Many will recall the oil panic of the 1970s with its images of cars waiting in long lines to get scarce and high price gas. Then President Carter launched a plethora of “alternative” energy projects with billions of dollar of tax payer money converted into grants to encourage “new fuels.” Of all the “new fuels” developed with these funds only one remains in common use. Grants were given to pig farms to capture the methane gas created by pig excrement for use on the farm. Billions of dollars to create piles of pig s__t.
Faced with rapidly rising gasoline prices President Obama has responded in much the same way, pumping billions of dollars into alternative energy and “new fuels.” While, some of these are nothing more than the ones promoted by Carter garbed in new robes, e.g. wind turbines, there may be some that stay the course such as pig s__t to methane gas.
Totally lost in both presidential initiatives is the base fact, our cars need a transportable fuel that provides efficient energy. Electric motors are infinitely more efficient than reciprocal engines such as car motors. Electric motors have only one moving part, reciprocal engines have many. Electric motors do not need transmissions. Clearly electric motors are more efficient for autos. Problem, electricity is not readily transported. It is stored in batteries and so far batteries do not match gas tanks in carrying fuel efficiently.
More importantly, the petroleum crisis of the 1970s ended, not because of the introduction of alternative energy and “new fuels.” No, the crisis ended when the North Sea fields came into production of both oil and gas. This quantum leap in petroleum supply put paid to the artificially imposed scarcity and higher prices generated by the collusion of oil exporting states. This vast new supply in the heart of the major oil importing countries changed the worldwide equation overnight.
Clearly the only way to reduce gasoline prices is to up supply significantly. Alternative fuels will take a long time to change the situation, if ever. The president would be well advised to waste less funds on blunders such as Solyndra and devote our efforts to increasing this supply. For starters, allow the extension of the Keystone Pipeline. Other actions would be to open more federal lands to oil and gas exploration. And instead of taking tax deductions for exploration away from oil firms, the so-called “four billion dollar subsidies for big oil,” he should allow more deduction for exploration.
President Obama has also called for greater fuel efficiency. But at the same time his administration has blocked opening a new aircraft factory that will produce more fuel efficient planes. Needless to add, that factory would go a long way to increasing the number of the president’s much loved manufacturing jobs.
I fear our reply to the gasoline crisis of 2012 will have the same results as our reply in the 1970s, no real change until we greatly increase supply, and a high pile of high-priced pig s__t.