Friday, June 24, 2005
Senate fiddles while oil burns
Like a bad summer rerun, the U.S. Senate has once again failed to act to improve vehicle fuel economy standards that would cut our nation's dependence on foreign oil and save consumers billions at the pump. The Senate had the opportunity to consider two amendments that would have saved up to three million barrels of oil per day in 2020 through modest increases in the fuel economy of cars and trucks. Yet, the Senate decided that these fuel economy amendments were not 'germane' to the Senate energy bill.
How saving millions of barrels of oil is not germane to the energy debate defies reason.
The Senate's shortsightedness comes as oil imports rose to 60 percent in the last month. The Unites States, meanwhile, now sends over $350,000 every minute to other countries just to fuel our petroleum habit. By rejecting fuel economy improvements for the third straight session of Congress, the House and Senate are repeating past mistakes instead of trusting the country's can-do spirit.
The Senate bill contains an unenforceable one million barrels per day oil savings target and a renewable fuels standard. If enacted, this will only slow oil consumption by 0.25 million barrels per day. Claims that the Senate energy bill will dramatically cut US oil dependence are clearly more fiction than fact.
Meanwhile Forbes is running a piece by AFX, the business news subsidiary of Agence France-Presse, with the headline "Japan govt worried as crude oil futures hit record 60 usd a barrel - report"
Why is the Japanese government worried?
Japan has been reducing its dependence on oil as an energy source, and also has one of the most energy-efficient economies in the industrialized world. So Japan's primary concern is high oil prices might cause growth to slow in other less energy-efficient countries like the United States, and thus depress demand for Japanese exports.