Like people who approach geopolitics with the attitude of "If people would just talk to each other, we would all along", there are a lot of naïve assumptions about just dumping gasoline.

We know it causes emissions, and emissions are bad, we know a lot of the money paid for oil goes to fund Middle Eastern terrorism, and that is bad - those things should cause both the left and the right in America to want gasoline gone. And yet it is not gone.  The reason is simple: gasoline is a lot more efficient than alternative energy proponents want to believe.

Take solar power as a comparison.  If you use solar power to charge your iPod, it requires an array of panels, it takes a long time, and you will need to do it again in a day.  That's not a knock on solar energy, the efficiency of solar power panels are pretty good, about 8 percent; by comparison even plants using photosynthesis are only 5 percent efficient and it's hard to argue with plants and photosynthesis.  But efficiency alone is not painting an accurate picture.  The energy density of gasoline is much, much greater.  For perspective, Ken Cohen of ExxonMobil (I kid you not, they have a blog - it's pretty interesting too) notes that a gallon of gas has enough energy to charge an iPhone every day for almost 20 years.

Is that right? How did he come up with that number?  Let's do some arithmetic.

Energy density is the amount of stored energy in something; in the case of gasoline we talk in America about a 1 gallon volume but I will use both metric and standard for the values. Gasoline has an energy density of about 44 megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg), converted to American values that is 1.3 × 108 J/gallon. 3.61 × 106 joules is 1 Kwh and 1 Kwh can run a TV for about 24 hours. That means a gallon of gas contains the energy density to power your television for 36 straight days - in a comparatively tiny package. How large a battery would you need to run a TV for 36 days?  Gigantic.