Congress and the White House have spent a decade focusing on old school ways to dig out of a recession. What they have failed to notice is that this is not a recession. It’s a brand new economy and this economy will center on energy. The nation that dominates the harvesting of cleaner, cheaper energy will dominate the globe in the 21st century.
Every nation is grappling with the questions surrounding energy consumption. The more modern the nation; the more complex the questions. But one thing is for sure, energy is big business and only getting bigger.
According to Energy Star, the average American family spends $2,000 on residential energy consumption and another $4,100 on gasoline. Only Canadian families spend more per capita. In 2008, the world spent over $7 trillion on energy before taxes. That’s $19 billion a day, every day. To put that into perspective, the world spends about $3 billion a day on coffee. Since 2008, the world has grown by over 270 million people. Essentially, that is equal to creating an entirely new coffee market every six months.
Forty years ago, Canada and the United States endured a painful energy crisis. Canada responded with a national plan. Today, Canada is the world’s 5th largest producer of energy. About 98% of their exported energy finds its way to the United States, making Canada the largest supplier of energy exports to the world's largest economy, in addition to their significant energy exports to Asia, Europe, and Latin America. This year marks the first time that America exports more oil-based products than it imports. But we can do better. We must do better.
We are sitting on a 1,000 Saudi Arabia’s of natural gas. If we do nothing more than increase our ability to harvest American-owned resources for our own consumption, we can literally make war with radical nations a footnote in history. Aside from the pure economics of being on the right side of a $6,000 per family annual consumable, every American should be outraged that 23% of our oil comes from the Middle East and African nations, while those same nations are harboring terrorist’s intent on harming us. No American military family should stand at the gas pump and wonder if they are feeding a machine that will ultimately fund a roadside bomb. We shouldn’t be sending our warriors to protect us with our tax dollars and paying at the pump to blow them up simultaneously.
We are behind in the energy race. However, we are Americans. Innovation is in our DNA. We must – immediately – come together as a nation use the power of our collect purse to spur on private sector growth. The president should see energy as a matter of morality, homeland security, and pure economics. Luckily, it’s also a matter of procurement. Procurement is an executive function and thanks to the Congress of 1933, procurement is governed by the Buy American Act. No stimulus, no bail-outs, no tax increase, and no deal with Congress required.
It is time to set a date, by which all federally-owned engines will be operating on clean, American energy. The federal government has some 9 million cars, planes, boats, and even mopeds, which should be used as a tipping point for American energy companies.
The idea is simple. If the president announces that we will only be using clean, green, renewable American energy to fill those tanks up, the private sector would go to work tomorrow trying to figure out how to harness that energy. Universities would immediately go to work researching and developing safer, smarter methods. It would spur on millions of forever jobs, thousands of patents, and even whole new industries.
Natural gas is about $1 per gallon while gasoline is well over $3. This is a just and smart investment in our future which will ultimately save American families at the meter and at the pump. It was taxpayers who invested in the research that brought us GPS, radar, sonograms, and the internet. Imagine if taxpayers did that again and the result was a safer, more prosperous America and the bonus: American families save about $3,000 per year in energy consumption to save, spend, donate, or just go on vacation.
The real bonus, of course, lies in our ability to protect the real 1% – the families who defend our nation. According to the Pentagon, the Department of Defense is the nation’s largest energy consumer, spending about $19.4 billion annually. The Pentagon and the military has said “new energy research is needed for the sake of national security and to hedge against oil price volatility.” In fact, every $1 rise in the price of a barrel of oil costs the DoD $130 million.
The new energy economy is here. The only question is will America dominate just as we did the agrarian, industrial, and information technology economies or will we succumb to it?