Gasoline prices are rising and the Saudis have announced they are cutting production.
Talk about ingratitude.
Perhaps worse, we continue to depend on them for our energy when we know how rapacious and ungrateful they are.
Perhaps these high energy prices will motivate the Presidential and Congressional candidates from both parties to finally consider real energy independence for our country, instead of playing the blame game. After all, there is so much we can do but are not.
I suggest that we start with some of the basics that are now possible. For instance, we can rely more on rail and less on automobiles and trucks. Our nation has possibly the best, most efficient rail corridors in the world, reflecting that the rail builders got the first choice of routes in the 19th century. At a minimum, the federal government should be helping the rail lines improve their lines, perhaps establishing double-track lines, heavily reinforced that can take vastly increased amounts of freight faster and cheaper.
And I would add that this is not an anti-SUV rant. Autos and trucks have their place in the scheme of things. It’s just we can do better with our mass passenger and freight movement.
We need more passenger rail service, something that will greatly reduce gasoline consumption. The stingy way Congress now treats Amtrak even as it lavishes billions of dollars on the airlines needs to be rethought. A balanced passenger movement strategy is long overdue.
New technology offers virtually unlimited possibilities of reducing U.S. dependence on the Saudis and their neighbors. One such technology in the development stage would go into our home furnaces and use the wasted heat and exhaust to co-generate electricity. This one step alone could cut our home electric bills in half while cutting the need for additional electric generating plants, which now use so much natural gas. That gas has better, high valued uses in the manufacture of goods.
We need a process that can convert our vast reserves of coal into inexpensive gasoline. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Germany chemical industry developed a process that could convert a ton of low-grade coal into a half ton of petroleum. It produced most of Germany’s gasoline to fight World War II. With the discovery of Mideast oil that could be produced at a few pennies a barrel, that technology was forgotten. It needs to be revived.
We can produce massive amounts of gasoline from agricultural production. Henry Ford championed such a step decades ago. Ethanol and other such fuels can play a big role in producing the energy America needs.
Wind, fuel cells, safe nuclear power – all these and more are possible. Five dollar-a-gallon gasoline, even $2 gas, should cause enough of a political firestorm to force both George Bush and John Kerry to address the issue of energy independence.
Personally, I do not care what anyone said to anyone else in the White House War Room on September 11, 2001. Our leaders, Republican and Democrat, had not sufficiently prepared the nation against terrorists. They have moved to fix the problem. We have had no attacks in America since then. Congratulations on a job well done.
What I want to know is what are they going to do to cut the price I pay for gasoline and what are they going to do to ensure that this nation is never again dependent on the Saudis for our energy.