A Billion Dollars Every Day for Foreign Oil??!! – I Want My Money Back

, Former Washington representative, Clean Vehicles | August 31, 2011, 11:45 am EDT
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There are a lot of reasons why I’m not a big fan of America’s reliance on oil.  It’s definitely not the safest, healthiest, or cleanest way to power our cars, trucks, and other forms of transportation.

It’s also not very affordable.

It’s such a drag on our economy that you can put a price on it.  Every day, the United States sends nearly $1  billion to foreign countries to pay for oil.  Yes, every day – as in $365 billion each year.  Even if you hung me upside down, blindfolded me, and played Kenny G at full volume to distract me, I think I could still come up with better uses for that money in less than 30 seconds.

To start, we could invest in new clean energy development here in the United States, which would put people to work, clean up our air, and make us more energy independent.  We could also build a 21st century transportation system, complete with high-speed rail,  better roads and bridges, fuel-efficient vehicles, modern airports, and more convenient travel.  We could also modernize our schools to give our kids a better education – spurring innovation and helping them compete in a global economy.

If that all sounds too practical, we could just go ahead and buy everyone in the country a pair of those crazy toe shoes.  Even that would probably be a better use of our money than spending it on foreign oil.

The reality is that our reliance on oil puts our economy, environment, and national security at risk.  The good news is that we don’t have to be shackled to that reality.  We can break out of our oil dependence through smart policies and investments in better technology.  That will chart a path towards a clean energy economy that doesn’t rely on dirty and dangerous sources of energy.

Here at the Union of Concerned Scientists, we have laid out a plan to do just that.  Our plan would dramatically cut America’s oil dependence through cleaner vehicles, better fuels, and expanded transportation choices.  Putting these solutions in place would put money back into the U.S. economy, clean up our air, and provide better energy security.

So if you had a billion dollars a day to spend making America safer, healthier, and more prosperous, how would you spend it?

Posted in: Biofuel, Energy, Global Warming, Vehicles

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  • E. Gore (no relation to Al)

    I fail to understand how UCS’s “plan” will displace sufficient oil consumption to free up $1 billion per day in energy savings. Energy must be supplied, from oil or from another source whilst investment proceeds in developing alternate ideas. The UCS “plan” principally pleads for additional resources to be directed at an already bloated and impractical alternative energy industry. The same tired old refrain; promises, promises, gimme, gimme, gimme.

    The stunning reality here is that $1 billion dollars a day is STILL not sufficient to generate, purchase and distribute energy alternatives equivalent to what we derive from oil. And this after half-a-century of dedicated R&D at untold expense. One may plead for reductions in energy consumption, but that is a far cry from supplying satisfactory alternate sources. One may conjure up industry conspiracies as impediments to progress, but that is merely a tawdry diversion from failed research.

    How disheartening that so much excited optimism around alternative energy has turned out to be mostly hot air. How astonishing the prize of $1 billion per day is not already being claimed by a legitimate developer with a practical alternative. How aggravating that so many resources directed at a practical and meaningful solution to energy supply seem to continue disappearing down a rat hole. How appalling that we have developed an entire parasitic industry around lobbying for and wasting alternative energy research funds with proven ineffective organizations.

    How much more must we fritter away on silly populist notions before real science kicks in? Is it possible to move beyond naive, impractical amateur dreams of an eccentric utopia? I fear not. Comments on this board only bolster my fear.

  • Marjorie Wells

    ith a billion dollars a day I would clean up emissions from all factories, both air and water. With that done, I would plant trees to moderate wind flow and increase oxygen, and control erosion. I would use farm plant and animal waste, and sterilized human waste, to fertilize crops. What the heck, with a billion dollars a day, I could buy some companies and return manufacturing to America, thereby providing jobs and increasing the wellbeing of our people. As CEO, I would not take or accept a huge salary or bonuses, but increase return to shareholders. The officers of the companies would have to do more than just claim to be religious. They would have also to reject exorbitant salaries and bonuses in favor of support to charities and shareholders, to demonstrate stewardship over nature and responsibility toward their fellow men. There ARE people willing to do that. With a billion a day, I could protect my companies from hostile takeovers.

  • Steve Colton

    Simple: Fusion research. In the late 1960’s I was working in Plasma Physics research at UCI while an undergraduate. While there were and remain very significant difficulties with this technology it was clear that the then $25 million annually to cover all the fusion projects in the US would NEVER get the job done. The Nuke and Oil lobbies have ensured that this situation would not change, and so here we are today. I’m pretty sure researchers out there in the university labs would agree that $250 million a day would be enough to finally make significant headway toward sustained containment. Gosh, what to do with that extra $750 million?? Payoff Nuke and oil executives to go away? Sick, but maybe better than sending it to countries that hope to keep us addicted to the barrel and pump, but hate us.