Path Home Shows 2009 Show Archive February 2009 Show 0905 Pickens' New Plan

Pickens' New Plan

We visit with Boone Pickens about what it will take to solve our nation's energy dilemma.
Pickens' New Plan

T. Boone Pickens

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The Pickens Plan

Show Dates

Show 0905: Pickens' New Plan

Air date: February 1, 2009



Rob:  Now Pickens is the first to say there is no magic bullet that solves our country’s energy dilemma.  In fact, he believes it will take dramatic increases in all our domestic energy production just to make a dent in imported oil.  And where he wants to start is by converting our nation’s eighteen wheelers to domestically produced natural gas.

Pickens:  Now, how do I see this whole thing unfolding, is natural gas is the only thing that replaces diesel.  Diesel I assume is foreign.

Rob:  Okay.

Pickens:  So every gallon of natural gas that I use it to, on an eighteen wheeler, and that's where I want to go with this, is to the heavy-duty equipment in America, six and a half million eighteen wheelers in America, I don't want anybody to shut one down, I don't want them to retrofit it; I want, in the future, for them to buy a vehicle that does run on natural gas.  That'll work.

Rob:  And we don't have the infrastructure right now to be able to do that.  But do you see that the easiest place to get, the soonest?

Pickens:  That's the easiest place to make a real impact.  Let me give you what we have proposed to this administration coming in.  Do 350,000 to start with.  And let them buy new ones, give them 100,000 dollars a truck, which that's the incremental, someplace around 100,000.  So that's a cost of 35 billion dollars, 35 billion.  That reduces gallon-for-gallon with foreign oil.  I mean, we're now going right after foreign oil with those.  See how that program works, and see if you want to do it again, and again, and again, in the United States.  But, what it will do, it will create over 300,00 jobs.  You'll build 1200 stations.  Who pays for those?  Let private industry pay for them.  The government doesn't have to pay for them; let them give the incentive for the truck.  And the rest of it will come together.  Okay, second that, that will reduce dependency on foreign oil by five-point-one-four percent, and create over 300,000 jobs.  Will it work?  How can you NOT do it?  You have to do it, because it's the only thing I've ever seen in 40 years how you're going to reduce the dependency on foreign oil.

Rob:  So the infrastructure investment that the new administration's talking about, you see this fitting in, just dovetailing with it?

Pickens:  Oh, it's perfect.  It's perfect.  I mean, this is jobs, and it also is a reduction.  But remember this, it also is money spent in the United States.  Everything we spend on a resource in the United States means, we're not importing foreign oil.  Okay, let's talk about that just for a second.  We have an imbalance of payments which is about, believe it or not, 700 billion dollars; that 700 billion dollars is used over and over again.  But now, we have reduced the cost of oil, so the 700 billion that we had pouring out six months ago is not the case, it's less than half that.  Is that good?  Of course it's good.  It's   for our economy.  But we also have the security problem.  The security problem does not go away with reduction in price.  It is still almost 70 percent.  We can't do that.  It doesn't make sense.  The rest of the world thinks we're stupid for doing that, to get ourselves committed to foreign countries that, most of them, are not even friends of ours.  And if you don't think we're paying for both sides of the war, I mean, I think that's generally accepted everywhere, that we are paying for both sides of the war.  Okay now, when you lower that imbalance of payments, that's money being spent in the United States, which creates jobs, which pays taxes, profits are made, and the economy moves forward.  There are no losers, in the deal.

Rob:  But talk about irony; I went down to Brazil in 2004 to do a story about ethanol, I and was riding around in cars that were powered by natural gas.  So the rest of the world is using natural gas, even in places that, you know, don't necessarily need to.

Pickens:  Iran is switching all their vehicles over to natural gas.  Why?

Rob:  And they have huge natural gas reserves, don't they?

Pickens:  Just like we do.  We have huge natural gas reserves.  So why do we do it?  Why do they do it?  Because it's cleaner.  It's cheaper.  It's abundant, and it's ours.  That's why you do it.  And then they sell their oil to somebody else, like us.  But look at the gas problem, in Russia, they're building natural gas fueling stations all over Europe, now.  Why?  Same reasons, it's abundant, and it's cheap.  So, it's, it is the thing to do, and you need to move on it as quickly as you can.  Now we're going to find out how good the leadership is.  The leadership can take us to the right conclusion.

Rob:  And when you say leadership, you're talking both government and industry?

Pickens:  Right.  Yeah, leadership, that is the missing link in America is that we just haven't had strong enough leadership.  But here, if you go in this direction, you can see results very quickly.