Saturday, July 12, 2008

What's in the Box? III - Energy.

Barack Obama has unveiled an energy plan, so let's check it for substance:

  • A $300 rebate for families to offset rise in gas prices. From the same man who dismissed McCain's proposed suspension of the federal gas tax for three months. I guess the difference is that the taxes keep coming in, and instead we borrow the money to fund the rebate.
  • A $150B federal investment for ten years in to renewable energy programs. No increased energy production, and no guaranteed results, but it will be exciting!
  • Reduce oil consumption by 3 Mbbl/day by 2018, and by 10 Mbbl/day by 2030. How, exactly? The "plan" calls for improving petroleum use efficiency by 50%. That's fifty percent. How? Magic? Because we want it to be so?
  • Development of "current leases" on federal land, with the claim this would double current domestic production - without the need for more offshore production nor ANWR. The Wall Street Journal has already shown that this frequently-parroted claim is a canard, relying on a fantastic extrapolation of current production on federal land. However, at least the Obamites concede that more domestic petroleum production is needed. They just need to realize that one has to drill where the oil is, rather than where one would like it to be.
  • "End excessive speculation in the oil markets". This is a bone to throw to the conspiracy and class-warfare cranks. It does not result in the production in a single additional barrel of oil.
  • Windfall profits tax on oil companies. See the previous point. The collected tax would then be doled out to the citizens to offset higher energy costs. Obama may want to break this gently to many of these same families whose 401Ks are invested in energy companies. Taking from one's pocket to give it right back - after Uncle Sam's cut of pork and waste.
  • Doubling the CAFE standards...within 18 years. I think the private sector can handle than one quite well now, thank you.
  • Nuclear power? No more nukes until Harry Reid allows the Yucca Mountain Waste Repository to be opened. Like we more nukes.

That's it. Very little in the way of rapidly increasing domestic energy production, but a great deal of central planning, research and study, taxation, and wishful thinking.

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