A highly intelligent classmate of mine tells me that the worst problem here in the United States is the perpetually rising price of gasoline. Gasoline in my area is currently $3.88 per gallon, and will rise to over $4/gallon within two months. Most of the cars in the area are gasoline powered, and should gasoline become unavailable, the economy would shut down. Clearly, some sort of insane solution is called for.
The first possible solution is ethanol, an alcohol-based compound that can power gasoline-engines at some concentrations. (Most cars sold in the US could handle 15% ethanol solutions. I routinely fill up with a 10% solution, and cars are being sold now that can handle 85% solutions.) Ethanol unfortunately is more popular as a beverage, as it is questionable that it could be produced in enough quantities to both feed the bars and the cars in the states. Ethanol also has a lower energy concentration than gasoline, that is to say, a tank full of ethanol will not take you as far as a tank full of gasoline.
The second possible solution is biobutanol, an organic compound produced by bacterial decomposition of starch or waste. The economics have yet to be determined.
A third solution is to change to a completely different fuel source, which would require retooling the cars. My next entry will describe a car that will never need refueling, ever. Well, not forever, exactly, but not for the life of the engine.