The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
RainbowDash52
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

government should intervene in the transition to alternative fuels

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
dairygirl4u2c
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 487 times Debate No: 56742
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

why the government should intervene more with alternative fuel.

people say the market will take care of itself. in the end, it will. but at what cost in the mean time? we should act now because we'll look back and see how much we've wasted on gasoline.

companies say they can make alternative biodiesel fuels for a dollar a gallon. (using algae farms, or any organic material, such as switch grass and other things more energy intensive than corn etc.. and exemplified by brazil etc who are energy dependent right now from gas)

but, there's a catch 22 occurring. alternative energy companies often must put operations on hold. why? because there's no demand. the consumers who make demand say there's no supply. who can afford as a consumer to buy alternative vehicles? the richer. does the rising prices right now of gasoline hurt them? not as much so they don't buy. but, even if they bought cars sometimes as they are now, there's still not much there in way of an infrastructure for the supply and demand sides.
the rich won't start buying more until it really starting hurting them. the poor won't do it cause they can't. the middle won't do it, probably for the same reason. it's conventional wisdom that the rich are the ones who start these new technologies... and the conventional wisdom is probably true here too.

but, unlike many situations with conventional wisdom... for alternative fuel, waiting till the rich start the technology isn't in the best interest of the country right now. that's because... unlike for many other things, like buying a DVD player... fuel isn't something that's simply a perk as much, and is a regular and substantial cost for the consumer. it has a noticeable affect on the economy.
while we're waiting for the rich to convert, what's happening? in the mean time, the poorer are spending their money on gas, or not being as productive. consider all that money they're spending on that, when they could be spending on an array of other things, going to the economy at large- you could buy a bunch of stuff, and support a bunch of companies, instead of a few companies, gas companies. (and foreigners, which is a major concern in and of itself)

to make it more of a practical example. say a new biodiesel machine at a gas station costs fifty thousand. all that money that the poorer are wasting right now would have been more than enough to either subsidize or lend to that station. (you could lend the money to them... and ensue they make a tidy profit before they ever have to pay it back, if ever considering there's a risk they might not make money) if we invested in them as a government then, the effects would be much sooner, and the poorer and middle class would save more, and it'd be a boon to the economy. (plus all the jobs involved with the transitioning infrastructure)

government intervention is the way to break the catch 22 sooner when it'll make a difference for the economy, than later when we'll look back and see all that wealth that has been squandered.

as to the argument the government should not be 'picking winners'. this is mostly based on the idea that who knows what technology will prevail. biodiesal, electric cars, etc. but, we can act as a hedge, and catalyst. making the companies get a head start to start sorting out the direction the economy should go.
i personally would be opposed to a 'Manhattan project' type situation, cause we'd put so much resources into a certain technology that might not even be the best. but we can act as catalysts.
RainbowDash52

Con

For it to be the case that the government should intervene in the transition to alternative fuels, if must first be the case that transitioning to alternative fuels is a good thing, which my opponent implied is true, but without giving any logical argument or sources to support the case. My opponent must first prove that alternative energies gives an economic advantage and/or environmental advantage, and if it has one at the cost of the other, my opponent must prove that the advantage of one outweighs the disadvantage of the other. Once my opponent makes that case, then we can discuss whether or not it is worth government intervention to help reach the goal of transitioning to alternative fuels. But until then, it doesn't make sense that government should intervene in something that is not proven to be a beneficial cause in the first place.
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

various companies have shown that they could make alternative fuels cheaper than gasoline if there's wasn't such an uphill battle, or that catch 22, no demand cause no infrastructure and no infrastrcutre cause no demand.
RainbowDash52

Con

Who are these various companies? I ask my opponent to give sources to support this. This source says that renewable energy is more expensive despite government subsidizing it: http://www.economist.com...
I don"t believe this is a catch 22 scenario. There is no demand for alternative energies because it is more expensive. Government should not subsidize a more expensive alternative. I have no idea how it can be said alternative energies have an uphill battle. Alternative energies have had a downhill battle because they have had government subsidies supporting them.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

Popular Mechanics says that sources such as switch grass are competitive when oil is at or above 90 dollars per barrel.
http://motherboard.vice.com...

and algae fuel is competive around the same cost per barrel of oil
http://www.technologyreview.com...

http://www.biofuelsdigest.com...
RainbowDash52

Con

"Popular Mechanics says that sources such as switch grass are competitive when oil is at or above 90 dollars per barrel."
The same source my opponent used also says
"The method is both faster and, in theory, much cheaper than previous methods of turning switchgrass into biofuel"" [1]
"There are still plenty of arguments to be had about whether crop-based biofuels are actually any better for the environment than crude oil, but at the very least, they might offer some cost savings." [1]
It is not certain that this is cheaper.

And as for "and algae fuel is competive around the same cost per barrel of oil", being around the same cost as oil is not the same as being cheaper. There is no reason for government to support an alternative that does not have a clear advantage

[1] http://motherboard.vice.com... (my opponent"s source)
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
dairygirl4u2cRainbowDash52Tied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: agreed that pro made tons of arguments, however opponent had failed to refute most of them
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 2 years ago
Cold-Mind
dairygirl4u2cRainbowDash52Tied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Con for Pro making way too much arguments in round1. Arguments go to Pro for being more convincing.