Sunday, March 9, 2008

How do Hillary and Obama Differ?

Barack and Hillary have very similar views on energy policy, which is why it is difficult to decide who has a better plan. For example, they both state that they will cut oil consumption by, “10 million barrels per day, by 2030.” One issue which I believe they covered differently was the use of ethanol.

Obama clearly says that he supports corn ethanol production, but then he states in a wishy-washy way the cons of using it too. It almost seems like he states it in his plan just to please those states in the US which want to increase the use of corn ethanol. Later, he says that cellulosic ethanol production will be implemented and the specific amount which will be used.

“Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.” (
“As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama has led efforts to jumpstart federal investment in advanced vehicles, including combined plug-in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicles, which have the capability of getting well over 250 miles per gallon of gasoline.”

Is this really possible and has this technology been developed yet?

Hillary also mentions corn ethanol, but not an increase in the use of corn ethanol. She does explicitly state that she would also like to increase use of cellulosic ethanol. One main difference is that she describes what she would like to implement till 2030, which is a bit ambitious. Who really knows what will happen in another 20 years. At that point, she will not be in office. I do like how she specifies the total amount of renewable fuels she plans to use.

“To spur increased production of ethanol and other renewable fuels, Hillary would raise the national renewable fuels goal from the current level of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022 and to 60 billion gallons by 2030.”

Something I found very odd was that we consume 21 MMBD, which is a little over 322 billion gallons per year. According to the EIA, AEO report, our consumption is predicted to increase by one third by 2030. If my calculations are correct, I think Hillary has a much more logical plan than Obama since at least a 10th of fuel will be “home grown”. I know this is a single aspect of their entire plan and that you can probably tell who I support, but this is where I think they differ.

All of my quotes are from the Obama and Hillary sites listed below:

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