In Part I we learned that the Chinese are the new kids on the block in the global oil supply equation. Some economists and diplomats saw it coming, but we Americans are well practiced in a sense of entitlement to more than our share of the world’s resources. As a wealthy nation, why shouldn’t we continue to produce or buy anything our hearts desired?
Considering that the price of oil affects nearly every other commodity because of transportation costs, the current price of a barrel of oil and, eventually, the price of gas at the pump, is sending collective shivers up the spines of America. It has become a big talking point in the 2012 election. The American Way of Life is being threatened. How can we save it?
Returning to Candy Crowley’s February 26 interview with John Hofmeister, former CEO of Shell Oil, we learn the need of a comprehensive solution, a “fixit plan.” It reads like one of those story problems back in sixth grade.
According to Hofmeister, “Our daily usage is 20 million barrels a day. We produce seven. We used to produce 10. We need to produce 10 again. We have the oil to produce 10 for decades to come.”
O.K. So, let’s say we ARE producing 10 million barrels a day; where do the remaining 10 come from? Hofmeister says we could adopt a solution proposed by the U. S. Energy Security Council and turn our supplies of natural gas into methanol and ethanol, which would power flex-fuel engines. That would deliver the equivalent of four to five million gallons per day.
That takes us to 15 million barrels a day. Higher efficiency vehicles could save another two million barrels, bringing us to 17. And for the remaining three, we could look to our border friends Canada and Mexico. At this, Hofmeister chortles, “We’re at 20. We could tell OPEC to take a hike….By 2020 we could be on our way.”
Hofmeister is not the only one with a multiple-approach solution. President Obama spelled out his ideas on February 25 in his weekly address. As advertised, it is an “all-of-the-above approach.”
It’s true, America is rich in resources. They include rich deposits of coal and shale oil. When we speak of China, think how such “dirty” and unrenewable energy sources have polluted that vast country. It’s true, the Chinese are clever, and the government is investing heavily in alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. They are now the leaders in this vital area. To the Chinese, Solyndra is not a dirty word.
What can you do—you are only one person? True, but you are only “six degrees of separation,” on average, from any other person on Earth. You become powerful when you share information with your friends and ask them to share it with their friends—it becomes a global revolution. As Stephen King suggests in The Long Walk, when these “society-supported sociopaths” come, step aside, and find the strength to run…