America is addicted to OPEC oil.
It’s an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our lives and ties our hands as a nation and as a people.
The addiction has worsened for decades and now it’s reached a point of crisis.
In 1970, we imported less than 25% of our oil. In 2011, it was almost 60%.
Depending on OPEC and other foreign sources for nearly two-thirds of our oil puts America in a precarious position.
In addition to putting our security in the hands of potentially unfriendly and unstable OPEC nations, we are jeopardizing our economy. In 2011, we spent $150 billion to import over 1.5 billion barrels OPEC oil.
That’s money taken out of our economy and sent to OPEC nations.
Over the next 10 years, this addiction will be $2 trillion. How much is $2 trillion? Let’s put it in simple terms. In the history of mankind, no country has ever sent more wealth overseas.
Consider this: Every day 90 million barrels of oil are pumped out of the ground around the world. And 19 million of those are used here in the United States.
That’s 21% of the world’s oil demand. Used by just 4% of the world’s population.
America imports 12 million barrels a day, and Saudi Arabia only produces 9.5 million a day. Is there really more undiscovered oil here than in all of Saudi Arabia?
Oil is getting more expensive to produce, harder to find and there just isn’t enough of it to keep up with demand. The simple truth is that the days of cheap and easy oil are over.
America is focused on another crisis: The economy.
Americans are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. And addressing the economy is still the top priority of our nation, especially in an election year.
To make a real and lasting impact we must seek to do more than create new jobs and opportunities today; we must build the platform on which our economy can continue to grow for decades to come.
There is nothing more important to the present and future of our economy than energy. Any effort to address our economic problems will require a thorough understanding of this issue and willingness to confront our dependence on OPEC oil and what domestic resources we can use.
It is a crisis too large to be addressed piecemeal. We need a plan of action on scale with the problems we face. That is the spirit in which the Pickens Plan was conceived. The Pickens Plan is a collection of coordinated steps that together form a comprehensive approach to America’s energy needs.
The Pickens Plan.
There are several pillars to the Pickens Plan:
- Use America’s abundant natural gas to replace imported oil as a transportation fuel;
- Build a 21st century backbone electrical transmission grid;
- Develop renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power; and,
- Provide incentives to homeowners and the owners of commercial buildings to upgrade their insulation and increase efficiency.
While dependence on OPEC oil is a critical concern, it is not a problem that can be solved in isolation. Americans must begin to think about energy as a whole, and that begins by considering our energy alternatives and thinking about how we will fuel our world in the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.
Natural gas is a domestic fuel that can free us from OPEC oil.
Nearly 15% of every barrel of oil we consume is used by 18-wheelers moving goods around and across the country by burning imported diesel. An over-the-road truck cannot be moved using current battery technology. Fleet vehicles like buses, taxis, express delivery trucks, and municipal and utility vehicles (any vehicle which returns to the “barn” each night where refueling is a simple matter) should be replaced by vehicles running on clean, cheap, domestic natural gas rather than imported gasoline or diesel fuel.
Currently, domestic natural gas is primarily used to generate electricity. It has the advantage of being cheap and significantly cleaner than coal, but this is not the only use of our natural gas resources.
By aggressively moving to shift America’s heavy truck fleets from imported gasoline and diesel to domestic natural gas we can lower our need for OPEC oil and help President Obama reach his goal of zero oil imports from the Middle East within ten years.
But the Pickens Plan isn’t just about natural gas.
Natural gas is not a permanent solution to ending our addiction imported oil. It is a bridge fuel to slash our oil dependence while buying us time to develop new technologies that will ultimately replace fossil transportation fuels. Natural gas is the critical puzzle piece RIGHT NOW. It will help us to keep more of the $350 to $450 billion we spend on imported oil every year at home, where it can power our economy and pay for our investments in a smart grid, wind and solar energy, and increased energy efficiency.
By investing in alternative energies while utilizing natural gas for transportation and energy generation, America can decrease its dependence on OPEC oil, develop the cutting-edge know-how to make wind and solar technology viable, and keep more money at home to pay for the whole thing.
It is this connection that makes The Pickens Plan not just a collection of good ideas, but a true plan.
How do we get it done?
The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future – a blueprint to reduce our dependence on OPEC oil.
By conserving energy and increasing the use of our natural gas resources, we can replace more than one-half of our OPEC oil imports in 10 years. But it will take leadership.
Together with President Obama and the Congress, we can take down the old barriers and provide energy security for generations to come. As the President has said, “Yes, we can.”
More than 1.7 million Americans have joined the Pickens Plan Army. Will you?