The Solution to $10 a Gallon Gasolene: Drill, Build and Fill

Gasoline prices are soaring and there is no end in sight.  It’s a case of supply and demand.  Since the green extreme has crippled our ability to increase our supply of fuel, there is no relief for the foreseeable future.   The price of everything we use that is transported — which is virtually everything — will continue to rise as our standard of living falls.

I can see the greens reveling in all this as they crawl out from their yurts in their Birkenstocks, but their euphoria will be short-lived.   Even these extremists have to go beyond bicycle range now and then.

While it is desirable to work toward a future where the bulk of our energy needs are met by renewables, that day is a long way off and likely will not be achieved in our lifetime.

There is no solution to the immediate pain, but we can extend the pain to the point that we cripple the country and bankrupt the citizenry or we can take responsible steps toward meeting both our short-term and long-long term energy needs.

While the left is fond of saying, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem,” any responsible short-term solution involves drilling.  Forget the Middle East!   The U.S. sits on enough oil and gas to meet our immediate energy needs.  That buys us time to transition into cleaner, more efficient sources of energy.  There is little incentive for  our oil companies to do more exploration when we won’t allow them to tap into the resources that already have been discovered.   While it will be five to ten years before any of this oil makes it to market, the price of oil is influenced by the future’s market, so a policy change is important.   If the Clinton  Administration had opened up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and encouraged — not discouraged — the building of refineries, we would not be over the OPEC barrel today.

In today’s environment, an offshore oil rig is a beautiful thing!    Not only are these rigs environmentally friendly, they are so far away you can’t see them from the shoreline.

Presently, we use oil-driven turbines to meet much of our peak power needs.  We need more nuclear power plants!  It’s the cleanest, most efficient, most economical source of energy available and should be part of our  solution.

Thanks to the Jimmy Carter, who as a president made a good peanut farmer, we are not allowed to recycle nuclear waste.  This marketable commodity that is piling up and is both a problem and a solution.  America’s 56,000 tons of spent fuel contains roughly enough energy to power every U.S. household for 12 years.

In addition to reprocessing nuclear fuel, we need to open our Yucca Mountain storage repository as soon as possible and get over the baseless fear that this is going to harm the residents of Nevada.  Presently, this waste is being held at over 100 sites in 39 states and no one who lives near one of those sites is glowing from the radiation, nor has anyone been harmed who lives near one of America’s 104 commercial reactors.  If it is safe for the residents of New York City, San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Green Bay, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami, certainly it is safe for the residents of  Nevada.  Yucca Mountain is located in a remote desert about a 100 miles from Las Vegas, the nearest population center.

The uranium needed to fuel our nuclear reactors is plentiful in this country.  Furthermore, using the best technology available, the amount of nuclear waste that would be produced from a lifetime of use by each person will fit into the palm of your hand.

There may be a day when the bulk of our energy needs can be met with renewables.  That is a worthwhile goal, but there is no need to cripple our country in the process when there are other alternatives available.   This is tantamount to a parent who, in his desire to feed his child the perfect food, lets the child starve because this food presently is unavailable in quantities that can sustain life.

The last thing we must do is fill — fill Congress only with responsible representatives and senators who will support a balanced approach to meeting our short-term and long-term energy needs.  There should be no room for extremists who, up to this point, have dominated our energy policy.

