Must We Wait Until Gas Hits $10 a Gallon?
There’s a lot of moaning and hand-wringing whenever gasoline prices approach $4 a gallon. But all it would take for them to hit $10 a gallon overnight would be hurricanes wiping out a couple of refineries or saboteurs disabling a couple of pipelines.
The United States is still almost completely reliant on finite fossil fuels, which are rapidly being depleted. We should be following a plan now that transitions us to sustainable energy sources but, believe or not, there is no plan.
The country faces oil shortages, international security turmoil and expanding environmental impacts and our entire future hinges on a sustainable energy plan. A crisis will impact our whole quality of life. It’s not just gasoline: petroleum products are used in pharmaceuticals, plastics, things we rely on every day. The time to put together a plan is now – not when we’re in crisis.
After studying the details of the nation’s looming energy crisis I have drafted a detailed plan that is systematic, non-threatening and sustainable. Three key features are:
- Abolish the US Department of Energy: though the 1973 oil crisis led to its creation, the Department has done nothing to create a sustainable energy plan in its 35 years of existence. Such a strategic plan isn’t even a goal. Why? Politics. The big, all-powerful oil companies would not benefit.
- Create a Governors’ National Sustainable Energy Council: direct the work of implementing a national energy plan to state leaders who are already doing something. Thirty of our fifty states have adopted goals for sustainable energy, and some have already achieved them. The council would have a rotating two-year board consisting of two governors from each of five regions, and three at-large governors. Budgets from the decommissioned Department of Energy (currently costing $25 to $35 billion a year) would fund the council.
- Enact legislation to establish a National Alternative Energy Bond Fund to provide low-interest loans to new and redirected companies, entrepreneurs, and other businesses focused on domestic energy development. Sales of Alternative Energy Series ‘AE’ bonds, trading stocks or bonds in the market could be a part of the Invest in America program, and might establish a surcharge of the use of products that use finite energy resources.
We have enough domestic finite, transitional and sustainable resources to become energy independent and we can do so if we get focused, establish a new leadership paradigm, and implement what I call the ‘USA Sustainable Energy Plan.’
What can Americans do – besides their individual efforts to reduce reliance on gas and oil?
Take these steps:
- Call or e-mail our elected officials. Contact your governor, your US representative, your US senators and the President.
- Tell them you support adopting the USA Sustainable Energy Plan. Ask for their support on the three action steps: decommissioning the Department of Energy, creating the governors’ council, and creating and funding the alternative energy fund.
- Follow up each week. Reiterate the action items and ask what progress is being made.
More information on the energy plan can be found here.
About The Author
R Paul Williamson is founder and CEO of the non-profit Sustainable Systems of Colorado. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and communications; Masters in curriculum and instruction and media technology, and a Doctorate in technology education. He has served as a dean at four colleges including the University of Montana, where he created the Montana Hydrogen Futures Project, a plan incorporating the state's human, natural and renewable resources to create a statewide, hydrogen-based economy. Presently, he is working to create a sustainable future for the US; deployment of a self-sustaining, hydrogen-powered, magnetic levitation personal rapid transit monorail system; a sustainable smart home development; and an H2 Futures Business Park.
Williamson is author of Winning the Energy Wars: A Sustainable Energy Plan for America’s Future.