Friday, August 17, 2007
One thing that has survived to modern time is the car. Having cars powered by burning petroleum products is very wasteful. Since petroleum products are a diminishing resource, we prefer to power our cars another way. Since petroleum is a rich source of complex organic molecules, we keep it for our chemical industry. The car (aka automobile) is such as powerful idea, there was no way that we would lose the benefit of personal transportation vehicles that offer protection from harm and from the weather. They are still a powerful force in our economy. Public transportation, such as subways and trains, make sense for very dense population centers, but since outside of old Europe, there is plenty of land for people, we spread out. That wants some system like "cars". Our cars are now powered by fuel cells. That has been more difficult than our ancestors thought it would be. The original fuel cells were unstable and would result in nasty explosions. The "new age" fuel cells are much tamer and are very stable. Our infrastructure now has converted to provide stations where we buy our fuel. The neat thing is that our cars are very "nice". The "420" is very long, wide, and low, with arching glass and lifting doors. The 420 makes an early 21st Century Corvette look like a clunker, especially when colored bright red.