Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oil Independence Begins At Home

Mortimer B. Zuckerman's editorial in 7 August issue of US News and World Report:
Every day you and I subsidize the propagators of terrorism. To import oil for our cars, homes, and workplaces, America now spends and borrows a staggering $1 billion every single day. In the past four years alone, oil producers' revenue has grown from $300 billion a year to $800 billion. When oil goes up by a dollar a barrel, it costs us an additional $7.4 billion! An increasing share of that money goes to countries in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, and through them to extremist religious groups who support Islamist militancy throughout the Middle East and beyond, disseminating a message of hatred and violence against western influence and ideas.

Oil prices, in fact, are determined by a complex, and increasingly competitive, global market. The roots of our predicament don't lie in the boardrooms of Big Oil but at our own back door.

Consumers enjoy the size, power, and sense of security from their SUVs, which now account for roughly half of all cars in the United States, compared with just 7 percent in 1990. Every day 200 million cars in America guzzle about 11 percent of the world's daily oil output. We are the only industrialized country that is less energy efficient than it was two decades ago.

Last year, for the first time ever, Asia consumed more oil than North America.

Over the next 25 years, if China and India grow as much as South Korea has since 1980, those two countries alone will consume three times as much energy as the United States does today.
He goes on to suggest we focus on 1) our own supply and refining capabilities; 2) new energy tax incentives; 3) efficiency; and 4) mass transit of goods via rail.

Unfortunately, it will take $10 gallons to force this change. Once we are to that point, pain will abound and wealth will be fleeting.

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