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Oilman Pushes Wind, Natural Gas to Combat Foreign Oil

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Multibillionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens promises that you’ll see his face on TV this fall as much as John McCain and Barack Obama. No, he’s not running for president, he’s pushing for more investment in wind energy to cut down on the amount of oil imported into the U.S.

A very interesting article in USA Today discusses his plan in depth, but in short he points to successful wind communities in Texas as the future of clean energy in the U.S., which in turn will help reduce the need for foreign oil. It all sounds great, except for one thing: Pickens envisions that the electricity provided by wind power will allow cars to run on natural gas.

We don’t get that leap in logic, even after reading his plan. What we do get is that Pickens is heavily invested in both wind and natural gas and would profit from either one.

The idea of more wind farms is a good one, especially as automakers are promising plug-in electric hybrids. Electricity generated by wind would be clean, renewable and could even help produce hydrogen if hydrogen vehicles became affordable. If ethanol could be created from waste products then be used to fuel plug-in hybrids, we’d have an even cleaner solution.

Shifting to natural gas for powering cars is not a great idea for many reasons. Natural gas is controversial — it is drilled for just like oil and can have devastating effects on the environment — and is non-renewable just like oil. There’s also no infrastructure for delivering natural gas to cars. It is, however, clean-burning and would cost much less than gasoline at current demand levels. As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind
(USA Today)

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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