Steam cars are coming

In yet another interesting development of the Energy Economy, BMW has unveiled a hybrid gas/steam automobile. In a normal internal combustion engine, much of the energy goes right out of the tailpipe as heat. The BMW design captures up to 80% of the wasted energy, uses it to generate steam, which in turn helps drive the engine.

The fuel improvement is 15%, which is huge. Even better, the system is small enough that BMW says it can retrofit it to the entire existing line of BMW automobiles. Now, if you added the hydrogen on demand bolt-on equipment, which boosts gas mileage by 10%, you'd have something on the order of a 25% improvement in gas mileage on current cars and trucks.

Put another way, we'd see a 25% decrease in oil use for transportation, and similar reductions in emissions.

What's driving this? In part, high fuel prices. And these developments illustrate why trying to control the price of fuel is foolish. If the government imposes price controls that keep the price of fuel artificially low, there is less incentive for companies to develop alternative systems like these.

At the risk of being tiresome, does your region's economic development plan have an Energy Economy strategy that leverages businesses and assets already in your region? There are money and jobs coming as the Energy Economy fuels up for a boom.

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