Natural Gas Fuels Interest

Thursday, September 25th 2008, 5:26 pm
By: News 9

Go back a few years or even decades and you will find a number of failed attempts at creating the "great white hope" that would solve our energy issues. In the 70s, it was gasohol. In the last 90s, it was the electric car. In the last five years, it was ethanol or switchgrass. Now the push seems to be toward natural gas.

Yes, natural gas has been around for quite some time. Any expert will tell you it burns cleaner and could be a viable alternative toward lessening the U.S dependence on foreign oil. But now Oklahoma Oilman T. Boone Pickens is also pushing widespread use of the fuel in addition to wind energy. Pickens has spent millions of dollars on print and broadcast ads promoting it.

While it may seen odd that an oilman would promote natural gas over black gold, Pickens says it's less about him ("I already have enough money," he says) and more about the future. According to figures Pickens compiled, the U.S spends roughly 700 billion a year on foreign oil. On Pickens' website, he says if trends continue, it would be the largest transfer of wealth in mankind.

Interestingly enough, natural gas is cheaper, plentiful and cleaner. Experts say the infrastructure needed to transfer the fuel is already in place in most parts of the country. Hughes County, Oklahoma is in the midst of an economic boom because it sits on top of the Woodford Shale, which contains millions of cubic feet of natural gas. And cars can be retrofitted to run on natural gas.

Could this be the solution to our energy problems or is this just a trigger-happy reaction to record-high gas prices? I don't know. But let us hope the interest and debate continues so that we could soon have a choice in what we put in their cars.