I spent the last two weeks in Germany attending forums on automobiles, energy and sustainable mobility. The 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum held it’s annual summit in Berlin, Germany. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held the 2011 International Transportation Forum in Leipzig, Germany. Between the two summit’s I got an earful of information and ideas.
Will oil reach $135 a barrel? $5 a gallon? I talked to Steve on WJR about this and the impact $135 per barrel would have on our trade deficit imports.
I interviewed Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell. For the past one hundred years oil companies have put a steel straw in the sand and brought oil to the United States. Only once during the last one hundred years was there a problem with the supply of gasoline. I asked Voser what energy could replace gasoline for the next one hundred years. He said natural gas.
Natural gas, synthetic natural gas, liquid natural gas, unconventional gas such as shale gas. Put together natural gas is looking pretty good. I, of course, like the natural gas from renewables, such as the e-gas Audi is working on.
I also talked with Larry Burns. Larry Burns is a Professor at University of Michigan. Before that Burns was the head of research and development for General Motors. I’ve always said that one of the biggest reasons it was important to keep General Motors from going under was the intellectual property they possessed. Anyways, Burns agreed with Voser.
I was listening to John Hoffmeister, former CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, on televsion. Hoffmeister wrote the book Why we all hate the oil companies. Hoffmeister thinks we need to create a Federal Energy Resources System, modelled on the Federal Reserve, to manage Americas energy and it’s energy-related environmental footprint. A group of governors with 14-year terms, he writes, could have the authority to make decisions that could take us out of this conundrum.
I would agree with Hoffmeister if the Federal Reserve for Energy (FRE) was set up as a non-profit organization and The Federal Reserve for energy would have to operate for the public good. It can’t be a privately owned for profit corporation like the Federal Reserve.
In 2010 we spent $252 billion to buy wholesale oil. If we bought the same amount of oil in 2011 for around $100 a barrel we would be sending another 25 percent overseas.
How is Ford and General Motors positioned for the uptick in fuel prices?