By Ronald Stein
The recent Suez Canal blockage has exposed some of Governor Newsom’s fiscal challenges that may be the driving force for the current recall efforts. Under his guidance (I did not use the word leadership), he continues to perpetuate the state’s dysfunctional energy polices and continues to do everything possible to further INCREASE the costs of energy for its 40 million residents.
Recently a massive container ship, the Ever Given, a 220,000-ton container ship that is 1,312 feet long (more than four football fields in length), ran aground in the Suez Canal in March 2021, halting traffic in one of the world’s busiest waterways. Nearly 19,000 ships passed through the canal during 2020, for an average of more than 50 per day, according to the Suez Canal Authority.
Any restriction to traffic through the 120 mile Suez Canal built 151 years ago directly impacts an upward movement of oil product tanker rates which go straight to the posted price of fuel at the pump for Californians. California should wake up before its energy dependency gets plugged, limiting access to oil from foreign countries that also have less stringent environmental regulations than California and transport their crude oil halfway around the world via air polluting ships delivering that oil to California ports.
California leaders NEVER discuss the nautical distance and the weeks those tankers need to travel to get to California ports. The Suez Canal is particularly important for global oil supplies, and particularly for California’s dependency on foreign suppliers that provide oil to the state from 9,912 nautical miles via the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. Other foreign sources and the nautical miles from the West Coast ports that California is dependent upon are Ecuador 3,228, Columbia 3,289, Iraq 11,564, and Kuwait 11,494.
The mileage and cost per nautical mile a ship must travel to bring crude to California is huge. A large tanker travels 28 feet on a gallon of residual fuel oil (149,690 BTU or 1.2 gallons of gas). This equals 0.004 mpg. Rather than produce its own oil from the largest oil reserves in America, located in-state, California supports and pays for this use of energy from other distant locations, to get its oil demands met.
If oil tankers must reroute around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of South Africa to keep Asia-northern Europe and Asia-US east coast logistical services running, such a move will generate extra insurance and other shipping costs and delay deliveries by weeks.
As we have all read from the Department of Energy, the USA is now a net exporter of crude oil, with crude oil exports exceeding imports. This oil boom coming from Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Colorado, is beneficial to 49 states, but NOT to California. The American shale boom has important security implications as well, as America is now less dependent on crude oil from the turbulent Middle East, again, except for California.
The insurmountable condition of no pipelines over the Sierra Nevada Mountains results in California having no easy access to the over- supply of USA crude oil east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. California is an energy island and an energy hog; California is heavily dependent on in-state manufacturing for its fuel demands. California is an “energy island” situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Arizona/Nevada Stateline, with no existing pipelines over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The Governor is proud of California, through its dysfunctional energy policies being the only state in contiguous America that imports most of its crude oil energy from foreign countries, most of which are almost halfway around the world.
California’s dependency on foreign suppliers has increased imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5 percent in 1992 to 58 percent today of total consumption. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day, yes, every day, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs, careers, and business opportunities.
As Governor Newsom faces a recall election, he continues to do absolutely nothing to REDUCE energy costs for the state’s residents that can least afford more expensive energy. To heal the “wound” that is causing homelessness and poverty to be on the rise, Newsom needs to DECREASE the cost of energy, not continually increase it.
Despite the vulnerability of being dependent on foreign countries halfway around the world for the states oil needs, the Governors latest moves to further reduce oil production and require larger setbacks for existing oil production wells will further decrease in-state production and require the State to increase its monthly imports resulting in expenditures approaching a whopping $90 million EVERY DAY for foreign countries to support the states’ fifth largest economy in the world.
With California already having the highest cost of fuels in the country, the wealthy and middle class have more tolerance for expensive energy, but poverty kills and having Newsom racially biasing more expensive fuels onto the less fortunate, that voted for him, will worsen poverty.
The Suez Canal blockage has further exposed the vulnerability of the state’s dysfunctional energy policies. Newsom needs the votes of those that he is racially biasing high energy costs upon to survive the recall.