Electric Cars Aren't Enough

Gen. Wesley Clark and Roger Kemp argue that we'll need a range of energy and technology options to end America's foreign oil dependence.

Published: 03-Jan-2011

In the military, we had a saying: It's OK to take a risk, but not a gamble. In other words, never undertake an effort if its failure would doom your mission. In his article, Steve LeVine does an excellent job highlighting the wild gamble that the United States is taking on electric cars ("The Great Battery Race," November 2010).

The United States currently spends $300 billion per year importing oil. Acting as though electric batteries can spur a new industry, save our economy, and single-handedly create the millions of new jobs we need is worse than a gamble -- it's simple foolishness. It's the type of utopian dreaming that has delivered 40 years of ever increasing dependence on imported oil alongside periodic promises to achieve "energy independence."

Every study I've seen -- and LeVine agrees -- has shown that even if you're hugely optimistic about the prospect for technological improvement, the United States will still need to import between $300 billion and $900 billion of oil between now and 2030. And if we keep sending that kind of money abroad, we're unlikely ever to create the economic growth needed to re-employ America.

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