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Argument: Pickens Plan for natural gas vehicles will increase gas prices

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Kate Galbraith. "Pickens Plan Stirs Debate, and Qualms". 5 Aug. 2008 - If the United States adopted these vehicles on a large scale without decreasing its use of natural gas for other purposes, prices for the fuel would almost certainly rise. This would discomfit utilities — which rely on natural gas for slightly more than 20 percent of national power generation — and chemical companies. They are already braced to pay more for natural gas if Congress passes legislation addressing climate change, which will increase demand for clean fuels.

“We’re mindful of anything that has the potential of raising the price of natural gas,” said Steven L. Kline, a vice president at PG&E, a California utility. He added, however, that he would expect any ramp-up to be accompanied by increased supply, particularly from a yet-to-be-built natural gas pipeline in Alaska.

"Pickens' Audacious Wind-for-Gas Plan Flawed?". CNBC. 8 July 2008 - Pickens' plan also raises more basic questions, say critics. They include his assumption that natural gas would remain cheap and the contention that it could be indefinitely be sourced, primarily from domestic sources and hence save the US hundreds of billions of dollars in imports.

“This plan strikes me as a huge leap of faith that rests on some dubious assumptions,” especially on price, says John DeCicco, a senior fellow with Environmental Defense, a leading nongovernmental group that works with corporations on environmental initiatives.

“Why has oil gotten so expensive – the answer is because it has been trying to service a huge and growing demand for transportation fuel," adds DeCicco. “Once your start trying to replace oil with something, that something is not going to be so cheap any more,” he said

DeCicco noted that the US is importing a growing amount of natural gas, as evidenced by the proposals for – and controversies about – permitting new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals here.

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