Editor, Daily Nexus,
It has been said that there is a one-to-one correlation between the affluence of a society and the amount of energy it consumes. With the United States’ population just reaching 300 million, we make up about 25 percent of the worlds population. Turns out we use about 70 percent of the worlds’ primary energy sources. So, I guess that makes us quite affluent.
Of the 70 percent of the worlds’ energy that the U.S. consumes, about 40 percent of it goes toward transportation. There are 107 million U.S. households, and each of which has an average of 1.9 cars and 1.8 drivers. This leads to an annual fuel consumption of 14,000 lbs of oil per capita. At this rate of consumption, it has been estimated that there are 50 years left before oil is depleted.
However, there is one player in the forefront of this oil dilemma – California’s Proposition 87. The proposition seeks to tax oil producers on oil that is produced in California in order to establish a $4 billion program for research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy efficient technologies and for education and training. One of the stated goals of the proposition is to reduce the use of petroleum in California by 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2017.
You may be wondering what’s the catch, right? Well, in reading through the proposition every possible downfall seems to be covered. The measure states that producers would not be allowed to pass the severance tax onto consumers, which means we shouldn’t see increased prices at the pump. What’s more is that about 27 percent of the $4 million billion budget will be in the form of grants to California universities to improve the economic viability and accelerate the commercialization of renewable energy technologies and energy efficient technologies. To me, in order to make some positive advancement towards alternative fuel sources, this sounds just like what California needs.