Our elected officials recently proposed a $100 rebate for drivers. This is a great example of the deep insight and impressive leadership that Washington consistently provides.
As Jim Jubak at MSN Money points out:
It’s difficult to come up with creative ideas for solving an oil crisis when you’re so beholden to the oil and gas industry — the same oil and gas industry that contributed $26 million to candidates running for the House, Senate and White House in 2004 and $34 million in 2000 (ranking oil and gas as No. 13 among donor industries in 2004.) About 80% of the money in each of these years went to Republicans and 20% to Democrats.
Here’s the list from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX)
DeLay, Tom (R-TX)
Santorum, Rick (R-PA)
Barton, Joe (R-TX)
Burns, Conrad (R-MT)
Allen, George (R-VA)
Hastert, Dennis (R-IL)
Cornyn, John (R-TX)
Pombo, Richard (R-CA)
Bode, Denise (R-OK)
Talent, James M (R-MO)
Sullivan, John (R-OK)
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ)
Cole, Tom (R-OK)
Sessions, Pete (R-TX)
Thomas, Craig (R-WY)
Inhofe, James M (R-OK)
Pearce, Steve (R-NM)
Tiahrt, Todd (R-KS)
Thomas, Bill (R-CA)
But it’s not just the politicians who are embarrassingly short sighted. The American consumer drives stylishly, regardless of the cost.
Sales of General Motors’ new Tahoe SUV climbed nearly 35% in April; sales of the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade jumped 36% and 127%, respectively.
Big Oil likes the current situation, just the way it is.
ExxonMobil said that, despite record profits, it won’t be building any new refineries anytime soon in the United States because it doesn’t believe that current high gasoline prices are here to stay.
Ethanol is the solution, many politicians suggest, with patriotic zeal.
The May 12, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review reports that ethanol takes more energy than it gives.
- ethanol from corn requires 29% more fossil fuel energy than the fuel produced;
- ethanol from switchgrass requires 45% more fossil energy than the fuel produced; and
- ethanol from wood biomass requires 57% more fossil energy than the fuel produced.
Pimentel and Patzek looked at the energy used in producing the crop, which includes pesticide and fertilizer production, farm machinery, irrigation, and transportation, and the energy necessary for distilling the ethanol. Source: Natural Resources Research (Vol. 14, No. 1, March 2005, pp. 65-76)
As long as our elected officials are more concerned about donors and donations than the future of the country, our energy policy will continue to be an embarassment. What will it take to get their attention?