Goodbye to Gasoline…

Goodbye to Gasoline…

What would use more energy for the work of pulling a wagon for 1000 miles across the same landscape: an old mule or a modern electric vehicle?


Goodbye to Gasoline…

By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Have you seen headlines like “Say Goodbye to Oil, Gas, & Solar…,” or “The new Gasoline,” courtesy of Goldman-Sachs (, or “Holy Grail of Fuels Found,” and other salivations about “alternative” new energy sources?

Such posts typically come with claims like “… 1,693X more powerful than gasoline …” or “it could power your car for over 50 years on one tank…  and it “could make OPEC completely obsolete.”

They all sound as if there is (are) new type(s) of energy SOURCES, that could provide near limitless energy, presumably also at next to no cost. Claims and promises of an energy-Nirvana, right here on earth, ready to exploit next week or soon thereafter?

Does any of that sound familiar?

After all, it’s fall and the countryside fall fairs are in full swing. Plenty of food, entertainment for the children, artful exhibits of local produce, dog and pony shows, etc.

Compared to the former times of (folk)lore, snake-oil salesmen are gone for good. They have been replaced by slick internet sale pitches, downloadable on your smart phone or whatever.  And such links to great fortunes-to-be-had are coming in faster than the fresh buns from the nearby bakery.

For sure, we are stocking up the root cellar with this year’s harvests, turning off and draining the water from outside taps and performing other “winterizing” duties. Some people say the coming winter or, perhaps, even winters are going to be “uncomfortable” or so. Well, the last one wasn’t too bad, except it lasted until May and this summer was rather cool and certainly more wet than usual. By my rain gauge, the amount of precipitation since April was about three times the norm of the last 30 years.

Now, let’s come back to the “new gasoline,” i.e., the wonder fuel that is supposed to power everything, henceforth and in near-perpetuity. Actually, it’s no energy source at all, rather an energy carrier!

You may ask, what’s the difference? The short answer is: “Fundamental, my dear Watson.”

Energy and Energy Sources

A fuel is something you use to drive your car’s engine, heat your home, turn into electric power, or send a rocket to the moon. In simple terms, the fuel is something that contains a lot of energy that one can harness and use in various ways, for example by controlled combustion. A true energy source provides more energy on combustion than is required to obtain it.

Yes, modern technology can make synthetic fuels, for example from limestone and water, or other materials by using LOTS OF ENERGY.

That’s the point! The energy contained in synthetic fuels (or stored in a battery) is only a fraction of that spent to create the fuel or energy in the battery. And you certainly cannot have more energy in the product than you consumed or converted to create the product.

Carbon-based natural fuels, i.e., coal, bitumen, crude oil, natural gas, or peat have been used by people for millennia to heat their homes in winter. With the advent of combustion engines, various fractions of crude oil, like diesel, kerosene, and gasoline were developed to be used in engines that propel our cars, ships, airplanes, lawn mowers and other implements. The large-scale extraction of the bountiful fossil fuel resources on earth has propelled mankind from the stone-age into modernity.

Reading or listening to news from many different sources and media, I’m frequently incensed about the apparent lack of understanding of the difference between energy (content) and power.

Power vs. Energy

Your ”engine” (e.g. horse or car) pulling your soap box or Conestoga wagon from the bottom of a hill to its top needs a certain amount of ENERGY for that work. The horse may get that energy from some oats, a car from fuel in the tank or energy previously stored in a battery. However, on the hilltop, the soap box has the same energy potential, regardless of how it got there.

In order to accelerate a certain weight (e.g. car) to a certain speed on a given course, one needs a certain amount of energy. Whether that amount of energy is provided by a “one-horse-team” or a 1,000-HP engine is irrelevant. Both “engines” require the same amount of energy!

Now, when it comes to POWER, a high-power engine will certainly accelerate you faster than the old mule. Still, the amount of energy needed to achieve a certain speed is the same.

Power is commonly measured in units of “horse-power” (HP), i.e. the power available from your “standard” horse, or in Joule (J), or in Watt (W).

In contrast, energy is measured in units of “power-times-time,” like Watt-hours (widely used units are “kWh” [meaning 1,000 Wh]), or “horse-power-days” (just kidding, though in principle they are realistic units), or other energy terms. What’s absolutely critical here is the length of time during which a certain power is exerted.

If that explanation is still unclear, let me ask a simple question, it involves an old mule (value $500) and a brand new fancy electric vehicle (value $100,000):

Mule vs. e-Car

What would use more energy for the work of pulling a wagon for 1000 miles across the same landscape: an old mule or a modern electric vehicle?

While the mule may be a bit slower than the e-car (unless its batteries run out of usable stored energy and the car gets stuck on the ground), the energy requirement is identical. Both the initial acceleration and top speed of either are irrelevant in that. Assuming equal efficiencies of the two “engines,” the question then is only whether or not the energy requirement varies — it does not. Of course, if the engine efficiencies are not equal, a mule may actually be the better choice.

So, when you get another “xx-horse-power-engine,” think about that.


Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.

Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:


16 thoughts on “Goodbye to Gasoline…

  1. Dr. Kaiser is either ignorantly or deliberately ignoring the obvious – that the long-term future will not belong to batteries, EVs, it will belong to hydrogen – Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered transportation.

    For one very simple reason.

