Freeway“Pain at the pump” has become the most overused headline of the past year as the cost of gasoline has skyrocketed to Friday’s US average of $3.59 per gallon. Our British readers may feel that this is cheap, since Friday’s average price in Britain was $8.20 per gallon, making UK gas $4.61 more expensive per gallon than US gas, over twice the price. But the price is actually high for Americans who are used to cheaper gas and whose lifestyles rely on the low price.

While I will never understand the reasons behind America’s choice to buy expensive oil from the Middle East rather than drill for the huge quantities of the stuff that it already owns in ANWR and elsewhere, it’s a relief to know that the capitalist free market has been quietly working away on the problem and making inroads on new technology using alternative fuels.

Back in October last year, I claimed that “Cellulosic ethanol is the future.” Today, there are a bunch of cellulosic ethanol companies claiming that very thing, and adding that it’ll bring the cost of filling your car down to about $1 per gallon or less. It’s an incredibly exciting technology, the Promised Land of sustainable and cheap energy. On Friday, one company, Coskata, announced its plan to build the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Pennsylvania.

In short, this stuff would allow me to fill the tank in my SUV for around $20 instead of the $65 it costs me currently. Ready to drive for a buck a gallon? I sure as hell am.

(See also this article for some details about the process.)