I’m sure you have noticed the latest trend in gasoline prices. Connecticut may see $5 a gallon by the summer months if this keeps us—Connecticut is usually average fifteen cents higher than the national average. Speculators on Wall Street and the Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz are the main protagonists. Also unlike the 1980s when gluts would bring prices temporarily below the dollar mark, we are now competing with China for the same Arab oil, a finite supply on planet Earth. There are step America can take to prevent European gas prices from becoming the norm here in the states.
(1) Put more money into mass transit. Ideally I would like to see the return of privately owned railroads as I have blogged in the past. But for now we must work with what we have. I ride the Metro-North Railroad to work on my commute from Oxford, CT to Stamford, CT. I can use the New Haven Line Waterbury Branch at a station in Seymour, CT, just 2 miles from my house in Oxford. The problem is during PEAK hours, trains run on average every two and a half hours. To get home at a reasonable hour, I have to leave work at 4 PM to pick up a 5:56 out of Bridgeport, CT; the next one is 8:20 PM which would not get me into Seymour before 8:55 PM. So in my busy season, I have to drive down Route 8 to Stratford, CT, not a bad ride at $2, $3, and low fours. But significant at $5 a gallon. Improvements need to be made on service frequency, new rail cars, and more cars for more seating, station parking, and the like.
(2) Make E-85 (85% Ethanol, 15% Octane) more readily available. Flex Fuel vehicles are good to go and any automobile can be adjusted for it. Cleaner burning, more efficient, and E-85 is under $2 a gallon in many places. This reduces crude demand by 85%. It is not a perfect solution because we have to grow corn for ethanol which uses up land for growing food, a higher priority. If we stopped growing tobacco…
(3) I was listening to Clark Howard interview Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (getliberty.org). He was discussing the Chinese buying Arabian crude like there’s no tomorrow. ALG has always been concerned with this [Obama] administration coddling to so many foreign countries and forgetting about us [US]. Wilson’s suggestion was we buy a long-term supply of crude from OPEC, negotiate a bulk-buy discount, and get it before the Chinese get their hands on it. In other words, let the U.S. corner the market on Arabian crude. We cannot worry about the Chinese, we have problems of our own. Whether or not we get a bulk discount or not will try the souls of Arabs, they hate us [US], they love our money, which feeling is stronger? Keep in mind in by the decade of the 2050s, possibly sooner, the oil fields on the Arabian Peninsula will be in the same shape Texas is in since the 1970s—there is a finite supply on Earth. Which leads into (4).
(4) Development of alternate fuels. Hey liberals, I must have got your attention with that one. You cannot discount (3) because if we are going to do this, we have to keep the lights and the heat on, and the Bunsen Burners burning until we have the alternatives, but yes, I said Alternative Fuels. If we develop them right here in the United States before any foreign land beats us to it, WE control the economics. When Arabian crude dries up, THEY have to buy it from us, America will be in the catbird seat for a change. With the fall of dictators over the past year (OK, Mr. Obama, I give credit where credit is due), if these lands are going to be free countries, America has to lead them by example. Therefore, it is our obligation to be the economic leader in alternative fuels—make the world buy from us—yeah, buy American!
Now take the afore mentioned with a fair grain of salt. We can set ourselves up to never need a drop of foreign oil again (important if there is not going to be any foreign oil in the 2050s or thereabouts), but we must always be some from Arab nations, whether it is necessary or not. Us trading money for oil is the one thing that prevents a Jihad from destroying Israel. We will have to buy some Arabian oil for appeasement’s sake. But we can do much better than we are doing now and we do not need to see European gas prices. Equally as important to achieve what we this fuel independence, we need leaders in this country who put America first!