From the Archive – Energy, Part 1

It seems like everyone is talking about energy policy these days. In fact, both John McCain and Barack Obama are talking about their energy plans for the U.S. this week. What better time to highlight some of the OTA reports that discussed energy technologies, energy security, and alternative fuels? Of course the details in many of these reports are obsolete, but the issues are still relevant. Check back throughout the week as we highlight additional reports.

Energy, the Economy, and Mass Transit, October 1975
“OTA examined: (1) the probable effects of changes in energy supplies and prices on transit patronage and the transit industry; (2) the potential role of public mass transit programs in stimulating a depressed economy; and (3) the effect on the economy and urban transit if transit funds were sharply reduced. In addition, the study evaluates alternative transportation policies for responding to various economic and energy conditions and examines within this framework the effect of transit incentives and automobile disincentives on transit patronage and automobile use.”

Gasohol, September 1979
“The Office of Technology Assessment is currently preparing an assessment of energy from biological processes. In the course of this study we have carried out an extensive analysis of alcohol fuels from agricultural products. This technical memorandum presents these findings in response to congressional interest in synthetic fuels. The purpose of the memorandum is to illuminate the technical and non-technical issues surrounding the development of gasohol.”

Synthetic Fuels for Transportation: The Future Potential of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, March 1982
“This report presents a comprehensive review of the future of electric and hybrid vehicles through the year 2010 in the United States. It discusses the technology, performance, and limitations of probable future electric and hybrid vehicles; the infrastructure necessary to produce and support them; marketability; and finally, effects on the nation if used in large numbers.”

Increased Automobile Fuel Efficiency and Synthetic Fuels: Alternatives for Reducing Oil Imports, September 1982
“The study assesses and compares increased automobile fuel efficiency and synthetic fuels production with respect to their potential to reduce conventional oil consumption, and their costs and impacts.”

“Congress faces several decisions on how to reduce the U.S. dependence on imported petroleum. Two options, increased automobile efficiency and synthetic fuels, are particularly likely to be subjects of congressional debates.”

Replacing Gasoline: Alternative Fuels for Light-Duty Vehicles, September 1990
“Recent interest in alternative fuels for light-duty highway vehicles (automobiles and light trucks) is based on their potential to address three important societal problems: unhealthy levels of ozone in major urban areas; growing U.S. dependence on imported petroleum; and rising emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This assessment examines the following alternative fuels: methanol, ethanol, natural gas (in either compressed (CNG) or liquid (LNG) form), electricity (to drive electric vehicles (EVs)), hydrogen, and reformulated gasoline.”