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It's time to consider a less-costly U.S. energy plan:
(http://connect.oregonlive.com/staff/oliveguestop/index.html) By Guest Columnist
Follow on Twitter (http://twitter.com/oregonian)
on April 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM, updated April 13, 2013 at 9:01 AM
By Robert McCullough
For the past 20 years the energy plans of the United States (and Oregon) have been
models of political correctness -- stressing conservation and alternatives -- but of little
practical relevance. As has been true through most of our history, the U.S. economy has
continued to outperform and confound our planners. Contrary to every forecast, the
U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented boom in energy production (as is Canada).
Wholesale prices in the competitive energy markets -- natural gas, electricity and coal - are at all-time lows, and in spite of dramatic increases in oil production and declining
demand, oil and gasoline prices continue to reach all-time highs.
The Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.gov/) recently
published the results from 2012. In terms of energy quantities, the news is uniformly
good. Energy exports from the U.S. have tripled since 2001, while total energy imports
have fallen 15 percent since 2001. U.S. oil production in 2012 is poised to outstrip Saudi
Arabia and Russia, returning the U.S. to a position of leadership that it has not held since
In the U.S., energy markets are largely competitive. Natural gas, electricity and coal are
relatively transparent, highly technological and subject to market surveillance. Penalties
for market manipulation are significant and frequently applied to major players. None of
this applies to oil and gasoline, however: Petroleum markets are mysterious, dominated
by a very few producers, and are increasingly expensive when compared with the cost
In terms of prices, the news is not as good. We export highly competitive, low-priced
energy to other countries, including our competitors, and import increasingly highpriced energy from highly monopolized markets in the Middle East and South America.
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