Since the biofuel diary has shot to the top of the recommended list and you can't give negative mojo to a diary, I thought there ought to be a diary to recommend for those of us who want to respectfully dissent and note that biofuel is a really bad idea
More below the fold, including things you can do that actually work.
I maintain that biofuel, at this point, is a very bad idea -- including for the environment. The energy output of anything currently available is nowhere near enough without disastrously massive land use (and the consequent destruction of ecosystems), or has other terrible environmental impact problems. See also this George Monbiot Guardian column
Fossil fuels are basically biofuel production accumulated over millions of years -- the idea would be to produce it as fast we consume it... Yes, this would have benefits regarding carbon balance on the planet's atmosphere, but it's going to be very hard to do without major environmental disruption. I fully approve of more research into it, though I'd be a bit more cautious about small scale adoption at this point: some niche markets are a good idea and should be supported, but others could have serious detrimental environmental impact if they grow anywhere beyond cottage size (especially health impact from particulate emissions).
Things you can do that actually work:
- Move to a city proper (i.e. not suburbia, much less countryside -- and most of L.A. doesn't count, it's one giant suburb)
- Live close to work (ideally walking distance, but a shorter drive is better -- plus you'll be less tired and have more time for family life, even if your house is a bit smaller)
- Use a bicycle
- Use public transportation
- If you can't avoid driving a car regularly, buy one with 60 mpg or better mileage (in the US that limits you to a couple of hybrids, but yes they are good cars; a scooter can also be an option for some)
And, last but not least, support policies that promote all of the above:
- fuel-efficiency requirements for the auto industry
- shifting public funds from road construction and maintenance into mass transit
- policies that promote density (such as greater share of property taxes based on land occupation)
- divert public funds from oil industry subsidies into research on fuel efficiency and renewables (including, yes, into whether we can someday make biofuel viable on more than a very small scale without disastrous environmental impact)
- higher fuel taxes (compensated by reduction of other taxes if you wish to keep to revenue-neutral policies)
Just a few thoughts. Recommend, flame away, or add more info at will...