Ezra was like a lot of the hill folk in West Virginia, with several cars in various stages of disassembly out in the yard. Ezra was good enough at fixing cars that he even had a shed to work on them, and other people brought their fancy cars by for him to fix. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and as nationalities go, Americans have been known for being rather ingenious in coming up with solutions. What appeared to passer-by as a sports car floating in mid air, was just some super strong wire that Ezra had come up with and hooked to a pulley system on the walls. He needed unfettered access to the suspension system of cars and he couldn’t afford one of them fancy lifts the garages had.
In the spirit of invention, there have been a multitude of alternatives to fossil fueled automobiles, but the car industry along with the oil industry have managed to squash anything that has come along. It would be negligent on their part in the interest of their stockholders if they allowed something to go to market that would undermine the multi-billion dollar industry they both enjoyed. Even inventions that would extend the mileage of existing gas combustion engines to much further distances had to be cut off at the knee before they reached the marketplace. It didn’t matter that they were destroying the ozone, polluting the air, or contributing to green house gases. The profits must remain high. When the pressure from the public got to be intense enough, the industry would roll out its own solutions to the problem, that would still allow them to maintain their monopoly.
Over a half a century ago, at the end of World War II, South Africa picked up where Hitler left off in producing gasoline from coal. No modifications were needed to the existing engines. It didn’t do away with the poisons let into the atmosphere, but it allowed South Africa to be independent of the oil producing companies and their pricing. The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal with over a 200 plus year reserve of coal. The company that did this is name Sasol, and of course was bought by Exxon Mobil. They have 30,000 employees, including the largest number of Ph.D.’s of any company in the Southern Hemisphere. They have also successfully created gasoline from natural gas.
Over twenty five years ago, in 1980 a company figured out how to create diesel fuel from old fryer oil, which is certainly a renewable source. Did you ever hear anything about it? I thought not. Some of the more exotic alternatives to fossil fuel gasoline are, urine based batteries, Ethanol, Methanol, magnetic motors, polystyrene drinking cup capacitors, wind turbines, and electrolysis just to name a few. But lets go with what the Auto industry has decided to allow us to use, the Hybrid vehicle.
It doesn’t leave out their partners in crime, the oil industry. They already own almost all the patents to the technology, and they developed it over 29 years ago. In 1970 Toyota announced their first hybrid. In the early 1990’s, an excess of CO2 was determined to be a major contributing factor to global warming. If the manufacturers had actually implemented the technology they had twenty years ago, I wonder where we would be on the greenhouse gas problem now.