there is a commercial running on television that shows how this country has become
dependent upon foreign oil to keep us going. The man behind the scene advocates
us using more natural gas as well as wind power. He goes on to show how our dependence
has grown over the past thirty or forty years. |
I’m getting various statistics
ranging from 60% to 70% of all of our oil is imported from other countries. The
records show that we imported 24% in 1970.
The statistics run all over
the map. It’s hard to know which one is correct.
I do know whatever the
number is, it’s entirely too much.
I well remember the oil embargo of
the early seventies. It wasn’t pretty. Long lines, frustrated motorists…lots of
businesses failed. We should have learned our lesson then.
But we didn’t.
No, we just kept on driving as if the oil would never stop flowing. And
it’s going to kill us if we don’t fix it. The politicians all talk about something
called an ‘energy policy’. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen or heard
of one. I cannot think of any presidential administration that has publicly announced
that … “This is our energy policy…”.
We’ve all heard words bantered around
by various politicians over these past thirty or forty years, but nothing with
any amount of substance. Certainly nothing that would indicate our desire to wean
ourselves off of imported oil, especially from countries that do not like us.
I’ve said this many times that I truthfully believe that there are probably ten
or fifteen people in the entire world who have the ability to control the economic
destiny of our country. I believe that’s the number of oil ministers in different
countries who can make decisions as to how much oil we receive and what it will
Think about this. The Ford Model ‘T” got better gas mileage than
most of the cars and trucks on the road today. Until a few years ago, we had been
the world leaders of the automotive industry, why haven’t we been requiring better
fuel efficiencies all these years since Henry Ford first made automobiles available
to the general public?
The oil companies support the Republican party
and the auto industry supports the Democratic party. How can the ordinary folks
come out ahead? Only in the past year or so has the term… ‘Fuel efficient’ even
been mentioned in automobile sales and advertising. Notice the ads on television
this evening….some tell you that you can get four hundred miles on one tank of
gas. Of course they fail to tell you how big the gas tank is. Four hundred miles
on ten gallons is one thing and quite another on a tank holding thirty gallons.
Why haven’t we as a nation been exploring alternate sources of energy all of these
years? The wind farm and solar energy people bounce from pillar to post when their
tax credits get reduced or expire altogether. Who wants to be in a business where
you aren’t sure if you can pay for the project and are at the whim of a fickle
congress? Why haven’t we been promoting better and more efficient energy sources
as the years wore on and our oil imports were rising? It appears to me that someone
was asleep at the switch.
It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to see that
our nation runs on energy and if that energy disappears or is priced out of our
reach our entire economy will collapse. When I was in Europe a few weeks ago,
I paid about $165 to fill up a rent car. When someone says to me… well, then four
dollar a gallon gas isn’t so bad….I tell them the reason the Europeans pay so
much is because they don’t have any oil of their own.
current hype of the day is to force the oil companies to drill on land they already
have leased. That’s wonderful in theory, but who wants to sink fifteen or twenty
million bucks (or more) into a lease that can’t produce enough to make it worthwhile?
Meanwhile we have proven resources in areas throughout our nation where it is
economically feasible to drill.
Why have bans on drilling off the coast
of Florida, when the Chinese are punching holes in the ocean like crazy? If we
are so concerned over the possibility of an environmental disaster, which country
do you think is more progressive when it comes to the environment….China or the
In case you don’t know the answer to this one, watch the
news today about what the air looks like at the upcoming Olympics.
are a lot of people out here a lot smarter than I am, but when the solution to
something as important as the need for a firm energy policy is obvious to all
of us, shouldn’t the people we elect be able to see the same thing?
is this wishful thinking?
From North America
July 30, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers