Re: Car powered by compressed air ... is that for real?

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Fri Oct 27 2000 - 11:41:50 MDT

Doug Jones wrote:

> Chuck Kuecker wrote:
> >
> > At 09:14 PM 10/26/00 -0400, you wrote:
> > >Chuck Kuecker wrote:
> > > > I do not think it would be cost-competitive with gasoline. Of course,
> > > > gasoline is presently price-supported in the US, so any comparisons would
> > > > be warped.
> > >
> > >ExcUUUSE me? How is a fuel that has a tax margin on it of 60% to be considered
> > >in any way 'price-supported'? Alcohol for fuel is sold tax free and actually
> > >subsidized in some cases and it still isn't competetive with gasoline.
> >
> > Oil production is price-supported - witness the recent release of federal
> > "emergency" stocks to bring the price down just in time for the election.
> Funny, I thought price supports kept prices *up*. Anyway, the "release"
> of federal stocks means the gov't is either selling crude it bought when
> it was cheap (thus turning a profit at the expense of distributors) or
> more likely merely allowing refineries to draw on large volumes of crude
> they've been paid to store at government expense. Either way, the
> government actions are lowering the price of petroleum products, not
> supporting them.
> > All the federal military strength that goes into policing world oil
> > production has to count for some kind of "support".
> More like a subsidy wich reduces business uncertainty and *lowers*
> prices for the consumer (more than made up for in a higher tax burden,
> of course).
> > The taxes are an
> > attempt at social engineering, and are actually minimal compared to the
> > rest of the world. Don't for a nanosecond think I am approving of either
> > the taxes or the roundabout "price supports". The free market price would
> > be an interesting thing to see.
> I agree with you there- I speculate that overall prices to the consumer
> would be lower, but even more variable than they are now, due to typical
> commdity market fluctuations.
> --
> Doug Jones
> Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

Also to consider, this commodity is a limited one.

I don't know much about petroleum, and web searches are likely to bring more
information about the industry than the geology. Yet, I am pretty sure that there is
no ongoing process creating new petroleum at anything comparable to the rate at which
it is extracted from the earth. If there would, that would be great and petroleum
would be a renewable resource, yet it is not, thus prices for it will only ever get
higher on the average as its availability diminishes and demand assumedly does not

So petroleum from different deposits is having different relative quantities of the
various organic compounds that comprise it. It's not a homogenous material, so there
are the refiners that crack and distill the input liquid into the various kerosenes,
oils, and gasolines. There is presumably some kind of sludge that remains, and some
of the outputs are made into plastics and other petroleum-derived products.

In the early 70's, there was little notion of fuel efficiency, until there was a oil
blockade and then fuel economy became much more of a relevant issue. Thus by the
late 80's there were many cars with much better gas mileage for a given performance.
Yet, ten years later, only glancing at EPA stickers, it is not much better, and SUV's
are guzzlers.

Some comparisons of some renewable alcohol-derived fuel versus petroleum distillate
fuel on this thread say that alcohol is more expensive, yet, an alternate accounting
can show it less expensive.

An analogy was made that the tractor on the field took more fuel than the field
produced in terms of renewable biomass portable fuel. I do not know if that is
accurate. In some model, the tractor can be made electric and run from solar power.
That's like saying that the fuel to run gasonline trucks takes gasoline (or diesel),
but they can pump more gasolline out of the ground, until it's gone, then none can be

Of course, all power on the planet, besides nuclear power and some geothermal and
coriolis power, derives from solar power.

In the last ten years, there were supposedly laws put into place saying that cars
were supposed to have certain emissions and mileage characteristics, as well as that
some use alternate fuels.

About carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, coal burning should be banned.
Burning alcohol as opposed to burning gasonline emits less volatile pollutants.

About carbon dioxide, it takes a lot of algae to convert as much carbon dioxide as
man creates through chemical reaction each day into oxygen and some other form of
carbon. Perhaps someday there can be huge photosynthetic banks in the ocean creating
synthetic natural gas while converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. It should be simple
enough to find or synthesize the correct photosynthezoid.

Remember, the ozone layer over Antarctica is decimated, and there's smog over Salt
Lake and Phoenix.

Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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