Coming from a billionaire oilman, it is shocking advice. But T. Boone Pickens is warning Americans to use more natural gas and to start using wind power because the price of oil is never coming back down.
"I'm not saying anybody lied to them, but they've been led to believe that the price of gasoline's going to come down," Pickens told "Good Morning America" today.
"This price isn't just going to come down?" Chris Cuomo of "GMA" asked Pickens.
"No," insisted the oil titan.
"There's no easy fix that deals with the markets that can bring the price down?" Cuomo probed.
"No," Pickens said.
Instead, said Pickens, the price of oil, now hovering above $140 a barrel, will hit $200 a barrel.
Pickens said the country is in an "emergency," and is spending $700 billion a year on foreign oil.
"I mean, it's incredibly stupid on our part," he told "GMA."
The blunt talk comes from a man who in the 1950s took a geology degree and $2,500 of borrowed money and parlayed it into Mesa Petroleum, an oil and gas exploration company. It made Pickens a fortune, and turned him into a legend. In the 1980s he gained notoriety as a corporate raider after forming the hedge fund, BP Capital Management.
The new warnings are part of Pickens' effort to jolt the United States out of its habit of buying foreign oil, and to energize consumers to demand next year's new administration in Washington make a serious commitment to alternative energy sources.
Pickens launched a Web site today, PickensPlan.com, to lobby for his energy plan.
"This is one emergency we can't drill our way out of," he argues on his Web site.
"On January 20, 2009, a new president gets sworn in. If we're organized, we can convince Congress to make major changes towards cleaner, cheaper and domestic energy resources," his Web site states.
Pickens believes American consumers should be switching to domestically produced natural gas and wind.
He envisions making America the "Saudi Arabia of wind."
"We've got more wind than anybody else in the world, just like they have more oil," Pickens said. I think that's the future of this country."
He would like to see wind as the energy source for many of the country's power plants that now run on natural gas. That natural gas could be used instead to power planes, trains and cars, cutting down the need for foreign oil.
Pickens said his company is building a 4,000 megawatt wind farm at Pampa, Texas, which he said would make Pampa the "wind capital of the world."
Wind, he said, would be a new cash crop for rural areas and one that is environmentally and politically sound.
"It's cheaper, it's cleaner, it's abundant and it's domestic," he said.
Pickens said he is aware of the skepticism of using wind power when there aren't transmission lines or a power grid to distribute it. But he is charging into the issue with the confidence and swagger that marked his career in the oil and gas industry.
"A fool with a plan is better than a genius with no plan," he told "GMA." "And we look like fools without a plan, that's the way that we've been operating for 40 years."