"If alternative energy was truly so profitable, why would oil companies not want to make that profit? How is the government actively prohibiting research into alternative energy?"
Alternative energy as a whole is a mixed bag.... some will be more profitable than others. But ALL of them generate good PR and serve a strong marketing ploy. 'Fossil Fuel' is a dirty word to many people, even if they understand that we need it. I think the ones that make the most sense will, naturally, be explored. Its happening, it just takes time... Oil companies are happy the way things are because they are subsidized and essentially have a monopoly. Once consumer demand grows and grows, they will adapt to meet that demand,
"They would if it makes sense to them, short-term, to do it. The dollars required are staggering, and timelines are long. Heck, it took over 30 years just for an economical hybrid vehicle. People have been wanting to get off the monopoly of fossil fuels for ages. Government subsidies of the 70s and 80s are paying off now."
Subsidies never work because they artificially prop up (A) vs (B). Without subsidies and lobbying influence, we would've had an electric car along time ago when they first came out, in the 1940's, and buddha knows what else, by now. Up and running. We'd have fill up stations for hemp ethanol, hydrogen, bio diesel, who knows...
A bit of an oxymoron, but on the topic, investment costs are not staggering compared to their profit margin... or compared to what BP had to deal on a financial level, let alone a PR level. Have you seen who killed the electric car? Sums up that argument very well and is a great watch, i highly recommend it.
"Is the government actively surpressing this idea? I know that California subsidizes purchases of these kinds of vehicles, and Japan outright subsidizes water-powered engines."
Yes, they make wayyyy more money through lobbying, both oil and corn-based ethanol, than allowing new competition to come in. Even if its an unintended, indirect consequence, still suppressing. If something as incredible as running cars off of hydrogen, which would revolutionize transportation, makes so much sense, isn't already happening on a mass scale.... you have to ask, why has this not happened yet? Because when subsidies and lobbying are involved, the government chooses what we as a public use.
The chevy volt is a great example, it costs the tax payers hundreds of thousands PER car, they are in and out of production because nobody bought them, and they weren't even the most fuel efficient.
All in all, free people pursuing their self interest will always be more efficient, effective, and profitable then when the government dictates whats right for us to drive and consume
Their motto is "Dont Tread On Me"...
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