By Alan Caruba
Let’s understand a simple fact. You cannot squeeze any more energy out of a gallon of gasoline than already exists. If you mix it with an additive which itself provides less energy, what you get is less energy.
So, when Congress passed a so-called energy bill in mid-December that demanded more “fuel efficiency” by a measure of forty percent, requiring that automobiles be built to get 35 miles per gallon in 2020 as opposed to the former mandate of 25 mpg, it was essentially telling American auto makers to start making cars out of paper mache or something so lightweight that the driver and passengers will have to be extracted from a crash with a sponge.
Then, too, there’s a strange notion that 300 million Americans, some of whom have been known to drive cars and trucks, are somehow going to be able to “conserve” their way to “energy independence.” You can’t save or conserve the energy in a gallon of gasoline or any other fuel. You either use it or you don’t. If you don’t use it, you better find another way to get to work or anywhere else.
Democrat Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said the energy bill will cut demand for foreign oil and promote non-fossil fuels that will reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming. This is worse than just being stupid, this is dangerous nonsense because (1) there is no global warming and (2) one way to reduce the importation of foreign oil is to encourage the discovery, extraction, and refining of the oil sources that are known to exist in and offshore America.
Does the new “energy bill” permit for drilling and extraction of the millions, perhaps billions, of barrels of oil in Alaska’s ANWR? No. Does the new bill encourage the exploration for oil and natural gas off the nation’s continental shelf on our vast east and west coasts? No. Did it give the oil companies any tax breaks to build the billion-dollar refineries the nation needs? No. Did it encourage the building of nuclear plants? No.
In fact, the Democrats wanted to roll back the $13.5 billion in “tax breaks” which some might otherwise call “incentives” that are granted oil companies. When you consider how much it costs to explore, extract, transport and refine oil, $13.5 billion is chump change, but Congress wanted to grant all kinds of tax breaks and other incentives to wind, solar, and biomass energy producers when none of these alternative forms of energy produce enough to keep the lights on in any American city, nor ever will.
Democrats claimed that American motorists will eventually save $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs. How anyone could make such a claim when even kindergartners know that the price of a barrel of oil is close to $100 defies reality. The only thing that will reduce the price of a barrel of oil is more oil. It’s called supply and demand.
The demand for oil worldwide is increasing because nations such as China and India are becoming more productive in the global marketplace and their citizens want to drive to work just like we do. More cars mean more competition for existing oil supplies. Improving economies mean more people want to eat meat and you get meat by feeding livestock corn, but the new “energy bill” also doubles the production and use of ethanol which is made from corn. As the price of corn rises, so does the cost of everything else, from food to fuel.
Finally, as the perfect example of how totally idiotic this new “energy” bill is, it includes a ban on the incandescent bulb by 2014, beginning with a phase-out of the 100-watt bulb by 2012, just five years from now.
The bill, signed by the President, runs counter to every standard of economics, physics, and common sense. If this is what Congress does with regard to energy, can you imagine what it would produce in terms of health care?
The American people could have filled the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers with chimpanzees and probably gotten a better “energy bill” than that foisted upon us by our elected representatives.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, http://www.anxietycenter.com/. His blog is http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/.
© Alan Caruba, January 2008