Goal of Reducing Oil Dependence Unites All Sides
I recently attended a speech by President Obama in Chicago during which the President discussed his proposal to establish an Energy Security Trust. The concept is to use revenue from oil production to fund research and development of oil-displacement technologies in the transportation sector. The goal of improving U.S. energy security and reducing oil dependence can unite Republicans and Democrats.
SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), which is co-chaired by Fred Smith, laid out the vision for this plan in its National Strategy for Energy Security. The President’s State of the Union address mentioned it, and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has also offered a plan to establish this type of fund.
In 2012, the U.S. spent nearly $300 billion on oil imports, accounting for more than half of our trade deficit. Improved efficiency and heightened domestic production help, but the changes are insufficient to achieve security, as ties to the global oil market remain. As Mr. Smith and General James Conway, a member of SAFE’s ESLC, wisely wrote in a recent op-ed, “The price (of oil) is determined by a global market dominated by a cartel of national oil companies and impacted by global events ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. With virtually no alternatives to oil available in the transportation sector, our nation has been forced to pay high oil prices and to attempt, often times futilely and at tremendous expense, to guard against major supply disruptions. For decades, our oil dependence has constrained U.S. foreign policy, limited military options and harmed economic growth.”
The solution is to invest in innovation to develop alternatives to oil in the transportation sector, including batteries, natural gas onboard storage, and advanced liquid fuels. The Trust Fund is an opportunity to leverage the domestic energy boom to advance long-term energy security by using a portion of production royalties to advance this critical R&D. We will only be truly energy secure when able to choose the fuels we want to put in our tanks to power our cars and trucks, and oil no longer holds a monopoly.
Establishing an energy security trust fund is a great way to bring both parties together because it offers incentives for both sides – more domestic energy production for Republicans, and more research and development of oil displacement technologies for Democrats. There are differences to be ironed out for sure, but one thing everyone should be able to agree on is finding ways to protect our economy and national security by reducing oil dependence.
About SAFE and the Energy Security Leadership Council
SAFE is a nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security in order to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvement in fuel efficiency, and in the long-term, breaking oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector through alternatives like natural gas for heavy-duty trucks and plug-in electric vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence.