Energy Policy For Our Future
Everyone knows our biggest challenges today in the US are the economy and Energy. Terrorism is right up there too, but that is more of a world problem, not just in the US.
How about a solution for all three. ItÕs not a total solution, It is not a quick solution. But I would say if weÕd have taken these steps ten years ago, weÕd be in a much better position today.
An additional fuel tax of 15 %. Not 15 cents a gallon but 15 % on the price of a gallon of fuel. This 15 % ( which could be ANY number to make it work, but for now lets say 15 % ) should be used exclusively and only for alternative energy such as solar hot water, PV power, wind and possibly even hydro electric dams and nuclear.
Before we throw this idea out because it is a new tax in a recession, please consider this.
a. ) Just the talk of a plan like this would keep oil prices down. Imagine if it were enacted.
b. ) Right now 100 % of the dollars we use to purchase oil in the middle east, goes to people who generally donÕt like us ( The US ). People who love to put the screws to us ( The US ) whenever they can. People who arbitrarily raised the price of a barrel of oil from the mid $ 40 range to a peak of $ 147.00 in just a few short months. People who are using the money we send them to fund lavish lifestyles and extremism in the middle east that target Americans. People who are sucking the wind out of our economic sails, just because they can.
c.) I would argue that this is NOT a tax. It is a PLAN to ween us off OPEC.
We all know our government has done plenty of talking about OPEC over the last 40 years. Remember 1974 ??? But other than a few years of a national speed limit of 55 mph, they have done nothing but help OPEC get stronger, Oil ministers get richer and militants get bolder. Our government has failed us miserably.
We ( The US ) are seemingly powerless to do anything about it.
With this PLAN as OPEC raises the price of oil, the more dollars we commit to alternative energy.
If gas is $ 1.00 a gallon, we generate $ 0.15 cents per gallon.
If gas is $ 2.00 a gallon, we generate $ 0.30 cents per gallon.
If gas is $ 5.00 a gallon, we generate $ 0.75 cents per gallon and so on.
This gives a very simple but strong incentive to OPEC to keep prices down. The more they raise the price, the harder we work look elsewhere for energy.
This is not a hardship on Americans. First off as I said before, just talking about such a plan will bring oil prices down. Just the fact that we are talking about it.
Secondly, itÕs our duty as Americans - and should be our commitment - to end OPECÕs stranglehold on the US economy. And it will be up to OPEC to see how fast the switch occurs. But either way it will eventually happen with this plan.
First lets look at the numbers:
In the US today there are currently approx 135,000,000 registered automobiles. This does not include, buses, trucks, tractors, four wheelers or lawn mowers etcÉ The tax would include everything that runs on oil products - including home heating oil. No loopholes. This tax could be collected mainly at the refineries and/or docks and other distribution points.
Lets say that each of these vehicles is filled up an average of 15 gallons, once per week. At todayÕs price of gasoline – about $ 2.00 per gallon – The tax would generate about $ 4.50 per fill up.
$ 4.50 multiplied by 135 million totals $ 607 million dollars per week OR about $ 87 million dollars PER DAY – just from registered automobiles.
Say of that total 42 % or $ 37 million is used for Administration ( put in your own numbers ) This leaves $ 50 million PER DAY or $ 18 billion per year that can be used for alternative energy.
------ In addition ------
According to the American Trucking association, commercial trucks used nearly 54 billion gallons of diesel fuel or gasoline in 2006. This plan would generate an additional $ 19.44 billion ( $ 53 million per day in 2006) for alternative energy. Assuming a fill up of about 160 gallons per truck at $ 2.40 per gallon, the cost would be around $ 57.00 per fill up.
Solar Hot Water –
Heating water is a large portion of our electric, heating oil and natural gas usage in the US. About 25 % or more of the energy used in the home is used on heating water.
$ 1 Million dollars would purchase and install 200 basic solar water heaters. This consists of one panel and one tank that preheats water from the curb BEFORE it goes into your hot water tank. Even in the winter, this would save homeowners a huge amount of money.
Just heating the water from your source by 35 degrees adds up to a lot of money. Say your water comes into your house at 50 degrees. Your hot water tank has to heat the water to at least 120 degrees for a difference of 70 degrees. A solar hot water heater could heat the water partially or even 100 % to temperature. This pre heating could save 12.5 % - 25 % or more on every homeowners electric bill.
Using just 10 % of the $ 50 million per day generated ( after administration) by the tax would put 1 basic solar hot water systems in 1,000 homes every day. 365,000 homes per year. That is if the systems were FREE to the homeowner.
10 % of the money = 365,000 homes per year.
By the way, as the initiative unfolds the solar hot water system price could be expected to drop as competition increased AND tens of thousands of new jobs would be created.
PV Solar - In my state – Oregon – in 2008 to get the maximum credit from the state and federal rebate programs you had to put up a 3.3 kw system. This cost $ 40,000 and gave you about $ 10,000 in rebates and tax credits for an eventual total cost of about $ 30,000. ( even though you have to pay for a 5 kw inverter to handle the system. Like 8 hotdogs and 10 hot dog buns )
If we again take 10 % of the money from the tax and gave out FREE pv solar systems to anyone who could reasonably benefit we could put a solar PV system on 125 homes each day in the US, FREE. That equals 45,625 homes every year. On average this would save about 7% – 10% electricity usage on every home.
This is not a huge return on investment EXCEPT for the facts that our money would be returned home ( The US ) and not to the middle east and the more main stream the PV solar becomes, the lower the price will be. Add to that the creation of jobs in the US and the probable price of energy in 20 years, and it starts looking a lot better.
Remember, the figures above include administration and only use 20 % of the money ( $ 50 million per day ). We could use the rest of the money in any proportion that is fair for other solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal and hydro electrical systems that would benefit others regionally.
This plan solves the following :
For $ 4.50 per fill up ( automobiles ) , we ( The US ) could generate 18 billion dollars per year in alternative energy. Seems like a good trade.
And it seems rather painless as well, compared to what we are all going through now.