Sunday, June 15, 2008

Energy (continued)

I have to get my mind off of Tim Russert. So, let me come back to a very lively topic that garnered 11 comments to my recent post.

I have posted the evidence that drilling in ANWR will not yield oil for 10 years and will only lower the cost of oil by a few dollars per barrel. I think it would be foolish in the year 2008, to start a multi-billion dollar project in the the very north of pristine Alaska to squeeze out a relatively small amount of oil compared to our overall consumption.

Instead, if the money spent to on the ANWR project went to tax credits to privately-owned companies that focus on non-fossil fuel energy sources, I think it would do a lot more for the overall energy picture. Or, at least shift over the $10 billion in government (tax-payer) subsidies from oil companies to alternative energy companies. It is absolutely ludicrous that these companies are still getting all these subsidies while making record profits at our expense.

I think it it foolish to try to increase the extraction and consumption of a natural resource that will eventually be depleted, when instead we can focus efforts on energy sources that are LIMITLESS (solar, wind, nuclear), clean, and easily attainable. It seems like such an easy choice. Plus, we can also work on decreasing consumption.

This is not a far-off pipe dream. GM is coming out with it's plug-in hybrid that can go 40 miles without using any gas, and can get 640 miles on only 12 gallons of gas. Tesla motors is coming out with an electric sports car that is 100% electric, goes 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, and gets an "equivalent" of 135 mpg.

What is not cool about that type of technology? Doesn't that feel better than burning oil? It is like non-fat ice cream...guilt free. You still can have your sexy fast car and not pollute the earth. And, remember, drivers of fuel-efficient cars are more likely to pick up women.


Don Martin said...

"Doesn't that FEEL better than burning oil?"

That's almost as good as accepting any and every tax increase, because it's for "the children."

Warm fuzzies aside, I do agree that there is no reason to subsidize the oil industry. It is ridiculous that they get any subsidies (even when they were losing money at times the past few decades -- the mainstream media didn't seem to report those dire days as much).

We will have to agree to disagree on increased drilling. I think we need to do a wide variety of things, not just take money away from Americans and give it to researchers who will feel good not accomplishing a damn thing.

I also am glad to see you cite the response GM has made with no government regulation or increased taxes to me. How many hybrids has Communist China, Neo-Tsarist Russia, any Dark Age Caliphate, or lazy socialist European government produced?

And GM didn't even take my property to do it. Amazing how that works.

Those evil American corporations. I guess W and Halliburton didn't let GM in on the conspiracy.....

Tsk Tsk.

Oh, and while evil American corporations are responding with solutions, the "model" (e.g. Europe) responds with whining, riots, and waiting for other countries to save the day ...... again.

Cocameister said...


Each day starts anew. We cannot change the past. If you are arguing for no government intervention, then we shouldn't change the way things are going now. Let the markets dictate what's going to happen. And, by the way GM and the auto companies have reacted, and the way the stocks of wind, solar and nuclear companies have reacted, the change over to cleaner fuels is coming sooner than later.

Why would you want to change the tide now by increasing the supply of oil and thus artifically changing the market forces that have come into play?

Don Martin said...


Where do I start?

Permitting private companies to increase the supply of oil in response to increased demand is THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF ARTIFICIALLY AFFECTING THE MARKET.

The regulations you support prohibiting them from increasing the supply of oil IS ARTIFICIALLY AFFECTING THE MARKET.

If we let the market work, we would have a much higher supply and prices would not be where they are now. Furthermore, if countries like China did not subsidize the cost of gas for its citizens (another artificial effect), demand would be lower, as would prices.

Oh, and if we had true market competition and not a cartel in the Middle East controlling the bulk of the oil (remember the US and its mean corporations are bit players on the world stage), then we would have lower prices.

Now, that being said, we may not have the warm fuzzies of hybrids and Chevy Volts as quickly as you would like in a true market, but I would rather discuss dealing with the externalities of pollution than imposing the chains of taxation and regulation on Americans, so we can feel good about spending money on research that GM will figure out by itself anyway.

Will said...

I fell behind a couple days and I can't sift through to make this comment totally relevant but before I get to that, Don I'm wondering how you would propose to 'deal with externalities of pollution?'

Also, if we want to look at how BIG government and American ingenuity have worked fabulously well together to promote scientific advancement and improve the quality of human life, how about the NIH and NASA?

We have a large issue here - reducing fossil fuel consumption - that affects national security, economic stability and my favorite warm, fuzzy topic - the existence of the human race. If we let the free market have its way, we get cross-eyed anti-solutions like 'keep looking for new places to drill for oil' so we have to either (a) impose an ineffectual bureaucracy of corrupt ideologues by military coup OR
(b)design market corrections and subsidies that will discourage fossil fuel use and incent innovation. I'm seeing a Department of Energy Independence.

On a side note, it's astounding that given US corporate tax structure, legislative influence of lobbyists, etc, etc GM et al. get treated like the unfettered engines of ingenuity in this debate.