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New Energy or Old Ways

More oil needed? No, we either need new refineries or find a new energy source.

Many people wonder, how can the United States be exporting more oil and yet we still have high gasoline prices? Open up more oil fields to drive down gasoline prices; build the Keystone Pipline. We have plenty of oil. On Friday, the report that was released indicated we had a surplus of 900,000 barrels. Last quarter we exported more oil than we imported.So why do we have high gasoline prices? We just do not have the capacity to refine. Oil needs to be processed to make gasoline and the last time we opened a new refinery was 1976. Since then, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of cars on the road has increased almost two-fold. It would make sense that with limited capacity and an increasing demand, gasoline prices had to climb.

So what should we do? The thought process is, as always double sided. By building another refinery, we continue to do what we have always done and that will stifle additional research into alternative energies, but ultimately help drive down the cost of gasoline. No pun intended. People blame extreme environmentalists and the Obama administration’s strict environmental policies in preventing further exploration. It’s not exploration that is needed. We need refineries. If you do not believe me, look at what happened to gasoline prices after Hurricane Katrina. Those refineries that shut down caused prices to skyrocket, and I would say, we still have not recovered from that. With that said, it takes years to get a refinery up and running at a very large cost. But, that would help create thousands of jobs, not to mention help the other industries. Fortunately there are one or two refineries set to open next year, but will that be enough?

What about alternative energy? It seems to be taking a foothold. The jobs being created are higher paying scientific positions. This is good. We know our current energy resources are limited and one of the best ways to cripple our economy is to cause a disturbance in the oil and gas pipelines, so alternative energy makes sense. However, it too would take years to change our infrastructure, but like the refinery, would create thousands of jobs across the United States and potentially solve the issue surrounding gasoline prices.

The United States historically steps it up when it needs to and innovates. However having “cheaper” gas in the past stifled that innovation and did not provide incentives to do so.  Is now the time we make the hard choice and commit to the yet to be discovered fuel resource? In both cases, a solution to the price of gasoline is not immediate. The question we need to ask, do we want to seek out new answers to our problems or to go with what we already know?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Richard May 28, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Right now we need both, everybody can't buy a new type of vehicle overnight but we cannot stop exploring innovation for new technology to eventually replace what we have been doing.
Lyle Ruble May 30, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Unlike Europe who consistently held high fuel costs, we artificially maintained low fuel costs. It has had the net effect that Europe is far ahead of us in using alternative forms of energy. For example, the Europeans have used diesel powered vehicles, while we generally rejected it. We all know it will take time and capital to transition and the sooner we commit to it the better off we will be.
Jay Sykes May 30, 2012 at 11:32 PM
The big fleet routes are currently in the process of transitioning to Natural gas. As an example, Waste Management is purchasing Natural Gas fueled garbage trucks for 80% of the units that they are replacing. These Natural Gas burning replacement trucks cost $30,000 more than diesel equivalent, but have a lower fuel bill of $27,000 per year; a 13 month payback for just changing away from oil. Fleet operators that run 'local routes', that return to a home base each night,like Waste Management, UPS, FedEx, Pepsi, post office,Public bus systems.... use about 20% of all the oil that is burned by cars and trucks each day. You will note that this big shift to NatGas,by major fleet operators, is happening due to market forces alone, no government manipulation. With a little luck this will give us the time we need to make other types of 'alternate fuel' more reliable and affordable.
Craig May 31, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Let me start off by saying I am not an environmentalist. Abu Dahbi is creating a green city from scratch to house 40,000 people. They are filthy rich from oil wealth, yet they chose to invest hundreds of millions in an energy experiment. The architecture of the buildings are designed to cool the air at street level. All automobiles are electric powered and automated by GPS with no driver needed. The cars travel under the streets, this allows for cooler air at street level. Electric power is generated by solar means with a first of it's kind steam powered turbine heated by focused sunlight. The point I am trying to make here is if the US would have invested when we were the economic superpower- we could have this technology here. Now we are left with a dead horse economy, and are dependant on foreign oil. Wait and watch as China follows Abu Dahbi. The US is in no position to follow suit with this type of investment.

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