Few states have a bigger stake in the potential transition from
imported diesel to domestic natural gas than Indiana. Given the
amount of over-theroad truck traffic that passes through the state,
a reduction in pollution and costs for truckers will be a
significant economic and social benefit for all Hoosiers. Hydraulic
fracturing, in what is known as the New Albany Shale Gas Play, is
creating real, permanent jobs.
Everyone talks about a free market in energy. It's as if we are
wearing blinders on both the state and federal level. We keep
listening to free market zealots to guide our energy policies when,
in fact, there is no free market in energy. All we need do is look
The cost of OPEC oil is astronomical in its impact on national
security, the state and national economy and the environment.
OPEC is a cartel that controls the global price of oil by
manipulating the amount available.
Since October, Saudi Arabia has sharply cut production to keep
prices up. In essence, the $4 per gallon you are paying for
gasoline at the corner station is helping fund the Saudis' domestic
The OPEC nations are just the largest part of the equation.
Seventy percent of the world's oil supply is controlled by state-
owned entities. Here in the United States constantly changing laws,
rules, tax policy and regulations - new CAFE (Corporate Average
Fuel Economy) standards are the latest example - are just as
If we want to break the back of the OPEC cartel, there are two
free market focused approaches that make sense.
First, we need to inject serious fuel competition into the
transportation fuel mix. Transportation in America accounts for two-
thirds of all oil use. There are many options, but to me, the one
that makes the most sense is natural gas as a fuel substitute for
OPEC oil/diesel/gasoline, with a focus on the heavy duty and fleet
We are now a nation awash in natural gas, so much so there's a
push to allow the export of America's natural gas to Asia, Europe
and elsewhere where it sells for up to four times as much.
While I fully support the producers' right to sell into higher
price markets, I think it shortchanges America's energy future. Why
rebuild another country's economy on the back of our cheap energy?
Wouldn't we be better served by rebuilding our own with our own
Secondly, there is a lot of talk about renewables - wind and
solar in particular - but those are power generation fuels. While
some can argue that power from wind and solar ends up in the power
grid - and, ultimately, in electric vehicles - a battery won't move
But there's another free market-focused approach that works, and
that's to get government out of the way.
We should conduct an audit of the antiquated state and federal
tax policies that impede the alternative fuel market growth. …