Charge your iPhone with gas?

What if appliances were powered by gas?

Have you seen that awesome commercial for the Nissan Leaf where all the appliances are powered by gasoline?  You know the one, where hair dryers, laptops, iPods, dentist drills, etc are powered by gas and all the air pollution goes into everyone's face.   While I think it's unfair that they're targeting the Chevy Volt (because some people need the extend range) I think it's a great commercial (you can see it at the bottom of this post).  Well it seems like ExxonMobil wants to conjure up that image with their post How many gallons of gasoline would it take to charge an iPhone?

Here is the gist from the article:

All of the energy concentrated in one gallon of gasoline is enough to charge an iPhone once a day for almost 20 years.

Clearly, there’s a lot of energy in a gallon of gasoline. And energy density is one of the key factors behind the reliability, affordability, versatility and convenience of any fuel. These are key elements that drive consumer choices today and will continue to drive consumer choices in the future.

And the article goes on to describe the advantages in three key headings: Energy Density, Convenience, and "Affordability".  The article even explains why gasoline is so much better than ethanol.  But to be fair, they do acknowledge there is a future beyond gasoline:

Even though I talked about the current challenges of fueling vehicles with electricity and biofuels here, that doesn’t mean we don’t expect further technology advances in this area that will greatly expand the use of such vehicles. In fact, you might be interested to know that in our Outlook for Energy, we actually predict that hybrids and other advanced vehicles will account for nearly 50 percent of the vehicles on the road in 2040, compared to just 1 percent today.

Of course you can't expect anything else from one of the largest oil companies on earth.  I admit that I'm still an oil derived fuel addict, even though I purchased a high mileage diesel.  But I just hope the readers of ExxonMobil's article take everything they say with a grain of salt.  Sure, gas is energy dense.  In fact, it's an amazing energy carrier.  But it's very convenient for their argument that they left out the whole part about despotic regimes holding our economy hostage (see recent news on Iran), air pollution, oil spills and steadily rising gas prices.

Gasoline became the status quo because for a long time it was very cheap and everyone ignored the externalities.  But the world has a rapidly expanding population and a dwindling supply of oil.  Alternative fuels and plug-in electric vehicles are the future.  Sure, there are some problems that we'll have to address (like limited energy density of current generation of batteries and cleaning up our electric grid), but we aren't going to solve them by praising the virtues of fossil fuels.  But hey, you can't blame ExxonMobil for trying.  With the price at the pump reaching record highs, they have to have something to talk about.

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