Gerhard Schmidt, Vice President, Research & Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company sits in a hydrogen powered Focus at a news conference in Taylor, Michigan, April 2004. The Energy Department announced $350 million in grants to more than 130 research institutions and companies, including the Big Three automakers, to develop hydrogen-fueled cars. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
One of the many good pieces of economic news these days is that oil prices, which hit record highs near 56 dollars a barrel two months ago, have fallen back into the low 40s. Even at that level, figuring in inflation, oil prices are lower than they were 25 years ago. The bad news is that the high demand for oil will continue to increase, while the supply becomes more insecure -- threatened by terrorism and instability in places like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. That means America will become less and less secure, unless it can reduce its thirst for oil.
Barry Serafin reports on research into alternative energy options such as hydrogen and biomass that could eventually end U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
Our panel suggests that alternative supplies of oil and nuclear power offer two possible means to reduce dependence on Middle Eastern sources.