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  • Flat-Earth Thinking on Gas Prices?

    President Obama blasted oil-drilling advocates last week, equating their solution for high gas prices to people who didn’t believe the Earth is round. President Obama said,

    They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels. They were against raising fuel standards. I guess they like gas-guzzlers. They think that’s good for our future. We’re trying to move towards the future; they want to be stuck in the past. We’ve heard this kind of thinking before. Let me tell you something. If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. They would not have believed that the world was round.

    It’s not that we want to “keep on doing things the same way” as the President suggests. It’s that we don’t have the hubris to think using taxpayer dollars will somehow transition us to a new energy economy. We’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear it again from both Democrats and Republicans—the argument that all we need is billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded seed money and we’ll end our dependence on foreign oil. It could be wind, solar, biofuels, nuclear, natural gas vehicles. Anything—apparently—BUT more domestic oil.

    Many attempts to subsidize clean energy such as wind, solar, and nuclear wouldn’t even replace oil, because oil provides only about 1 percent of U.S. electricity generation. Oil is mostly used as a transportation fuel, but setting that aside, let’s set a few other things straight:

    1.) We’re not anti- energy technology. We’re against wasting taxpayer money to “invest” in those technologies, including oil and gas. If it’s a market-viable idea, using federal money is offsetting private-sector investments. If it’s not a market-viable idea, we’re artificially propping up an industry until it goes bankrupt. Either way, it’s a raw deal for taxpayers.

    2.) Consumers do not have an addiction to oil; they have an addiction to affordable, reliable transportation. Gasoline provides that. If there’s an alternative (biofuels, electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles) that can capture part of oil’s multitrillion-dollar market and provide value to consumers, it will happen without government subsidies. Consumers will gladly power their vehicles with algae instead of oil if it’s affordable and reliable.

    3.) We don’t support any energy subsidies. President Obama says some are complaining about renewable subsidies but saying oil subsidies are justified. We’re not saying that. What we are saying, however, is that the $4 billion per year subsidy figure for oil and gas companies that the President constantly uses is bogus. Those tax breaks are general manufacturing tax breaks that are so broadly available that video game manufacturers get them. The others come in forms of accelerated depreciation schedules, which are also broadly available. We should get rid of all subsidies and allow all companies to deduct expenses in the year they are incurred to encourage new investment, but the President needs to be honest with the American people about the meaning of a subsidy.

    4.) The President’s thinking on gas prices doesn’t reflect Flat Earth thinking; it reflects the Malthusian/imminent resource exhaustion mentality used to promote policy agendas. Three decades ago, proven world oil reserves were 645 billion barrels; five years ago, they were 1.28 trillion, and in 2009, they were 1.34 trillion. Innovative technologies will allow producers to discover and recover more oil, if we have access to it. If the price of oil goes up because we’re running out, alternative sources of transportation will become more competitive. But that process shouldn’t driven by restrictions on access to oil and regulations that make it unnecessarily difficult to drill.

    5.) The President is misusing statistics. President Obama says drilling is the highest it’s been in eight years, which is good, but it’s a result of increased production on private lands. Production on federal lands and offshore fell from 2010 to 2011. He says we only have 2 percent of the world’s proven reserves but consume 20 percent. But we consume 20 percent of the world’s production (a result of income and economic growth), not the world’s reserves. As the Institute for Energy Research points out, our proven reserves of 20 billion barrels were the same in 1944 as they were in 2010, yet we produced 167 billion barrels during that time as technologies improved. The amount of technologically recoverable oil is closer to 1.4 trillion barrels, though much of that is off limits.

    It would be unfair and disingenuous to lay all blame for high gasoline prices at the President’s doorstep. But his energy speeches continue to mislead the American public, and that is completely his fault.

    Posted in Energy, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Flat-Earth Thinking on Gas Prices?

    1. Timmy says:

      There are some truisms to energy, i.e. it takes more energy to produce a photovoltaic wafer than it will ever produce; the manufacture of an automobile creates more pollution than the automobile will produce in its lifetime.

