Sen. McCain (R-AZ) talks a lot about our dependence on foreign oil, yet he consistently gives me the impression that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Whenever the issue comes up, McCain will say something about how we can use nuclear power to help accomplish that goal. While nuclear power might be able to help offset our use of coal, it won't really do anything to offset our use of oil.
The problem here is that only 1.6% of our electricity in the United States comes from fuel oil. Our dependence on foreign oil comes pretty much entirely from our auto fleet. Unless McCain is proposing nuclear powered cars, nuclear power won't really do much of anything to our dependence on foreign oil.
But it's not just that. When you look at his policy proposals, they really don't seem to do much of anything to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In fact, they really look like they will do the opposite. First, he proposed a "gas tax holiday," which pretty much all economists agreed was a bad idea, and which would have increased our dependence on foreign oil. Now McCain is talking about public transportation, and his position is becoming pretty clear:
Sen. McCain doesn't have too much to say when it comes to national transit objectives (we suppose it's a case of 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'). But if there's one thing that we do know, it's that McCain hates Amtrak - at least in its current state. The Arizona Senator has been attempting for years to dissolve Amtrak and create small, privately owned rail companies. In fact, McCain has sworn that if elected, the shuttering of Amtrak would be a "a non-negotiable issue."
If you want to be serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, public transportation is really key. Yet Sen. McCain leaves it entirely out of his website's energy section. Nonetheless, his proposed gas tax holiday would have "eliminate[d] $1.4 billion of federal funding for public transportation."
I'll give McCain credit for saying that he is open to "improved" and "increased" CAFE standards (although his top economic adviser says McCain might want to scrap CAFE standards altogether once a cap-and-trade policy is implemented). But he often leaves me just shaking my head. Particularly when he said that "we will in five years become oil independent" (which is totally ridiculous).
UPDATE: Here is an example of McCain suggesting that nuclear energy is good because Iran has lots of oil. Incidentally, we don't buy any oil from Iran, and haven't done so for years.
UPDATE II: Here is McCain's position on dehydrated babies.
UPDATE III: From FactCheck.org:
McCain has voted against increases in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE)
standards on two occasions, in 2003 and 2005, even
though he teamed with Democratic Sen. John Kerry back in 2002 on a bill to raise the
standards to 36 mpg by 2015. McCain's Web site proposes enforcing existing
CAFE standards, not tightening them, as Obama would do.
This guy is awful and his energy policy is a disaster. Please don't vote for him.
UPDATE IV: Jesus Christ, now he's arguing that domestic offshore drilling will reduce the price at the pump. This is what happens when you surround yourself with lobbyists as adviser. . . you start saying things that are plainly contradicted by the Department of Energy itself. Either McCain is lying or he has been duped by his advisers. Either way, he doesn't have a handle on reality.