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I'm Sick and Tired
of being Sick and Tired
By Michael Fredrickson

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of General Manager Michael Fredrickson. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Names can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Stop complaining about gas prices and tell
the federal government to stop blocking oil drilling

...Of congressional Democrats and Republicans complaining about “big oil” company profits. If you are NOT complaining about higher taxes, then stop complaining about gas prices. You see, gasoline doubling in cost has had the SAME NET EFFECT as tax increases.

Oh, so you say you have less money for dining out, gift buying, remodeling, car buying, landscaping, etc., etc. Welcome to the club. Conservatives have been bemoaning this for years. But now it is affecting EVERYONE like income taxes are suppose to do.

The President rescinds an executive order that put some kind of moratorium on drilling and the price of a barrel of oil drops $15 in a week. If Congress would do their job and enact legislation enabling domestic and offshore drilling, it would drop $30 more and probably stay that way.

Nuclear power won’t solve our problem and someone needs to tell T. Boone Pickens windmills and solar power won’t solve it either. Tell Bill O’Reilly that ethanol also won’t work. We need to drill here, drill now, lower prices and create jobs.

Number one, between China and India and the rest of the developing world, demand for oil is suppose to increase almost 50% over the next 10 years, so we have some work to do just to prevent $200 oil. Any pinhead that says it will take 10 years to get a drop of new oil to market and uses that as a reason a reason not to change our drilling policy should realize oil will just keep increasing every year.

The U.S. consumes about 20 million barrels of oil A DAY! Where does it go? For the most part it doesn’t go anywhere a windmill or solar collectors would help. A barrel of oil is refined in a 3:2:1 ratio. Take a barrel of oil, divide it into 6 parts and 3 parts will be gasoline, 2 parts will become diesel (and heating oil), and 1 part “other” (asphalt and generally stuff refiners pay someone to haul off).

So, about half our oil supply is used exclusively for cars and another 30% on trucking and heating oil. Don’t see any windmills taking up the slack here. You may have seen ethanol notices on the gas pumps at your corner gas station. I guess everyone’s car can burn this in 10% mixture without vehicle modifications. All that ethanol is being (very expensively) mixed at the end of pipelines.

Even if we were to find a cheap source to manufacture ethanol we would have to burn it in much higher percentages than 10% to make an impact in our oil consumption. Currently, one of the biggest problems with ethanol is transportation. Gasoline and other refined products are transported through pipelines. Ethanol cannot be transported in our current pipelines because it is water soluble and would mix with the “slug” of water that is used to “push” oil-based products through pipelines.

Additionally, we get almost 70% of the electricity in our homes from burning coal. A good part of the remaining 30% comes from natural gas and a much smaller percentage from hydro, nuclear and other. The U.S. has like the worlds largest supplies of coal and natural gas. Why would we want to “convert” from something we have a huge supply of raw material?

The bottom line is that the U.S. has BILLIONS of barrels of oil that politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, are standing in the way of getting. Some is in Alaska, some offshore and some in oil-shale. Big oil companies, refiners and research and exploration companies will make billions of dollars bringing it to our gas tanks and create millions of jobs doing it. What’s the problem? Isn’t that how our free-market economy was built?


Michael Fredrickson is the General Manager of the Fort Bend/Southwest Star. He can be reached at michael@fortbendstar.com.

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   Last Update:  August 13, 2008