General Wesley Clark brought his message about ethanol to the people through an article published in the October/November issue of Washington Monthly. In the article, Clark, who is a Co-Chairman for ethanol industry organization Growth Energy, discusses the staggering amount of money the United States sends to foreign countries for oil – $821 million EVERY day. This equates to $300 billion each year, or about $1,000 for every American — man, woman and child. This number represents about 60 percent of the trade deficit.
Clark writes, “But this tragic situation also presents us with the greatest opportunity in a decade to recharge America’s economy and build a platform for renewed economic growth. I want to tell you how it can be done. And without a tax on gasoline or carbon.”
So how can it be done? Invest in ethanol and other homegrown fuels.
According to Clark, today, the U.S. is consuming almost three times as much crude oil as it produces with 71 percent going for transportation. During the second quarter of 2010 America consumed 9.2 million barrels per day of gasoline, plus 5.1 million barrels for other transportation, such as jet fuel and diesel for trucks and locomotives. According to the Energy Information Administration, 94 percent of the energy used in transportation is derived from petroleum. Therefore, Clark concludes, energy independence is largely about transportation—not about insulating our houses, turning down thermostats, or swapping out light bulbs.
He then lays out three approaches to the problem: produce more domestic oil, conservation and biofuels, specifically ethanol, and gives a detailed history and strategy for each approach. He concludes that not only can we get rid of our $300 billion a year oil habit, but we already know how to accomplish it.
Clark concludes, “Instead of making the American people pay more for fuel, what we need to do is get them on our side, in favor of energy independence…At a time when the American economy has lost millions of jobs, and when most economists despair of America returning to full employment anytime in the near future, we don’t need to put an American on the moon. But we do need to get past denial and overcome our addiction to foreign oil. It’s not as if we don’t know how.”
You can read the full article, “Bringing It All Back Home,” here.