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Do you think America can decrease its dependency on oil?

Asked at Speedway Shell, 1733 Mass. on April 9, 2009

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Photo of Curtis Smith

“Yeah, of course I do. All we got to do is drive smaller cars and start getting more solar energy.”

Photo of Zenas Lim

“I think we can. We have the technology — we have electric cars coming out, we have the hybrid.”

Photo of Hailey Hughes

“I do believe it’s possible. It’s going to take the whole nation coming together, making choices and voting and getting stuff done.”

Photo of Jennifer Rebik

“I do think that we can. I think it will just take a lot of legislation and a lot of hard work, putting some laws into enforcement.”

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RoeDapple 6 years ago

Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the universe's elemental mass. All other options as a power supply are no more than temporary and inefficient. It is highly flammable, and converts itself and oxygen into water vapor as it burns. It can be produced by means of solar energy, wind turbines, hydro-electric or any "green" source of power. It can be stored as safely as fossil fuels and internal combustion engines can be readily converted to operate on it. in volumes compared to gasoline it can be produced at less cost. Down side? Possible need for "full service" gas stations, with trained handlers to fuel our vehicles.
So, enjoy your hybrids, your ethanol, your battery power. When you are ready for the power of the universe, think hydrogen.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

If doing that would stop Barry from bowing down to the king of Saudi Arabia, I'm all for it.

Chris Ogle 6 years ago

Yes, but what would the folks in Saudi land say...We want everybody to like us now, you know.

grammaddy 6 years ago

Of course we can, but it will take EVERYONE making some tough choices. Personally, I think we should have done this during the big embargo of the '70's. we were warned.

jumpin_catfish 6 years ago

Roe, the hydrogen thing sounds good but we aren't there yet. So until then compressed NG seems a sound alternative. But the correct answer is yes if we can get the government and car industry on board. I'm not convinced with electric cars yet but this is America and we can do it unless the politicians get in the way but the answer to that is to vote out every senator and representative who has served more then two terms. Out this the old in with the new.

Mary Darst 6 years ago

I agree with gram. We could have had all of this done, if they had started 30 years ago. Seriously, It wasn't a secret then that this needed to be done.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Perhaps if we could get NIMBY Democrats like Ted Kennedy from blocking wind-power projects things would improve.

dajudge 6 years ago

Curtis has solved the problem above. It's simple. Drive smaller cars and start getting more solar energy. Done!

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

I don't want to be the one to tell the ranchers in Wyoming that they have to figure out how to pull a cattle trailer with a Prius.

BrianR 6 years ago

Probably true Roe but as Harlan Ellison said, “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.” Let's hope one doesn't cancel out the other.

Chris Ogle 6 years ago

Not yet autie, but I am curious..... how was it?

Kat Christian 6 years ago

Not in my lifetime. I still think that whatever happens to this earth we humans with our technogolical thinking will come up with a way of surviving. We are unique in that we are adaptable creatures. That is why we've survived as long as we have. Even if we have to burrow in underground habitats or live in a huge dome with articial atmosphere the human race will go on. Until when only Gods knows this.

overthemoon 6 years ago

Went to Bruce Mau Lecture last night, One of the many ideas he touched on was Ray Kurzweil's assertion that the 21st century will see more change than the last 20000 years. The exponential explosion of information and new technologies makes our whole way of thinking about energy technology obsolete before its even out of the box. And maybe there's something coming that's a lot better and more health sustaining than a piece of fried potato!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Stop driving so much is the best answer. No one needs to wait on government to make decisions. Stop driving so damn much. Walk,Bike,take the bus or buy some roller skates. The greater majority of Lawrence is physically and mentally capable of making change on their own and will realize a fiscal improvement in their bottom line.

Taxpayers can take stock of how the federal government spent each 2008 income tax dollar: 37.3 cents went towards military-related spending (military and military-related debt), while environment, energy and science-related spending split 2.8 cents.

The Military Cost of Securing Energy

According to a new report from National Priorities Project (NPP), the United States is spending between $97 and $215 billion dollars annually on military action to defend access to oil and natural gas reserves around the globe.

The Military Cost of Securing Energy provides a critical analysis of the military cost of defending U.S. energy concerns overseas. The report estimates that the military spends up to 30 percent of its annual budget to secure access to energy resources internationally.

Ceallach 6 years ago

Can? Yes, the nation CAN. The real question is whether or not we WILL. I'm not sure we have a hybrid automobile that can even drive across Texas (let alone trying to pull something at the same time) without needing to stop for a hug and a little time to chant, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Three words to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, "drill, baby, drill".

