Um, no. Burning food is a terrible idea. Doesn’t matter though because America has enormous untapped hydrocarbon resources in the form of unconventional oil, gas and of course coal. If you add in methane hydrates you are probably talking a few thousand years of fuel and feedstock.
The next time you go to buy a car, a fridge, shoes, a TV, boxer shorts or lipstick, what if there were only one choice – a single product in the marketplace for each category – take it or leave it? Worse, what if the price of that item were set by a foreign cartel that is dominated by autocrats who are not our friends? Sound far-fetched? That’s essentially what you face each time you fill your car’s gas tank. Why is that not OK? Let me count the ways.
Our entire transportation system – that is, the vast majority of anything that moves anything from Point A to Point B (i.e., aircraft, trucks, ships and your family automobile) runs on a petroleum product. Oil has become a strategic commodity – a good that if priced extravagantly or if its supply is disrupted literally can bring down the global economy. Yet this year, we will send $400 billion overseas to buy oil whose price is set by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In addition, we also will spend an additional $150 billion (about one-third of the Pentagon’s budget) to keep this nonsensical arrangement working. Think how many soldiers’ lives could be saved and jobs created at home if we solved this problem. In sum, for the past 40 years, our country has endured this outrageous national security, economic and environmental problem, all the while whistling past the graveyard, hoping that we will muddle through somehow. And the outrage is on course to persist into the future as far as the eye can see.
It’s also interesting to note that oil’s strategic status affects not just our transportation sector but chemicals and agriculture as well. Just about 90 percent of the products that Dupont and Dow put on the shelves of American stores – from synthetic fibers (i.e., the clothes on your back) to plastics that wrap everything else to the molded material in your dashboard – rely on oil as the feedstock. In short, we – and everyone else in the world – live in a global economy that runs, at its peril, on oil.