I watched the debate as a replay on CNN. I liked watching the Democrat/Independent/Republican lines move as each spoke. Now I could discuss the ups/downs of the Iraw war but there was one point that was very interesting. There was only one point in the debate when the Republican approval line went up and the Independent line not only went up but went ABOVE the Republican line (Democrat line went strongly negative).
That point was when McCain talked about energy independence.
So if one believes the independents on the CNN panel represented the typical undecided voter then McCain has a BIG issue. But his proposal must be bold.
The current oil problems are an attack on America. Energy independence is a national security issue. The money from our oil purchases go to dictators around the world: Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. And make no mistake they are using oil as a weapon.
Another likely fact: construction workers by the million are going to be displaced because of the over-supply of housing caused by Fannie and Freddie. These workers need jobs until the glut of homes is removed.
So Picken's is right. We should convert to natural gas with all deliberate speed. It is domestically produced and can be produced in a variety of ways so we will not run out.
The government should subsidize the construction of natural gas fueling stations on every corner. This will provide jobs to those displaced construction workers until the housing market recovers. These workers could also be used to construct the tanks and piplines that are needed for a major conversion to natural gas.
By the way, natural gas vehicles have the same range as gasoline vehicles WITHOUT taking trunk space if they are calibrated/designed to run only on natural gas. Additionally, they are much cheaper to operate. The tanks are expensive but will pay for themselves over the life of the vehicle AND natural gas burns cleaner so engines that normally only last 100 thousand miles will go 300 thousand miles. Finally, natural gas vehicles dramatically reduce carbon monoxide emisssions (Smog) and McCain can argue they are good in the fight against global warming because they reduce Co2 emissions by 25%.