R. James Woolsey, former Under Secretary of the Navy and Director of Central Intelligence has always considered the amount of oil that America imports to be a security issue for the country. In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Woolsey lays out his plan to finally end America’s addition to foreign oil. While he talks about solar and wind power being necessary for environmental reasons, he also makes the point that solar and wind power do very little to reduce oil imports, since less than 2% of U.S. electricity comes from oil.
His plan consists of 4 main themes:
1. Continue to develop and use technological improvements in current internal combustion engines. “Innovations in computer chips and valves hold an early promise of substantial improvements in mileage by regulating combustion much better than current engines can.”
2. Switch to natural gas for fleet vehicles such as buses and interstate trucks. They’re easily modified to run on natural gas and you would only need to have natural gas pumps at central locations such as bus depots and interstate truck stops.
3. Force competition between petroleum products and other fuels. Do this by pushing for the development of “drop-in” fuels such as biofuels produced from waste biomass and algae. Also, all new vehicles should be “flexible fuel, open standard.” In other words, fuel lines in cars would use a type of plastic that would allow the cars to use not only gasoline, but other types of fuels such as ethanol or methanol.
4. Push to electrify transportation by moving to plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Time of day pricing will encourage more people to charge their cars at night, which won’t put much pressure on the electric grid.