Before the modern trucking industry came along, the world moved by ships and trains. Steam engines made up the large portion of the movement of goods, but years earlier German engineer Rudolf Diesel was working on a much better alternative. On August 10, 1893, his prime model, a single 10-foot iron cylinder ran on its own power, using diesel fuel, for the first time. Five years later, in 1898 Rudolf Diesel had become a millionaire and the future of transportation had changed forever.
The United States would not come into the full diesel insurgency until 1933, when Kenworth became the first American truck manufacturer to install diesel engines as standard equipment. Diesel engines literally changed the world. Now, 117 years after the first diesel engine cranked to life, the U. S. trucking industry may very well be on its way to seeing another revolution in regards to modern day transportation.
On May 12th, 2010, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator John Kerry introduced the American Power Act. Hidden in the proposal is a natural gas provision. According to T. Boone Pickens, the legislation could result in 236,000 natural gas trucks on American roads, as well as adding 600,000 new jobs to the hurting economy. Based on stats, there is a 200 year supply of natural gas, right here in America. Not only could this create much needed jobs for this country, but it could have a sizeable impact on stopping the funneling of money towards terrorists activity through-out the Middle East. With thousands of American trucks running on domestic natural gas, money spent on fuel would stay here at home.
The problem with the proposal is that they are pushing it as a means to solve global warming, thus creating much bashing from various sides of the political realm. The proposed bill includes coal, natural gas, and nuclear in its definition of clean energy and will push for extended offshore drilling. Perhaps the entire bill is a variable product of the Cap and Trade proposal?
I am all for the production of new energy resources, especially those that will keep the money spent right here at home and not abroad. Legislation always has a way of taking, what could be a very good provision for the future of America, and placing it in a massive bundle of political rhetoric. The provision for the natural gas venture could very well get lost within the very bill that it exists.
If so, the 117 year diesel tradition will live on.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.