Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was on the (Boise) talk radio for a few minutes this morning; I happened to tune in.
He was talking about something that's on pretty much everybody's mind - the spiraling cost of fuel, and energy in general. And he had some interesting - and very realistic - insights.
For one thing, he talked about how the Democratic presidential candidates are promising to "get us out of Iraq" soon after they take office. (Schweitzer is a Democrat.) He said that's a joke. He was in the military, and was stationed in Saudi Arabia for 7 years, back in the '80s. He said as long as the USA is dependent on middle-eastern oil, we will have a military presence there. And anybody who wants us out of Iraq and/or the Mideast had better do his part to reduce that dependency.
He talked about Montana's "20 by 10" Program. They have an official energy efficiency program (more HERE) to reduce energy requirements by 20 percent, by the year 2010.
(He also talked about some innovative new energy reclamation technologies, like "coal gasification," that hold promise for the future. But mostly he was talking about here and now.)
What would it mean, to reduce energy requirements by 20%?
It would essentially mean the same thing as increasing the energy SUPPLY by around 20%.
It would mean decreasing the cost of energy in the budget by 20%, whether it be a state budget or a family budget.
Over the last year or so, the increased cost of gas has reduced fuel consumption... by TWO percent. That's not enough to make "Big Oil" even blink.
But if we collectively could reduce our consumption by TWENTY percent, believe me... it would get their attention, and you'd see some meaningful reductions in gas prices. (Of course, if those reductions resulted in everybody going back to their "normal" consumption levels, it would again change that supply/demand ratio.)
If those 90-plus percent of the people who drive alone to work every day would figure out an alternative, just one day a week... 20% reduction in fuel consumption. It's not rocket science, if even ME and an ol' rancher from Montana can figure it out...