An energy policy to win the White House

Both major political parties are letting our best chance for fuel independence slip away.

By Jim Cramer Apr 4, 2012 10:21AM

It's not "Drill, baby, drill." It's "Use, baby, use."


We've got a phenomenal disconnect between what the political parties are saying about our oil and gas reserves and what the reality may be.


When President Barack Obama talks about energy, he always mentions that we can't solve the problem of high gasoline prices by drilling for oil in this country. We can only hope that, long term, through conservation, solar, wind and other renewables, that we can bring down the cost of energy.


When I hear the Republicans talk, they put our energy problems squarely on the unwillingness of the Democrats to allow drilling on federal lands, saying that if we could get to that land, we would indeed produce enough oil to affect pricing.


Both sides are totally wrong.


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The president is wrong when he says we can't bring the price of oil down in the short term, because we could. We just need to use more natural gas as an alternative. We've got the most natural gas in the world. It is cheap, and it can offset pricey diesel, currently the preferred fuel for trucks, which use a quarter of oil imports. Anything that encourages a switch to natural gas, any incentives, would bring down the price of oil within a year or two.


The Republicans are totally wrong about how much oil is in this country. The federal lands are not bountiful reserves of oil. Not even the pristine lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. The biggest finds are on private lands. While huge, they are not going to be able to offset the imported oil we use. When combined with stepped-up production of dirty Canadian tar sands crude, they can make us less dependent on the oil from countries we can't depend on. But no oil person I speak to believes that federal land drilling is even important in the equation. That's just politics.


What would be important is a straight-out endorsement by either party of natural gas as our preferred bridge fuel. Its abundance is unquestionable, as we know from the price of the fuel. We do have the technology to use it. If we don't use it, we will lose it to other countries. It is cleaner and cheaper than oil, yet both parties have set up oil at the fulcrum of the debate. It is a completely false dichotomy embraced in diametrically opposed camps, and unfortunately it obscures our main chance for energy independence.


I think the party that gets natural gas right can win the White House. The theme is that powerful. But neither party does, so the opportunity is lost in a tidal wave of obfuscation and ignorance on both sides of the aisle.



Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust.

Apr 5, 2012 7:04AM
The most often comment made about our energy policy is-----we don't have one. I know that Ted Kennedy stopped a windmill farm off his Hyannis property for years as he figured it would spoil his view. Massive windmill farms have been approved for the Great Lakes, but Canada hasn't given it a go yet; plus, I'm not sure we can overcome the fact that the lakes freeze. If Boone Pickens has his way, we'd be nat gas as quickly as possible. Here in PA, the oil/gas companies are busy, busy. Rigs are still getting drilled, but the pipelines are mostly what you see. The biggest problem  for us here is drilling in our state parks and forests. That kind of hits a nerve, but it'll get worked out. Coal is still very prominent here and what BO is doing to that industry bothers me and probably a few more. As long as we drill for oil, we will have accidents, the Exxon Valdez, the BP spill, and a lot of others. It's a risk that has to be taken.   
Apr 4, 2012 6:17PM
like you  i believe that just drilling is not the answer, but the conversion to natural gas will in fact change the  process but what we need now  is the build up of our pipelines to the end customer ,  i like co's paa,kmp,kmi  all three  ARE MAKING PROGRESS TO THIS END,,,,,,  HOPEFULLY  SOON,, THEN OPEC   YOU KNOW WHESmileRE TO PUT YOUR OILSmile
Apr 4, 2012 6:10PM
Truly it is the best natural resource we have to compete against oil.I f we adopt natural gas as a replacement for oil, speculation in oil will definetely dry up substantially.
Apr 4, 2012 5:58PM
We should require the TV networks to give the same amount of air time to all candidates and do away with the billion dollar campaigns like Oboma ran. Politicians can get their bribe money for something else.
Apr 4, 2012 5:40PM

President Obama still has some months to go before the election.  


He has already mentioned Natural gas when he needed to get a rise out of his followers, so sometime around September or Octobers, he will have a big push for natural gas that will go through to the first Tuesday in November.  


The only problem will be, he won't act on it if re-elected.   It will die a lonely death when he turns his back on it after he comes back from his November vacation.

Apr 4, 2012 4:57PM

Your post was blocked because it contains a hyperlink or is similar to spam. Please revise.


Anyone else keep getting this?

