Legendary oil investor T. Boone Pickens wants the U.S. to get off its addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels.
The 79-year-old multi-billionaire was on CNBC earlier this week talking about energy, oil prices and ethanol. According to Delta Farm Press, Pickens has changed his mind about ethanol.
Pickens, who admitted he once opposed ethanol, said on CNBC’s daily “Squawk Box” program that America’s purchases of foreign oil are costing the country a half a trillion dollars every year.
“You take 10 years, and you have $5 trillion,” said Pickens. “That’s more than $1 billion a day. We can’t stand that.” (That $500 billion per year is not far from the record federal deficit of $552 billion in 2004.)
Ethanol industry leaders have been saying the United States needed to reduce its use of foreign-produced oil to avoid transferring such wealth out of the country. But few have put it in such dramatic terms as Pickens.
Acknowledging he didn’t think much of ethanol’s claims in the early years, he said he now supports increased production. “I’d rather have ethanol and recirculate the money in the country, than to have it go out the back door on us.”
Pickens has a company called Clean Energy Corporation that provides natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicle fleets via fuel stations and last year he announced that he intends to build the world’s largest wind farm by installing large wind turbines in parts of four Panhandle counties.