May 26, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Tom Daschle, former Senator from South Dakota 1986-1998, Senate Majority Leader 1994-1998, now with the Center for American Progress was interviewed a couple of days after seeing our cars in Washington, DC. The interview is on Eco-Talk, broadcast on Air America. The host is Betsy Rosenberg from Eco-Talk -- Betsy is both a journalist and founder of Don't Be Fueled: Mothers for Clean and Safe Vehicles http://www.dontbefueled.org. The entire interview is worth hearing; the segment below is at the start of part 2. http://www.ecotalkblog.com/ http://blogsofbainbridge.typepad.com/ecotalkblog/files/EcoTalk97-1.mp3 http://blogsofbainbridge.typepad.com/ecotalkblog/files/EcoTalk97-2.mp3
Kick the Oil Habit
Ecotalk (host Betsy Rosenberg): We are in conversation with the esteemed Tom Daschle talking about an OP-Ed column he wrote in the New York Times published on May 8th in which he calls for a renewed focus and look into renewable energies and saying that some of the answers to our many threats, be they environmental to geopolitical, is to really commercialize new fuel technologies in partnership with America's farmers.
There's some controversy about the problems with quote commercializing which has positive and negative impacts. I think the primary concern on the part of many environmentalists is just that supporting industrial farming practices that are harmful to human health and our environment is not necessarily the way to go. There's a lot of pollution involved and the creation of greenhouse gases in our traditional agricultural process, by the way, not just specific to Ethanol.
Daschle: Well I think that we're evolving and we're not going to reach the perfect system for a long time to come. I just drove today a plug-in hybrid. As you know a plug-in hybrid relies even more on the electrical power grid to generate its transportation energy and I think that that also holds great promise. I can't imagine why the automobile manufacturers haven't already begun marketing plug-in hybrids.
Ecotalk: Was that Felix Kramer's CalCars' plug-in hybrid Prius? Oh, he's going to be on our show next week.
Daschle: Is he really, well he's just terrific. And he's really devoted a great deal of time to perfect the technology and we can do it without the involvement of auto manufacturers but it just seems to make all the more sense for these manufacturers to do it rather than for us to have to custom make these plug-in hybrids after the car is built.
So, Felix does a fantastic job and I actually had a chance to drive one today and I think people would be very surprised with how smoothly these cars run.
Ecotalk: And I got to drive that Prius as well, it says 99 miles per gallon on the odometer.
Daschle: Now it says 100 so they've actually improved their fuel efficiency even more since you drove it.
Ecotalk: Well they couldn't get the 100 up there but they must have done that just in time for the trip to Washington. So I'm glad he made it there, he was supposed to be on the show today but he was hoping to get to D.C. so I'm glad he's connecting with the right people.
What about looking at many alternatives, a combination of renewable sources, not just ethanol, including some solar energy infrastructure development?
Daschle: Well Felix was telling me that his thought was that he would put solar panels on his garage and actually use solar energy to ultimately run his car. So it would be solar energy collected during the day then transmitted into car during the night and ready to go the following morning.
So, as I said this is really an exciting time in the energy field. My feeling is that energy with all of its iterations and tremendous potential could mean a bigger boom to the economy than all of technology in the nineties and early turn of the century that we've experienced already. I think there is so much potential there for economic growth and vitality. So, we're only beginning to appreciate, I'd say we'd not even gotten to the one or two percentage points in terms of that potential. But it's there and we need to seize it and everybody had a role to play and that includes policy makers.