Apr 4, 2012 4:03PM

it is oblunder and all his oil buddies driving up the price of gas !   Oh i am sorry that was Bush


and his oil buddies        Cramer  you have made me some money  but your a democrot and that


is all you will ever be.   You fit right in with jessie jackson,  al the sharp sharpton, nancy polousy,  chuckie smuckemer and the rev faracon      ozone al , and all the other leftioes

Apr 4, 2012 3:33PM

doomed if we vote for dems?............wake up..........IT DOESN'T MATTER which party is in control

..........they are all puppets of the owners

Apr 4, 2012 3:20PM

cramer is so used to scams he thinks the president of the united states should price fix oil

Apr 4, 2012 3:19PM
Jim, they both understand the issue...neither party cares about the American people.  Both sides only want the power of being in office...all three branches.  They consider themselves to be the self-sustaining entity and us as their "subjects" that can be taxed to no end.  All the "BS" that is printed is their "dog & pony show".  They just don't give a rats @#$ about the American people.  The dems want just over half the popoulation to be totally dependent upon the government so they can tax the hell out of the rest of us and give it away to get the vote.  The other "party" is part of the line of BS and as long as they are allowed to make a potload of money at our expense, they could care less who is "leading the government".  It's simply the government vs. the people.  It is all gonna hinge on how much of the "silent majority" shows up in November.  If we go for the dems, we're doomed as a country.  If we get it to go the other way, we need 6 years to get rid of the whole damn bunch.  The supreme court, we'll "offer" them all "early retirement".  Then we'll be able to take our government back and make sound decisions for the future of the country, such as using natural gas to its fullest extent possible.  Think of the great things that would happen.  Bare minimum, the world has a surplus of 5MILLION barrels a day.  Oil one cares about the @#$*&% arabs and their oil.  We keep our money at home, more jobs, less pollution...the benefits just go on and on like the rabbit. Your article was great, except for the part where if one of them gets it right...because they don't care.
Apr 4, 2012 2:58PM

Natural gas is too easy.. The big bucks want to cash in on subsidies!

All over this country people are having hundreds, even thousands of 500 foot turbines.  That's 50 stories and the top 30 stories are rotating!  Groups are forming to fight this but many areas are already devastated.  Ridgelines with hundreds of 50 story turbines that will NEVER be removed, the trees never replaced, the freeway sized roads never replanted.

The Republicans should jump on this and get the many, many people fighting this on their side.

Rates go up and tax dollars are stolen for GREED energy.    

Apr 4, 2012 2:57PM
If we switched to more natural gas it would only be a matter of time before it became prohibitive in cost also. Anything that is traded on the exchange is setting us up. At this moment it is not popular so the price is lower. The moment we shift gears and head that direction that too will escalate in price. I can remember about 15 years ago when diesel was about .25/gal.....then all of a sudden people started switching to diesel cars and the price started to keep pace with gas. It is all a shill game.
Apr 4, 2012 2:56PM

Here we go again. Shale gas and shale oil need TREMENDOUS volumes of water to process. It takes 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of oil and 5-9 MILLION gallons of water to frack each and every gas well. So its really about water. How is the American west doing right now water wise? Problems you say? Just wait. Then there is the disposal of this nice, clean fracking waste. Holding ponds the size of large lakes exist in Alberta, Pennsyvania, Wyoming etc. Nice stuff.Then there's the depletion rates no one ever mentions. Typically 65% the first year, 35% the second, 15% the third. Then refracking. What a deal. How stupid do we have to be to swallow this energy independence crap. Jim, open your fracking eyes. The only solotion is conservation. And becoming more local. Live where you work, shop where you live. Trains not planes. Park your car and ride a bike.


Apr 4, 2012 1:47PM



Apr 4, 2012 1:30PM

Mr. Cramer must be long natural gas stocks to explain his infatuation with CNG fuel. From 1992 to 1995 I spent $150M trying to promote CNG fuel for fleet vehicles and had several groups with up to 50M vehicles willing to consider converting some of their vehicles. My requirement for conducting a successful CNG program was a fifteen year guaranteed gas supply which public gas utilities are unable to provide. Discussions with several major gas producers at the time disclosed  the best they would be willing to guarantee was five years.At Today's low gas price guarantee there will be gas shortages within five years similar to that which occurred in the late 1990's resulting in California's disasterous gas shortages. 

Apr 4, 2012 1:27PM
I like what you have said in this article.  You made me so angry yesterday that I switched to Fox Business News for the rest of the day.  There is oil on public land.  If you stop to think how much public land there is, you know that is just logical.  If there is oil on private land, there is oil on the many acres of public land.  I agree that natural gas is our next blessing, if the politicians can get over their contempt for fossil fuels.  Everyone is so hard headed.
gee cramer natural gas est 100 years 
coal est 400 years 
oil est 5 years

when I was a kid coal was est to be 1000 years
oil was 100 years
gas was at 500 years

pretty much we are blowing thru the natural resources like they were unlimited.

perhaps we should hook up Cramer to the energy grid as he is generating a lot of BS which we can burn for energy

What the problem is that Bernanke has not yet printed up $100 billion and put into my bank accounts that would get the economy going 
Apr 4, 2012 12:55PM
Apr 4, 2012 12:52PM

CMON...........the 2 party system is all about keeping the money in the pockets of the owners


no candidate of either party will be allowed the nomination unless he is a puppet of the owners


vote one party out and you just vote in more puppets of the owners


americans think they are free and have power in voting but the reality is the owners control

everything to their benefit......always have ....always will

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