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government should intervene more with alternative fuel

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 325 times Debate No: 59592
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




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.


switchgrass is close to being viable in terms of per barrel costs, if it had a bigger infrastructure and economy of scale operation going on

algae fuel which uses our current infrastructure needs to expand more to keep operation costs down with economy of size operation, and would be competitive with current crude oil costs if it was

electric vehicles are expanding, and need infrastructure


If government wants to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, it can do it very effectively by raising taxes on their consumption. Letting government directly subsidize business companies will only create new opportunities for corruption and waste of taxpayers money.

See Solyndra as an example.
Debate Round No. 1


increasing taxes would just expedite the free market transition, causing it to happen sooner than later.

the problem, though, is during that transition, costs can be kept lower on the supplier to help make the products more economically feasible. we don't have to tax everyone..... and if we chose not to tax people who create good things for us, that is entirely fair. or we could just help them pay for their employees starting out. the problem with solyndra and such is just throwing money at problems doesn't help much, and causes a lot of waste. if the companies have to invest mostly their own money, it will still have the benefit of directing innovation through the free market choices of efficiency.


If the companies have to invest mostly their own money then receiving government subsidies is evidently not crucial for their success.
Debate Round No. 2


that's not necessarily true. every company is different. we have a lot of potenital companies out there. if we gave breaks and such, there could be even more companies out there, the ones who are closer to the line. there's nothing to say they won't be the ones making the critical leaps we need to advance. with more companies comes more compeittion and more innovation, and ulitmately more advancement of alternative fuels.


All major technological revolutions (electrification, mass production, computerization etc.) have been accomplished by private companies without government subsidies. On the other hand, government attempts to run the economy almost invariably result in costly failures.

There is no reason to believe that "this time it will be different".
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Selective taxation *is* intervention.