Gas Attack!

By Lloyd Graff

It seems today that the conventional wisdom in business is wrong at least half the time. A few years ago the banking industry was built on the tenet that the price of single-family homes would never go down in price. Missed that one.
Then there was the cardinal principle that the world was quickly running out of oil and the price was headed upwards forever. Missed that one too.

And now it appears that the long-held popular theology that the United States is going to be held hostage by Middle Eastern sheiks for a century is soon to be toppled too.

It may not be the electric car that kills the oil ogre, but the abundance of natural gas, cheaply attainable in North America.
Almost overnight the U.S. and Canada have become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, a clean fuel that can run power plants, heat homes and fuel cars without a revolution in technology. The natural gas pipeline from Alaska and the incredible gas finds in Pennsylvania, the Dakotas and many other places on the continent are changing the game on fuel.

The plug-in hybrid automobile is an elegant technology but still presents big hurdles in mass production of viable batteries and ultimately, in finding an efficient way to dispose of the spent ones. Developing the infrastructure for recharging batteries, like filling cars with gasoline, will be very expensive.

But if the politics become favorable for natural gas in Washington in the next few years the end of dependence on imported oil is within sight.

With coal and nuclear power doing the heavy lifting on electric power generation, at least until solar becomes readily available, the swing fuel is natural gas for cars. With massive, new supply in our midst the conventional wisdom about long-term dependence on expensive foreign oil may soon be as obsolete as the old axiom about a never-ending escalation of house prices.

Question: Do you think your next car will be powered by a fuel other than Gasoline?

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