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Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Thought The Iraq War Was About Oil?

I didn't really, because I know better. I was actually all set to go with a post today about compromise and the middle of the road discussions that have been taking place on a couple of blogs, and then THIS news story hit me first thing this morning. I will finish the other post and either put it up later or tomorrow. I started a short vacation this morning, and plan on spending some time with my kids. My son and I have to make a pinewood derby racer for scouts, and I promised to take them to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks"

Anyway, we have new mandated fuel standards for America. By 2020, the automakers are supposed to provide vehicles that reach 40 miles per gallon. The stated goal is to reduce the use of oil, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We shouldn't have any problems with this, right? I mean, who would complain about saving money and saving the planet? It would seem that there is something there for left and right.

There are a couple of problems with this, in my mind. First all, there is the typical obfuscation of the real legislation. Apparently, according to this story, the manufacturers vehicles only have to average 40 mpg. That means they can sell one line of vehicles that hits 60 mpg, and another vehicle that hits only 20 mpg. I am not sure what we are accomplishing here. The population is growing, which means eventually more cars on the road. If the increase in mpg is relatively small, it would seem that there would be insignificant reductions. I don't have the numbers and this isn't my area of expertise, but to my common-sense mind there isn't much gain.

Then there is the issue of a true energy policy for the United States. Raising the mpg for vehicles is a good step, even if it doesn't save a great deal of money or reduce much in the way of emissions. How about a comprehensive set of measures designed with the financial physical security of the United States? We have billions of barrels of oil at our disposal domestically. We have some of he finest scientific minds in the world. We have more resources in both the government and private sectors than any other country. This is the best we can do?

We should be drilling for domestic oil. We should be building refineries to keep up with drilling. We should be exploring the addition of nuclear power plants. We should be building public transportation systems. We should be educating every child in America that the light switch goes down as well as up. I know my kids have no idea of the dual use function of a switch.

We should also be paying attention to who we are voting for, in both national and local elections. In Birmingham, Alabama there is a highway that is something like the 5th worse in terms of traffic congestion in the nation. It is a stretch of highway that runs through several municipalities and is the worst goatrope you have ever seen. Band-aid fixes applied to band-aid fixes...and now they want to build an elevated highway over the existing one to expedite traffic.

They won't even consider a mass transit system, despite spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars sending commissioners to other cities to study public transportation. What Birmingham needs is a system like Baltimore, MD. Having spend considerable time there and in Washington, D.C. working, I can tell you that they have a very effective, efficient and enjoyable public system. Birmingham has no public policy minds, either.

But I was a bit sidetracked, although you get my point. Stop with the band-aid fixes. Stop with the "SEE? We are doing something" legislation. Stop with the mandates that take the pressure off of politicians and place them on the private sector, because you know that these new vehicles will cost more for the consumer.

We need real public policy. We need people to work on these issues, and to do so with no regard for the next election cycle.

I know, I have been sniffing too many gas fumes.

7 Posts From Readers:

Shaw Kenawe said...

Good morning Robert,

Amen brother!

Maybe I developed habits of conservation because my parents lived through the Great Depression and they taught me to waste not, want not.

We as a culture don't know the meaning of this idea.

Perhaps when we were a younger nation and when there were fewer of us, we could afford to be profligate in our habits, using up more energy than we should per capita and producing per capita more waste. But the party's over my friends.

Here are some things I've done and do to conserve:

I've given up driving my car. This is easy for me because I live in the city and have within a 10 minute public transportation ride a major airport, within a 10 minute walk, two major railroad stations, a bus terminal, and the country's oldest subway system. Oh, and because I'm on the water, I also can make use of water taxis and boats. If I'm truly desperate to get somewhere where public transportation cannot go, I rent a car. Cheaper than owning one. Best of all, I walk, walk, walk most of the time.

Next, I use reusable cloth bags to haul my groceries home. I use cloth napkins, reuse aluminum foil, wash dishes only when the dishwasher is full, and wash clothes only when I have a full load to do. If I need a few things washed--I do them by hand.

