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Compromise toward energy independence

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MARY O’LEARY
June 4, 2012
This is among commentaries submitted to The Gazette from students at Janesville’s Craig and Parker high schools who did field studies in either Washington, D.C., or Madison in Advanced Placement U.S. government courses taught by Joe Van Rooy.

As gas prices increase, so does the room in people’s wallets. Energy is a major concern for U.S. citizens because everyone uses it, whether it is gas for transportation or electricity for homes.


Samantha Slater, the Renewable Fuels Association’s vice president of government affairs, is trying to break through the “10 percent blend wall” so cars can handle gas blends with up to 15 percent of ethanol. Ethanol is a viable way to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but while cars cannot process blends over 10 percent, ethanol is at a standstill.


Electric cars are struggling to emerge into the economy as viable ways of transportation. Small battery capacities limit the distance a person can drive with each charge to around 40 miles. However, hydrogen fuel cells will be able to go about 300 to 500 miles on one full tank that will cost about $8 or $10, according to Morry Markowitz, president and executive director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association. Hydrogen cars will be expensive as they emerge in the American system, but as time progresses production will increase and prices will decrease. This technology is safe, produces zero emissions, and people will see returns on their investments.


However, hyper partisanship between Democrats and Republicans causes severe difficulties in implementing any energy legislation. Democrats support more of the environmentally friendly alternative energies, while Republicans support expanding American oil drilling.


In order to promote America’s energy independence, both parties need to make concessions.



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