil products.

Studies like Dukes’ help open society’s eyes to the harmful effects of using fossil fuels, but they need to stop falling on the deaf ears of the federal government.

It’s time for the government to step up and help out the environment in a huge way by funding alternative-fuel research and development.