The following essays tell a lot about the real U.S. energy policies, the goals of Big Oil, and a solution that can help end our national energy dependency issues. Originally posted by me at Bring It On! and brought to you here for your reading enjoyment and edification.

Economy Is Great- If You’re an Oil Company or Defense Contractor

Boy, this Bush economy is really spreading the wealth around, at least for Big Oil and the Military-Industrial complex.

Third quarter reports show ExxonMobile reaping record profit levels, raking in over $10 Billion in profit in the third quarter alone. Since the costs of extracting, refining, and delivering crude oil has not changed much, this is pure profit for the oil giant. If this were simply a matter of passing increased costs along to the consumer, the oil companies would not realize such extreme profits at all, as their costs would also be rising. It’s not about supply and demand either, despite market economy apologists. And it’s not just ExxonMobile either. Profits at Royal Dutch Shell grabbed over $7 Billion in profit in Q2 and ConocoPhillips sucked another $5 Billion out of consumers pockets.

Can anyone say price gouging? Add these obscene record earnings to the record tax breaks given these oil barons by the Bush administration and it’s clear that the Bush tax cuts are working wonders- for the uber-rich at least. Meanwhile, most of the regular joes are cutting back on summer travel, family entertainment, eating, and so on.

But if that’s not enough evidence that America is just a subsidiary of the corporate crassholes, defense companies are enjoying earning increases too, from 17 to 54 per cent as the neverending Bush war doctrine catches on around the world.

Can anyone say war profiteering? Many of these defense contracts are allotted through Homeland Security contracts, the federal governments newest money hole, where rampant fraud and waste have been documented.

You want to talk about ‘wealth redistribution?’ There it is folks. Plain and simple.

America Addicted To Oil, Bush Addicted To Bullsh*t

In his 2006 State of the Union Speech, President Bush declared that America is “addicted to oil.” He then laid out plans to fix that problem, including, among other things, a call to change how we power motor vehicles.

“We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We’ll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”

Well that sure sounds good on paper, but the reality is that these comments were more rhetoric than reality. The reality is that no matter what technology develops, if you can’t get it into the hands of the consumer, it isn’t going to make a difference towards the goal of reducing oil use. It seems that someone in Congress figured that out too though, so a tax credit was passed for purchasers of fuel efficient hybrid vehicles. Seems the stage is set for some real progress to be made, right?

Wrong. For most people, even with the tax credit, the price of a new hybrid is still out of reach, especially with all other costs going up across the board, and with incomes growing at a snail’s pace. The tax credits were supposed to help level that playing field somewhat, but when drafting the law, Congress put a cap on the number of cars sold per manufacturer that would qualify for the credit. That magic number is 60,000. After that number of cars has been sold and given the maximum $3,500 tax credit, the next batch of cars sold only receive half that amount as a credit, and then six months later, half again of that. By October 2007, the credit will end altogether.

With over 258 million cars on the streets today, nearly 13 million cars would have to be replaced annually with hybrid vehicles just to replace the U.S. fleet in 20 years. That’s right…TWENTY YEARS. And yet the tool designed by Congress and touted by the president in his speech to the nation to help achieve the goal of ‘weaning America off foreign oil’ will barely make a dent in the effort, largely because it is too limited in scope and does not offer flexibility for those who couldn’t afford a new car ever. Even if eligible manufacturer’s pumped out and sold a half million units a year combined, it would take over 500 years to replace the cars we have now burning gas.

So much for breaking the addiction. But that’s no real surprise, is it? After all, we are being led by the biggest pusher and addict of all, our two-headed, executive branch oil monster known as Dick and Bush. Had the president been serious about his statements, he’d have pushed for a much more expansive tax credit program that would include more than just new car purchases, but for used hybrid cars, retrofitted engine replacements for older cars, credits for gas retailers who converted a portion of their businesses to flex-fuels, eliminated the cut-off threshhold for manufacturers, removed any cut-off date for the program, and established a one-per-person every five years rule that would ensure a spreading of the credits across a broader economic spectrum. Businesses with large vehicle fleets would have no such per-person rule.

But he won’t do that, because then Americans might actually make progress in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and oil in general for transportation fuel. And if that happened too quickly his buddies in Big Oil would stand to lose a big chuck of their outrageous earnings, and then where would the ‘ownership society’ be.

As with most things that come out of this president’s mouth, the claim that this administration wants to end the cycle of oil addiction is pure B.S. And that’s just the kind of thing we’d expect a failed Texas oilman to be addicted to.

Big Oil On The Right Track?

Just got the newest National Geographic magazine this weekend and noticed an advertisement (located on page 5) from our friends at Conoco Phillips.

The ad claims, in part, that our friends at Conoco Phillips aren’t willing to settle for just average when it comes to providing energy to the world. Claiming to be raiser’s of the bar and taking the lead in figuring it out, the ad goes on to say just how Conoco Phillips is moving forward to “solve the demanding increase in global energy needs.”

The solution? Finding new places to drill for natural gas and investing in Russia’s oil and natural gas reserves. WOW! These out of the box solutions will surely keep us in oil for decades to come right? Because we all know that oil is the only real source of energy worth pursuing, right?

The ad ends with this missive:

“Turning “what ifs” into “what’s next” – it’s what we do every day.”

Funny, I thought the “what’s next” might possibly include developing non-fossil fuel energy solutions, not just looking for new places to dig. Obviously, Big Oil isn’t interested in that at all.

Green Power

The ERA recently released this years list of Green Power Partnership Rankings and I’m proud to note that I Live near and work in this years list topper- The City of San Diego. By generating some of it’s own energy from renewable resources, San Diego saved many millions of taxpayer dollars and prevented as much as 91 million pounds of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. Imagine that…saving money and fighting global warming at the same time. In all, San Diego generated over 65,000 megawatts of power derived from biogas, solar power, and hydro power. That represents nearly 25% of the city’s annual power needs. That’s enough to power 7,500 homes for an entire year.

In fact, the city is actually producing more energy than it is equipped to use, so they are selling it back to the power grid through the local utility, San Diego Gas and Electric. And this can’t be done elsewhere…why?

Sure, San Diego has the sun nearly year round, but it’s more than just a warm climate that is bringing success. By thinking out of the box with such ideas as converting falling water in its wastewater treatment plant into energy. Or by capturing the methane gas from landfills and other waste water treatment facilities. Or adding turbines to the city’s water delivery system to take advantage of wind power. And yes, lots and lots of solar panels.

The point though is that any municipality could do the same thing. All it takes is some leadership and commitment to doing the right thing. Right for the planet. Right for our own health. Right for our security. Right for our wallets. In fact, there’s nothing negative here at all, except that more cities aren’t doingthis too.

Rounding out the top five were the Austin Independent School District in Texas, the Montgomery County Wind Buyers Group in Maryland, the New York State Municipal Wind Buyers Group, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District in California. Only the city of Portland, Oregon had a more diverse mix of renewable energy sources than San Diego, as they already have a wind program in place. But Portland’s total green power generation was only 17,600 megawatts, putting that city 7th on the EPA list.

It’s obvious that alternative energy isn’t coming from the big oil companies or the federal government any time soon. But the answer can be found in our cities and towns. Contact your local officials and find out what your city is doing to help reduce fossil fuel consumption. If they are not doing anything see if you can help them develop a plan. Together we can make a difference.

(originally posted at Bring It On!)