Im struck by the old clich that necessity is the mother of invention as I consider the great energy necessity our country has (again!) and how we must quickly get about inventing every conceivable way to reign in runaway prices at the pump.
In early January of 2009, my company, Michael and Son Services had about 115 service vehicles on the road. Records indicate gas was averaging $1.61 a gallon in the early days of that month. Now, a little more than two years later, our company fleet has grown to 181 units but with one huge difference: gas at the pump now is well north of $3.60 a gallon and climbing quickly.
This can only hurt the continued growth of businesses and put a tighter pinch on the American consumer.
My research indicates it was in the late 70s that President Jimmy Carter decried American imports of oil that stood then at 37 percent of our countrys overall petroleum needs; the president declared he did not want to see that number increase even one percent more. Well today, some 30 to 35 years later, we are near-or-at 70 percent import levels. Thats just crazy.
Did you know that the last new refinery built in the U.S. was in 1976?
Did you know that of the 104 nuclear power plants now operating in the U.S., ground was broken on all of them in 1974 or before?
Do facts like these seem consistent with American economic expansion? Not to me.
Much of todays gas price malaise stems from unrest in the Middle East, as it was with Carter in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. But whether its tension in unstable parts of the world, storms like Katrina or global pressures from emerging economies like China and India, the one constant that will always drive prosperity is energy wherewithal.
I believe as a country, we must become more energy self-sufficient and Im certain American ingenuity can help attain that goal, hand in hand with respectful conservation and responsible environmental stewardship.
Our elected officials must stop talking talk is cheap. We must begin to solve this crisis and solve it now. We can no longer afford to kick the can along to the next generation.
In the end, out-of-control gas spikes of five, six, seven cents a gallon, month after month, only drains dollars from consumers pockets. As prices rise, people are forced into more uncomfortable choices on what to buy or forego. It wrecks confidence in our already fragile economy and it slashes whatever slim recovery might have been realized with federal stimulus programs. Instead it exacerbates a slowed economy while hastening us towards dare I say? a recession.
For the sake of American jobs, energy security and our sluggish economy, let us begin immediately to reduce our reliance on imported oil and natural gas by exploiting our own domestic energy resources, and target our future with a meld of all energy types the full range of fossil, nuclear and alternative. Together, lets unleash Americas can-do tiger!