Senator John ThuneEarlier this month, oil traded at over $100 per barrel, an all-time high and a troubling indication of future energy prices. The increasing price of oil is not only creating a drag on the U.S. economy and squeezing the wallets of hard working Americans, it is creating a financial windfall for nations that support radical Islam and seek to harm the United States.
In certain parts of the Middle East, the all-inclusive cost for producing a barrel of oil is $1.50. High priced oil is creating a substantial profit for Islamic tyrannies, which control the vast majority of the world's oil reserves. According to the International Monetary Fund, the value of petroleum exports from the Middle East and Central Asia will total $750 billion in 2008, a four-fold increase from 2001.
This past December Congress enacted a historic renewable energy bill that puts our nation on a course toward independence from foreign oil.
The cornerstone of this energy bill is a 36-billion-gallon requirement for domestic renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. This requirement, called the Renewable Fuels Standard, will ensure that roughly one out of every four gallons of motor fuel consumed in the U.S. is renewable fuel by 2022. This standard will displace over 12.2 billion barrels of foreign oil and create over 1.1 million U.S. jobs over the next 15 years.
Although the 2007 Energy bill is a step in the right direction, more must be done to move our economy from dependence on foreign oil to reliance on domestic renewable fuel.
As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I included a program in the 2007 Farm Bill that will jumpstart cellulosic ethanol by providing producer payments for planting energy dedicated crops in conjunction with the construction of a local biorefienery. Additionally, we must increase research of alternative fuels, the production of flexible fuel vehicles, and the number of renewable fuel pumps.
Doing so will benefit our economy, improve our environment, and strengthen our national security.