Chris Ogle 6 years ago

Autie- I believe the Mrs. is on to something. By the way crappie are biting, and mushrooms around the corner.... time for the oil.

geekin_topekan 6 years ago

All but Hailey,predictably,shifted the dependency change into someone else's hands.No one mentioned altering their own behavior and attitudes as the core to relief from dependency on foreigners.

geekin_topekan 6 years ago


I wonder if Obama is going to wash anyones feet today? ++++ Hey,we all show and demonstrate our graciousness toward our foreign friends in one way or another. Some by practicing a little piece of their culture(Odude),others by smoking crack(sheter friends) and still others by refusing to use the T (I_R) and continuous shopping at wallyworld (City Fathers).

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Yes commuter trains and light rail should definitely be introduced and expanded.

Obama did put out some money for cleaner burning and fuel efficient bus vehicles. Some of these are on the way to Lawrence so I hear.

So we'll see how that money is spent.

Taxpayers keep an eye on local governments to be sure they are not abusing OUR tax dollars! We know how politicians love to spin legal language.

Any vehicle that can get 37 -75 mpg will make a dent in partnership with cutting back on driving. Less driving is the key.

Local oil pollutes just as foreign oil does. Cutting back on demand for oil is the objective.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

If we could get the Kansas legislature to wake up and move into wind,solar and hydropower Kansas would have a new and smarter image.

Hey bored children ask mom and dad to buy you roller skates to get around town and have some fun thus assisting in creating a cleaner future for yourselves.

sgtwolverine 6 years ago

Hybrids aren't a solution. They never have been, and they never will be. There would be more benefit to putting all that money either into building cars that use no gas at all or into making cars considerably more fuel-efficient. Hybrids just waste money and make people feel like they're doing something good when they're not.

As to the question: yes, America can decrease its dependency on oil ... when the oil starts to run out, or when the alternative is the same price or cheaper than oil. America can try to decrease its dependency on oil in the meantime, but most people won't accept the drastic changes required until they have to make them out of necessity.

HermioneElliott 6 years ago

No, because there is no way at all to force a few million people to do anything in concert. Individuals are going to keep doing what they want. All the postings on this newspaper are not going to change human nature one jot.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

In other news: GM is betting the farm on what is basically a souped up Segway.

ms_canada 6 years ago

Right on Sarge -" most people won't accept the drastic changes required until they have to out of necessity" We are just to selfish, let the other guy do it, Will it be back to the horse and buggy days???????? You know folks, it is not just the automobile that eats it all up. Or polutes this earthly domain. We are just using all of the resources of this earth indiscriminately. We want it all NOW. Don't worry about the great grandkids. Let them figure it out. Oh yeh. Sheesh, I could write a book on how we squander everything on this earth. We are so dang stupid.

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

It's real simple.

It starts with, "Yes we can."

Go after the energy companies and their puppets in the congress. Be fair but be square.

Enough is enough.

ms_canada 6 years ago

Talk about stupidity!! A couple of years ago I heard an Alberta trucker talking about a recent trip he made to Calif. carrying a load of potatoes. His return cargo??? you guessed it, potatoes. Humans are stupid and selfish.

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

I think the strategy being employed is to talk an issue to death instead of just doing the right thing. If you stall and talk about something long enough, everyone will be totally confused and nothing will change the status quo.

Big oil runs the show. They always have. That's the deal. Congress plays along as they always have. The wall is built on sold Republican political gamesmanship and it will take a lot of angry citizens before that wall starts coming down.

As long as there are a bunch of cult like followers out there going along with these monopolies we will continue to get the shaft and nothing will change.

Obama is the scariest thing to come along in a long time because he is upsetting their apple carts and they have to spend a LOT more money to keep their scams going.

beatrice 6 years ago

No. Rachael Ray has us all using too much extra virgin olive oil from Italy, and we now are hooked and can't stop. Darn you Rachael Ray for being so perky and getting us hooked on e.v.o.!

snap: "I don't want to be the one to tell the ranchers in Wyoming that they have to figure out how to pull a cattle trailer with a Prius."

Okay, but would you mind telling the lady driving across town to meet friends for coffee at Starbucks that she really didn't need a Ford Explorer to get there? If the problem was really about ranchers in Wyoming driving large vehicles, we wouldn't be relying on foreign oil today.

Hybrids aren't the solution, but they are a step in the right direction. Instead we have people in America driving massive vehicles that far exceed their transportation needs. It is like trying to hunt down the last animal of a species so you can brag about being the one that made it extinct.

TOB, how soon we forget:

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago


Glad you enjoyed my post.

