The country has a Fort Knox of oil — some $100 billion in ready to refine petroleum that is just sitting in the ground doing nothing useful whatsoever. Also, we waste another Fort Knox worth of black gold (Texas tea?) driving poorly maintained cars in a very inefficient manner.
Imagine if this country were led by someone who was not a former oil industry executive. It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or… Just imagine Dick Cheney was not in charge, but some hypothetical inspirational progressive politician.
What might such a real leader do to cut oil prices in the short term, raise some money for needed clean energy investments (and tax cuts for those hardest hit by oil prices), and in general bring the country together during a time of war in the Persian Gulf?
Dan Weiss and I have laid out such a plan, “Bursting the Oil Bubble: Sell Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Lower Prices.” Combine tapping the oil reserve with a national push for conservation, and you could bring half a million to a million barrels a day of new supply for a year plus the same amount or more of demand reduction. That could, for a while, burst the oil bubble.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one….
I hear my faithful readers asking, but Joe, how can you possibly support releasing oil whose consumption will inevitably increase greenhouse gas emissions?
I’ve never had much doubt we would use most of the world’s conventional oil and gas. The stuff is just way too useful and difficult to replace. As for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, this country is not going to sit on that much oil forever. Somebody is going to use it sooner or later.
So why not use at least half of it now when it could actually bring an infusion of new money that might be used for clean energy.
Dan is more conservative than me. I’d sell one million barrels a day for a year (along with the conservation effort) and maybe give half the money back in an oilbate (since the taxpayers did pay for the oil originally, albeit at a much lower price). Then I’d take the rest and spend it on accelerating the deployment of clean energy and plug-in hybrids.
I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one (or as ten billion, I’m kind of iffy on the living as one stuff, myself).