Jim Cramer: US Must Make the Switch to Nat Gas Now
Between sky-high oil prices and the steady decline of natural gas production, "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer said it's clear Wednesday that the U.S. isn't switching to nat gas fast enough.
Cramer has long championed natural gas, because he thinks it's the cleaner, more abundant and cheaper domestic fuel. He also said a shift toward nat gas in U.S. markets "would allow us to smash OPEC, while bringing down the price of gasoline within the foreseeable future."
But the dramatic slowdown in drilling, coupled with the U.S. market's inability to stand its ground against OPEC, is starting to wreak havoc on the nation's economy, he said.
Cramer noted that while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made some moves to bolster natural gas, most of them have only revolved around the construction of new solar power plants. Apart from Clean Energy Fuels — which has always been in the business of providing natural gas stations across the country — few companies have supported the use of the clean commodity as a transportation fuel. Exxon Mobil, the single largest nat gas producer, aims to keep the fuel exclusively within the utilities sector, and the federal government has done little to push beyond that.
"Unless we officially, as a nation, declare natural gas as the bridge fuel and not just part of a solar wind mix, we'll soon be causing an industry that’s been responsible for a huge number of jobs to hit the wall," he said.
In short, he said, we are faced with the worst of all possible worlds.
"We have an abundant fuel that is being ignored in Washington to the point where the decline in drilling is now causing layoffs," Cramer said. "And we remain as dependent for energy on our enemies, like Venezuela and on the powder keg countries in the Middle East, as we've ever been."
He went on to say that fuel isn't being adopted fast enough to pull gas prices down and "to provide for domestic security against a supply interruption that could be caused by an Iran-Israel war."
"Put simply, this situation is nuts," Cramer said. "It makes no sense. But a combination of chemical company lobbyists, the green movement, a dysfunctional Congress and a president who's on record as despising all fossil fuels has doomed the extended use of natural gas."
"It’s a sad commentary about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our nation’s fortunes."
Shares of nat gas last traded at the $2.19 level. Light, sweet crude ended the day down 2 percent at $105 a barrel.
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