Will the Saudis Be the Last to Get into the Gas Guzzler Biz?

saudi gazl suv gas guzzlerA last hurrah for the age of oil as Saudis look to build the Gazl gas guzzler.

History, if there is any, will not look kindly on our 20th Century addiction to oil in the face of the looming danger of 100,000 years or more of a dangerously destabilized climate staring us down with the real possibility of even our own extinction as the known result.

So file this move under truly clueless defiance! The oil rich nation of Saudi Arabia is now belatedly getting into the gas guzzler biz, just as the rest of the world turns its attentions to the 21st century cars that we will need in the carbon constrained world of future centuries. They plan to make their very own gas guzzling SUV, which they named, appropriately enough: the Gazl – 1.

Working with a South Korean company and Saudi investors, and starting with a $500 million investment, the King Saud University has just unveiled this first utility-vehicle prototype, and now plans to produce this last hurrah for the age of oil. The Gazl – 1 will go into production in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are very much alone in taking a new model car in this direction. As gigantic utility vehicles slowly rust on lots throughout America, the Saudis are driving off into history backwards.

Even General Motors has finally started to produce the post carbon age vehicle the world needs now, the Volt. It took a near death experience for GM to change. Only after being rescued by the US taxpayer, during the Bush era bank bailouts, and then having tough new conditions imposed on it by the Obama administration (in order to receive additional funding) do we even have the Volt. The US got the first Volt deliveries last month.

The first genuine commercially released electric car was made by the Big Three automakers because a Democratic administration virtually demanded it, and – holding the purse strings – was in a position to back up the threat. (The first EVs were produced, with deliberately inadequate advertising,  only in response to California legislation, and failed because the legislation inadvertently left a legal loophole that automakers were able to sneak out through.)

The Volt runs only on battery power. The battery can be recharged (typically overnight, while you sleep) with electricity, or in the event that you have used up the nights charge that can take you 40 miles, using a tiny gas powered generator on-board. The gas generator is not ever running the car itself, but merely providing a charge for the battery when it is run down after those 40 miles.

The reason for electrifying transport is that you can green the grid, but you cannot green gasoline. At the utility-scale, geothermal or solar or wind or biomass power can run a car. As more renewables are added to a nation’s electrical grid, the car itself runs cleaner and cleaner.

If you can’t wait for your grid to be green, you can put in your own solar panels on your roof at home to run one.

Or you can buy the last gas guzzler. This item is surely fated to become a museum piece for historians to wonder at the stupidity of those of us fated to be on this earth at a time of truly momentous ethical decision making that will affect countless generations into the future.

More on cleaner cars:
15K Israelis Retrofit Hotrods, Cars and Trucks To Power With Propane
Better Place Electric Car Gets Investment Fuel of $350 Million Led by HBSC
Powerful 150hp Natural Gas Sedan From Iran

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