In this week's pitiless and pitifully political oval office speech, Obama threw out another one of his patented and idiotic rhetorical questions. In his immature thinking about replacing oil as an energy resource, he said: "Well, if we can put a man on the moon, why not this?".
The stupidity of that comment is that it cost billions to send a man to the moon. Other than through massive and dedicated government spending, that feat would never have seen the light of day. And, no government, since, has replicated that accomplishment. In fact, this very President, earlier this year, scrapped NASA's plans to return to the moon. Why? Because it was too damned expensive!
Obama is no realist. He's a pie-in-the-sky liberal that seems to think that the replacement of the energy complex in this country is a simple legislative task. The reason that we are up to our eyeballs in gasoline and oil, today, is because it is cheap, portable, relatively safe and compactly storable; and, it is ubiquitous in its application. At the same time, the engines using oil-based fuels are reliable, relatively inexpensive, and powerful. No other energy source can, as of now, claim all those attributes. That includes ethanol, natural gas, wind, and solar.
Sure, we can make cars that run on something other than oil, but those cars have to be economical in both cost and operation before the masses of society accept them in their everyday lives. We have oil-based transportation systems today because petroleum beat out the horse and carriage and other technologies like the steam engine, when automobiles were in their early infancy.
If Obama wants us to get off of oil, he should get the automakers of the world together and ask them how we can migrate away from it. For sure, any acceptable fuel source has to be readily deliverable; so, any new fuel must be able to compete with the currently embedded base of millions of pumping stations that already span this country. That's why a fuel like natural gas has been limited to local fleet operations for buses and some trucks. Because these vehicles come back to a centralized garage everyday, they can easily refuel at that centralized point. But, for Americans to accept natural gas or any other fuel, they need to be able to refuel without going miles out of their way to do so.
Getting off of oil is a lot more complex than this naive President seems to think. There needs to be a decision as to what fuel will best suit us in the future. It can't be a hodgepodge of a bunch of short-term technologies. The conversion away from oil is only going to happen when the majority accepts it. People are not going to plop down thousands of dollars on a vehicle that they know can't take them anywhere but from home to work and back. They need cross country capability.
I personally think that the future is in hydrogen as fuel. It can be produced economically by using the electricity produced from environmentally-friendly wind and solar. Hydrogen, when burned, produces only water vapor. For the climate alarmists and the environmentalists, this is pure heaven because there is no CO2 associated with it.
I think that Obama would be smart to develop some kind of regional plan where the government, in cooperation with private industry, establishes a hydrogen production and delivery system in, say, the Southwest (ie. California because of the existing density of cars). Then, too, the auto industry would have to agree to produce hydrogen-run automobiles that would be targeted for that specific region or area of the country. If both properly implemented and economical, hydrogen's usage will naturally spread across the country; just as gasoline and diesel spread throughout the U.S. in the early days of the automobile. Then, finally, America will be free of its dependency on oil. That, to me, would be the smarter plan rather than punish America economically through some dumb Cap and Trade system that has done nothing, elsewhere, to reduce the world's dependency on carbon-based fuel. In fact, counties that fully embraced "green" technologies, like Spain, are in near bankruptcy and, now, forced to back off of their plans for solar and wind. For once, I would hope that Mr. Obama looks to those failing "green" countries before he tries to impose Cap and Trade or some other carbon tax system.