Drive Needed to End Our Overseas Oil Dependence

Wednesday, 06 Apr 2011 08:22 AM

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The New York Times had a superb article on March 31 assessing our response to the energy crisis we appear to be facing because of escalating oil prices and shortages resulting from the turmoil in the Mideast in Muslim countries, euphemistically described by the media as the "Arab spring."

The Times article describes our natural resources which include huge amounts of natural gas and coal with far smaller quantities of crude oil, as opposed to oil extracted from tar and sands which environmentally is subject to problems and danger to the environment.

Other resources described include nuclear energy, wind, and solar resources and renewable sources using agricultural crops converting them to alcohol. In addition, available in dealing with the energy problems are increased car gas mileage requirements set by the government and conservation.

Requiring all existing 18-wheel trucks to use natural gas instead of diesel fuel, I’ve been told, would reduce oil imports by half. The cost of conversion for current trucks would be approximately $64,000 per truck.

Why not mandate the change, providing subsidies if required and appropriate? Why not require auto companies to only manufacture natural gas using trucks in the future?

President Obama points out that presidents before him, starting at least with Nixon back in 1973 when OPEC embargoed oil to the U.S. and his successors, have talked of energy self-sufficiency and while there have been improvements in our supplies and sources, we still are importing 50 percent of our oil from abroad.

Two countries that are truly friendly to us are Mexico and Canada. Most of the others in the world cannot be counted on at all times and under all conditions to continue to supply us with oil.

I believe we can indeed become self-sufficient, but only if there is a true national effort directed by a czar appointed by the president, confirmed by the Senate with the necessary financial resources and authority to get the job done. Someone who would create a Manhattan Project and the think tanks needed. Someone with the energy, ability, and spine of steel needed. Surely, the president can find such a person.

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