Cheney on mission to kill alternative energy

Speaking Wednesday about his vice president’s impending trip to the Middle East, President George W. Bush told reporters that Dick Cheney would try to make the standard case that Saudi Arabia should increase oil production to head off a U.S. recession. And he added another wrinkle, saying that Cheney would remind King Abdullah that “high oil prices are stimulating an enormous amount of venture capital money into alternative forms of energy.”

It’s an interesting negotiating ploy, given Saudi Arabia’s role in flooding the market and killing off alternative forms of energy in the 1980s. I’m sure King Abduallah remembers it well. The question is, at what oil price point are various competing technologies — biofuels, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen — economically viable (leaving aside their environmental benefits)? And do the Saudis have the means to lower the price of crude below that level?



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