We're Investing So Much In Alternative Fuels, Sometimes We Almost Forget To Pump Oil!Commentary • environment • Opinion • energy • business • ISSUE 44•28 • Jul 9, 2008 By Tony Hayward, CEO, BP Ever since we changed our name from British Petroleum to BP (Beyond Petroleum) in 2000, we've led the way in developing progressive, environmentally friendly alternatives to gasoline. These last few years of pouring money into biofuels and renewable energy sources have been so great that I can't for the life of me remember why we used to drill for dirty old oil in the first place! What's that? You mean we're still pumping that stuff from hundreds of refineries all over the world?Well, I'll be.You know, I guess I've been so caught up in trying to make petroleum obsolete, I plumb forgot we're still in the business of selling fossil fuels. Oh sure, oil used to be a big thing with us from 1901 until after the new millennium, but these days I'm so busy with all the green-themed advertising campaigns and making a lasting commitment to our children's future—well, I just haven't thought about our worldwide system of oil fields in months! Funny how things just slip your mind when your multinational energy corporation vows to make obsolete the very product that brought it an unstoppable cash flow for over a century. Now, who wants to talk about how all school buses might someday run on vegetable oil?Hmm, I wonder if we still have that international chain of service stations filling SUVs with tank load after tank load of gasoline. Nah, I'm sure I would have heard about it, even though I'm pretty occupied lately thinking about how BP is solving tomorrow's problems today. I'm pretty sure all that "gas" stuff was phased out in the '90s right before we changed our logo to that sunflower shape and completely refocused our priorities from being the world's second-largest supplier of carbon energy to literally saving the planet single-handedly.Gosh, fossil fuels are just so not even on my radar at this point! Boy, you learn something new every day. Here I am, being environmentally conscious, thinking that we're pretty much done with the whole oil thing. My impression was that BP was more about solar now. I distinctly remember somebody saying that word: "solar." I can't remember the context, but it must've been one of those long meetings we're always having where nobody ever talks about gas.Wow. So why exactly are people still buying gas, when all the cars in the United States are powered by electric batteries by now? They're not? What?! You're pulling my leg, right? Surely we're not still relying on that dinosaur technology after all the effort we've put into alternative energy sources and forging an inoffensive corporate identity that reflects a new consciousness of global responsibility. Are we?Man alive! I'm going to write this down in my planner right now, so I don't forget to do it later when I'm all caught up in a discussion about wind power and how to maintain the delicate balance of our beautiful, precious ecosystem. "Still pumping oil, question mark." Well, I'll look into it, if there's even anyone left in this multinational corporate headquarters who's still following that branch of the business.Wait—the price of oil is what? Over $4 a gallon? No way! Say, we must be making a fortune, huh? How the heck did that happen? Holy cow: Now that I'm looking over these annual revenue figures for the first time, I see that while I was doing all those other things, we made a couple hundred billion bucks!Geez, we're really raking it in! Who would've thought? I had no idea oil was still this profitable.I guess I'm a dope, because I would've thunk we'd run out of the stuff by now. Say what now? War? In Iraq? Over oil? Man oh man, international geopolitics sure is mired in the past. What's these guys' problem? Hasn't everyone heard we're totally beyond petroleum now?Whooee, what a crazy story this will make when I tell my environmentally committed board of directors. If I can get them to stop planting trees long enough to hear me, that is. Ha! Not likely! Who wants to take time away from helping preserve the world around us to listen to me rattle on about petroleum profits? Certainly not anyone at BP, that's for sure!Oh, look! I'm waist-deep in cash right now! I didn't even see all this money piling up around my desk. I guess I've just been so focused on developing cost-efficient, clean-burning hydrogen cells that I wasn't even paying attention. Quick, someone take these 40-pound sacks of cash to some guy in Berkeley studying carbon capture and storage. Three cheers for zero emissions! Hip, hip, hooray!