This is important, because physics has allowed the combustible engine to provide the world with a cost effective solution for traveling long distance. Sadly, the electric car can only be used for short to medium distances. Then, there is another potential problem that could be developing with the lithium batteries that are used, where China control 95% to 100% the resources for these batteries (lithium). This is problematic because they could restrict how much they are exporting (which they already have) to ensure that there is enough supply for the country to meet its own internal demand. (Bryce 2010)
Despite this dire news, there are increased effort within the industry to support the use and development of such new technologies, to work in conjunction with the combustible engine. An example of this support for such technologies can be seen by the fact several oil companies hold the patents on several different batteries used in the electric car. (Newby 2009) Then, when you combined this with increased research and development funding that the federal government is giving to the auto industry (such as: $8 billion invested in various programs last year); highlights how the attitudes are changing. (U.S. Banks Billion on Electric Car 2010) This is significant because it underscores that the various oil companies are playing an inactive role, where they allow for various improvements to be made upon their patents, to be used in future automobile design. With enough research and development the overall life and resources that are used in the different batteries can become more common. Once this takes place, is when you will see the overall dependency on fossil fuels decline.
The Pickens Plan
Oil insider T. Boone Pickens has created a plan to reduce the overall amounts of dependency on fossil fuels. Where, natural gas would be used as a way to effectively reduce the overall amounts of oil that is being consumed. While at the same time, we would be using the vast open spaces in the West and Midwest to develop an energy infrastructure, which could reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1 million barrels per day. According to Pickens, world oil production peaked in 2005, with the U.S. importing 12 million barrels a day, while Saudi Arabia only has the capacity to produce 9 million. This is problematic because regardless of how much more drilling occurs, if worldwide production has peaked then we are simply only addressing the problem over the short-term. To effectively counter this situation, the plan calls for switching the majority of America's energy structure over the medium term to natural gas reserves. This is because America has vast amounts of natural gas reverses. These can quickly be converted and utilized to power everyday cars and trucks. For those vehicles that are engaged in the transportation of various goods and services, such a switch would work to effectively reduce the overall amounts of fossil fuels that are being used. This is because they account for nearly 20% of the total amounts of fossil fuel consumption that is currently taking place. Then when you combine this with the facts: that it is cleaner than fossil fuels is mainly used in the production of electricity and automobiles can easily be converted; makes this an ideal solution over the short-term to address the various environmental issues. (the Plan 2010)
Under the Pickens's Plan, once the switch has taken place, the overall amounts of fossil fuel consumption will fall. This is because the shift will gradually reduce the large amounts of crude oil that are being consumed. It is at this point, that the government and the industry can work on developing vast renewable energy infrastructure. In this particular case, there would be an emphasis on developing hybrids that could work well with the various forms of natural gas type of engines. This is effectively, keeping the fuel efficiency standards high; while at the same time allowing for increased amounts of innovation in the status quo for so long. For out of fear, as to how expensive such drastic changes could impose upon the industry. If you can encourage such a strategy to be utilized, there is a possibility that the majority of companies would embrace these changes. This is because many of the large multinational oil companies own natural gas properties and assets. (the Plan 2010) for example, Exxon Mobil is one of the largest oil companies in the world that is focused on developing, producing and distributing oil / natural gas. The short to medium term switch would allow them sufficient time, to be able to offset any kind of potential losses that could be experienced from making such a switch. (Exxon Mobil 2010)
Next, the Pickens Plans calls for managing the various forms of energy more responsibly. In this particular case, he believes that all forms of government can help reduce the overall amounts of consumption by encourage manufacturers to develop other technology, beside the electric engine. Where, the plan call for a consistent amount of investment to take place in other areas that can reduce dependence on one particular source, such as hydrogen. The overall amount of research and development can be used to provide a viable alternative infrastructure to electricity. This will give consumers more of a choice as to what forms of energy they will be using. Over the course of time, the overall amounts of fossil fuels will decrease because these two long-term solutions will address the most complicated issues. Once these alternative forms are being utilized, the Pickens plan calls for restricting how government will use their energy. Meaning that they must use their automobiles intelligently to reduce the overall carbon footprint, where electricity can be used for vehicles that are going shorter distances. While a combination of an electric / natural gas / hydrogen vehicle can be able to provide them with an effective solution for long trips. This is important because it underscore how effective the government can be in providing leadership. Where, they can help to teach the public how to effectively utilize the new technology to meet all of their needs, without interrupting their lifestyle. (the Plan 2010)
The Future of Energy Policy / Strategy
The future energy policy will be a combination of the strategy that has been utilized in the past and the ideas put forth by Boone Pickens. Meaning that the issue of deniability will slowly disappear over time; while, the idea of increased amounts of drilling will continue to gain more prominence. This is because a number of different countries around the world have been actively seeking out the various deep water natural gas / oil reserves around the globe. As this competition increases, there will be more pressure placed on politicians to be able to effectively provide access to these different reserves. A good example of this can be seen by looking no further than the various oil / natural gas reserve disputes that Canada and Russia are having over the North Pole. Where, the thawing of the summer ice has allowed for increased amounts of exploration. As this was taking place, it was quickly discovered that there were large amounts of reserves located below the Arctic Sea. Russia claimed that the reserves belonged to them by placing a plaque on the ocean floor. While, Canada had claimed that these different reserves were theirs. (Doward 2007) This is significant because it underscore the competition among the various nations to be able to control the remaining reserves that are discovered. As the overall amounts of proven reserves decrease, this underscores the intensity of the competition that will increase as time goes by. At which point, it is only a matter of time until the various economics will allow for nearly unrestricted amounts of drilling in key areas.
The approach of discovering for oil will be augmented with a strategy that will focus on reducing the overall amounts of oil consumption. This will take place by the increasing the fuel standards and having the government encourage new industries to develop this type of technology. An example of this approach can be seen with the federal government's decision to increase fuel efficiency standards by 40%, to 35 miles per gallon. This is important because it is the first major step towards increasing fuel efficiency standards in America since 1985. When such a change is taking place, it highlights how an approach is taken on reducing the overall consumption of fossil fuel. This will automatically change the focus of the industry, where there is more of an emphasis on being able to supply alternative forms of energy that will be able to comply with such requirements. Evidence of this can be seen with…
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