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Energy Czar Thinks He’s In The Auto Business

From an unfazed Politico:


Chu: DOE working to wean U.S. off oil, not lower prices

By ALEX GUILLEN
2/28/12

The Energy Department isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly, Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker scolded him for his now-infamous 2008 comment that gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe.

By the way, where are all the alternative fuel vehicles coming out of Europe? I haven’t seen any. They have had high gas prices for decades. Where is all their new car technology?

Instead, DOE is working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric vehicles, Chu told House appropriators during a hearing on DOE’s budget.

Mr. Chu seems to be confused. He is the Secretary of Energy, not the Secretary Of Transportation or the Secretary Of Automobile production. (Who is probably the head of the UAW.)

But Americans need relief now, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) said — not high gasoline prices that could eventually push them to alternatives…

Chu expressed sympathy but said his department is working to lower energy prices in the long term.

“We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this,” said Chu, speaking to the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”

What a shell game. (And I don’t mean the oil company.) When we say we need to drill more, we are told that will take too long.

When we ask what the administration is doing to lower the price of gas, we are told there is nothing that can be done in the short term. We have to think long term.

Chu specifically cited a reported breakthrough announced Monday by Envia Systems, which received funding from DOE’s ARPA-E, that could help slash the price of electric vehicle batteries.

Because, after all, that is the real crisis most Americans are facing every day. The high cost of electric car batteries.

He also touted natural gas as “great” and said DOE is researching how to reduce the cost of compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles.

High gasoline prices will make research into such alternatives more urgent, Chu said.

Which is why his Department Of Energy is doing everything in its power to keep prices high, and even drive them higher.

“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.

“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

Energy efficiency means ‘go buy a new car.’ When most Americans simply cannot afford the $40,000 Chevy Volt, nor can they afford to buy the pricey hybrids. Especially during the Obama recession.

But when did this become the role of the Department Of Energy? In fact, it appears Mr. Chu’s Energy Department is more focused on making cars than producing energy. That is not his or their job.

He should be trying to open up more domestic sources of oil for the country, instead of doing his level best to restrict them from production.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Energy Czar Thinks He’s In The Auto Business”

  1. Astravogel says:

    It is always interesting and enlightening,
    to see someone competent in one field
    making policy in a different one.

  2. Curiosity says:

    I would appreciate decreasing dependence on oil, though it doesn’t sound like a super urgent need worth hamstringing the economy over.

    I thought this was a good read on alternative fuel research underway by the Air Force.

    The authors of the subsequent report concluded that large-scale production
    of liquid fuels from coal in the United States is technically feasible and
    potentially viable commercially, although important uncertainties remain.
    The analysis showed that dedicating only 15 percent of the recoverable
    coal reserves of the United States to coal-to-liquid production would
    yield roughly 100 billion barrels of liquid transportation fuels, enough to
    sustain 3 million barrels per day of production for more than 90 years.

    Moreover, the necessary technology already exists.

    Good. Assuming 3 million barrels per day is enough for our defense needs, 90 years is plenty of time to come up with a viable alternative.

    Supposedly, America is currently using about 19 million barrels per day (the RAND report suggests about 20 mil).

    Despite its promise, private investment in coal-to-liquid production has
    been impeded by uncertainties about the actual costs of producing coalderived
    fuels and how to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.

    The only uncertainty I can think of is Cap and Trade and similar measures.

    Later, under “Hydrotreated Renewable Oils”:

    Producing just 200,000
    barrels per day (about 1 percent of U.S. petroleum consumption) from
    these crops would require an area equal to about 10 percent of the croplands
    currently under cultivation in the United States.

    lol. At best, it sounds viable for farmers to use locally, perhaps on failed crops or crops heavily damaged like in hail. Wish we’d spend less time on it as a nation.

    The third heading is “DoD Investment in Alternative Fuels Will Benefit the Nation
    as a Whole More Than It Does the Defense Community,” and it goes on to omit any suggestion that an oil shortage or market manipulation is a tactical concern:

    The finding that alternative fuels offer the armed services no direct
    tactical or operational military benefit is consistent with findings of other
    recent studies on military energy issues: Namely, that the military is best
    served by ongoing efforts to use energy more efficiently.

    Project Air Force is one of three FFRDCs operated by the RAND corporation for the DoD (I bet you can’t guess which branch this one is for).

  3. Right of the People says:

    The damage these bozos are doing to our country is going to take years to undo even if we can get Obummer out of office this fall.

    I heard yesterday on the new that the reason for rising gas prices was low demand. I might be wrong but if I remember from my Economics 101 class prices usually go down when demand goes down to try and stimulate the market for a particular product. This is just more bassackward thinking by the present cabal running our country.

  4. canary says:

    Chu runs the Dept of Defense too, using the U.S. Military to build solar energy & other tech. Fuel saving Equipment being tested in Afghanistan, etc. Which I guess Eisenhower was concerned over the federal Government running everything.

    Steve Chu fulfills Eisenhowers Darkest Nightmare

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/steve-chu-fulfills-eisenhowers-darkest-nightmare/

    Chu partnering Berkley with Chicago Ill would only be 1 reason Obama chose him. Saying California would be destroyed by global warming soon had to make him a big hit at Berkley & Illinoise too.

  5. fallingpianos says:

    He should be trying to open up more domestic sources of oil for the country, instead of doing his level best to restrict them from production.

    While we’re dreaming, here’s a better idea: eliminate the Department of Energy.

  6. Mithrandir says:

    So, after 35 years of multi-billion dollar budgets, whose primary goal was to find a way out of foreign oil dependence, 16,000 federal workers pushing papers from one desk to another, 90,000 civilians, and after all that, all that investment, all the promises, all the time/money/energy of all those people combined, in 2012 our final solution boils down to:

    WE ARE ALLOWING GAS PRICES TO SKYROCKET SO PEOPLE WILL ACCEPT AN ALTERNATIVE TO FOREIGN OIL

    Meanwhile, some guy in his garage, makes hydrogen power out of water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF__Qlhtnws

    Well done…

  7. bobdog says:

    The problem is that y’all are not buying Chebby Bolts fast enough, so some gentle “persuasion” is necessary. You WILL comply, eventually.

    Of course, “eventually”, and “long term” for that matter, means “by November 5th”.

    I’d like to know where the constitution provides for a Department of Energy and gives it the power to directly manipulate the free market. I’ve read it several times, and you know, I don’t think this subject came up. Something else I’d like to know is how long it will be before Washington produces our first “Five Year Plan” that sets economic targets for every industry in the country. And I hope it’s more successful than the ones that Russia used.


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