Speaking at the NADA convention and expo in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, T. Boone Pickens said the first step toward achieving energy independence is developing heavy trucks capable of running on natural gas. He also predicted that natural gas could also become a viable fuel source for light trucks and cars.
Pickens, who made his fortune in oil and natural gas, has been a fierce advocate for alternative energy sources since 2008 and has led the crusade for adoption of wind energy and natural gas for vehicular use. Last year, he mounted an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at increasing awareness and launched a Website designed to gain converts to the Pickens Plan. That put your money where your mouth is style is reflected in his choice of personal vehicle: a natural gas powered Honda Civic.
Prior to addressing the NADA convention, Pickens told reporters, I’m not here to sell the guys today on switching over to natural gas. However, he predicted that once the infrastructure needed to supply natural gas for heavy vehicles is in place, adoption by owners of light vehicles would be the next logical step.
He also conceded that the long-term solution for the light vehicle sector may be electric powertrains. In that case, We’ve got to make sure that we don’t get off Saudi oil and end up with a Chinese battery, he told the audience.
China has the largest know reserves of lithium in the world and, although it continues to lag behind other markets in development of electric vehicles and infrastructure, it could easily dominate the EV battery industry.
In an interview with Automotive News, Pickens said the dealers assembled at the NADA convention need to hear his plan for achieving energy independence and contended, This is an American issue.
Pickens is a strong supporter of House and Senate legislation that would give tax credits of up to $65,000 to be applied to the purchase of new heavy-duty and select medium-duty trucks that run on natural gas. He predicted, You’ll have [the new legislation] by Memorial Day, adding, I’ve cleared about eight hurdles out of 10.
Inaction by the federal government, automakers and the private sector, he warns, will result in foreign oil producing countries raising oil prices from the current level of about $77 a barrel to between $300 and $400 a barrel by 2020.
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