In America today the average price of gasoline has skyrocketed past $4.00 per gallon with no end in sight. Oil prices have doubled since the end of 2007 with $200 per barrel conceivable within months. Still, no one seems to have a solution. The government is inept, and only seems willing to add to the problem rather than solve it.
If the Congress had any concern for you or me they would lift all Federal gas taxes to help us out. That would cut out about 15% of the price per gallon of gas. If they had any concern for us they would allow us to drill for oil within the United States. They would allow more refineries to be built. They would approve clean, cheap, nuclear power.
Instead, politicians have done nothing except talk about idiotic proposals to tax oil company profits. That will only raise gas prices further because the oil companies sure aren't going to give away their profits and make less money. They will pass on the cost of tax increases to US, and probably 3-4 times the amount they lose from increased taxes.
The bottom line is we cannot trust useless politicians to change anything. We have to do it ourselves, and force idiot politicians to go along with it. Like it or not. That would be change we can believe in.
It would be great if we could all plug in our electric cars tomorrow, and never use a drop of gas again. However, we can't. We need to build a bridge to energy independence that will not bankrupt us. In the short-term we need cheap oil to keep our cars and trucks on the road. As new technologies develop over the next ten years we can shift to electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. We could then realistically no longer need oil for any transportation by 2020.
How do we build the bridge, and how do we force oil prices down by 50-60% in a matter of weeks?
It's already begun. American Solutions, a group started by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, has begun an online petition asking Congress to allow us to "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less." More than a million people have already signed the petition. Poll after poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly support domestic drilling for oil to lower prices.
Those opposed to domestic drilling argue that even if Congress approved domestic drilling tomorrow, it would be 2-3 years before that oil would get to market. They argue domestic drilling will do nothing to lower oil prices because the global market sets the price of oil.
Wrong. In the last few weeks since gas went over $4.00 per gallon in the U.S. the people of America started making their voices heard. They want something done about the high price of gas, and they want to see action now. We have also started driving less, which has decreased demand. Just the notion that Americans are angry, and want something done has already prompted the Saudis to announce they will increase production. They also held a summit of oil producing nations to discuss the "crisis" of high oil prices.
Just the threat of possible Congressional action to allow domestic oil production already has the Saudis spooked. If Congress actually took action the real source of high oil prices, the speculators who make money trading oil futures, would begin to dump their oil future holdings. They would know that domestic oil production in the United States would reduce the future price of oil significantly. That would drop the price of oil on the international market by 50-60% almost immediately.
To insure that oil prices stay low for Americans Congress should demand that all oil produced in the United States only be available to the American market. It is conceivable that we could produce enough oil domestically to supply 80% of our consumption needs within 3 years. Some believe there may be enough oil in shale in the Rocky Mountains to supply all domestic oil needs, and even have a surplus. If American oil was only sold in America the price would likely be in the $30-$40 per barrel range. That would bring gas prices down to a reasonable $1.50 per gallon range.
Now, that is the bridge. This is not a permanent solution. No matter how much oil we can produce in the U.S. it will only last for a finite amount of time. It would be foolish to think that even if we had 40-50 years worth of oil that we should just wait until it runs out to replace it as an energy source. Not to mention the environmental impact of continuing to burn fossil fuels. We need to develop clean, renewable sources of energy.
Another provision Congress should include in allowing domestic drilling is that oil companies invest 15% of their profits in new energy sources. Rather than tax oil profits, which does nothing except put money in the government coffers to be wasted on nothing, Congress should demand those profit dollars be spent on developing new, clean forms of energy. The oil companies can then transform themselves over the next decade from oil companies to energy companies. We will need the oil companies' massive infrastructure to deliver these new sources of energy, and the government cannot demand the oil companies spend money to put themselves out of business.
The most important investment would be to begin replacing one or two gas pumps with hydrogen refueling pumps. The hydrogen fuel cell car is already a reality. They are being sold in Japan, and tested in Southern California right now. The hurdle is that no one wants to buy a car they can't refuel at the station down the street. If hydrogen pumps began to appear at local gas stations all over the country, the demand for hydrogen fuel cell cars would grow exponentially. This would drive down the price of hydrogen fuel cell cars, and of hydrogen fuel.
Automobile manufacturers would make more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and more hydrogen pumps would be added. Over the next 10-15 years there would be no gasoline powered vehicles made anymore, and the term "hydro station" would replace "gas station." The massive investment in hydrogen and other forms of energy would not just be for automobiles, but for jet engines as well. Air travel would be transformed with clean fuel sources, and air planes would be built with lighter, more fuel efficient materials. We would be free of fossil fuels for transportation.
What about energy to power our homes and businesses?
Congress also needs to approve new nuclear power plants to supply electricity for our homes and businesses. Nuclear power is cheap, clean, and now more than ever safe. The country needs 50-60 such facilities to handle the power needs of today, and to prepare for the power needs of the next 50 years.
Another solution to power needs is solar and wind power. It is unlikely that massive solar or wind power facilities will ever be effective sources of power for millions of customers. However, solar and wind power can be effective power sources for individual homes and small businesses. The major hurdle today is cost. A single wind tower costs up to $50,000 to install. Solar panels are not as expensive as in the past, but are still expensive enough that many homeowners are not able to easily afford them.
The solution is for Congress to approve tax incentives for homeowners and small businesses to install solar or wind power. By allowing a tax incentive of up to 75% of the cost of a wind tower or solar system homeowners and small businesses would be far more likely to install such systems. Such incentives would create a massive reduction in demand on the major power grids. This would then make these grids more capable of handling spikes in demand during summer months, and make the grids easier to maintain and upgrade.
These rather simple steps, if enacted now would make the United States completely energy independent by the mid 20's. We would also be green and clean, which would benefit the environment immensely. Further, we would be the leader in clean energy development, and the rest of the world would follow, as they always do.
Demand that Congress take action now. YOU have the power. Let your Senators and Representatives know that if they don't support building a bridge to energy independence you're going to fire them. Forget which political party they belong to. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an issue that affects our very future. Stand up, take action, and forcefully demand that Congress and the President take action NOW.
Ted Hebert is a writer and Maverick Thinker helping companies of all sizes grow their business. He is also committed to clean, energy independence. He can be reached at Ted@Atunga.com or visit www.Atunga.com. Also visit www.BridgeToEnergy.com.