This weekend, CNN’s senior business correspondent Ali Velshi devoted his “Your Money” show to rising gas prices. In one segment, he introduced an interview with Pat Davies, the CEO of the South African energy company Sasol:
Any way you slice it, prices at the pump are high, even if you stick with the regular gas. One innovative energy company based in South Africa thinks it has a workable solution. For decades it’s been turning coal and natural gas into gasoline.
In reality, Sasol’s coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology is neither “workable” nor a “solution” to high gas prices. In the interview, Davies modestly admitted that there’s a global warming problem, saying “We need to do some more work.” The truth is liquid coal is a climate killer. The energy required to convert coal to liquid fuel doubles the amount of carbon dioxide released compared to petroleum-based gasoline, producing a ton of carbon dioxide for each barrel of liquid fuel. The New York Times shows how liquid coal is the worst of all possible alternative fuels:
Furthermore, Velshi concludes his piece by debunking the claim that CTL is a “workable solution” to the rising cost of gasoline:
This is not about lowering the cost necessarily of gasoline, it is about creating alternatives and particularly coal is something you don’t eat, unlike corn, which makes ethanol. Sasol is looking to open some facilities here in the United States and it’s conducting feasibility studies. So it would take years before the first coal-to-gasoline fuel could possibly enter the U.S. market.
In fact, the only benefits would accrue to the coal industry, who paid CNN millions to sponsor their presidential debates, and companies like Sasol, who paid lobbyists $400,000 last year to promote their technologies.