Pickens: Exploit US Natural Gas, Replace OPEC Oil

The U.S. will make a monumental mistake if it doesn't utilize one of its most prevalent energy resources, natural gas, energy tycoon Boone Pickens told CNBC Thursday.

"You've got 4,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—that makes us number one in the world," Pickens said. "We're going to be fools, we'll be identified as the dumbest people in the world if we don't capitalize on this resource and replace OPEC oil."

Pickens said one of the most simple ways to introduce natural gas to the automobile business is to make it the primary option for larger transportation vehicles.

"What you do is go after the 8 million 18-wheelers, and when a new 18-wheeler is purchased it will go to domestic fuel, which would be natural gas," said Pickens. "If we had those we would cut OPEC in half."

Pickens cited AT&T as a company that's using natural gas as the energy source for its automobile fleet.

In March of 2009, AT&T said it would commit up to $565 million on alternative-fuel vehicles over the span of ten years. Of that sum, $350 million would go to purchasing 8,000 vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, according to the company Web site.

It is estimated that the company's 10-year commitment will reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons, according to a statement on the company Web site.