Tag Archives: fossil fuels

Gas tax holiday? Sure, let’s do it!

President Biden is considering a temporary suspension of the federal fuel tax we motorists pay every time we put the go-juice into our motor vehicles.

I have kinda waffled on this one, but I’ve decided that it’s worth doing to give Americans — such as my family and me — some relief from the pain we are enduring at the fuel pump.

The “tax holiday” would save us about 18 cents per gallon of fuel with each visit to the service station. The savings over time isn’t a huge amount, but it’s significant enough to give us a little bit of a break from the gouging (I believe) that is occurring.

Energy companies are raking in huge profits while soaking us at the pump. Joe Biden is trying like the dickens to talk the oil company moguls into drilling for more fossil fuel, which would shore up the supply. He has ordered the release of 1 million barrels of petroleum each day for six months from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Surely, there’s a downside to the tax holiday. The federal fuel tax pays for infrastructure maintenance and improvement. That money will dry up, forcing the government to find other revenue sources to pay for the necessary improvements to our highways and bridges.

For now, though, I will — with reluctance — endorse the idea of a tax holiday … just go get some relief from the pain and sticker shock.

It won’t allow me to continue driving the way I did before this monstrous spike in fuel prices. It just won’t hurt quite as much whenever I park next to the pump.


Oh, these costs …

Not long ago I posted a blog item that recalled the good old days when Dad would ask the gas station attendant to pump “a buck’s worth of regular” gasoline into his car.

At 25 cents per gallon, that bought Dad about four gallons of fuel. He could run on that for, say, a weekend.

Well, today I pulled into a Shell station in Farmersville, Texas and pumped 4.546 gallons of diesel fuel into Big Jake the Pickup.

The cost of a little more than four gallons of fuel today … roughly the same amount of fuel for which Dad paid a buck?

Twenty-five dollars!

This makes me so mad … I could just spit!


Shall we slow down to reduce fuel prices?

Of all the possible remedies being discussed on how to deal with the skyrocketing price of motor fuel, I have yet to hear one notion that got a lot of attention in the 1970s when we experienced an earlier form of sticker shock at the gas pump.

Those of us old folks recall when the Middle East oil embargo forced prices to zoom out of sight. Our response then in real time? It was to slow motorists down to 55 mph. Do you recall that? Sure you do!

Congress acted with relative dispatch.

The slowdown on our interstate highways lasted until the mid-1990s when Republicans took control of Congress and then lifted the mandated speed restrictions. We’ve been zooming along ever since.

I want to offer that as a possible talking point in the current climate.

It is clear that slowing down our motor vehicles from 75 and 80 mph to something a good bit less than that results in significant fuel savings. So, if you play that out just a bit you come up with a notion that greater supply and diminished demand on a commodity — such as gasoline or diesel fuel — could drive the price of that product down to more reasonable levels.

I was a huge proponent of slowing motorists in the 1970s. I received plenty of grief from my West Texas friends about my desire to drive more slowly.

Well, I don’t expect anyone to take this seriously. Perhaps the current price spikes are far beyond simple remedies such as what we enacted in an earlier time.

I just would like to see this talking point introduced once again in the public debate on energy policy. Let’s all remember this indisputable fact: Fossil fuels will not last forever.


POTUS pounded unfairly

My bias is clear and well-documented on this blog. I stand in support of President Biden.

That said, I need someone to explain to me just why he is getting pounded — in my view unfairly — for the rising energy prices that are taking an increasing bite out of our disposal income.

Supply of fossil fuel is down, demand is up. Russia has gone to war with Ukraine, forcing the United States and our worldwide allies to cut off Russian oil exports. The “supply chain” crisis isn’t letting up. Not only that, Americans are paying less for fuel than citizens of many other industrialized nations, meaning that this is a worldwide crisis.

And yet …

We hear from the right wingers that Biden is “doing nothing” to ease the pain at the pump. We hear he is feckless and clueless.

How in the world does the president of the United States control the worldwide supply and demand? What can he do to correct it?

Hey, I admit to being slow on the uptake on a whole array of issues. This is one of them. I don’t profess to know all the answers. Hell, I cannot even figure out how to correct some of the glitches in my TV streaming service at home.

I have said all along — and this argument has applied to presidents of both parties — that the POTUS never should take undue credit for success, nor should he received undue blame for problems that occur on his watch.

However, Joe Biden is the president of the United States. He has served in government long enough to know that the blame he gets just goes with the territory.

It’s just not fair.


SPR stands by as a weapon

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve came into being at a time when the United States was being held hostage to the whims of oil-producing nations that sought to deprive this country of the fossil fuels it needs to function as the world’s most advanced nation.

