It seems earth-shattering that a Republican would discuss such a hot potato that ranks almost as high as healthcare among lesser-discussed GOP issues, but I’m going to try.
Now I won’t come out and say that I’m a “environmentalist Republican.” Besides, some would say that term is an oxymoron. However, I definitely believe there are reasonable solutions to the energy crisis that faces this country. With two major GOP oil figures heading up the executive branch of our country, I can see why many people have written off the Republican party as a source for answers to energy and the environment.
So let me take a chance to see if I can come up with some ideas that everyone can at least tolerate.
We are an oil-crazed culture. There’s no denying it. We use oil in everything from plastics to gasoline. Are we addicted? Maybe. But I’d rather use a different word: reliant.
Gas prices are higher than ever before (even though, when adjusted by inflation they are actually comparable to that of the 1970’s). The days of $1.00/gallon for gasoline seem to be over.
We keep using petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource, and there’s a chance we’ll eventually run out of it altogether. I don’t know how soon that would be, but it could very well happen. To avoid that we need to switch to renewable alternative energy sources.
Now, I suggest a comprehensive strategy when it comes to energy. First, the government should encourage the development of ethanol from sugarcane and sugarbeets. The U.S. Government once paid farmers not to grow corn and now that we “need” it for ethanol and everything else corn is used for, corn is now inflated. So along with corn, we should also find other sources for ethanol.
We have to understand that oil is not necessarily the complete problem in and of itself, but we’re overly dependent on foreign sources. If we drill in ANWR and other places within U.S. Territory, we can make ourselves self-sufficient on oil. Of course we want to be completely free from oil someday, but we have to face the fact that it’s a long way down the road.
The government must work with automobile manufacturers and the oil companies to produce products that consume less gasoline. If somehow every auto manufacturer began producing hybrid versions of the cars they already have and reduce production of they gas guzzlers they currently make, demand for gasoline would decrease, thus decreasing the price of gas. If the government simply decides to legislate it’s way out of it and force oil companies to do things their way, the cost will be distributed to the average citizen, placing the burden on them. Encouragement is the key, not force.
Solar and wind energy must be improved and expanded as well. I wonder how far away “hybrid houses” are. They may already be here. If so, I’d be extremely interested.
So here’s our objectives: we have to avoid even higher gas prices, decrease foreign dependency, avoid higher taxes, and avoid more government control. How can we do that?
As I said before, private organizations need to be encouraged or coaxed into developing these alternative sources of energy, not forced. This can all be done in a reasonable, economical, and feasible manner by introducing major tax incentives and government grants. But going to extremes like the Democrats want, or maintaining the status quo like some Republicans want is not the answer.
Conservatives much actually embrace the term “conservative” when it comes to energy. We have to find ways to conserve the energy we have. It’s not unreasonable to turn the lights off when we aren’t using them and things like that. We need to be practical about energy. I know I’ll probably get slammed by hardcore environmentalists and oil-crazed conseratives alike, but I hope you will consider these suggestions with an open mind.