AVFI 2008: T. Boone Pickens lays the future of oil and alternatives on the line

Andrew Littlefair (left) and T. Boone Pickens

The majority of the attendees at the AFVI Expo's Fleet Day breakfast keynote seemed quite pleased to listen to T. Boone Pickens (just like last year). Pickens is the founder of BP Capital Management and had a sit-down discussion with Andrew Littlefair, the president and CEO of Clean Energy. Why do AFVI folks like this guy? He's got a lot of information (he's made billions in the oil and energy industry) and he sees a way to power the future (he's made a huge investment in wind power in Texas, for example. Littlefair said that without Boone, there wouldn't be an NGV industry in the U.S.

A few choice quotes:

  • "We are importing 72 percent of our oil. ... We are now transferring $600 billion [a year] out of the United States to a few friends and a hell of a bunch of enemies. I can tell you, we are paying for the war against ourselves."
  • "If they [China] had the Olympics today, in this smog, and ran the 100 meter dash, it would have to be a relay."
  • "Diesel will never sell, again, below gasoline. It will always be more expensive than gasoline."
  • "We're actually dealing with a huge shift of capital out to somewhere. We're going to be reduced to - I promise you it's going to happen pretty quick, too - we'll be reduced to something less than the superpower that we are."
Much more from Boone (including audio of his chat) after the break.

The main problem, Pickens said, is that 85 million barrels a day is as much oil as the world industry can produce. That's it. More simply isn't possible. The trouble is, in the next quarter, demand will be around 86.5m barrels each day. The only solution that Boone sees is to make all the alternatives - he singled out wind and solar - much (much) bigger players in America's energy portfolio. For example, even with all of the problems with corn ethanol, he'd rather use it than foreign oil.

When it comes to natural gas vehicles, Pickens said, the U.S. seriously lags behind the rest of the world. There are 7m natural gas vehicles in the world, but only 150,000 in the U.S. It hurt him to say so, but he wishes the U.S. had followed France into the nuclear frontier. Also, Littlefair and Pickens agree that natural gas is a bridge to hydrogen.

As for politics, Boone is not pleased with the energy policies of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. He's a McCain supporter, but on the summer gas tax holiday issue, he said that, "I don't know what he has in mind there."

Listen here (40 min):

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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