    The supply of oil and natural gas is finite. The supply of solar and wind is infinite. The supply of hydrogen in water is infinite, since as it is catalyzed in HFC’s hydrogen rebonds with oxygen and becomes water again.

    This obsessive / compulsive disorder with the fuel of the present and past – oil, gasoline, diesel – is a form of delusional thought disorder, a kind of mental illness.

  2. on the upside the mule is cheaper to run;-) and if your’e lucky will like you and behave nicely live for 30yrs and provide fertiliser as a bonus;-)
    i recently lost my horse Dougie;-( and the effort and money and time he saved just meandering round eating, is becoming very apparent as the grass is 5ft high in places now..and i am spending many hrs mowing slashing n line trimming what he did for free with grace and amiabilty
    and hugs and a huge personality

    • When the fossil fuels run out the horse will again become the beast of burden. No time for sentimentality I’m afraid.

  3. MOSCOW, Oct. 15 – RIA Novosti. The first snow was recorded in the Moscow region on Sunday, told RIA Novosti in the Metropolitan Metropolitan.
    As the interlocutor of the agency said, cold air enters the region – at a temperature of 1.5 km the temperature keeps within minus two – minus three degrees, which creates conditions for the formation of individual snowflakes.
    “Today in the Moscow region in some places rain was mixed with wet snow – it really is”,
    RIA Novosti

    • I just read your link. Excellent

      Considering the fact I have a degree in Chemistry (Go Gators !!!), everything about that link is correct….but don’t tell the Eco-Supremacist.

      OIL is the most wonderful thing on this planet. And we should work on the technology to create “synthetic” hydrocarbons in larger and larger volumes.

      Remember, the by-products of oil are 2 totally natural and wonderful organic compounds that are food to all the wonderful Green plants…..Water and CO2 (plant food)

      • I agree, although some would argue that oil is a by-product of millions of year of biomass production and decay:
        Although, others have shown that marine biomass tends to produce more methane gas as in Tanzania and Slovenia whereas land based Biomass produces more Oil as in the UKs recent land based Oil discoveries.
        Creating biomass then buried during the carbon cycle of plate subduction.
        Others may well say the early atmosphere resembled Titans with vast qualities methan based hydrocarbons being stored in the magma sphere, perhaps both are correct at the different stages of Earths development.

  4. I did not view the above mentioned, there are a few minor problems with hydrogen. Flammability, for one, and storage for another. And another asside is production costs. Remember, any leak, of the gas, is an instant problem, and can self start a reaction. Including injector leaks.

  5. @ Ray Craft.
    Oil is not finite, it’s the second most abundant fluid on Earth next to water, it is not dead dinos but the product of microbes, wells that were dry in 1970 are full again.
    Don’t buy the cartel’s BS.

  6. It is really more simple than all that:

    OIL is amazing. All the “by products” and the ease of use.!!THAT is why we went from slavery/horses to what we have today and we should be on our knees in gratitude for such an amazing liquid.


    So, if we run out of oil (which is another story when one looks into the real source of oil), the simplest and cheapest solution, and most abundant, is nuclear energy being used to convert coal (500+ years of it) to oil, AND using nuclear energy for Hydrogen production

    Battery powered cars are a joke unless we use nuclear power since it creates MORE pollution and costs MORE money to use battery powered cars. Also, have you looked into the impossibility to create the MILLIONS of batteries needed? The raw materials actaully don’t exist for this fantasy.

    Tesla can’t build cars since they can’t build the batteries since they can’t get the raw material.

    Any high-school chemistry nerd knows how to make Hydrogen from water and a battery, and Coal to Oil has been known for at least a hundred years. Hitler ran his entire 5 million man army on Coal-to-Oil technology supplied to him by Standard Oil (Read the works of Anthony Sutton)

    Why don’t we have this cheap fuel now? The Saudi Royal Family, the Islamic Dictatorship of Iran, etc are funding all the Eco-Supremacists organizations AND funding the Anti-Nuke industry.

    But, IF we run out of oil (which if you study the source of oil……we won’t), then we have cheap nuclear energy.

  7. Sorry Ray,
    There are far too many problems with hydrogen fuels. The biggest actually being the smallest ! I.e. The size of the hydrogen molecule. The second is that it is not an energy dense fuel. The energy density in hydrocarbon fuels comes from the double carbon bonds and the carbon/hydrogen bonds.

    What this means is that you need A Lot of hydrogen, and for practicality of storage (small tank) you need high pressure. Hydrogen fuel needs to be stored around 4000 psi.


    Now combine that with the smallest possible molecular size, and you get leaks in both the storage and delivery systems. This is why there are natural gas powered and propane powered vehicles but no hydrogen powered ones.

    It has been tested and demonstrated, for the reasons above, to be both impractical and beyond incredibly dangerous to use hydrogen for anything except specially controlled used by people trained to do so.

    You are also completely ignoring the fact that hydrogen does not exist as a ready made fuel. It has to be manufactured from water which requires a Tremendous amount of energy !!! Where does that energy come from ? Why, from electricity, produced from burning coal and oil, or nuclear !
    And don’t say solar ! If modern society were being run on hydrogen, covering every square foot of the planet in solar panels wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to generate the necessary electricity – and there’d be nothing left over to run your lights or air conditioner or refrigerator !

  8. —so shall we be turning our ‘car parks’ into ‘cart parks’, paying extra for bags of hay for the horses?

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