We dug huge caverns and filled them with petroleum to hold in case we faced existential threats.

Well, we are facing them now with Russia going to war with Ukraine and with the price of energy skyrocketing to levels never before seen. President Biden has announced a plan to release 1 million barrels of oil each day into the marketplace for the next six months to help Americans fight the rising cost of energy.

I believe the time is right for such a move, even though in the past I have been skeptical of plans to use the SPR as an inflation-fighting weapon.

Those of us depend on fossil fuels to power our vehicles are feeling an incredible squeeze on household budgets. Will the SPR release make a huge difference? Probably not immediately. My own sense always has been with energy price spikes is that fuel prices zoom upward only to creep ever-so-slowly back down. Oil companies seek to boost profits quickly and are reluctant to let go of them even after they rake in the cash caused by the excessive costs they pass on to customers.

The Russians do produce a lot of oil. That supply is being jeopardized by the U.S.-led economic sanctions enacted after Russia invaded Ukraine. Thus, if we have the Strategic Petroleum Reserve standing by to use in case of emergency, then by all means we ought to use it.

To that end, President Biden is seeking to deploy a powerful weapon at his disposal.


Long-term solution needs attention

The immediate impact of the world’s current crisis in Ukraine has been profound and powerful with the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels — the gasoline and diesel we pour into our motor vehicles to get us from place to place.

It is affecting our plans here in North Texas, forcing my wife and me to rethink our travel plans as we move through this challenging year.

With that I want to offer a brief look at how this nation ought to deal with the immediate crisis. We ought not worry ourselves sick over immediate solutions but look ahead farther down the proverbial road at longer-term fixes. I refer to “green energy.”

We still consume a lot of oil-based products we pump out of the ground. That energy source is finite. There’s only so much of it we can remove from beneath Earth’s surface. Once it’s gone, it’s gone … forever.

Texas, though, has taken the lead on renewable energy sources, along with continuing to be among the world’s leaders in producing fossil fuels. We are continuing to invest in wind energy and in solar energy.

As far as I can tell, that old wind is going to keep blowing until the end of time. Take it from me, as someone who spent 23 years on the West Texas Caprock, I am well-acquainted with the power of wind and the potential it brings to keep the lights on. Any kilowatt hour we can generate from a wind turbine takes away what we need to produce from fossil fuel.

The Russians keep talking about cutting off oil supplies to Europe and beyond. The United States still imports some oil from Russia. If the Russians make good on a threat to cut us off, too, then the price is going to skyrocket to even higher levels.

The climate-change deniers debunk green energy as the stuff of washed-up hippies. Baloney! It is a serious alternative to the way we fuel our current lifestyle. Is there a short-term repair to the damage we are feeling at this moment? Not really. If we look at the longer term, we can keep our eyes on the bigger prize, which is the harvesting of energy from endless sources.


Renewables aren’t the problem, governor

(Bob Daemmrich/Pool Photo via AP)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had me … then he lost me.

The governor declared his displeasure with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s handling of the deep freeze that produce widespread power outages in the state. He called correctly for a deep probe into the decisions ERCOT made in cutting energy production capacity in the midst of the Arctic blast that sent temperatures plummeting.

Then what does Abbott do? He goes on Fox News and declares that the “Green New Deal” that advocates the use of wind and solar energy is the major culprit in the Texas energy crisis. What the … ?

Rolling Stone reported: On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott went on Fox News to point the finger at renewable energy. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” he said before claiming the “shutdown” of solar and wind energy “thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power.”

Texas Power Crisis: Gov. Greg Abbott Falsely Blames Green Energy – Rolling Stone

Good grief, man. Renewable energy accounts for a tiny fraction of the energy being produced in this state. It should be more, but it isn’t. Yet, Abbott decided to look for the straw man and beat it mercilessly in front of a friendly audience that has little tolerance or belief in renewable energy.

This is a ridiculous assumption coming from the state’s top elected official. He clearly is playing to a political base he will need if he runs for re-election in 2022. Indeed, Abbott is now being talked about as a possible presidential candidate in 2024.

Ugghh! He is taking aim at the wrong target if he is going to blame the Green New Deal, which I hasten to add hasn’t even been enacted by Congress. Donald Trump opposed the notion when he sat in the Oval Office and his successor as president, Joe Biden, is not a huge fan of the Green New Deal, either.

