Solarcarandtractor.com is about exploring the promise and limitations of a solar electric future for supplying two huge energy requirements, transportation and agriculture, now provided for almost entirely by oil and all forms of petrofuel derivatives.  Energy, in all its forms, supports all life on Earth. Except for nuclear, tidal, and geothermal, our primary energy source has been, and will always be, from incoming solar radiation. Will this be enough to survive the post-fossil fuel age?

  1. 1.The only true scalable and energy-positive system that could supercede a fossil-fuel based lifestyle is SOLAR ELECTRIC. This includes the related variation; wind energy. All other “renewable” non-fossil fuel forms are limited, site-specific, compete with food, or are energy negative. Even at its best imaginable scope, a solar electric economy could only constitute a small fraction of our present fossil fuel consumption. Since we now get only two tenths of one percent (!!) from these two forms of clean solar energy, we have a long way to go.

  2. 2.EXCESS POPULATION, made possible only by the fossil energy age, must and will begin an inexorable decline. We will either take control of harsh realism apriori or the laws of nature and math will cruelly do it for us. Extensive, honest education will be required to publicly pursue this taboo subject.

  3. 3.The most immediate but unpopular action we should take as a nation is to RATION our diminishing fossil fuel consumption, regardless of its source. This will ensure that all, rich or poor alike, will share in this downsizing of our consumption. Rationing could also buy the time necessary for a controlled transition to solar electric.

John Howe on his New England farm where he has retrofitted

several examples of viable solar-powered concept and test vehicles.

Three Inescapable Conclusions

Overview
   The purpose of this website is to clarify and present honest facts and answers for survival in a post-carbon future.
   Ultimately, there will be no global bank reserve of pre-stored fossil fuels left (oil, natural gas and coal). Humankind is facing an acute energy bankruptcy and will be forced to revert to a much lower, sustainable energy budget based almost entirely on dilute, sporadic, incoming, solar radiation. 
   The work at solarcarandtractor.com attempts to explore the dire circumstances of our predicament and quantitatively identify which alternatives to fossil fuels have a chance to save us, and those that are only dead-end delusions. 
   This work is unfunded and not supported by any profit motive or commercial interest. It only serves to find the truth. 
  World population has grown six-fold over the last 150 years primarily because of a temporary abundance of finite fossil energy. This concentrated endowment derives from  photosynthesis (solar energy) which occurred hundreds of millions of years ago. 
    Presently, the world’s prodigious rate of consumption brings us to a historically-critical tipping point where total energy availability can no longer continue to grow and support the steadily-increasing combination of population and per-capita consumption. This critical apex in the short saga of modern humankind is headlined by the term “peak oil.” This subject is covered in great detail in many comprehensive websites; for instance, starting with  www.peakoil.net and www.theoildrum.com
   Solarcarandtractor.com is an effort by a retired engineer, lecturer, and author to present math and science in a manner that will cut through the myriad confusing (and sometimes conflicting) voices heard throughout the web and media. This is an audacious challenge, but resignation to our present path is an unacceptable alternative. 
   Time is of the essence because we’re rapidly depleting, led by one billion barrels of oil every eleven days, our remaining finite fossil fuels. Our short “age of exuberance” is about to end. (The term “exuberance” was coined by W.R. Catton when he anticipated our dilemma 27 years ago in his excellent book Overshoot, University of Illinois Press, 1982). http://www.peakoil.nethttp://www.theoildrum.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Overshoot-Ecological-Basis-Revolutionary-Change/dp/0252009886shapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2