Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is building a million-person "army" that he says will pressure the nation's leaders to adopt a more responsible energy policy.
Pickens said that in the month since he started his campaign to get the country to switch from oil to wind power and natural gas he's had strongly positive reaction from Americans who are tired of soaring energy prices.
"People are concerned," he said in an exclusive interview on CNBC. "They don't believe they're being told the truth about energy in America."
Two town meetings Pickens has held went over well, he said, and his Web site, pickensplan.com, has had more than 4 million hits. He's looking to get one million people signed on to his campaign that will push government into funding alternative technologies.
At the same time, he's already met with congressional leaders, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle, who he said were sympathetic to his plans. Next up: a meeting with presidential nominees Barack Obama and John McCain to get them on board with the Pickens plan.
"We finally found out $4 gallon was too much," Pickens said. "That also sets up the Pickens plan. (People) would rather use a cheaper domestic fuel than a foreign fuel at a higher place."
Ultimately, Pickens' plan is to dramatically reduced what he describes as the $700 billion shift in wealth that will come from American's purchasing of foreign fuel this year.
He is advocating natural gas for the government's fleet of vehicles as well as large trucks used for deliveries. Also, he's pushing for a widespread push to wind power to replace heating oil. Cutting the $700 billion figure in half is a realistic goal for this year, Pickens said.
"The wind we have to use," he said. "That's renewable and it's green. It's a resource we have. We have to develop that resource."
As a trader, Pickens remains long on oil, after seeing his prediction of $150 a barrel just miss, though he allows for some pullback.
Pickens rejected notions that he's in it for himself -- "I have enough money," he said -- and said his main concern is to get the country energy independent.
"I'm for everything in America," he said. "I'm obsessed with this."