Pickens: “the largest transfer of wealth in human history.”

America must break its addiction to foreign oil, but what’s the best way to do it?


In recent weeks, America’s airwaves have been deluged by messages placed by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, warning that the country is being taken for $700 billion for foreign oil this year, with still more to follow, a devastating loss amounting to

While very shocking, the Pickens ads are in fact understated, because the OPEC oil cartel is not just looting the United States, but the whole world, and will accumulate over $1.5 trillion in net profits this year. The entire U.S. Fortune 500 is worth $18 trillion. At their current rate of take, OPEC will acquire enough cash to buy majority control of every leading company in the United States within six years. This is a direct threat to American independence. “It’s wrecking our economy,” Pickens says. He’s right about that too.

[..] So the Pickens plan, as written, won’t work. Fortunately, however, there is a way to modify it so that it can. The key is for Congress to pass a bill, such as the current Open Fuel Standards Act (S.3303, HR.6559) requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be fully flex-fueled — that is, capable of running equally well on gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. Such technology is currently available and only adds about $100 to the cost of a car (in contrast to CNG capability, which adds about $2,000). The reason why establishing a full flex-fuel standard is the answer is that methanol — a very safe and practical liquid vehicle fuel — can be made from a vast array of feedstocks, including not only natural gas, but also coal, recycled urban trash, and any kind of biomass without exception.

So if a bold wind or nuclear energy initiative can in fact free up enough natural gas to make a difference to the vehicle fuel market, flex-fuel cars can readily make use of it in a much safer and more practical form as methanol. But if not, then we — and the rest of the world (since an American flex-fuel requirement would effectively make flex-fuel the international standard, as all foreign car makers would need to switch their lines over to conform to it) — would also be able to make our fuel from a wide array of alternative resources. Indeed, we have enough known coal reserves for hundreds of years’ worth of supply, and enough crop residues available globally that, converted into methanol, could replace all the oil of OPEC. The key is not to pick one particular fuel resource, but to open the fuel market to all comers. Setting a flex-fuel vehicle standard is the quickest and most efficient way to achieve that goal.

By creating such a true free open-source fuel market, we can make it possible for every nation to contribute to the world’s fuel supply, breaking the monopoly power of the oil cartel, everywhere and forever.

August 10, 2008 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Hi, keelie.

    No matter how many biofuel solutions you come up with, you’re still stuck with the dilemna that production of biofuels is limited by arable acreage and water supply — and also by the fact that “arable” roughly translates to “petroleum-based-fertilized”. Right now, we’re pretty much using up this acreage to produce the food and chemicals we need, and these latter needs will increase — especially as petroleum alternatives dwindle. So not only do we have a very limited resource to draw from to produce biofuels, but we will see increasing competition for those resources. Our energy requirements, meanwhile, will continue to increase as more and more of the world becomes industrialized.

    Do you get my point?

    Nuclear energy is a viable alternative, though it is not without problems. Coupled with nuclear energy production, a nation needs to invest in a good public transportation system — something about 100 times better than what we have in place in the US today. People need to literally be able to go just about anywhere from anywhere, to make automobiles obsolete. We can support some cars and trucks without petroleum, but not many for long.

    So there is a long term solution, and perhaps we will see it come about in a Messianic era. A clever, charismatic human being could bring about such an era, or at least make people believe he could; but I don’t think God will allow it.

    Watch out for asteroids.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  2. Oat – the problem is that like most people you are looking for a single, or perhaps two or three solutions to a situation that can be corrected using a substantial number of solutions… which is one reason I recommended decentralization. In fact there are very good biofuel solutions, again usable is a decentralized mode… in other words, in a relatively local basis.

    Don’t confuse “decentralized” solutions with “partial” or “short-term” solutions.

  3. Biofuels are, at best, a short-term, partial fix. The only long-term solutions to our energy needs are:

    1. Nuclear Engergy

    2. A world-wide, permanent depression

    and since it takes at least 20 years, with today’s regulations, to even get a nuke plant into the startup stage (unless you’re Iranian), option #2 is our only alternative.

    Here is the latest chart of worldwide oil DEPLETION.

    Note that the world’s oil is being DEPLETED by 85 million barrels a day, IN SPITE OF continual efforts to find new reserves and tap the current ones.

    The American Petroleum Institute estimated in 1999 the world’s oil supply would be depleted between 2062 and 2094, assuming total world oil reserves at between 1.4 and 2 trillion barrels and consumption at 80 million barrels per day.[4] In 2004, total world reserves were estimated to be 1.25 trillion barrels and daily consumption was about 85 million barrels, shifting the estimated oil depletion year to 2057.[1] The United States Energy Information Administration predicts world consumption of oil will increase to 98.3 million barrels per day in 2015 and 118 million barrels per day in 2030.[5]


    The estimate that there will be ABSOLUTELY NO oil left later in the century, is based on ZERO GROWTH, or essentially, a CONTINUING WORLDWIDE DEPRESSION. Realistically, people require a real annual growth of about 3%, in order to perceive that they are “standing still”. That leads to a doubling of energy consumption every 24 years — which means that instead of the oil runnion out in, say, 2080, it will run out around 2040: and by “run out”, I mean not a drop left.

    The troubles with biofuels are:

    1. The earth has a finite amount of arable land, which we will have to fully utilize in a few years just for food production.

    2. Even today, the world’s biological production (food AND fuel) is heavily dependent on PETROLEUM-BASED fertilizers.

    With that, you might think you see the handwriting on the wall: A non-industrial economy by 2040. Sell your car and buy a horse, right? Wrong. A non-industrial economy could only support a world population, at best, about a tenth of today’s. What’s more, we won’t just “run out of gas” one day: Instead, the world economy will, gradually or suddenly, slow down and collapse long before the last drop flows; and you can bet there will be an international scramble, a DEADLY SERIOUS scramble, for the last trillion barrels or so. The run-up to Zero Day will be marked by wars — wars which require incredible amounts of fuel to sustain themselves — and the time of doom will be accelerated.

    Realistically, I put Absolute Disaster Day at around 2025, with some rather unpleasant years leading up to it, no matter what we use for alternative fuels.

    A sensible nuclear program could probably extend this, but mankind is showing little prospect of becoming sensible in any way; in fact, he is becoming quite mad. The world is under continual stress, from every direction; and madness is a natural form of stress relief. In fact, refusal to accept this reality is actually a form of madness.

    So what’s my solution? My solution is simple. I’m going to die, sometime in the next 40 years, energy crisis or no. Realistically, I have to prepare to meet my Maker, and entrust myself into the hands of God. the energy crisis, and the coming wars and political crises, are unavoidable and I can’t seriously hope to affect them; but I can change myself, and peacefully transition to what God has for me next: namely, life of a different kind, in a new reality. We’re all going there, as all our ancestors have before us.

    Shalom shalom 🙂

  4. … but what’s the best way to do it?…

    Technically, there are many viable options, some of them biologically oriented, some not. Solar – and I was a solar engineering “expert” some years ago – and wind, are not. (In fact, bio is a form of “converted solar” and it can be used without affecting the food chain in any way.)

    But most importantly, we have to get rid of all legislation designed to tie the hands of those involved in answering the above question. We have to create a kind of “freedom of expression” environment for energy. Bear in mind that most of the legislators and those who lobby against everything useful – the energy Luddites – are utterly clueless when it comes to creating and handling energy sources.

    It would also be a good idea to begin to decentralize energy production. When a major refinery has a problem, as we’ve seen, the entire country is vulnerable. Just as the Internet was designed to eliminate this sort of situation from a communications standpoint, energy production and distribution should be handled in this manner by decentralization.