I did a blog post at the end of last March 2011, where I described some of the obstacles facing the tire industry and mentioned the rising costs of rubber. In the post last year I mentioned Germany and Continental Tire were experimenting with rubber from dandelions to possibly replace the rubber from rubber tree plantations. The benefit from Dandelions is they can be grown all over the place opening up the possibility of rubber farms popping up everywhere. Dandelions don’t take five years from planting to produce rubber like the rubber trees do.
Tires are made from natural rubber and synthetic rubber. The natural rubber comes from very limited areas of the planet where the climate is sufficient to allow rubber trees to grow, effectively creating a monopoly of sorts on natural rubber. Most of the world’s natural rubber supply comes from Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ), Indonesia, Singapore, and British Malaya. There has been stories about Mega speculators stock piling natural rubber to make the price sky-rocket on the world market.
Whatever the real culprit is it has forced those who rely on natural rubber to find alternative means of supply.
Whether the Rubber industry has been hit with bad production or the hoarding of natural rubber by speculators in order to drive the price of natural rubber up in the world market it has definitely impacted the price of tires dramatically around the world.
Yesterday a story released in Tire Industry News Sources tells about how Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is working with PENRA (Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives) based out of Ohio State Universities Agricultural Research and Development Center, working with Russian Dandelions as a viable source for natural rubber.
That’s right the scourge of lawns worldwide, at least one variety of it, may create an industry to provide rubber for the use in rubber products the world over, namely tires. If the massive increase in prices was caused by market speculators and industries turn to alternative markets such as this in the future it may destroy the viable market of rubber from existing rubber tree plantations throughout the world.
Too bad we aren’t working on alternatives for gasoline to run our cars and free us from getting raped at the pump by the oil companies. You hear about how this causes the price of gasoline to go up and that causes the price of oil to rise, and yet you see the posted earnings of the oil companies and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what is really going on.
If I could grow dandelions or some other plant and produce gasoline from it I would plow under the grass in my yard tomorrow! As it is fields of dandelions may soon be popping up all over for the production of the natural rubber to be harvested from these weeds!
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