30 years ago, Brazil imported 80% of its oil. With a strong sense of purpose, Brazil invested heavily in bio-fuel technology and refocused its transportation energy towards a resource Brazil could manufacture internally—sugar based ethanol. Today, Brazil uses flexible fuel vehicles that can run on gas, ethanol, or any combination of the two. It still has a mandate to be 100% independent of oil in 2011.
Yes, Brazil still drills for oil, and they still use it - plenty of it. But at least they've had a plan for upwards of 30 years now. We have virtually none by comparison.
If the President had some guts and some vision (like Kennedy did when he said we'd put a man on the moon in the next 10 years) and said "We're getting off oil by 2021", could we do it? Of course we could. It would create huge numbers of jobs, and it would deny billions in revenue to foreign producers many of whom DO NOT LIKE AMERICANS. But, there's no vision, and no guts. And it is not likely we’ll see any of either in this term of office.
Obama's campaign rhetoric has promised us all kinds of wonderful things - however did we manage to get through the first 250 years without Barack Obama to beat some progress out of the terrible corporations that have been holding us back? Hold our “Boot to the neck” of BP? Come on, people. The President is “furious” about the Gulf Oil Spill? Give me a break.
The United States has ethanol (#1 producer in the world) and natural gas (#6 in natural gas reserves), so transitioning to another fuel is not some mythic task beyond our abilities. It is only the oil companies that want to hold us back. If we issue the challenge, set ourselves to the task, and focus our American ingenuity and commitment, there is no reason we cannot make rapid strides that will create jobs in our country and stop sending our cash to the Middle East. Unlike putting men on the moon, this is not rocket science for us, either. It simply takes some resolve, a plan, and some guts. We already possess ample technology to get off of oil.
There's a lot of talk about imposing tariffs on imported ethanol from Brazil. The only thing we should be importing from Brazil is their resolve to become energy independent. Domestic ethanol is cheaper than imported ethanol, and it is far cheaper than gasoline refined from imported oil. The truth is that we have to end our reliance on foreign energy – period. Domestic ethanol helps create U.S. jobs, and helps the U.S. economy, and strengthens our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign energy.
The problem here is that we are simply - ADDICTED TO OIL. And like any addict – whatever the drug – if it remains available, there’s no incentive to go through the pain of withdrawal. Only leaders with exceptional vision, drive and sheer balls can do what President Kennedy did. Unfortunately, none of these qualities seem to be present here now.