15 thoughts on “The Solution to $10 a Gallon Gasolene: Drill, Build and Fill

  1. Dear Jane,
    You are absolutely right in every regard on this issue. All the “alternative energy sources” being currently pursued, have been pursued since the end of the nineteenth century. Solar cells were invented in the 1890s, fuel cells about the same time, and electric and steam cars were serious competitors with gas powered cars until Ford made the model T.
    I’ve been working as a mechanic since I was a little boy, played with ham radio to the point of building a couple of receivers from scratch, and spent two decades in the Corps as a professional electronics field expert. All of these mentioned alternate sources have been worked on continuously for more than an hundred years, and the fuel cell is now almost double in its efficiency, batteries and electric cars are much the same, and solar cells have dropped to an hundredth of their original cost per kilowatt, but are still only good for charging twelve volt batteries.
    It would seem that most of our political people think “industrial revolutions” are things that have a big change every now and then with lots of little changes along the way, and that is simply not how it works. The “Otto Cycle” engine, the basis of all our gas engines, was about twenty percent energy efficient in the late eighteen eighties, when Dr. Otto patented it and about fifty of the specific details of his engine. As of the late seventies, it was brought to the level of over thirty percent, and closing in on thirty five percent power per BTU of fuel was “the gold standard”. Only our computer generated technology moved the gas engine to where it is today, hovering above thirty five percent with no particular variant being significantly different, even with an hundred different engine designers going different directions.
    The “Otto cycle engine” took over where the steam engine left off, and it had “owned” the power industry for a couple hundred years. We are not going to make the next exponential improvement incrementally, but the same way we’ve made every real significant change: a new idea will come out and catapult us an exponentially measured leap to our next primary mover. This is how it has always been, whether talking pottery making of metallurgy. It has never been a subject politicians are capable of understanding because their minds do not operate in a linear way, and they are not compatible with cold, hard facts that exist and cannot be manipulated.
    The only reason we are where we are, is because we have allowed politicians to direct our schools, and in doing so, turning and education into an indoctrination. We are not looking to the future for solutions, but simply re-hashing ideas that got left behind by the “industrial revolution” because they were not competitive. There are literally hundreds of different fuel engine designs that have been around for almost an hundred and fifty years. It is highly unlikely that any of them will be the next prime mover. The last time, with the “Otto cycle engine”, it was nothing at all like its predecessor, the hundreds of variants of high performance steam engines.
    There has never been a better time to drill for oil, given our enormous advances in the past forty years, and there has never been a better time to mine coal for the same reasons. There has never been a better time for nuclear power, again, given the exact same reasons. All these things would have been matters addressed as we moved forward had the “green movement” not been a monolith blocking progress.
    With our current standard of “breeder reactors” we don’t ever have to have “spent fuel”, as it all can be recycled through such reactors, but they have been called “evil” because they are also the easiest source of bomb making material.
    Because of the freedom of speach here in America, the greens have been able to pack our news and school books with wild propaganda, of the same value as the coming ice age propaganda of the seventies. Had we continued on a resource responsible path, paying full attention to environmental issues, we would be getting most of our electrical power from nuclear plants, and we would be one hundred percent energy self-sufficient, and I suspect that forty years of working what we haven’t been, would have delivered numbers we can only guess at, because incremental improvements can only be measured for their real value, over the long run.
    The one thing everyone needs to know, think about, internalize, and take seriously is that every bit of energy we use at all in any way, is derived directly from our sun. If that is not a “given factor” at the beginning of every consideration of energy and power, one cannot put these things in proper perspective.
    For all of those who will postulate opposing, they should be reminded that “thermo-nuclear” power has been known about since the “Manhattan project”, and was touted as the next prime energy source forty years ago. No one has built a fusion power plant yet, and it’s been in the works for sixty years or more.
    Sincerely,
    John McClain

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  2. Jane the problem with your article and the
    response from Mr McClain (I first thought it
    was from the Senator)is that you’re employing way
    too much common sense and logic. I must say that
    there are times like now that I’m baffled
    that we are bowing down to “Dukes of Arabia”
    (who don’t care about our well being)
    and not using our own tried and tested
    natural resources like the huge deposits
    of yet untapped oil in Alaska as an energy source.
    I think the caribou even like those warm Alaskan
    pipes to snuggle up to when it’s cold and
    even if they didn’t, should we be like the Hindus
    who starve to death while the cows walk the streets?
    I’ve envisioned a hideous personage mocking the
    stupidity of humans in cases like those in India
    where people are “purified” in a river of filth
    and death and the masses are famished while the
    resource for their health is stareing them in
    the face. I believe we are talented enough to take good care of the wildlife around a pipeline and once again; even if we couldn’t and an infantecimal amount of wildlife suffered, should our nation suffer when the answers (like Alaskan oil, nuclear energy and opening up new refineries)are right in front of our noses? and, will we continue to pay homage to the environmentalists who give preference to plants and animals over and above humans and reduced us to a less than when it comes to value?

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  3. Jane,

    The Bush Administration, at least wants to drill more in the United States, but it was kind of humiliating recently for a U.S. president when Bush went cap in hand to the Saudis and asked for them to increase their oil production and was turned down. Bush and Cheney miscalculated as they have done in other matters, when they thought that their Saudi “friends” would go on indefinitely without a drop-off in oil production with them not having a Plan B in case the Saudis did indeed do what they have done. If only Bush could communicate much better with the American people he could then use the bully pulpit and put the pressure on the liberals in Congress and the environmentalists to get out of the way in terms of drilling much more in the United States. Sadly, however, Bush cannot articulate very well and lacks insight and vision as president. Why did he run for the office?

