Sitting over breakfast with a German professor of automotive engineering- specifically, internal combustion engines- an ah-ha moment.
Besides the stupidity of privately owned “public utilities” we also entrust our railways to private industry- which in turn, puts short-term profits in front of long-term national interests. We move our freight by rail – but we do it with diesel. The only electrified rail line in the USA runs between Philly and NYC- hardly the model for a country to ease itself off the teat of foreign oil.
While we keep talking about fuel efficiency standards for cars- and trying to cut fuel consumption for individualized transportation- a huge impact could be made by electrifying the rail lines. It’s also technologically easy. Rail lines already have the right of way- making it easy to run the power to them.
Considering rail is already exponentially more efficient than trucking or air at moving freight, an effort to electrify our rail system would be, in the long run, a much better “stimulus” than building more highways.
Of course, the Germans have already figured this out- that’s probably why they call it “German Engineering” when they refer to the technological state of the art.
And, while this idea was new to me, the folks over at my friend Greg Hunter’s favorite site, the oil drum, already have a long post explaining that while this isn’t a silver bullet solution- it is a much better, and more sound strategically and environmentally than “Drill baby, drill”- read it here:
and here is a link to a PDF of a plan by Lyndon LaRouche presented to the US Senate in 2005