Sunday, February 27, 2011

High Gas Prices By Design

What you are seeing at the gas pump these days are high prices by design. By that I mean that the policies of the federal government have guaranteed higher fuel prices are in our future. It was all completely foreseeable and entirely preventable. I can only conclude that they did not take steps to avoid it because they did not want to avoid it.

In 1977 then President Carter started up a new federal department, the Department of Energy. Its’ goal was to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, especially from nations who have demonstrated hostility towards us. At that time, roughly 45% of our oil supplies were from foreign nations. Over thirty years and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars later, we now rely on foreign sources for over 60% of our oil.

Instead of reducing our dependency on foreign oil, they have focused on reducing our overall energy consumption. Pestering people about insulating their homes doesn’t do anything to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. In fact, heating oil doesn’t even come from the same set of crude oil molecules that make gasoline. Besides, even if they focused on reducing use of the gasoline part of crude oil, using less is only half of the equation. The other half of the equation is our own oil production- its way down and the Department of Energy doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.

While the talking heads assure you that this is needful because the United States is running out of oil, the truth is more complicated. The federal government won’t let oil companies get to the oil we have. For example, the Obama administration enacted a blanket ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill was the excuse, but expert after expert said that a blanket ban was not needed, and may even make the situation worse. The courts even ordered the administration to lift the ban, and they have defied the courts and continue to keep the ban in place!

Meanwhile, they are putting so much red tape in place that no one wants to build a new refinery here, and the ones that have them here already are looking to sell them- like Arkansas’ own Murphy Oil. And while we may not have that much traditional crude left, we have billions of barrels of oil sands and even more oil shale available. Enough to meet our oil needs for the next 1,000 years at the least. In fact, the United States is one of the top five countries in terms of oil sands, and is number one in oil shale. Add to that, coal can be liquefied and turned into oil. We are the coal king of the planet.

Canada already gets over half of its oil from oil sands. Several countries have viable oil shale refineries. During WWII, the Germans used coal liquefaction as their major source of gasoline. They did this with 1940s technology! Why can’t we do it now? We can. The government is just not interested in pursuing policies that would allow it to happen. In fact, they are getting in the way. For example, federal policy does not allow the government to buy oil from any oil production process that emits more greenhouse gases than conventional oil drilling. These other processes produce about 45% more C02.

The state-controlled media may try to blame Egypt or Libya or some other little foreign country for your troubles at the gas pump. Don’t believe it.

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