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From the Thinkin' Out Loud series By Greg Allan

Who might you say is responsible for high gas prices? It's a safe bet to say most fingers are pointing toward Washington, DC.

About a week back I came across an Associated Press story titled “Four Dollars A Gallon Gas Is Damn Cheap.” I didn’t bother reading the piece because I was much too busy laughing and being angry at the same time. For I just spent $118.50 to fill my vehicle, the highest I've ever paid!


The Administration's Energy Secretary recently told a Congressional committee he was fine with European prices coming to America. We often hear how we should compare our relatively inexpensive fuel prices to Europe's, Norway $9.27 a gallon, Greece $8.50, Morocco $8.45, Denmark $8.42, Sweden $8.18, Belgium and the U.K. $8.17, but they seem to neglect to inform us Venezuela has gas for $.18 a gallon, Saudi Arabia $.48, Libya $.54, Turkmenistan $.72, Bahrain $.78, Kuwait $.84, Qatar $.90, Egypt $1.14, Oman and Algeria $1.20.

Does the President of the United States have an energy policy? I struggle to see one. He's placed a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s nixed the Keystone pipeline and now he wants to raise taxes on big oil. His mindset is it’s evil for a business to make too much of a profit. It leads me to believe he’s chucked reason to the wind, for he’s absolutely obsessed with green energy.

You might say the United States is a junkie. We're hooked on fossil fuels and love our vehicles. The US consumed 6.85 billion barrels of refined petroleum products in 2009 that increased to 6.99 billion barrels in 2010. That's 19.15 million barrels per day, roughly 22% of the world’s total consumption. And it would appear Barack Obama is hell-bent on forcing all us addicts to go cold turkey.

The countries who have high fuel costs primarily import, those who don't generally refine their own resources. The United States falls in the category of an importer and that might explain why fuel prices are on the rise.

Democrats usually want to appease environmentalists, who make up a segment of their voting base, by using tax dollars to prop up shaky industries that aren’t proven to be competitive in the marketplace. And many of those green energy businesses are now falling by the wayside.

I saw two different television commercials the other day in which Chevy Volt owners were pleading with the public to buy that vehicle. The man in one commercial said, “People just don't understand the Volt.” The lady in the other commercial claimed, “You’ll save a crap load of money.” No … we won't, and yes the public understands the Volt all too well. That might explain why General Motors halted production of the vehicle recently.

A commentator recently said the Volt will be Obama’s Edsel. (Could be food for thought)

The United States has 21 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, excluding 727 million barrels in the strategic petroleum reserve. The Department of the Interior estimates there are some 134 billion barrels of crude to be discovered, yet there are millions of acres in America where drilling is prohibited.

America has the largest known deposits of oil shale in the world - 2.175 trillion barrels of potentially recoverable oil - yet there's no significant commercial production from shale in the US at present. Although oil shale production technology is in its infancy stages, the potential is there and the Shell Oil Company has an experimental facility in Colorado now. Byproducts from shale are kerosene, jet fuel, and diesel, as well as gasoline.

Then there's natural gas, a clean-burning alternative fuel. The technology is already in place and there are some 12.7 million vehicles that run on that fuel worldwide, but the Honda Civic GX is the only commercially produced natural gas vehicle available in the US at present.

Experts claim it will be 30 or 40 years before the United States can wean itself from fossil fuels. We must groom what we have now when it comes to energy consumption then work toward the future for alternatives.

If politicians would get out of the way and let those in the private sector develop their technologies and refine their product that would be a comprehensive energy plan we could all live with, but the government has thought it knows best and the results have been subpar.

© Greg Allen ~ All Rights Reserved

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, is published bi-monthly. He’s an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a non-profit organization aiding the poor. He can be reached at 765-676-5014 or www.builderofthespirit.org.