DALTON, Ga.-T. Boone Pickens, the 82-year-old billionaire who has been called the "oracle of oil," is predicting the price of gasoline will go up before the end of the year because of all the unrest in the Middle East.
As the keynote speaker at Dalton's Manufacturing Summit on Thursday, Pickens told attendees the increase will be just one more reason to begin adapting 18-wheelers and public vehicles to run on natural gas. That change is the keystone of Pickens' new energy plan to free America from its dependence on foreign oil.
"We use 28 million barrels of oil a day, but we only produce 7 million barrels a day of our own. And we import 13 million barrels [a day] from our enemies," he said. "That is what I want to change. This country has to have an energy policy."
Known to most Americans as the Texas oil man who several years ago pushed wind farms for energy independence, Pickens has a new plan of mining natural gas in the United States.
The new plan, which he calls "a bridge to the future" when renewables such as wind will be more financially viable, is not winning him many friends - either in environmental circles or in political rallies.
See Friday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.