Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The rock doc: The bridge fuel

By
From page A4 | December 26, 2012 |

To a geologist like me, it was most notable by its absence in the political campaigns that lurched to their conclusions in November. I’m talking about an energy plan with real teeth, one that addresses everything from national security to the cost of energy to greenhouse warming of the planet.

The best-known geologist in the country is T. Boone Pickens. He’s now in his 80s – and he is still tirelessly devoted to pointing out to all who will listen just how much it costs us to not have a meaningful national energy plan. I recently listened to one of his lectures on the subject courtesy of the TED talks hosted on an Internet site.

Pickens points out that there are 12 aircraft carriers in the world. One is being built by China, the rest belong to the U.S. Our 11 aircraft carriers are divided between their homeports and being stationed in the Middle East. They are there to keep the shipping lanes open for Mideast petroleum.

Pickens says that since 1976 the world has spent $7 trillion on OPEC oil. That’s been the cost of the fuel and the cost of our military involvements in the region. He says it’s the largest single transfer of wealth the world has ever seen.

OPEC is led by oil giant Saudi Arabia. It’s sometimes said that the cost of producing a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia is only about $5. But Pickens says the Saudis feel they need $94 a barrel to meet their social commitments, the goods and services they fund with their oil sales. And the world essentially pays what the Saudis decide they need, Pickens maintains.

Across the world we spend so much because our dependence on petroleum is so real. Here in the U.S. we use about 20 million barrels of crude per day. We produce about 8 million barrels – the rest is imported from a number of places with 5 million coming from OPEC.

Pickens like to say that petroleum is dirty, expensive and “theirs.” What he promotes is U.S. energy – namely natural gas. As he likes to point out, natural gas is 25 percent cleaner than oil, it’s abundant, and it’s “ours.”

“Natural gas will do everything we want it to do,” Pickens says. “It comes out of the ground at 130 octane.”

Pickens believes industry estimates that in the U.S. we have 4,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s the equivalent of three times the petroleum the Saudis claim they have.

Pickens argues we should switch our fleet of 8 million 18-wheelers from diesel fuel to natural gas. (Yes, natural gas can power a big truck.) And if we converted our trucks to natural gas, we’d save 3 million barrels of petroleum per day – a large fraction of what we have been importing from OPEC.

“If we could do that, I think we would take our first step to an energy plan,” Pickens says. “If we did, we could see that our own resources are easier to use than anyone can imagine.”

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. Her most recent book is The Whole Story of Climate, just published by Prometheus Books. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. 

Comments

comments

E. Kirsten Peters

.

News

District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

 
Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4