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Alternative Energy—two authors consider the state of alternative energy solutions.
No one is sure how much available oil isleft, but considering our oil reserves tookhundreds of millions of years to form, time todepletion is little more than a blink of an eye.05So we have two options—stop relying on oilor use it up and watch the ensuing chaos.One promising alternative fuel sourceis ethanol. Our ancestors have been fermentingorganic matter to make ethanol10for thousands of years. Today ethanol isprimarily consumed in alcoholic beverages,but why not also use it to power our cars?This alternative fuel is made by fermentingcrops such as wheat, corn, and sugarcane.15One glucose molecule is broken down toform two ethanol molecules and two carbondioxide molecules. Because it is madefrom organic matter, it is renewable—a bigpro compared to oil. Another benefit is that20it's domestically made, so we don't have torely on other countries for it. Unfortunately,it's slightly more expensive per mile thangasoline. Additionally, because its productionuses crops, widespread implementation may25cause an increase in some food prices.Another promising alternative is biodiesel.Biodiesel is made out of animal fats, plantfats, and even used grease from restaurants.The glycerol backbone is removed from30the fat, breaking the fat into three separatechains, which are then reacted with an alcoholto form the biodiesel. This type of chemicalreaction is called a transesterification.Like ethanol, biodiesel is also renewable and35domestically produced. It's also completelynontoxic and biodegradable. Unfortunately,like ethanol, it's also more expensive. Whilethey may be more expensive, both of thesefuel sources produce fewer greenhouse gases40than regular gasoline. A couple extra dollarsis a small price to pay for the environmentalfriendliness and self-sufficiency that thesealternatives would provide.Our current alternatives may not be perfect,45but that's no reason to be discouraged.The time for alternative fuel exploration isnow. Why wait for oil to run out when superiorsources of energy are already availableand more are within reach?
50There is a natural tendency to confusechange with progress. This is perfectly understandable,especially considering that wewent from inventing electricity to perfectingaviation to reaching the moon all in a time55period analogous to just a blink in the grandscheme of human history. Such prodigiousleaps have left us hungry for more leaps,and there are benefits to restlessness, evenif entropic; throw enough aimless darts in60every direction and you'll find a bull's eye,even if by accident.But, such leaps have also left us skepticalagainst inaction, and now there is a proclivityto mistake the status quo for the stagnation65of standing still. Call it the New Coke effect,where society takes three misguided stepsback in its interminable urgency to keepmoving forward.That said, I will be the first to admit that70the future livelihood of an industrializedworld most likely hinges on change, namelythe discovery of an effective, inexpensivesource of renewable energy. But, as thefederal government wastes billions here75and billions there throwing money at hopelesscompanies with hapless executives(Solyndra, for instance), I can't help but feellike renewable energy is New Coke. Certainly,we have not yet perfected our energetic ways80and means, but why are we so obsessed withdiscarding what we have now?Principally, despite decades of apocalypticforecasting of peak oil, petroleum output isas healthy as ever. In fact, petroleum companies85are leaving the industry not because oilreserves are dwindling, but rather becauseoil production is so massive that demandis falling considerably. Case in point: oil iscurrently selling at a third the cost of bottled90water.So, yes—the day most likely will comewhen the wells run dry. But, until then, let uscelebrate our good fortune and be thankfulfor what we have.
1. The author of passage 1 most strongly implies in paragraph 1 (lines 1-6) that the choice of whether to pursue alternative energy is
2. As used in line 30, the word "breaking" most closely means
3. The author of Passage 1 suggests in lines 44-49 ("Our current . . . reach") that extensive research into alternative energy resources should begin
4. Lines 59-61 ("throw . . . accident") can best be paraphrased as
5. As used in line 82, the word "apocalyptic" most closely means
6. The author of Passage 2 primarily uses the example in lines 88-90 ("Case in . . . water) to
7. The author of Passage 1 would most likely state that the author of Passage 2 needs to make what important clarification to his statement in lines 82-84 ("Principally . . . ever")?
8. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
9. What evidence from Passage 1 would the author of Passage 2 most effectively use to support his statement in lines 78-81 ("Certainly . . . now")?
10. Which statement best summarizes the overall relationship between the two passages?
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