“Son, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan any day.”
_ father of T. Boon Pickens
In yesterday’s post, we talked about how the conflict in Syria is evidence that the “Arab Spring” has evolved into a Muslim Sunni vs Muslim Shi’a war that is like to spread to rest of the Middle East and could go on for years, if not decades. Commenters were quick to raise the issue of Iran becoming a nuclear power. So, I ask you how hard is it to conceive of a day in the not too distant future when the flow of oil from the Middle East could be affected by the conflicts there?
The United States imports over a million barrels per day from the region (mostly from Saudi Arabia). It would clearly be a national security issue if that flow off oil were impaired or cut off. Every President since Jimmy Carter has given lip-service to the need for an Energy Policy. None has made a serious effort to develop such a policy. And, our current Green Energy Sultan, President Barack Hussein Obama, has done nothing but throw up road blocks to the development of our abundant oil and gas resources.
Via Real Clear Politics, came across this article by T. Boon Pickens at Omaha.Com. Mr. Pickens doesn’t mention the potential threat to our energy requirements from the Middle East, but he does see the foolishness of not having a cogent energy policy for the United States:
We’ll soon learn the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline that has caused such concern in Nebraska and in the environmental community. If we kill Keystone, we will truly go down as the dumbest generation ever. (Emphasis added)
Right now, when it comes to America and our effort to achieve greater energy security, we’re a foolish nation without a plan.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Pickens has some thoughts on what America should be doing on the energy front. He has three suggestions, which I think are excellent. Let’s take them at a time.
First, transportation. Transportation accounts for 70 percent of our oil use, and we need to replace OPEC oil/diesel with domestic natural gas in the heavy-duty truck and fleet sector. Our domestic natural gas reserves continue to expand, thanks to the domestic oil and gas industry’s success with horizontal drilling and fracking.
Natural gas is cheaper than diesel, it is cleaner and, because natural gas lines run through almost every city and town in the country, it is readily available almost everywhere.
About 50 percent of the oil we import is refined into diesel fuel, so it is a big target. Most over-the-road trucks run the same routes on a regular schedule, so the need for a refueling facility on every street corner, as we have for passenger cars, isn’t an issue.
Review Regulatory Policies
Next, let’s audit all the state and federal regulatory policies that impede the growth of domestic transportation fuels. Let’s use Nebraska as an example.
Nebraska is among a number of states that do not tax LNG properly. Alternative fuels contain different amounts of energy per gallon than gasoline and diesel. Therefore, a gasoline or diesel-gallon-equivalent tax based on energy, not volume, makes more sense. In Nebraska, LNG is taxed almost twice as much as diesel. This problem needs to be fixed immediately so truckers can utilize clean, domestic natural gas to transport goods.
Free Market Competition for Fuels
Finally, we need to quit burying our heads in the sand. Energy is not “free market.” OPEC is a cartel. More than 70 percent of the oil in the world is controlled by state-owned oil companies.
Let’s inject serious fuel competition into the mix. Free marketers will tell you they don’t want government picking winners and losers. By doing nothing, we’re choosing OPEC oil.
I’m for picking a winner — our domestic transportation fuel alternatives. In heavy-duty fleet applications, that’s natural gas. (Emphasis added)
His first and third suggestions sound an awful lot alike, but we won’t hold that against him. Mr. Pickens makes good sense, doesn’t he? It’s not rocket science. It’s just good ol’ common sense. Sadly, common sense is a commodity if very short supply in Washington, D.C.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?