Oil Dependency

11/09/2009 11:59 am EST

Focus: MARKETS

Terry Savage

Author, The Savage Truth on Money

The statistics are frightening. In the United States we use 21 million barrels of oil a day. Of that amount, 13 million barrels are imported. In fact, the United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, uses 25 percent of the global supply each day!

This huge financial issue came into focus for me when I recently heard legendary oilman, T. Boone Pickens speak about our vulnerability. Before you jump to the conclusion that the view of an “oilman” might be self serving, let me tell you that the reality is quite the opposite. 

Pickens has spent more than $62 million of his own money trying to educate our Washington leaders of both parties to the dangers of America’s dependence on imported oil from countries that are our potential enemies. He’s backed everything from wind power to solar to geothermal to natural gas (which we have in great abundance) as an alternative to importing oil.

Pickens says the world sees you as both piggish and foolish—using too much oil, and not demanding enough from the countries we protect!  While the Chinese buy up reserves around the world—and even have a deal with Iraq to develop their oilfields—the US has nothing to show for the lives lost and the money spent in that country!

Pickens is doing more than complaining. You can find his suggestions and join his attempt to inform Congress at PickensPlan.com.

One central aspect of Pickens’ solution is to offer immediate tax credits to move our nation’s fleet of more than six million 18-wheel trucks from diesel to natural gas fuel. Since about five million of our 13 million daily imported barrels comes from OPEC, a switch to natural gas as truck fuel could cut our dependence on OPEC in half!

America is overflowing with new natural gas discoveries that have pushed its price down to record lows compared to oil. By switching to our vast natural gas resources we would cut our dependence on foreign oil—and our vulnerability to sworn enemies and fickle friends.

Do you agree that oil dependency is one of America’s greatest vulnerabilities? What’s your solution? Stronger mileage standards? A larger tax on gasoline?  What can we do to become energy independent without destroying our economy?

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