July 9, 2008 •
The Chicago Sun-Times blog reports on the business leaders that have met with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Businessmen from the energy and auto industry incude: Vinod Khosla (Founder and Partner of Khosla Ventures), G. Richard Wagoner, Jr. (Chairman and CEO of General Motors), Alan Mulally (CEO of Ford Motor Co.), and Jim Rogers (CEO of Duke Energy).
July 9, 2008 •
Alaska has been working with major oil companies and Washington lawmakers to build a pipeline to the lower forty-eight states for years. But it appears an intra-state pipeline capable of moving 460 million cubic feet of natural gas a day may come first. Reuters reported on Tuesday that Governor Sarah Palin, a Republican, is teaming up with Enstar to build an in-state natural gas pipeline to send untapped reserves (35 trillion cubic feet) on Alaska’s North Slope at a cost of $26 billion to $31 billion. The fuel would be pumped to Alaska residents in major population centers. The pipeline would cover about 450 miles and “run from the Cook Inlet basin in southern Alaska north as far as Fairbanks, and later extend to the Brooks Range hills to bring gas from there south to Fairbanks, Anchorage and other Alaska markets.” Construction is slated for 2011 and the pipeline could be turned on in 2013.
July 9, 2008 •
The DTN Ethanol blog also points out an article in the Baltimore Sun about Republican Reps. Peter Roskam and John Shimkus and their new energy independence proposal (the Energy VISION Act) aimed at cutting American oil imports by 9.5 million barrels a day and eliminating oil imports from the Middle East.
July 8, 2008 •
Record oil prices are leading energy companies and American consumers to support oil and natural gas exploration off the Florida coast. Even politicians who were wary of the political risks of supporting drilling are jumping on the bandwagon. According to the Associated Press:
In Florida, movement was underway even before President Bush called on Congress last month to lift a federal moratorium that’s barred new offshore drilling since 1981.
The early activity here stems from a 2006 Congressional compromise that allows drilling on 8.3 million acres more than 125 miles off the Panhandle — an area that had been covered by the moratorium, which was enacted out of environmental concerns. In exchange, the state got a no-drilling buffer along the rest of its beaches.
Florida may turn out to be a prelude for other coastal states....
With gas topping $4 a gallon, recent polls show Americans, Floridians included, more supportive of drilling in protected areas. Some politicians — including Gov. Charlie Crist — have switched sides.
July 7, 2008 •
Former Bill Clinton campaign advisor Ron Klain predicts in the New York Times that “If gas is still more than $4 a gallon on Election Day, there is no way a Republican will continue to control the White House.”
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial that says it’s Democrats who “are in a vise this summer, pinned on one side by voter anger over $4 gas and on the other by their ideological opposition to carbon-based energy.” The editorial sees growing support for offshore drilling.
June 24, 2008 •
- A Christian Science Monitor op-ed on the biofuels debate over using land set aside for conservation purposes to grow crops used for biofuel production instead. [Biofuels put bucks over ducks]
- A Wall Street Journal editorial on speculation in energy markets. [Political Speculators]
- A MarketWatch article on yesterday’s congressional hearings on regulating oil markets and analysts’ claims that gasoline could come back down to $2/gallon under certain regulatory schemes that limit market speculation. [Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say]
- Another MarketWatch article on a plan developed by Senator Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., to ban large pension funds and other institutional funds from commodities trading (which would include oil). [Plan to bar funds from commodities garners few fans]
- A Wall Street Journal piece profiling Representative Randy Forbes, R-Va., and his proposals to end U.S. reliance on foreign sources of energy. [Capital Journal: Oil Woes Fail to Stir Leadership]
- One more Wall Street Journal piece looking at John McCain’s energy proposals; it finds him to be “all over the map.” [Senator’s Broad Range Of Energy Policies Defies Categories]
June 23, 2008 •
Republican presidential nominee John McCain sees building a more energy-efficient car battery as central to reducing U.S. energy consumption. He announced Monday that, as president, he would establish a $300 million prize for anyone who creates a battery that can be used with plug-in hybrid car, the type of cars U.S. automakers are currently trying to develop:
[I]n the quest for alternatives to oil, our government has thrown around enough money subsidizing special interests and excusing failure. From now on, we will encourage heroic efforts in engineering, and we will reward the greatest success.
I further propose we inspire the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars. This is one dollar for every man, woman and child in the U.S. -- a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency -- and should deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs.
(Related: This month, the heads of Ford and GM spoke in Washington at a conference and outlined what they need from Washington to make plug-in hybrids a reality for American consumers.)
McCain also wants to give “substantial” new incentives to carmakers to reduce CO2 emissions:
My administration will issue a Clean Car Challenge to the automakers of America, in the form of a single and substantial tax credit based on the reduction of carbon emissions. For every automaker who can sell a zero-emissions car, we will commit a 5,000 dollar tax credit for each and every customer who buys that car. For other vehicles, whatever type they may be, the lower the carbon emissions, the higher the tax credit. And these large tax credits will be available to everyone -- not just to those who have an accountant to explain it to them.
And he announced his support for the flex-fuel vehicle mandate that New Atlantis contributing editor Robert Zubrin has proposed:
Instead of playing favorites, our government should level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, lowering both gasoline prices and carbon emissions. And this can be done with a simple federal standard to hasten the conversion of all new vehicles in America to flex-fuel technology -- allowing drivers to use alcohol fuels instead of gas in their cars. Brazil went from about five to over 70 percent of all new vehicles with flex-fuel capacity. It did all that in just three years. Yet those same automakers that helped Brazil make the change say it will take them longer to reach the goal of 50 percent new flex-fuel vehicles for America. But I am confident they can do more, and do it faster, in the interest of our energy security. And if I am elected president, they will. Whether it takes a meeting with automakers during my first month in office, or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil.
June 17, 2008 • A story in CQ Weekly (“The Greening of the Wheels”) looks at the vehicle leases taken out by members of Congress and a little known provision in the energy policy act passed last year that says members may be reimbursed for leasing vehicles only if the vehicles have relatively low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Apparently lawmakers haven't been too concerned with vehicle emissions in the past when they've been shopping on dealer lots: Two-thirds of the cars at members' disposal will have to be replaced when their leases are up, according to the story.