[Question:] "Are we ever going to reach the end of the Oil Age?"
"Literally, going back to the 1930s, there were some pronouncements made by major agriculturalists of the day that we could not continue to depend on unstable parts of the world Persia, for example, was mentioned in this recitation by Francis Garvin who was a major agriculturalist of the day. In a speech that we use from time to time, because it provides historical context, he points out that we can't possibly allow our children to depend on these unstable parts of the world. As a parent today, I would say the same thing, some 70 years later. And so I think it's interesting as we take a look at the concerns we've had about declining oil supplies, they've been there for a long time. What we have today is much better seismological, geological information on what the oil supplies really appear to be and where they appear to be. And the disturbing conclusion is that we've reached our peak some years ago. We are clearly on a downward decline in terms of oil supplies, and they continue to be in unstable parts of the world
"I think the issue is what can we do to sustain the use of those hydrocarbon products that are there today, but make sure that we use the time that we know is short and move to a future that really incorporates a variety of other different transportation fuels. We've got to have a variety of things. Those of us who have been advocates of ethanol have never said that ethanol is the answer. We knew better than that. But ethanol is part of the answer. People have talked about the fact that there's not a silver bullet, but maybe there's silver buckshot. And I think that's a pretty good analogy because if we take a look at alternative fuels whether it be propane, whether it be natural gas, as we take a look at alternative fuels like hydrogen, as we take a look at biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel there really needs to be a whole host of these fuels come into play to make a meaningful dent in our motor fuel needs. And so I think our future gives us that opportunity if we're smart, if we adopt public policies that encourage and compel those practices. And if we do that then we've got a much better energy future ahead of us than if we continue to rely on what we've done in the past
"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 serves as a pretty good example for how much we are providing subsidies for conventional energy including the oil industry. Some $11 billion was provided for conventional energy including oil and gas at that time in one bill that Congress passed. At that time, despite the huge emphasis that Congress expressed for the development of renewable energy, including biofuels, only about $2 billion was put into that entire sector which includes solar, wind, and biofuels. So we see this disconnect between the publicly stated positions of support for these new renewable fuels, and yet the on-going subsidization of conventional energy
"It's frustrating because we see oil marketing companies, who don't have oil reserves who don't have oil refineries, viewing ethanol, in many cases, as a real attribute to their marketing ability because it gives them more volume. It gives them more flexibility. It enhances their profit margins. But the large multi-national [oil] companies, historically, have not embraced ethanol in any way shape or form. It's all about market share. And that's the current debate we're facing. That's the debate we've faced historically. The oil industry is not willing to relinquish market share willingly. And so we see these mandates, we see incentives, we see a number of different mechanisms used to try and encourage what is viewed by many as a good public policy for the nation as a whole. And yet we have corporate interests that will differ from that. And so we continue to have this ongoing debate about whether or not biofuels and domestic fuels and renewable fuels are good for the country. I certainly would be of the opinion am of the opinion that they are good for a whole host of reasons. Other business interests, particularly in the petroleum sector, don't share that view."