The exhaust from autos fueled by gasoline is one of the most potent air polluters in the nation. In many parts of the country, especially where agricultural products are at hand, vegetables have been displacing gasoline as fuel. But, lo and behold, it now appears that a bio-diesel plant will soon be in operation in New York City.
The New York Times reports that when in operation the plant will be able to produce 110 million gallons of fuel a year. If successful, other such plants will undoubtedly follow.
The success of the venture will be far more than a way to reduce pollution. It will also make the U.S far less dependent on oil from the Middle East. The macro-political consequences cannot be underestimated.
There are, however, side effects of the new found source of energy that, in the long run, will require attention. For one, it may cut into the supply of food and the cost of food. It may also lead to deforestation.
At present, we count on our forests to help purify the air we breathe. The carbon dioxide in the air is inhaled by plants that, with their chlorophyll, can convert 6 parts of CO2 and 5 parts of H2O into starch and water.
What is most encouraging is the very fact that there are people in our midst who are aware of the negative aspects of generating bio-diesel energy and who are addressing themselves to coping with these difficulties. A mix of good intentions and good brains should do what should and can be done.