Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Texas Oilman, T. Boone Pickens, Advances Plan To Break Foreign Oil Dependence

Normally reliable conservative Texas oilman, T. Boone Pickens, is advancing a progressive and bold, entirely realistic new plan to make the United States energy independent that is drawing praise from environmentalist organizations such as the Sierra Club. The core of the plan involves switching over the production of electricity from natural gas to production by wind farms, and then using this freed up natural gas to power automobiles. Not only is this plan entirely possible to achieve, but it offers significant air quality improvements for the U.S., as well as works towards the vital goal of stemming the flow of so much American cash overseas. Right now, $700 billion American dollars are flowing out of the country each year overseas, just to pay for oil. Oil imports now comprise 70% of the oil used in the U.S. In 1970, only 24% of the oil used in the U.S. was imported by comparison.

Right now, the U.S. is spending four times as much per year to purchase oil imports as it spends on the war in Iraq. Both events are draining the American economy, creating huge national debt and trade deficit issues, and amount to the greatest transfer of wealth from a nation in the history of mankind. Not only are the issues of the oil security of the United States at stake, but so also is the future economic survival of the U.S. as well. Right now, most of world's new billionaires are mostly from oil, and most have been from either Russia or Iran in more recent years. In fact, Donald Trump, is building a huge new 62 story condominium structure in Dubai, and nearly all of the reservations have been by the new Russian or Iranian oil billionaires.

80 year old oilman, Pickens, advances the fact that the Great Plains hold the real potential to become the "Saudi Arabia" of wind production, yet currently just 1% of the American electricity production is by wind power. Wind power is a clean way to produce electricity, far cleaner than burning coal to produce electricity. And with natural gas freed up from having to produce electricity, automobiles could be powered by this cleaner burning and much cheaper source of power, all domestically produced, reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Natural gas also produces significantly less greenhouse pollution gases. Natural gas produces 23% lower greenhouse emissions than diesel, and 30% less greenhouse emissions than gasoline. And natural gas has long proven itself to be a cleaner burning source of power for automobiles that provides good performance for decades now. A friend of mine switched his truck over to natural gas in 1980, and it provided reliable and safe service with top performance. Unfortunately, of the more than 7 million natural gas powered vehicles currently in use around the world, only around 150,000 are in use in the United States.

Natural gas would only cost less than $1 dollar a gallon compared to the current price of over $4 a gallon for gasoline. This is a significant cost savings for motorists. And while 98% of the natural gas in use in the U.S. comes from North America, 70% of the oil in use currently is imported by comparison.

The Pickens Plan may not be the only path to American oil independence. But it's certainly a nationalistic plan with many advantages and a path to a better future of less dependence on foreign oil and a cleaner environment. It achieves so many worthy goals, that this politically conservative Texas oilman is drawing praise and support from persons all over the American political spectrum. The PickensPlan at least deserves a serious look. There have been serious membrane problems with cold weather related damage to experimental hydrogen powered fuel cell automobiles as well as cost problems. Current technology would put the price of a fuel cell powered car at around $70,000 each right now. But natural gas powered cars exist right now, with very few problems and moderate cost that is affordable. And existing vehicles could even be switched over to run on natural gas. This is simply too attractive of a solution to the current energy and environmental crisis to ignore.


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