Part 3: Drilling for Oil the ‘Silver Bullet’ (a 3-part series written for Lake Forest Patch)

March 30, 2012


Two other factors that contribune to the cost of gasoline at the pump are 1) mandated gasoline blends for all seasons and 2) the floating U.S. dollar.

Boutique Gasoline Blends: Refineries, as mandated, must follow through for each region of the country by shifting from winter-grade to summer-grade fuel. The Chicago region must comply to its own gasoline boutique blend.  The winter to summer switch began in 1995 as part of the Reformulated Gasoline Program (RFG), established though the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments as ordered by the EPA, to reduce pollution and smog during the summer ozone season, June 1 to Sept.15. 

Summer grade gasoline is more expensive to produce because of the ingredients it must contain, which requires refineries to shut down briefly before the new blend of fuel can be produced.

Oil as a Commodity:  The government prefers a weak dollar and is doing nothing to strengthen or to stabilize it. As a commodity, the cost of oil hasn’t gone up, but as the dollar loses value more dollars are needed to buy the same amount of oil .  The gold market goes hand-in-hand with the dollar’s worth. As the cost of gold rises, the dollar weakens. As the cost of gold drops, the value of the dollar rises. 

The U.S. government, by flooding the marketplace through printing $2 trillion worth of extra dollars, has made the money at our disposal worth less. This accounts for rising food prices at the supermarket and elsewhere. 

Upon reflection these two questions demand our consideration:   

1) Why does our nation continue policies that foster dependency on oil from nations like Venezuela and Iraq by sending money to them to buy oil when we have more untapped oil than Saudi Arabia?

The supply of oil around the world is getting tighter as more and more people in China and India are gaining the financial means to drive cars, etc.  It is estimated that several years from now the world’s oil supply will tighten even further, still President Obama continues to insist that drilling is not the answer to lower gas prices.  Instead, Obama is on his bully pulpit promoting and pushing alternative green energy sources as ways to wean this nation off oil. 

Alternate green energy sources such a wind, solar, and electric cars (and the miracle fuel algae called green slime) are not yet ready to substitute for oil, and they may never become practical and cost-effective future energy sources, yet billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies are being given out in a willy nilly fashion to help them succeed.

Solyndra’s $500,000 solar company boondoggle was a failure from the get-go.  As suggested on Fox News, by 2015-2016 there could be long gas lines and gas rationing if fossil fuels continue to be treated as energy piranhas

May we not forget about nuclear energy which is having a Renaissance across the world, but unfortunately not in the U.S.  Nuclear energy is safe, green and gives the biggest bang for the buck. 

I am still smarting over all the effort I put into trying to save the fully paid for, safe Dual Zion Nuclear electricity generation facility, which were located on seismographic approved ground. Both could have been upgraded for a fraction of the cost to build two new plants, and which contained the same Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) design by Westinghouse that is still being used in our operating Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. 

Zion’s present decommissioning will result in the wasting of 2,100 MW’s of dependable, cheap, and green energy, while Illinois fiddles with wind and solar power as the solutions to its future energy needs.

2) Why have there been no new refineries built since 1979? Reported by Fox News on March 17 is that critical refining operations beset the Northeast. Refineries that turn oil into gasoline from New York to Philadelphia have been idled or shut down permanently because their owners are losing money on them. Sunoco is set to close its 335,000 barrels per day Philadelphia refinery before June of this year if if doesn’t not a buyer. This action would take another 335,000 barrels per day in production capacity off the market. 

For those who ascribe to our President’s belief (and state policy) that fossil fuels are evil as they emit CO2 which is the cause of man-made Global Warming —  we exhale CO2 and plant life needs it to live and thrive on it — this recent study in the UK Daily Mail by Ted Thornhill will perhaps allow your mind to rule rather than your emotions. Thonhill relates how the whole of the Earth heated up in medieval times without human CO2.

Even if man-made Global Warming were for real, how could man ever dream of stopping one so powerful as Mother Earth?!

If this nation continues on the same pathway by refusing to tap into its vast supply of oil, including shale oil recovery, not only will gasoline prices remain high, but electricity bills and all other commodities will continue to rise.  

Recent EPA regulation will likewise force the closing of more and more coal mines in both a nation and state that is rich in coal and which presently relies heavily of coal-powered plants for electricity. 

Building new nuclear reactors and upgrading old ones must also factor into any energy policy that makes sense or the American people will suffer in a future that looks uncertain and bleak.  

But perhaps the biggest blunder of all, and that which the American people should be outraged over given the escalating price of gasoline which is eating up disposable income and which in all likelihood will rise even higher, is that for the first time since 1949 this nation has become an exporter of petroleum products such as jet fuel, heating oil, and gasoline. Sixty percent of our trade deficit of $332 billion out of $560 can be attributed to our dollars shipped overseas to buy crude.

November is just around the corner. Do the American people care enough to fire their Commander and Chief for what passes as his failed and self-serving Energy Policy?


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