There is no substitute for oil

By George A. Ross | July 2, 2008

EdEvery morning as you look in the mirror repeat the following: “THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR OIL.” There are many things we can do to increase our supply and efficient use of oil. However, until you accede to this statement, you cannot solve the problem.

We must drill where ever oil exists. The United States is the third largest producer of oil. For over 30 years radical environmentalists, helped by short sighted politicians, have handcuffed us with regard to supply.
The notion that we can become independent from foreign oil must be laid to rest. This is “poppycock.” We can limit our importation of oil.

We must use oil more efficiently. All new power plants must be nuclear. Oil and gas fired plants must be replaced, over time, with nuclear plants. Eventually coal fired plants will have to be replaced or cleaned up. We have spent over 20 years and billions of dollars creating a nuclear waste disposal site; we must use it. The design and construction of nuclear plants must be standardized to reduce costs.

Renewable energy sources must be decentralized. By using rebates, credits and tax incentives, residences, businesses and municipalities can generate electrical power from solar, wind and thermal sources that are fed back into the grid. This will greatly reduce the amount of power generated by the power companies and the cost to consumers. Local environments will dictate which sources are used. The use of nuclear and renewable power will significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

All transportation industries require oil. If automobiles converted to diesel power, there would be a 15 to 30 percent mileage improvement depending on the size of the vehicle. A worst case 15 percent improvement in automobile consumption of fuel would go a long way in solving the near term problem. A tax incentive to consumers for the purchase of a diesel powered vehicle will create the change, boosting the ailing automobile industry and allowing the oil industry to gradually switch to diesel fuel production. The increase in diesel fuel production and the reduction in gasoline production will drive down the cost of diesel fuel.

Diesel fuel is more easily produced and diesel engines can use a wide variety of fuels. The low sulphur diesel fuels are clean burning. There must be one standardized blend for fuels throughout the United States. Having each state set its own standard compounds the supply problem and drives up the cost.

Under no circumstances should an agricultural food product be used for fuel production. Ethanol production is an enormous waste of power and water. Increased production of corn requires increased use of fertilizers and insecticides, increasing the pollution of streams and rivers. Deforestation, to create more arable land to produce ethanol, is a major contributor to the increase of carbon emissions. Increased production of ethanol has increased the price of food significantly throughout the world. Wealthy nations can survive but the impact in third world nations is catastrophic. The concept of flex fuel vehicles increases the need for ethanol. A subsidy to the farm industry to produce more ethanol exacerbates starvation throughout the world. The arrogance on this issue by “pork barrel” politicians is unforgivable.

We need to utilize realistic R&D based on unbiased science to develop alternative sources of energy.

Adopting the energy policy presented coupled with a return to the pre-1999 margin requirements in the oil commodity market will reduce speculation in that market. This will immediately be reflected by a reduction in cost to the consumer and help establish the real market value of oil.

Waiting on future technologies is not a near or midterm solution. Hydrogen power using a non-petroleum based source is a long way off. We need practical solutions and all factions must compromise if we are to survive. There are no perfect solutions; if we wait for perfection, we will accomplish nothing. If we try to refute the fundamental economic reality of supply and demand, we will fail. We must demand that our political leaders “cut to the chase” and solve this problem. Self interests must be subservient to the interests of our nation.