Monday, February 13, 2006

Energy Policy Or Rather - the Lack of One

The State of The Union Speech covered for the first time, the topic that hints of an Energy Policy for the United States. The phrase "addicted to oil" is an euphemism in my opinion. Perhaps the words lifeblood or air supply would be better descriptions.

The first oil crisis was in 1973 and we never developed a National Energy Policy. That was more than three decades ago and every president has chosen to avoid crafting a policy. Even this one avoids one and supplies some $150 million for R&D. This is only a tiny first step - not a national energy policy.

Look at China, a competitor at the international level to the United States. They are building 30 nuclear reactors over the next 20 years or so. They have the world's largest dam. What do we have in the United States? No new nuclear reactors. We also have a shortage of refinery plants outside the gulf area. They shut down during hurricanes Katrina and Rita and pushed up prices as a result. We also have upstate New Yorkers protesting against a wind farm being put up that mars their view of nature. We also cannot drill in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in a responsible fashion. We're giving no thought to the future as a nation and we're selfish in the extreme.

You want to cut gasoline consumption? There is one clear way to do it. That is to encourage and perhaps even mandate telecommuting at some level. When you don't have to drive 30 miles, you save between 1 to 3 gallons. Let's do some hypothetical numbers. Let's say you mandate that 2% of all workers must be telecommuting every business day. Let's say we have 100 million workers. That's 2 million people folks. Let's say they drive an average of 30 miles a day - a rather conservative number. 60 million miles not driven every business day. Lets use 20 miles per gallon and we are looking at 3 million gallons a day savings. Which works out to approximately 14 million barrels of gasoline a year. You decide.

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