THE WORLD NEEDS A SOLUTION
The World is changing and everyday we are faced with new questions, new issues. Many of these issues have reached a high level of discussion around the world. These are Global Warming, dependence on foreign oil and the quality of the air we breathe. Most of these issues deal with sustainability of our world today and tomorrow. The world’s appetite for energy is growing in leaps and bounds, with no end in sight. What we are doing is not really bad, since we are living “better” quality of life all over the world. But how we are doing it, is this sustainable? What will our children and grandchildren see as the affects of this uncontrolled growth in energy needs by old world technologies? The United States consumes 25% of the World’s energy with only 5% of the population. This energy issue has severe consequences. How do we change this?
While we all like to believe we are intelligent and will naturally do the right things, we are not that intelligent. We are creatures who are basically economically driven. We do what we think we can afford and not much more. As costs change, we adapt purchase decisions. Changing costs is what we must do to change our habits. We must create new economics for making energy related purchase decisions.
Energy for the future is a very significant issue. So are jobs and our way of life. This country's appetite for imported foreign oil is shocking. Only 7% of the energy produced in US is renewable. The effect of our low oil & gasoline prices is preparing this country for a major shock in the future that we are not willing to focus on today. As individuals, we are making poor long term decisions based on the low cost of fuel and energy. Issues of environment, global warming, clean air and water, uncontrolled urban sprawl are real. Proposals to raise fuel economy CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards on cars and trucks is futile and a poor excuse to change anything. The recent increases in gasoline prices only show how vulnerable we are as a nation and even with the return to more moderate gas prices, we still consume without constraint. It is not going to get better as we continue to move into the future. Now we read about Iran’s leader and possibility the whole Middle East could end up as a nuclear waste land. What will that do to our fuel prices and energy security? Our Nation needs something different in our lives to help us focus on the future and how to make our world a better and more secure place to live now and for future generations.
THE JEDI FUND: A SOLUTION FOR ENERGY RESPONSIBILITY
The Justified Energy Development Initiative (JEDI) fund is created by “mandatory contributions” when purchasing gasoline or diesel fuel. If Americans understand the purpose of supporting this fund and how it will provide a better future, they will support it. The money that this country will need to develop alternative energies for the future is huge and will be paid through personal income taxes and debt. Hydrogen fuel cells will require billions and billions of dollars to develop and that will come from us, the taxpayer. Furthermore is anybody out there saying they want to pay more to buy them? The end result is nothing different than today in terms of how we live and that does not solve the problem. The JEDI fund will cause Americans to make "better" decisions since energy costs now fall in line with their behaviors. People will demand lower cost alternatives, including cars and trucks with lower fuel consumption, which will cause private enterprise to invest in these new technologies without Government intervention or subsidiary. People will now demand more fuel efficient cars and Detroit will respond. The significant drop in our discretionary spending, now going to buy cheap gas that we waste, will provide money to spur the economy and create jobs. Billions of dollars flowing to Middle East will now be spent to buy other things made in America and that means jobs. People will stop leaving the cities to move a hundred miles away from their work. This will curtail the huge urban sprawl and destruction of both urban cities and rural America.
The dollars the JEDI fund raises will be used for many initiatives. It will be used to develop alternative energy sources. It will be used to support mass transit systems that will be needed or improved as people demand those systems. It will be used to improve our highway and perhaps our railroad infrastructure. It will be used to help those industries and individuals caught in this shift in fuel costs to operate businesses totally dependent on cheap fuel, at least for a period of time. It will be used to help redevelop urban areas as people start to move back into cities to be closer to work. Like all healthy things in life, the change will be good for most of us, and hard for some of us who have grown dependent on cheap fuel and uncontrolled expansion based on cheap fuel. But the best part is that the free market will demand these changes.
We as a nation will start to make intelligent decisions about our precious energy. Our future will change directions that will leave us stronger and more secure. Please consider this; give the proposal some careful thought and support the proposal. We need a different solution, so discuss it and start calling your government representatives.
This country will never become more energy conscious or energy conserving without a major kick in the pocketbook. Alternative energy and fuel economy programs will be just exercises in futility until there is a public demand for it. My JEDI fund is a way to create this demand before it is too late. While the focus here has been primarily on transportation fuels, it can easily be extended to other energy costs, too. Electricity generated by nuclear, solar, or wind should be lower costs than that generated by natural gas or coal. The demands for 20% alternative energy generated electricity by 2020 are only a dream unless the economics are changed. So add a mandatory contribution based on percentage of energy generated by burning fossils fuels. Even bio-fuels should pay based on the CO2 releases, too.
THE JEDI FUND MONEY MUST BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES SPECIFIED
How much would the mandatory contribution be? It needs to be significant and long term so people can plan their lives around it. Start with a $1.50/gal contribution and up it $0.50/yr until it reaches about $5/gal contribution in 7 years on top of the retail price of gas. This sets in place a long term program and everybody can start to respond to it. Researchers can get serious about the needs and demands for alternative fuels, car makers can plan their R&D focus and product plans, the public can start to plan their lives and make choices that will effect them long term. It must be a Federal contribution, since to coordinate States would be impossible. The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Interior would be responsible to administer the fund. Fixed percentages would need to be set; for example: 35% to alternative energy developments, 20% to mass transit systems, 10% to improve highway infrastructure, 25% going to 0% to subsidize industries/occupations hurt by our past errors in judgment (everything from truck transportation to taxi cab drivers), and urban redevelopment going from 10% to 35%.
How big is this number? According to the Energy Information Administration of Department of Energy, we consumed 140,416,000,000 gallons of gasoline in 2005 (about 1 1/4 gallons per day for every man, woman and child). Currently the Federal tax on gas is $0.184/gal., thus they raise almost $26 B in tax revenues yearly. So at $1.50/gal tax, the Fund would collect $211B dollars, but remember that consumption should fall significantly as people reassess their energy habits. . The American people will be willing to pay this mandatory contribution, only if they see it going to create energy independence. These kinds of funds will be a significant step toward a better world. I am not a politician, so I am not the one to "sell" this to the American people. Also, remember, if we curb our consumption of gas, that money stays in our pockets to spend on other made-in-America things, probably to the tune of $100B a year. What will that do for the job market in US?
It must also be recognized that as the cost of oil goes up, so will the costs of goods and services today. All of this needs to be carefully analyzed and studied. But now is the time to start the move!
Lastly, how do you keep the bureaucrat’s hands off of the money? It must be allocated and not diverted. The public is paying for this and needs to see progress that their mandatory contributions are being spent right and as promised. There must be public oversight of this program, too. Let’s start talking about this. Wouldn’t it be nice to see our politicians take this and run with it? It is not suicide to propose this, if it is thought through and presented correctly and positively. The question is how to sell a major habit change to America? This is a question on how to get fit and healthy. Getting healthy is not easy, we all know that, but we also know that we will all live longer if we make the sacrifices and just do it and do it right.
Let me know your thoughts and if you have a better alternative.
You may think this is a ploy by an electric vehicle company to sell more product. But it is not. This is the traditional chicken and egg question about what comes first. Our company is dedicated to reducing our dependency on foreign oil, improving our global environment, providing jobs in USA, and bringing energy and environmentally responsible transportation products to our customers.