Monday, June 16, 2008

Energy: Supply & Demand Ignored

With gas prices rising there is a growing frustration with Congress because of their lack of action. What would help reduce energy prices? Production - basic supply and demand dictates that if supply increases then prices drop. There is debate about where drilling is appropriate, but cutting off all sources of new drilling makes the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil. The Democratic Congress has essentially blocked new drilling or delivery on new sources of oil. Even if Anwar and the Everglades are taken off the table due to environmental concerns, blocking all new drilling clearly restricts supply and increases prices.

Energy production could also be assisted with the use of alternate energy sources. Ethanol has promise, and Brazil has a large supply available for export at reasonable prices. However, ethanol subsidies take this form of alternative energy off the table. The rules stating that ethanol must be corn based limits ethanol's potential. From grasses to sugar, ethanol can be developed from numerous natural sources. It has even been argued that deforestation could be reduced if tree based ethanol was a vaible product. However, ethanol subsidies create a myopic focus on corn, ignoring the potential for alternatives, and manipulating the market in a way that ensures ethanol's failure. Secondly, the high tax on Brazil's ethanol prevents a less expensive energy source from entering this country cutting off another valuable energy supply.

Finally, nuclear has potential as a clean fuel source. Several environmental groups are starting to view nuclear as the energy of the future. While some have safety concerns, it is clean and nuclear plants have made advancements over the years and can be run safely.

So why the frustration with Congress? Because they are ignoring these sources of energy. The Democrats are against drilling and against nuclear energy, and they support corn based ethanol subsidies and the ethanol import taxes. The trouble in the economy has been caused mainly by high energy costs, and the Democrats are more interested in a windfall profits tax, which has not been proven effective, and ignore the need for supply. The increased enery costs hurt the middle and working class the most, as it acts essentially as a tax increase. The Democrats say these are the people they are most interested in looking out for, but that is not reflected in their energy policy.


windysd said...

Nuclear power should not be an option, nor is it the 'quick-fix band-aid' everyone is hoping for.

The potential for disaster is too great for our children and their futures to spend a single penny on it!

What happened to the electric car? Solar energy, wind power, etc.? Why are these topics so taboo???

Do some research on Chernobyl, take a refresher course on the consequences - both the good & bad before you try to convince the masses that this is an intelligent and healthy option for the next generations that will inhabit this planet.

We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children.

kmorrison said...

I think most everyone is in agreement that electric cars, solar and wind power are resourses that should be utilized. However, that still leaves a large supply gap, and even environmental groups are starting to take a second look at nuclear. I understand people's concern about safety, but taking it completely off the table when it is being used effective in the US and in Europe is short sighted. The Congressional Dems are simply not acting to provide energy alternatives in a timely manner and that could be devestating to the economy.