The price at the gas pump is certainly on everyone's mind. We read about Airliner Bankruptcies too and their fuel costs. Truckers are complaining and the average American is modifying their travels, errands and schedules around to deal with the fuel cost increases. Wholesale inflation looms as all the costs for shipping are being passed on. Even though people are joking about the outrageous costs of fuel, it is a serious matter. Hybrid sales are up over 50% in the last two-months and dealers cannot keep them stocked. But what about other fuel costs. Gasoline, diesel and jet fuel are not the only fuel costs up these days.
This brings me to the next fuel to be discussed; "Natural Gas." We use Natural Gas for heating and running appliances at home. Industries use Natural Gas to help the environment. Many companies switched to Natural Gas in the last decade due to tax breaks given by government agencies. Now it appears there will be a huge price spike due to supply shortages. Which will cause many business failures in industries whose jobs have for the most part already left the country due to union demands, over regulations, costs and WTO and NAFTA deals. Why is there a shortage of Natural Gas? We have been converting to cleaner burning fuels and there is plenty of Natural Gas in the world. Unfortunately drilling has been hampered due to Environmental and Sierra Club lawsuits, such as the one off the New England coast, which stated that the drilling, which would only last a month or so might hurt the extremely low frequencies that dolphins and whales use to communicate. Then there have been hundreds of lawsuits filed against offshore oil drilling, natural gas pipelines.
Much has been discussed about the need for hydrogen economy and it's desirable attributes for the environment. All well and good, but right now we have issues with fuel and oil which are critical with regards to the reserves available and the amount at any one time in the pipeline, both actually and figuratively.
Hydrogen is a wonderful future choice, but only through incremental change. Many say ethanol is the answer. Maybe but lets not forget that it takes water to grow corn and many of the areas where corn grows well have gone through some rather harsh drought times lately. If we subsidize farmers to grow corn, use up all the water and then the price of the ethanol is close to that of gasoline then why not use the same money to lower the taxes placed on gasoline now? It is the same money and we get some of the water back and still have something to eat, make plastics out of and export. There needs to be some clear headed thinking about these issues and all too often it is political and not reality based. It is going to require some non-linear thinking and deep thought. Renewable energy is a fine 'Buzz word' but it should not be applied to every thing that comes along. There are many issues to the flow of energy. Because the oil in the ground and the natural gas is sitting there and it is free, it makes sense to use it. It only needs to be picked up refined and transported. These other technologies also need to be refined and transported. And if the refining process puts pollution and green house gases in the atmosphere, then where have we really saved. It has to work all the way around in the environmental circle and still be produced for the same price point, otherwise it is defeating the purpose it intended and therefore it is not reality based. A very skeptical eye needs to be watching these movements and if it makes sense, move it forward incrementally.
Today there is no shortage of oil or natural gas whatsoever on this planet. We have certainly come along way since the old stories of the Permian Basin originals. If you have studied some of the incredible stories and histories of the Texas Wild Cat'ers, then you can see what an incredible distance we have really come in keeping up with the World's thirst for oil and the refined products such as Jet Fuel, Diesel and Gasoline and ancillary chemicals left over during the refining process. The flow of fuel is a key to the Health of the Nation.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs