Solar Panels Don't Run Your Car, Yet


Keith Hennesy isn't a fan of the term "fossil fuels":

Someday when battery technologies improve, the fuel and power worlds will blend in the U.S., and there will be strong and direct economic relationships between the production of electric power and the use of oil.  Until that day, from an energy perspective, “fossil fuels” conflates oil with coal and natural gas in a way that is at best confusing and at worst misleading.  Substituting biofuels for oil or making vehicles more fuel efficient has almost no effect on the amount of coal or natural gas we use.  “Produc[ing] wind turbines,” “installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses making solar panels” are quantitatively irrelevant to our use and production of oil.  All the windmills and solar panels you could imagine will not reduce our dependence on oil as a transportation fuel.

Ezra Klein calls the above graph "the clearest visualization of our energy economy that I've seen." (Click the image to enlarge it.)