So why does Abbott beat the hell out of a policy that promotes clean energy, seeks to save the environment, endeavors to wean the nation of finite fossil fuels in favor of infinite sources of energy, such as sunshine and ever-present wind? He does so because the fossil fuel lobby includes big political donors who can influence politicians’ seeking to stay in office or perhaps seek a higher office. Do you get it?

Gov. Abbott continues, therefore, to disappoint me.

Texans are suffering because of inept energy management policies. As for the energy grid and the source of the power, it comes from petroleum, natural gas primarily. Renewable energy accounts for a tiny fraction. Abbott should have stuck with his initial anger at ERCOT for its mismanagement of energy during this crisis.

Instead he wandered onto a field that has next to nothing to do with the crisis at hand.


Hoping for more than climate change lip service

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Joe Biden is giving an abundance of lip service to climate change, global warming, clean energy development as he continues to formulate an executive government.

He did so yet again today in revealing his choices to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Energy Department.

Look, I believe the president-elect is sincere in his state desire to tackle what he has called the greatest “existential threat” to our national security. I agree with him. However, I intend to watch intently as the new president starts rolling out the policies that will put some meat on the rhetorical bones that President-elect Biden is delivering on the climate change issue.

I want to see investments made in clean energy development. Energy Secretary-designate Jennifer Granholm spoke to that desire when she spoke to us after Biden introduced her. Indeed, the POTUS-elect has talked about climate change initiatives as being job creators. He has said he wants to employ millions of Americans in clean energy development.

Climate change and global warming do present a grave threat to the nation. The gloom-and-doomers among us suggest it might be too late for humankind to stem the effects of our changing climate. I am not going to buy into that notion.

I want my government and the president I supported with my vote to contribute more than lip service. We need federal policies that will help us harvest the wind, the ocean tides and other clean renewable energy sources to do the job upon which we continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Those fossil fuels have their limits. They also are contributing to that existential threat that our new president says is endangering our planet.

Mr. President-elect, it’s time to get busy. As in immediately.

No. 1 issue? Climate change

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If someone were to ask me about the top priority facing the president of the United States, I would place climate change at the top of the list of “existential threats” that needs our attention.

Donald J. Trump is a lost cause on that one. He calls climate change/global warming a “hoax.” He pushes for more fossil fuel drilling and development; he has pulled the nation out of the Paris Climate Accords that establishes a framework for cutting carbon emissions; he has been silent on deforestation.

The wildfires that have ravaged several western states are essentially the direct result of climate change. Trump’s answer? He calls on states to sweep the forest floor clean of dead trees that provide fuel for the fires.

This is where Joe Biden can deliver the goods if he is elected president. Oh, how I hope that happens 36 days from now.

He said he would return to the Climate Accords. Biden has vowed to invest in clean energy technology. He vows to work with Congress — where he served for 36 years before being elected vice president in 2008 — to find common ground on legislative solutions to this growing threat to the only planet we can call home.

Trump is clueless. He is feckless. He is reckless in his declarations of “hoax.”

The men will face off tonight in the first of three debates. May the better man — and I consider him to be Joe Biden — return climate change to the front edge of the top shelf of issues that need presidential attention.

Reinvest in renewables

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Politics is everywhere, including places where it doesn’t belong.

As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden notes, fires and hurricanes don’t discriminate between “red and blue states.” He is seeking to rely on science to determine what the national response should be to fight what he has identified correctly as an existential threat to the nation.

That is climate change.

Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and began dismantling environmental rules and regulations established by the Obama administration. He fought to restore a full-throttle fossil fuel exploratory policy.

What the president ignored is that Obama’s effort to develop clean, renewable energy actually contributed to this nation’s independence from foreign-produced fossil fuels. Do you recall when Republicans blasted Hillary Clinton for saying in 2016 that she intended to eliminate jobs related to the coal industry? They ignored the rest of her statement, which was that she intended to replace those jobs with those associated with renewable energy development.

So it was prior to the time Donald Trump took office.

The Pacific Coast wildfires are the direct result of a changing worldwide climate, as scientists have affirmed. Trump is casting aside those analyses. He said “forest management” needs improvement, which he insists will prevent the explosive fires that have incinerated more than 4 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington.

Joe Biden is vowing for all he is worth to restore the effort to develop renewable energy sources. I haven’t heard him say he would propose ending fossil fuel exploration and development.

We have on our hands a direct national security threat that has nothing to do with terrorism. It has everything to do with the changing climate that is bringing untold destruction in the form of fire, heavy wind, shattering coastal surf.

This great nation needs national leadership from the top of the governmental chain of command. It isn’t getting it from the individual in charge at this moment. I am quite confident we will receive it when we replace him with someone who will listen intently to scientists who know what they are talking about.