Keep lights OFF when not in a room, unplug appliances when not being used, turn down heat at night to 60 degrees.


Eat less and locally.

If we don't need so much of the oil produced in the ME, we don't enrich the renegade leaders who care more about aggression toward "Infidels" than educating their populations.

Has anyone seen the despicable ads for some car (I don't know the name of the car in the ad) where they show family members throwing their perfectly good cars off of cliffs or destroying them in some other way, just so they can have a newer model?

What on earth sort of message is that?


End of rant.

rockync said...

Technology has advanced so much, especially in things like nano physics, we should be looking away from fossil fuels and throwing more support toward alternative energy. I've heard the old argument that these other fuel sources are too expensive, but like computers, I imagine prices will drop as technology continues to develop.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Government mandates and regulation is never the answer to anything because it always creates just the opposite effect of what the mandate or regulation was supposed to control.

Allowing citizens and the private sector to handle this situation is the only answer to the problem...that and getting the enviros off of the no drilling platform.

It is regulation that has caused the prices to climb in the first place. Remember when Carter froze prices in the seventies and all of a suddent we had an oil shortage that nearly bankrupt the economy ?

We have enough oil in the groun in our own country to supply this nation at much higher than our current level of consumption to last for more than 200 years.

There is also strong evidence that oil is NOT the fossel fule that it is thought to be. exploration has shown that oil and gas exist on some of Jupiters moon and also on Mars and I don't remember ever hearing of Dinosaurs or any other fosilized items being on those planets and satellites.

We have the means, the resources and the ability to control our own energy destiny if we would stop playing the PC game and do what we need on our own soil and in the surrounding waters to supply this nation from our own resources.

The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Forgot to add that conservation is a key also but lets face it we in the US are accustomed to our freedoms and living a life style of our own choosing. While we should all strive to conserve we should not have to to the extent that we allow mandates from an all powerful government to force conservation and life style changes that effect our personal rights and fredoms when there is an answer without having to make those changes .....namly meeting our own needs from our own supply and resources that are readily, safely and environmentally safe and available right now!

Robert (Conservative Commentary) said...

My dad was born during the depression and I have heard the stories. My two brothers and I love milk and always have. No matter how tight the budget was, we had milk. My dad said when he grew up even milk was scarce, and he was determined to buy as much as needed so we would never run out.

I learned conservation from him and from the boy scouts. We don't do some of the things you listed, but we make efforts to reduce our waste and reuse things that we can.

I would use public transportation if it were available, but it isnt. For some reason the South lags behind major metro areas in that category. I am sure it has roots in our agrarian economy and losing out on much development in the post civil war era, and maybe someone has done a dissertation on it. Regardless, I can't take public transportation to shop, much less to the airport.

We should drill and refine domestic oil. In the meantime, we should develop alternative fuels and offer tax breaks to the energy companies to find other energy sources. Seriously, the private sector will find the solution when we give them a profit motive!


Here is an exclusive Conservative Commentary Energy Report brought to you by swampcracker. But first, some background statistics (aw, gee, do we really hafta) ...

Ninety percent of the world's merchandise is shipped by boat, and the energy consumed by these merchant ships is equivalent to all the world's automobiles.

German engineers have designed a wind-assisted merchant ship that is 20% more energy efficient that existing vessels. A prototype will launched sometime next year.

Remember, you read about it here first.

Anonymous said...

Good post Robert! I am definitely not an expert regarding this, but a few common sense things come to mind.

Like Shaw mentioned above, turn off lights, unplug things when you are not using them, lowering your heater. If everyone did just a few things it would make a big difference.

The biggest obstacle seems to be that we "shouldn't" drill on our own soil. They need to get past this and realize the benefits. Nobody wants to drill for oil, but it is needed. Sometimes you have to make decisions for the better of the country. Why they can't see this I just don't know.

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