Part IV: Obama Versus McCain on Natural Resources & Fossil Fuels: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

Barack Obama’s Position:

Senator Obama believes that America must commit to a new national energy policy focused on improvements in technology, investments in renewable fuels such as wind and solar power, and greater efforts in conservation, efficiency, and waste reduction. Shifting from our current investment and consumption practices to this new direction will be one of the great leadership challenges in the coming decade.

Wow, amazing how much that sounds like McCain’s policy. Do they have the same writers?

With the Department of Energy telling us that U.S. demand for oil will jump 40% over the next 20 years and with countries like China and India adding millions of cars to their roads, the price of oil is approaching a breaking point.

Point taken (pun intended), but the fact is as our economy weakened and our demand for oil waned, oil prices collapsed nearly immediately from nearly $150 a barrel to under $100. China and India had nothing to do with it. As we clearly demonstrated in our prior articles, we dwarf the usage of these countries and likely will for the next decade.

In addition to the high economic costs of our foreign oil dependence, the current consumption of fossil fuels has threatened the future health and well-being of not only our citizens, but our natural resources and air quality as well. Investments in cleaner and more efficient energy technologies must play a central role in mitigating these threats to our health and our environment.

Agreed, but the NIMBY environmentalists won’t even let you put in Wind Farms. Where will we place these technologies, in outer space? Is Nuclear on your list?

Recognizing the importance of energy security to national and economic security, Senator Obama has proposed the creation of a Director of National Energy Security in the Office of the President. This position, akin to the National Security Advisor, would oversee and coordinate all administration efforts on national energy security and policies.

Another reference by a candidate to “energy security” instead of “energy independence”. The latter will automatically lead to the former, and no assigned “Director” can change that fact.

Renewable Fuels

Senator Obama is a leading advocate for increasing the use of renewable fuels to reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign petroleum. In 2005, he enacted into law a tax credit for installing E-85 ethanol refueling pumps at gas stations across the country.

Fact is ethanol and methanol have proven to be a joke. We cannot generate enough from products we depend on for food, it is more expensive than gasoline and it pollutes just as much if not more. It is “renewable”, but we can’t renew it fast enough, so it is pointless.

In the 109th and 110th Congress, he joined with Senator Lugar to introduce the American Fuels Act to increase domestic production, distribution, and end uses of biofuels. Among other improvements, the American Fuels Act would expand the manufacture of ethanol-capable vehicles, offer tax credits to spur cellulosic fuel production, require clean-fueled transit buses bought with federal dollars, and provide incentives to ethanol plants to invest in E-85 blending equipment on their premises.

Ethanol is a joke. We would love to see alternate fuels adopted, but that has to be incorporated with a plan to use our own resources of fossil fuels and drop our trade deficit, or we will be so poor, we won’t have the funds to pursue alternative sources of energy at all.  Certainly, that will reduce our usage, but we don’t consider poverty for Americans a viable solution.

Alternative fuels like hydrogen and natural gas are great, but are you so naïve as to believe this can be accomplished within any reasonable time frame? Our cars and the trucks that deliver most of our products throughout the world do not run on bio-diesel, hydrogen or natural gas. Are we to phase them out? By when? Will the US help pay for the trucking industry to transition from diesel to alternative energy sources and where will these alternate energy sources come from?

This is all a pipe dream Senator with no real plan.

Fuel Efficiency

As the author of the Fuel Economy Reform Act, Senator Obama has worked to gain bipartisan support for an innovative approach to raising automobile fuel efficiency standards (also known as “CAFE” standards) and break two decades of inaction and deadlock on reforming fuel economy laws. This proposal has attracted cosponsors from both parties – maintaining support from long-time champions of improving fuel economy standards while attracting support from traditional opponents. The bill would establish regular, continual, and incremental progress in miles per gallon fuel efficiency by an increase of four percent annually, and preserve flexibility by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to vary the rate of improvement and how best to technologically achieve those fuel economy targets. President Bush endorsed a similar approach in his State of the Union speech in January 2007.

We agree that improving fuel efficiency is a great thing, but it is naïve as well. People buy larger vehicles because they need them. Trucks can carry things, a Geo Prism cannot. SUVs cater to families, the Honda Civic does not. There is nothing you can do about that short of dramatically changing the way cars are built. More hybrids, fine, but who will pay for that? They cost vastly more than regular fuel vehicles, don’t get anywhere near the gain in fuel economy as they imply (20% is often the gain, it would take the entire life of the car to save back the fuel difference), and leave us with hazardous waste (the battery) every few years.  In addition, the complexity of the manufacturing process for these automobiles and their replacement battery packs emits more Carbon Dioxide than the fuel savings garnered from the electric motor, so you are solving nothing.