It is real simple. It is called making choices that put America and Americans first before the oil cartels and the oil monopolies.

I guess that is just too tough for some people to do.

BuffyloGal 6 years ago

I'll ask the mom who drives her kid to school in her Hummer what she can do to change.

sgtwolverine 6 years ago

"Hybrids aren't the solution, but they are a step in the right direction. Instead we have people in America driving massive vehicles that far exceed their transportation needs."

Do hybrid SUVs make you feel conflicted?

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Al Gore must give up his private jet. Do it for the children, Al.

Mixolydian 6 years ago

It takes a village to power Al Gore's mega home.


Flap Doodle 6 years ago

If the temp is between 70 & 75 degrees with no chance of rain & you have no farther than a couple of blocks to travel, the PUMA looks like the in thing for the svelte set.

Tony Kisner 6 years ago

I think we could but I think we don't want to.

sgtwolverine 6 years ago

Babboy, the Big 3 like them just fine.

Also, if you're going to criticize "CEO handout beggars," you shouldn't leave out the financial sector. They begged for a lot more money, and they got it with a lot fewer strings attached.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Bring the family for a day of fun,education,music and food

In the parks as usual.

6:00am Ride the T Free for Earth Day When:Sat, April 18, 6am – 8pm Description: Fares on all fixed routes will be waived.

11:00am Earth Day Parade When:Sat, April 18, 11:00am – 11:30am Where:Downtown, Lawrence, KS (map) Description:Starts at Buford Watson Park and runs down Massachusetts Street between 7th Street and 11th Street. Ends at South Park. For further information, please contact the Waste Reduction and Recycling Division at 832-3030 or visit

11:30am Earth Day Celebration When:Sat, April 18, 11:30am – 4:00pm Where:South Park, Lawrence, KS (map) Description:Lawrence will hold its 9th Annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 18th from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in South Park (downtown near 11th & Massachusetts), and admission is free. There will be live music, food, and children's activities. People of all ages can learn from the exhibits about waste reduction, recycling, composting, alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, energy conservation, land preservation, wildlife and habitat preservation, and more environmental topics. For further information, please contact the Waste Reduction and Recycling Division at 832-3030 or visit

beatrice 6 years ago

By the way, I've already asked for a share of the profits from the ads that are now appearing after every 8th post. If it appears within my post, I think it only fair. Who is with me?

beatrice 6 years ago

Multi, they appear within the comments section directly beneath comments, not "over there," wherever that may be. The one thing I would hate is if they have flashing ads or something truly obnoxious, like the mortgage ads with dancing figures. That kind of pulsing light can trigger a migraine, which just ticks me off to no end. I'd have to stop visiting the site.

Ads for lunch specials, not so bad.

viewfromahill 6 years ago

In light of current economic realities...

"Do you think America can oil its dependency on decrease?"

(hmm... maybe that last word should be "decline")

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Since girlfriend is knows so much about the interwebs, it is a great mystery why all of his own forums are such miserable failures.

Kat Christian 6 years ago

If society wasn't so PRESSED for time contraints I would walk, ride a bike or take the bus more often, but TIME is of the escense ALways. Rush to get to work and drop the kid(s) off at school, rush to grocery shop to get home and do laundry, or take the kid(s) to practice, rush to pickup kid(s) from daycare to get home for time to cook dinner, help with homework & get the kid(s) to bed. Not much time left for us to just relax and when there is so tired - fall asleep. So not there is NO TIME to walk, ride a bus or bike - perhaps once a month here and there. This is why I believe the work week should be reduced to 30-35 hours to allow more quailty time for home life and walking or biking.

JHOK32 6 years ago

We at least have a chance now with big oil's puppets out of the whitehouse. They totally scr**ed this country over so their fatcats could get even richer....It will take years to get us out of the horrific mess those total incompetents put this country into. I hope they throw the both of them in prison. Maybe they can all share a cell with Madoff!

RedwoodCoast 6 years ago

sunshine_noise (Anonymous) says…

"If society wasn't so pressed for time contraints I would walk, ride a bike or take the bus more often, but TIME is of the escense ALways. Rush to get to work and drop the kid(s) off at school, rush to grocery shop"

Just imagine how bad it would be if teleportation was safe and reliable...

And with regard to the oil thing... I don't see it happening unless it becomes less of a "feel-good liberal" cause and more a matter of survival. As long as conservatives can afford the luxury of suppressing innovation and enforcing the status quo, I don't think it's going to happen. Now if the price of oil shot up to $6/gallon, then it might be a different story.

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