It would appear that while our national leaders occasionally talk big about alternate energy sources, nothing specific such as an “initiative” or “strategic plan” has been outlined with target dates, supportive legislation and funding — at least not with any intensity that would draw applause and world attention.

Traveling around the state, one might notice that occasionally you see at service stations signs that say “bio-diesel now available here.”

This is a product that can be pumped right into any diesel powered vehicle without modifications to those engines. Those signs, however, are few and far between.

Bio-diesel is a product that is made from renewable sources that have broad implications for both the fuel and farming industry, given that bio-diesel can be made from several different crops (corn, peanuts, soybeans) and even animal fat. George Washington Carver laid the groundwork for this energy supply many years ago.

The trouble is, there is no distribution system that would motivate its development and mass application. Currently, distribution of fuel is controlled by big oil companies.

It would seem that our government leaders would come together and outline a specific program in this regard. It would seem.

Such action would have a two-fold positive effect. It would put oil producing nations on notice that the United States will not be held hostage to their crude capabilities. That message alone might get enough attention that those oil producing nations would lower crude prices in hopes of minimizing our desires to develop and promote alternate energy sources.

Of course we should not develop a false sense of security should those lower prices occur but should put that development on fast forward, making us more independent in this venue.

Unfortunately for the American consumer, there is a plethora of politics tied up in energy and at the moment, the only impact the consumer can have is conservation when and where possible.

We could ask some hard questions of our politicians and suggest that alternate energy is much more our concern than say steroids and some of the other nonsense that routinely offer them timely soundbytes. We could even make demands of those politicians if we should be so bold to embrace the very cockles of our democracy.

If we could get our trucking industry alone on bio-diesel, that change would make an incredible dent in our dependence on fossil fuels. We should have learned by now that the old concept of “food for fuel” doesn’t offer us much leverage the way it has been applied. We should change that strategy to “food into fuel” and maybe that phraseolgy and application would serve us better.

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