Members of the AHB team answer the question
Energy Institute, UC Davis
It is cheaper than milk! Market forces alone will not be sufficient to get Americans to switch from traditional petroleum fuels to cleaner and more renewable fuels. Federal and State incentives (e.g. tax credit) and strengthening of public-private partnerships (P3) are necessary for us to make further progress in producing and adopting alternative fuels and vehicles. We can all work together to change for the better and to continue the progress towards less polluting alternatives.
Geographic Information Systems Programmer
University of California, Davis
I’m a bit ambivalent about the low gas prices. I think it’s a sign that we are diversifying our energy portfolio which is good. But by keeping production high, it also shows how far foreign oil producers will go to discourage alternative fuel pathways. It’s important that we don’t become myopic and let short term economics drive a national policy that needs to take the long view and consider sustainability, security, and climate change.
Strauss Lab, Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University
I won’t deny that initially I feel a little bit happy because my gas tank won’t be terribly pricey. But, in the long run I worry about our environment and also about the biofuel industry. Mainly, I worry about the environment. I find that oil companies are not the best environmental stewards. I believe biofuels would be more sustainable and also less damaging to the environment. A win win for the human race and the environment.
PhD Candidate Bioresource Science and Engineering
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
Low prices at the pump make it tough for biofuels to compete with petroleum fuels, not only by convincing consumers to purchase biofuels, but also by attracting investors to develop commercial scale biofuel biorefineries. It further reinforces the idea that we need to figure out how to reduce the the selling price of biofuels and we need to diversify the products made from lignocellulosic biomass. Designing biorefineries that can produce both fuels and chemicals, such as bio-based acetic acid, would allow biorefineries to adapt to changing demands and market fluctuations.