In the 1970s and ’80s, when U.S. automakers lagged behind foreign automakers in overall quality, there was a mass exodus to buy Japanese imports, and the sales at dealerships were so depressed that domestic manufacturers had to rethink, and ultimately re-engineer, their whole product lines. It took years, and innovators like Lee Iacocca at Chrysler, to ramrod the process, but the result was better-quality cars that competed favorably with the imports.
It didn’t take heavy-handed government to force them into change —the free market explained the problem to them through lagging sales, and they had to improve or go out of business.
Now, we face another goal of higher miles per gallon, and we will meet that goal again because we have to, to remain competitive — it’s the way a free economy works. What we don’t need are arbitrary standards forced onto our automakers as government mandates. It’s just not necessary in a free market!
I have to differ with Christina Frankel (“Get free from foreign oil,” Living Green, Wednesday’s Press) on the method of reducing our demand for foreign oil. While I do agree we have to air-up tires, drive slower, use cruise control, etc., to increase mileage, that has a minimal effect on oil importation.
We will reduce our dependence on OPEC by drilling, pumping, refining and delivering our own domestic supply. We are an oil-rich nation with large, untouched deposits countrywide. Offshore in the Gulf of Mexico is such an area, with plenty or oil for the taking. But companies are blocked from doing so by environmentalists and the powers that be.
In the past year or two, we have discovered huge oil fields in North and South Dakota, but we can’t touch them — it’s not politically correct.
We have oil off the West Coast — it’s seeping up to the surface on its own, but we can only drill there to relieve the pressure. And in Alaska, the Arctic coastal tundra area sits untouched because we might disturb the pristine snow and ice there. We could slant drill into the area from 20 miles away without setting foot in the refuge, but the greenies get the vapors just reading about it, so they won’t allow it.
For an interesting read, go to the Internet and look up “Gull Island oil.” You’ll find the story of one of our largest oil strikes. The oil was found, wells were drilled, oil was tested and verified, and the wellheads were capped, never to be pumped. The story was well-hidden by the media, so not many people are aware of it. Check it out for yourself.
The fact is we have a vast wealth of oil in this country but are only scratching the surface in recovery and refinement. We don’t need one drop of foreign oil to fuel our country. We need the shackles of government and excessive environmentalism removed from the oil industry.
• Earl Swartzer is a Tracy resident.