      There is one truism that is not covered in the article: The Federal Government subsidizes oil with respect to billion$ to oil companies and an overbearing military presence in the Middle Ea$t. Factor these payouts into todays energy for a more accurate cost.

    2. zff says:

      Yes, Mr. President, because nothing says forward thinking and progress more than slightly jazzed up windmill technology from over 5,000 years ago (wind power), Beverly Hillbillies 1900's style using of alcohol as fuel (ethanol), relics from the 70's that are still ridiculously expensive (solar panels), and so on and so on forth.

      The problem with all these "new technologies" is not so much that they aren't new (which despite Obama's assertions they most assuredly are not, even the electric car goes back over a hundred years) but the fact they are pathetic attempts at coming up with new fuels just so people can say they are working on the "energy problem." (Actual results are distant concerns.) They are and continue to be at best small niche technologies and at worst dead ends that don't and never will work and this is despite the massive amounts of free money that have been sunk into them.

      Nuclear energy *should* have been the next step to take over some of our fossil fuel use, but thanks to folks like Obama and his green ilk who have opposed nuclear power every step of the way stating overblown and/or non-existent safety and environmental 'concerns', the technology has been held back for years. And thanks to that, what should have been the bridge to the next energy source has been crippled and the chain of progress rusted.

      Whatever the next energy source will be, it will be something totally different from all the jury rigged, ideologically driven crap that is posing as the 'energy sources of the future' today.

    3. America needs affordable energy prices, now, today. Let’s say America wants a gasoline-powered vehicle for transportation, that is not far-fetched, is it? The vehicle will need an internal combustion engine and 4 tires. Mr. Obama has rejected what America needs and wants. To make my point, let’s say that Mr. Obama has rejected the production of such a vehicle. BUT he has approved of the production of 1 of those 4 tires. In my not-too-far-fetched analogy, the 1 tire that he has approved of is the oil-pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas. Today he is boasting about how he, himself, extracted the latex from rubber trees to produce that ONE TIRE. But he still opposes the production of the vehicle that America needs and wants. He still opposes the complete Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas. We should thank him for the production of that ONE TIRE.
      Let’s face it—we are not worthy.

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Oil cannot be replaced at this point in time. That's a simple fact that Obama refuses to admit. Oil produces most every item in our daily lives, from gas in our tanks to the medicines we take for our health. What we must realize is Obama is deliberately attempting to restrick our ability to drill for our own oil to not only continue to "redistribute wealth" to MIddle East countries, that are for the most part Muslim, but at the same time use oil, or the lack thereof, to cause our economy to collapse.

    5. allen says:

      This man (The President) has turned out to be a LIAR, Case closed.

    6. O_Henry says:

      Energy Efficiency in 10 years or less….

      The USA could be fully energy independent in less than 10 years. Here’s how: 1)begin placing small nuclear reactors (after the designs used safely in our submarines and aircraft carriers for more than 50 years) in every town of 10K population (more reactors where the population is larger i.e. Chicago, New York, etc) or more. Replace the large grid with local electrical grids during this transition. 2) start fueling stoves, hot water heaters, dryers etc. with hydrogen rather than natural gas. The by product of hydrogen combustion is H2O so drains would be needed but a small price for renewable energy. Also, this gets around the corrosive nature of a hydrogen application for an internal combustion engine. 3) make natural gas applications available for the garages and drives of homes for small scale Compressed Natural Gas use in automobiles.

    7. Jeanne Stotler says:

      Solar panels are not new, they had them in Florida in the 40's and 50's, they just cannot provide for all the electricity, neither can wind, as today not a breeze, we have a wndmill and it hasn't moved all day, and the sun isn't out so our solar panels, we have 2, are not generating either. We didn't pay an arm and a leg for them, my son made the panels andthe windmill, they do help but not even 1/2of the electricity we use. BHO has squandered money wel into the future and God help us if he's re-elected.

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