Getting business to embrace renewable energy


SCOTT JAGOW: Remember at the beginning of the year, President Bush said America was addicted to oil? Today in St. Louis, the government kicks off a conference on how to break that habit, mainly how to get business to embrace renewable energy sources. It's still a tough sell. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.

SAM EATON: When it comes to energy, the golden economic rule of supply and demand quickly falls apart.

Private investment is spawning a construction frenzy of new biofuel plants, but few independently owned gas stations are willing to make the expensive upgrades needed to supply this homegrown fuel to the masses.

This week's conference hopes to find ways to close this gap through incentives.

But Vijay Vaitheeswaran, global energy correspondent for the Economist, says policy makers may be barking up the wrong tree.

VIJAY VAITHEESWARAN: We need to tackle the problem at its root. And the root problem is we're not paying an honest price for gasoline at the pump. It's an artificially low price.

Vaitheeswaran says the true cost of a tank of gas has to include military campaigns to protect oil supplies and the impact of fossil fuel emissions on climate change and health.

He says until that happens, Detroit will keep making gas guzzling SUVs and consumers will keep buying them.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.


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