    Clay

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  4. Jane,

    You are so right on the gasoline issue. Sadly,I believe liberal America will not pull their heads out from the sand until another Pearl Harbor happens.
    I notice most articles blame the Saudis for the high gas prices, but it seems we import most of our supply from Canada first, then Mexico and then the middle east. –Nottrib Yar

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  5. Hi,

    I agree but I see things from a different slant. That being the Democrats and all liberals in the Republican party want to punish Americans for we have supposedly succeeded on the backs of slaves. They want our way of live to be changed and they are going to punish us for not listening to them. They refuse to allow drilling due to, not environmentalism, although I do think it is a part of the reason, but mainly due to our richness. Even our poor have more then most really poor families in other countries. You have Obama, who I question his citizenship due to his Birth certificate being absent, has a bill before the Senate that would have made the American tax payer pay for over 850 billion dollars a year to be given away through the United Nations, a known thief, to the worlds supposed poor. Then you have the Democrats crafting a carbon bill of several trillion dollars, again to be paid by the America tax payer, on a supposed theory of man caused global warming that is opposed by over 30,000 scientists, but is supported by mob rule and justice (for doesn’t “consensus” mean that?) Even a judge in England stated that several things in Gore’s movie were blatantly false.

    Therefore it is Obama, Hilary, McClean and the Democratic party that hates Americans and believes that we should be punished. Otherwise why threaten to tax the tar out of the oil companies when it failed in the 1970 gas shortages? Only an increase in oil and gasoline relieved that and yes we need to drill and build refineries. Have you heard about that guy that is able to use bacteria to make hydrocarbons out of wood chips/grass clippings or anything that has biomass, which in turn can be refined like oil into gas and diesel. This has been proven because even the DOD wanted to be briefed by him but the news agencies are silent as the grave on this discovery. Makes you wonder why. I’ve even written my supposed representatives in Congress but they are also silent. How much they must hate the American people to inflict pain and the news media are part of this. How about Larry King’s program last night with several idiots that said to get a second job and look around your house and see what you can sell. That just doesn’t sound right to me. This supposed down turn is contrived because we have not had two or even one negative quarter.

    Think about it. Instead of doing their best to impeach President Bush, the American people should impeach the Congress for not doing their jobs and doing instead witch hunts and pushing bills that will change the U.S. Constitution without going through the Amendment process as well as what is not good for America. AND I’M ANGRY ENOUGH TO HIT THE NEXT POLITICIAN I MEET. The consequences don’t even matter any more for now I must make choices that hurt my family just to get enough fuel each week to go to work. For a Dad and Husband that HURTS! And yes I’m already driving a small car that I can sometimes coax 40 miles per gallon out of but the parts are expensive since they do not make most of them anymore. It’s 12 years old and the radio doesn’t even work because no dealer will give me the code to unlock it. I drive a minimum of 60 miles a day for work and there is no way I can car pool and they do not have public transportation here. So tell the GOVERNMENT to KISS MY BEHIND. Sorry about that, I just get so angry that I’m now going out back to punch the bag to relieve some tension and anger. I also do a lot of praying for that helps too. But why does the Government hate us so much? Can you answer that? No one can here.

    Thank you for listening and SMILE???? It might make someone nervous and I hope it’s a government official. 🙂

    A Christian,

    Ralph E. Zecco
    Psalm 9:17 AV

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  6. When is anyone going to admit that this country’s “law enforcement” enable the stench that is destroying the US? How long do you think Pelosi, Reid, and the other maggots would last without the Nation’s Finest goose-stepping in unison to support them? Both Osama and McShame are siding with the greenie weenies on
    global warming. McCain says gas prices shouldn’t come down. And the filthy pigs enable the media to ensure that those two maggots are the only sewage that can be elected as president. The First Amendment doesn’t make a special class of the Media. It applies just as much to Billy Joe Bubba Bob publishing the Eufala Mobile Home Park Gazette as it does to CBS News. But Billy Joe Bubba Bob can’t use the First Amendment. They raped the Constitution and mocked the law, and I curse them every day for what they’ve done to this country.

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  7. Mark,

    I’m not sure to whom you are referring when you speak of “law enforcement.” Congress makes the laws of the land and the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbitrator to see that our laws pass constitutional muster. Unfortunately, some of our justices openly admitted that they feel they are entitled to bend the constitution to fit their own ideas of social justice and they were approved by the majority of our senators.

    We are the problem. We let those senators survive. They should have been dumped. At least the outcry should have been so loud, that they would be too scared to do such a thing again.

    As for the media. I have spent my entire career in the media, much of it in a television newsroom. I can tell you with certainty that the overwhelming majority of writers and reporters take the criticism they receive from average folks seriously because THEY WANT TO BE CONSIDERED GOOD JOURNALISTS.

    Unfortunately, very few people bother to call or write a journalist when they see something that is biased or underreported or not reported at all. You would be surprised at the effect that you and 10 friends could have on your local media or you and 50 friends could have on someone in the national media by holding him or her accountable. If the journalist doesn’t respond, call his or her editor or news director. I know this works. I’ve seen it work. It just doesn’t happen every often.

    Just keep your letters and phone calls short and RESPECTFUL if you want to be taken seriously.

