Despite the misleading deck on Nansen Saleri's "Our Man-Made Energy Crisis" in the Wall Street Journal, the article correctly notes the disproportionate reaction of the oil markets to Middle East strife. Whether that reaction is truly panicky, or cynically exploitative, or some combination of the two, it's out of line with realities. Nansen goes on to to cite the huge percentage of fuel sacrificed in the U.S. by waste, poor industrial practices and designs, inefficient processes, and needless use. Here's a response to the article from NewEnergyWatch.com, published in the WSJ comments section:
Mr. Saleri’s article is well-reasoned and informed. I don’t believe, however, that he wrote his own headline and deck. Whoever wrote the deck was more interested in saying that the Obama administration is demonizing oil companies (which is partly true but a red herring), than in highlighting the point of the article, which had to do with the importance of promoting and rewarding energy efficiency and conservation. The Obama administration, as the author points out, has simply waffled (and been buffeted by powerful interest groups, including oil interests), without getting anything meaningful done.
As a national security matter, we do indeed need to reduce energy waste drastically, and we do need to be more efficient in almost all of our energy-driven processes, including the ways we extract fossil fuel from the planet. As a nation, we should have an adult discussion about nuclear power, with rational voices -- not zealots -- explaining both sides of the matter. Most of all, we should, as a nation, strive mightily to eliminate petroleum imports from OPEC nations -- 6,350,000 barrels of crude oil and petroleum products of the 18,771,000 barrels consumed in the U.S. every day, or about a third. (Source: eia.doe.gov.), Considering that, as Mr. Saleri points out, only about 13% of all that oil is converted to usable form, with over two-thirds literally being wasted by inefficiency, poor design, and profilgate use, it’s shocking and maddening that no politician of any stripe since 9/11 has made any request of the American people or American business to help, by moderate sacrifice, to make the OPEC nations irrelevant when it comes to U.S. energy needs.
Finally, although we will need to extract and burn fossil fuels for some time to come, we should also vigorously pursue the development of biofuels, electric vehicles, high-efficiency energy processes and design, and 21st-century jobs in new energy and grid-building. Some of the biggest oil companies -- ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips, to name a few, are already pursuing these matters, because they’re well-positioned in terms of infrastructure and delivery to profit from some of these fundamental shifts in the future.
-- Doug Logan