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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How to Look Self Centered and Foolish

The United States is the biggest guzzler of fuel in the world. We have 5% of the world's population and consume over 1/3 of oil, gas, you name it.

Then the President turns up in the vast oil pool otherwise known as Saudi Arabia, and says something like: "Hey, how about you guys open up those big pumps even more!" So the King says "no way" and they go off to look at all the King's horses -- and hang with the men-only crowd.

It was a Britney Spears moment. We are the hogs at the trough in energy consumption. Instead of the President embarking us on a crash program to set up alternative energy sources and improve our efficiencies (so we can do the same using less fuel), he wants even more oil pumped.

It makes us look selfish and even foolish. And it is.

It was a cultural mistake that made the President himself look silly to the Saudis, who didn't hesitate to blow him off. They immediately brushed off the idea of pumping more oil. With historically high oil prices and increased demand from another 5 billion people in the world (including rapidly growing India and China), why drain your Saudi reserves for a few dollars more?

Until we have a full scale energy plan, which both cuts our use and ramps up our efficiencies, the world's oil producers (not just the Saudis) can blow us off as well as this and the next President. They are holding the trump cards with their exclusive sources of the world's primary fuel.

You can do things like changing to the new energy bulbs that last 10 times longer and use a fraction of power from conventional bulbs. You can also add tint and security window film on your home or office. My recommend is adding a film that both cuts energy use and provides security, like ours at Armor Glass International.

But we also need that from our leadership at the top. I am embarrassed that the President made himself look weak to the Saudis while leaving Americans vulnerable to energy shortages. The sooner we start the sooner we can get away from this madness of being over 60% dependent on foreign oil.

To ask others to pump more for us without prudent efforts to cut energy waste and improve efficiencies and alternatives makes us look self-centered. Worse, it is foolish.

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