Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oil Crisis? A Market Failure


The right-wing ideologues have recently taken to lecturing everyone on the "tradeoffs" that are required by higher mileage requirements.

Well, recalling that just one of the largest "oil patches" for America to "drill for" is to be struck by improvements in fuel economy - even small ones, it's becoming obvious that the potential for such discovery is out there, perhaps even low-hanging.


I've always been skeptical of the 100 mpg "carburetor", so to speak, and I've never gone in for the conspiracy that a cure for cancer exists (but cannot be revealed), but this is yet another in a long string of stories I've read about technology that is available that simply hasn't been touched by the major manufacturers:

That's 80 miles per gallon and 400 horsepower [and 500 pounds of torque], folks. And the 48-year-old electronics engineer and master mechanic is not done yet.

The third-generation automotive tinkerer hopes that next year his Mustang - more specifically its engine - will help him win the $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize: a "race" to find an affordable, marketable automobile that gets at least 100 miles per gallon, or its equivalent.

"I'm an optimist, and I think people need to know there is hope out there," Mr. Pelmear said. "That's why I decided to enter the X Prize race. I could have sold this [technology] off, but then people might not have seen it.

Why? These improvements, many of them, are patented. That will cut into Big-Auto's profitability, if they were to adopt them, possibly.

In other words, innovation is a threat to the slow-moving manufacturers, rather than an opportunity that it should be.

So, if you are a right-wing economist, what is the explanation as to why we don't have "alternative" manufacturer's springing up to compete? How "captive" are the auto-suppliers, that it would be nearly impossible to get the same "outsourced" parts?

What's more, why can't regulation spur the adoption of new technology, if not the creation of it?