To the editor:
Regarding "Switching on the Smart Grid,", the real "smart grid" in the U.S. is the 2.1-million-mile natural gas pipeline grid that connects every major metropolitan area and 63 million homes where over 100 million cars and trucks could be refueled every night while their owners sleep.
America's natural gas grid is one of its greatest competitive advantages, and its best weapon in the war against our addiction to foreign oil.
Unfortunately, American policy makers are asleep at the switch, and President Obama mentions "clean coal" (an oxymoron if ever there was one) every chance he gets.
Natural gas is the only U.S.-produced fuel that can be scaled up in order to significantly reduce foreign oil imports over the next five years. Natural gas is abundant, cheap, clean and produced here in the U.S.
The U.S. economy (including the electronic and computer industries) will probably not survive the next oil price spike. That will mean more U.S. job losses, more economic contraction and further weakening of the U.S. standard of living. To protect ourselves and reindustrialize the country, the U.S. should be adopting robust natural gas transportation policies that would:
Reinvigorate the ailing U.S. auto industry;
Reinvigorate the rapidly contacting natural gas industry;
Create millions of new jobs building out the natural gas refueling infrastructure;
Make natural gas royalty payments to tens of thousands of U.S. farmers and landowners instead of sending that money to foreign oil producers;
Reducing our CO2 emissions by 30 percent compared to gasoline and particulate emissions by 100 percent;
Reduce the biggest component of the U.S. trade deficit, foreign oil; and
Negate the need to fight oil wars.
It is high time the U.S. adopted a comprehensive energy policy. Natural gas transportation should be an immediate priority. Engineers should demand it from policy makers. After all, it is engineers who will fix our competitive problems, not bankers, financial executives or politicians.