    When you see something wrong or biased in the media, give a letter writing party. Invite your friends. Have some computers with different fonts available and
    writing paper with different pens. You don’t want it to look like it came from one person or it is part of a campaign. Have some examples of the problem recorded on the TV or photocopy some articles and then let your friends go to work. Give prizes for the most thoughtful, pithy, original, best use of humor. Then, assign your friends different dates to drop them in the mail, hopefully from a few different postal zones. If you are trying to impact a network, enlist some family members in other states to do the same.

    Do it for your country!

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  8. I have no doubt that you’re right. I’m certain that Brian Williams and Dan Rather would respond appropriately to people contacting them politely and identifying the bias in their newscasts. And when Ruth Ginsburg spouts Rwandan law to justify a Supreme Court decision, well it MUST be in the Constitution. After all, it’s a living document, and it all depends on what the meaning of “is” is. We surely must expect Law Enforcement to goose-step along to her tune!

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  9. Mark,

    You inspired me to write my latest column. Please, take the time to consider it. I have been there. I know what I am talking about. I was a conservative in a sea of liberal journalist but I have seen what a few well chosen comments can do.

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  10. I devoted one chapter in my book, A Drop in the Bucket, [Forward by Newt Gingrich] to The Energy Crisis … I wrote it in 2005 and it seems to be right on the mark only 3 years later … I am including it here for general comment.

    If You Build It, They Will Come

    Serving as my company’s Energy Czar during the
    1970’s energy crisis, I gained some extensive experience in the energy field. In my opinion, during that period, the consumer got caught up in a battle between the government and the energy companies. They said there was a shortage of fossil fuels; but, surprisingly, when the price of oil got high enough, there was no longer a shortage.

    There are several long-term energy areas – such as
    solar, wind, corn alcohol, etc. – that are research intensive and expensive but give promise as long-term
    solutions.

    For years, I have felt that there was some middle ground for energy growth. These would include drilling in the ANWR fields of Alaska and off the coast of Florida. But in my opinion, the one that has the greatest potential is nuclear power.
    Only 20% of the U.S. energy supply is nuclear and there have not been any new plants put in operation since 1979 – over twenty-five years ago. In fact, a nuclear power plant has been built in the Northeastern area of the United States and has NEVER been turned on.

    Are there dangers? Of course … but don’t the rewards
    far outweigh the risks?

    Worldwide, as of May 2005, there are 439 nuclear
    energy reactors in operation and 137 under construction, planned or proposed. Of the 137, NONE are in the United States.

    So where are they?

    France: 78% of the French energy supply is nuclear,
    with 59 reactors in operation.

    China: 15 reactors operational with 31 in the works.

    Russia: 17 nuclear reactors operating, generating 17% of Russian energy usage; they have another 13 underway
    or planned.

    Japan: 25% of their power is generated from 54
    operating reactors, and they have another 14 in their
    future.

    South Korea: 20 nuclear generation plants producing
    40% of their requirements; another 8 planned.

    England and Canada: These two nations have more
    reactors per capita than the U.S., with 40 plants in
    operation and 5 under construction or planned.

    What do these countries know that we in the U.S.
    don’t?

    With the right regulations and controls, nuclear power
    can be our shortest path to achieving a self-sufficient energy level that will greatly reduce our dependency on imported oil.

    Surprisingly, decreasing our dependence on foreign
    oil will increase the oil supply and decrease the price of the imported oil … The Arab sheiks need the
    money … Supply and Demand wins again.

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  11. Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s statement this week that “nuclear power plants are unsafe as evidenced by the fact that insurance companies will not insure them”, is either very naive or just a democrat effort to play to our fears.

    First, insurance companies do insure the normal risks for nuclear power plants. Fire, windstorm, worker injuries, auto accidents, etc. the same as any other American business. They do not insure the “nuclear” risk (which is excluded from all policies, not just nuclear plants), mainly because there is no way to set a premium where there are no experienced accidents and there is no way to determine what damage a nuclear explosion would cause.

    Secondly, even having said that, there is a pool of insurance companies that do insure the nuclear accident risk within certain specified limits. See http://www.nuclearinsurers.com for more details.

    The Kennedy tradition of lying and making up facts seems to go on forever.

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  12. Thanks for this one, Jane. We must do MORE than just drill and fill. We MUST remove the speculation markets that are driving the costs ballistic, and hammering the American consumers where it hurts most: in their net disposable income. Aaaand, we MUST rein in the FedRes on their unlawful activity, not found anywhere in the U.S. constitution. Our congressional leadership has been corrupt for at least 100 years, and a comlicit print media and electronic media just ignores or spikes all info that would benefit the citizenry in making intelligent, informed decisions on who to vote for – et al.

    Thanks again for all your works.

    Rich. Hunter
    (in VT)

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