Editorials | Opinions | December 2007
|New US Energy Bill - Working People Will Pay|
Stewart A. Alexander - Peace and Freedom Party
The new energy bill, approved by the U.S. Congress, will drastically increase the profits of the petroleum and ethanol producers over the next decade; the energy bill will also increase the cost of food, fuel, consumer goods and transportation. Over the next 15 years, the bill will cost working class people trillions of dollars while making the billionaires richer worldwide.
|Stewart A. Alexander - Socialist Party USA, Nominee for U.S. Vice President, and candidate for nomination by the Peace and Freedom Party|
This energy bill, which was signed by President Bush, will require automobile manufacturers to increase the fuel efficiency of cars, SUVs and small trucks by 40 percent by the year 2020. This mandate will require automobile manufacturers to spend billions to design and build new products in an automobile market that is presently in the worst slump since the Great Depression.
The bill requires cars, small trucks and SUVs to maintain fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon. Some members of Congress suggest this will eventually save motorist $700 to $1,000 in fuel cost. Unfortunately, with higher petroleum and ethanol production cost, working class people will eventually pay $800 to $1,400 more for fuel and even a greater amount in the long term.
America’s trucking industry will also take a big hit with the higher fuel costs. Due to the oil refinery process and the cost of research and development of new technologies, there will be increased cost for all fuels which the nation’s truckers and trucking companies will be forced to pass onto consumers.
Presently diesel fuel has stayed above $3.00 a gallon; however, the new government requirements will more than double the price of all grades within the next 3-5 years due to the future increase energy production cost. The production levels of ethanol are currently at 6 billion gallons annually; to meet the new federal standard, the ethanol industry will be required to produce 36 billion gallons a year by 2022. Congress has set this standard for increased production by relying on science and technology that is still in the development stages.
The requirements outlined in the bill will result in spiked food prices due to the increased demand for the corn needed to produce ethanol. Food prices will likely increase 15 to 25 percent within the next three years when corn production levels increase to meet short term federal requirements to produce ethanol.
With this bill, the Democrats, Republicans and Bush have given their ethanol and petroleum friends $100s of billions in profits that will be paid by working class people over the next 15 years. The bill falls extremely short in solving the nations energy needs and will only increase the wealth of the billionaires.
There are presently enough oil reserves worldwide to last until the end of this century, at the present rate of consumption and presently there are no shortages in world supplies. What has become urgent is the need to develop cleaner technologies to protect the environment, to reduce our dependency on oil and to help prevent global warming.
Socialists everywhere reject this energy bill because it will drastically increase the cost of living for all working class people. The bill will do nothing to address the nation’s energy crisis and there is no strong emphasis on public transportation.
Socialist Party USA and Peace and Freedom Party have continuously promoted conservation and the need for the development of solar and other renewable energy to replace nuclear power and fossil fuels. The two socialist parties also support the development of public transportation, light rail and high speed rail systems that will make public commuting much more affordable. Both parties agree that solving the nation’s transportation needs and using clean technologies, offer an opportunity to provide socially useful jobs to 10s of millions of working class people.
The Democrats and Republicans have made it clear that they are the corporate parties and they only represent the interests of the capitalists and the billionaires. The new energy bill is another long term payment plan that will be required of working class people while the billionaires continue to collect.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Independent Voters Rejecting Democrats and Republicans.