At the Alt Car Expo on Saturday, Ed Begley, wearing a "Living with Ed" t-shirt and proudly promoting his upcoming show, introduced his friend Terry Tamminen. Tamminen was the keynote speaker on Saturday, and his talk, "End our Addiction to Oil Now," was based off of information in his book, Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction. Tamminen's talk was obviously refined through what must have been plenty of previous presentations, but it was no less powerful for it.
Nothing would be more patriotic than ending our addiction to oil, Tamminen said, echoing a message heard throughout the weekend. He also said there are 113 billion dollars a year that go to oil and gas companies in direct tax breaks and subsidies. These industries and the car companies work together to deceive us about the true cost of gas and what kind of gas we need. Not only is high octane fuel not better for our engines, it also needs to be run through a refining process multiple times, so the simple production of these fuels cause more pollution than is necessary. Tamminen said automakers formed the Automobile Alliance (similar to Big Tobacco's Tobacco Institute) in 1995, and this alliance did the exact opposite of what company spokespeople said the institute would do (make cars healthier). In truth, the companies checked their competition at the door in order to make the "science" agree.
Click through the jump for more info, more pictures and an MP3 of Tamminen's presentation.
Tamminen said there are two solutions to this situation: first, we should take the oil and gas companies to court the way tobacco companies were taken to court. Second, every one of us must signal to the oil companies that we want alternatives.