Energy Ignorance in America

August/29/2009 17:21PM
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Before the government got in the energy business it rolled along pretty well in this country. Granted, the government had to mess with John D’s little monopoly and bust it into what became as many as 30 offspring. Much like Ma Bell. But, other than that, we had the most energy efficient system in the world. That’s why gasoline was selling for as little as 30 cents a gallon in the early 70’s. Then came the Arab embargo. Then came the conspiracy theories. Then came the government. The Exxon spill in Alaska was just what the government and the budding environmental movement needed to take over.

Here’s what the government has done for you. Stopped all new nuclear power plants. If built, we would need few coal-fired electrical plants today in this country. Stopped offshore drilling. Stopped drilling in Alaska and stopped a pipeline that would have brought oil and natural gas to the lower 48. Promoted ethanol. Why? For the farm vote, no other reason. And, spent billions of your tax dollars to make an uneconomic energy source competitive.

Spent billions on research in biofuels, algae, and other lost causes. Spent billions to get wind and solar up and running. They can’t compete with conventional power,so like ethanol, they must be helped along with your tax dollars.

But, one area where the government has yet to interfere, but God bless their little hearts, they are trying, is natural gas production in the lower 48. With new drilling techniques, the energy industry has been able to go through shale and find gas. Lot’s of gas. Environmentalists who would prefer you live in a cave while they live in a Hollywood mansion or on a lake in Tennessee(Gore), are trying to find a way to stop this effort.

Meanwhile, the efforts underway in Washington center around finding minority firms to produce wind and solar or to do more fruitless research on ideas that won’t work. Even though the government owns two car companies(with your money) they can’t put two things together. One, we suddenly have an abundance of natural gas in this country, two, cars and trucks can run on natural gas.

If GM were to begin producing CNG(compressed natural gas) cars instead of battery cars, we could start to move to energy independence. For less than $3,000 you could have a small compressor attached to your garage wall to turn your home-delivered natural gas into CNG that will run on vehicle technologies that have existed for 30 years.

But, no, we have our government pursuing battery-powered vehicles. Always on the wrong page at the wrong time. Where does the electricity come from to recharge the batteries? From power produced from coal. Or, as the government hopes, wind or solar. If wind or solar, does the price go up? Of course, way up. Who benefits? The companies into wind and solar, like GE, the company that promotes the Obama administration on their TV networks, the company where Immelt, the CEO, sits at the president’s knee, and the company that will benefit most from increased wind and solar production. Who loses? The consumer, who has to subsidize the cost of making GE money vs. nuclear or natural gas power, or better yet, CNG transportation fuels.

If the energy producers aren’t stopped by the government or the environmentalists, they will keep finding natural gas, and the more they find, the cheaper it gets. At some point, the marketplace will take over and some car manufacturers, not run by the government, like Toyota, will begin producing CNG cars. The more produced, the easier it will be to get CNG. Twenty years ago it cost about $20,000 to put a CNG compressor in a conventional service station. If that’s $40,000 today, it beats trying to get your Volt charged on the road.

Despite the government getting more and more involved in the energy business and doing more and more to keep us tied to foreign oil, the energy industry keeps finding ways to make it happen despite the government. If there is hope for this, and it appears natural gas is the biggest ray of hope in 30 years, it will happen despite the government.

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