There are other technologies, but none are practical at this time. We would like you to be more explicit, because if we are talking ethanol again, we have a real beef with your plan Senator.

Investing in New Technologies

Senator Obama introduced the “Health Care for Hybrids Act” to provide health care assistance to domestic automakers in exchange for their investing 50% of the savings into technology to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. His proposal has been praised by President Bill Clinton, the University of Michigan’s auto research center, and numerous newspapers.

In May 2007, Senator Obama, along with Senator Harkin, authored the National Low Carbon Fuel Standard Act (S. 1324), which requires a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the national transportation fuel pool by 2020, a reduction of about 180 million metric tons of emissions in 2020 – the equivalent of taking over 30 million cars off the road. The Obama-Harkin fuel standard embraces the growth of the renewable fuels market, including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel as a key component of fighting climate change, while creating incentives for lower carbon emissions in their production.

Read Senator Obama’s Speech on the National Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Praised by Bill Clinton? Pshaw. Why would Bill Clinton praise a Democrat? Never happen.

Interesting numbers thrown out, but no different from what John McCain has stated and no more realistic. Can you think of a reason the rest of the world hasn’t done this Senator when we already import most of our cars? Is it because they are dunces? Of course not. It is because it isn’t practical. Automobiles are manufactured and sold worldwide. If the nations that build our cars could come up with such technologies, don’t you think they would have by now?  Japan already makes the best hybrids, not the US.

It is cute to offer US Automakers a discount to produce cleaner and more fuel efficient cars, if they all weren’t nearly bankrupt because they cannot build decent cars in the first place.  I don’t think many Americans want to add more complexity to the automobile they purchase from Ford or GM when they have enough trouble with quality as it is.  Maybe you can instead give the tax discount to the Japanese?

Working to Lower High Gas Prices

Oil companies are enjoying record profits while consumers are suffering from record high gas prices. In the 110th Congress, Senator Obama has introduced the Oil SENSE Act to eliminate unnecessary tax breaks to the oil industry. A version of the bill was passed by House of Representatives in January 2007.

In the 109th Congress, Senator Obama sponsored legislation, the FILL UP Act, requiring oil companies that made at least $1 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2006 to invest at least 1% of the their total reported first quarter 2006 profits into installing E-85 pumps.

Senator Obama also worked with Congressman Rahm Emanuel to obtain several million dollars to establish the first ethanol-to-hydrogen refueling station for refueling Chicago natural gas bus fleets.

All wrong. If you want to impose a tax on Oil companies, we are all for it. Make them build some refineries and drill responsibly and tap resources to use our current technologies. You can force them to invest in natural resources, but you can’t force a NIMBY population to allow you to even install wind power.

It all comes down to priorities Senator. Priority one. Energy Independence. Priority two. Energy Alternatives for electricity and heating piercing NIMBY conservationist groups. Priority three. Building an infrastructure for alternative fuels, but not ethanol or methanol, they just aren’t practical.


Senator McCain is the only one that has the foresight to realize that all our cars, hundreds of millions of them, are powered by gasoline. All our trucks that deliver products in the US are powered by diesel. Most of our electricity and heating comes from burning coal, oil or natural gas.

It is not practical to think that within any reasonable time frame we can change that. It is not realistic and it would destroy our economy in the process. It places the entire burden on us to convert while continuing to pay foreign nations for our current resources and maintain a huge trade deficit to do so. It is not a financially viable solution.

When you have run up your debt and you can’t pay the bills, you can do one of two things, try to pay down your debt and get control of your finances, or you can declare bankruptcy. We believe the only way to approach this problem is to reduce our dependency on an ever-growing importation of an international supply of natural resources.

This is vastly more practical and can be done with our current infrastructure and not with incredible expense to the citizen to convert cars, trucks and buses to use alternative fuels that would likely cost us more than gasoline. Building the infrastructure, converting our cars, converting our energy plants will cost an astronomical amount of money. Where will that money come from if we do not first get our trade deficit under control?

Round 4: McCain (but we want to see less pandering, the liberals are delusional here, McCain must point it out)

Read Round Five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration

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