A man who has made billions of dollars in the oil business says he has a plan to reduce gas prices and break this country's dependence on foreign oil.
Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, who spends part of his time in San Diego, talked to NBC 7/39 in July 2008 about the problems the dependence poses for our country and how he would like to cure the oil addiction.
Pickens is spending $58 million to push his alternative energy plan. Some of that money is paying for a public service message in which he said, "In 1970, we imported 24 percent of our oil, and by 1990 it was 42 percent.
Today it's almost 70 percent and climbing every minute," Pickens said. "Over $700 billion are leaving this country to foreign nations every year. That's four times the cost of the Iraq war, and it's killing our economy."
In the past two weeks, he has been on network television and testifying before Congress and the Department of Homeland Security about the need to end the United State;s addiction to foreign oil. And Pickens is putting his money where his mouth is.
He is investing $10 billion in windmill farms in Texas. He claims the U.S. can produce 20 percent of its electricity from wind in that part of the country, while running cars and trucks on natural gas, which the U.S. has an abundant supply of.
"If you put this all in place, you could put natural gas into transportation fuel and reduce dependency by 30-40 percent. If you did that, it would be somewhere around $300 billion that would stay in the country -- generate jobs, make a profit, pay taxes -- instead of out it goes and your never see it again," Pickens said.
Pickens was pushing his plan during opening day at the Del Mar racetrack, which he attended with his wife, Madeline, who is from San Diego. He said he hasn't yet talked to Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, but he wants to make energy the top issue of the presidential campaign.
"The biggest question for the incoming president will be energy. They can put health care and education off to the side, because if you don't solve the energy problem, you can't pay for health care and education. You won't have the money," he said.
Pickens has set up a Web site with more details on his plan for national energy independence.