After hearing the new crop of poli-chickens regurgitate the same old rhetoric regarding America's energy future, I'm demanding some fresh ideas. Here's the problem with red vs. blue policy:
Red (GOP): Drilling in Alaska is a good idea, but that's not going to fix the problem even in the short term. There isn't enough oil in Alaska to offset our current imports. US on-shore domestic oil production has been declining since the 1970's, so it's foolish to think that we can bring online enough domestic supply to slake our ever-expanding thirst.
Blue (Democrats): Biofuels like ethanol will never replace gasoline nomatter how much you subsidize it. It's a net-loss when you consider the cost of farming and additional infrastructure. Additional taxes on gasoline would be a good idea if you were building towards a feasible solution, but hybrid cars and E85 are going to be disasterous if mandated federally. Besides, I trust this Congress with money less than I would a bank run by crack addicts. How's that non-existent Social Security trust fund going, Mr. Byrd?!
Smashing through boundaries: The fix is in!
We're going to drop the price of fuel for consumers and build up the infrastructure to maintain the same level of prosperity and rapidness of travel all the while decreasing our consumption of petroleum products in the long-term. More specifically, I'm calling for:
-Nuclear power to replace diesel-guzzling ocean freighters and heavy rail locomotives. Yeah, that sounds radical, but if we can put an engine on a submarine that makes 50,000 horsepower and doesn't need to be refueled for 10 years, then why are we dumping God-awful amounts of diesel fuel into these boats that bring us our beer from Europe and our miscellaneous bullshit from China? I know that there's a security risk, but the US Coast Guard can easily implement a satellite tracking mechanism to ensure that these boats don't fall into the hands of terrorists. We could very easily replace our obnoxious lovers of diesel juice that deliver bulk manufactured items via railroads. Wouldn't it be ironic to have a perfectly environmentally sound, zero-carbon train deliver thousands of tons of sooty coal to be burned to make electricity?
If security concerns prevent us from using this ultra-efficient, Al Gore friendly method of powering our industry, then I hate to inform you but Osama Bin Laden and Co. have officially beaten the US. The point of terrorism is to make your victim too afraid to be themselves, and if we get hung up because we're afraid then we lose.
Replacing the mass consumers of diesel fuel will free at least 30% of our domestic refinery capacity and roughly the same in crude oil consumption, thus automatically reducing our demand on petro products by roughly 1/3. In dollars for you, that brings us back to around $1.55-$1.80 a gallon on gasoline with a much more stable price that is far less subject to Katrina-like fluctuations and panic.
-We need a mass transit system that is beneficial to suburban commuters. We can't follow Europe's model because their cities are built much different from ours. We have a bigger country and we have a chance to really do something revolutionary to satisfy our need to move people from place to place rapidly while catering to the impatience of US consumers. This is a challenge, but this is very possible. Great advancements have been made in the field of magnetic levitation trains by Japanese researchers that could prove to be the ultimate technology for making trains a means of inter- and intra- city transportation so rapid that the airlines can't even keep up!
There's two things that energy ideas should have in common: They should have a very positive economic effect and they should improve the environment. One without the other is a NO DEAL. Sorry, Al Gore. I'm not willing to lose my job over some extrapolated research, we're a good bit smarter than that. We can keep our economy and protect and improve our planet at the same time. I demand this of our leaders.
Let's discuss- how else can we lead the world into economically and environmentally-friendly energy solutions?