Las Vegas -- That's the core message of the advertising blitz that T. Boone Pickens announced yesterday in New York. Here's the ad itself. The ad buy will be huge -- $58 million -- and by the time I got here last night, people had already seen it on TV. Some of the media coverage of the Pickens plan has simply emphasized his move into wind, while some coverage has focused on his vision of using wind power to back out natural gas currently used for power, and then using the gas to replace imported oil. Overall, though, the coverage has been intense and overwhelmingly positive.
Pickens says that while oil prices may decline from their current level, they won't go below $100 a barrel -- which makes the idea of driving vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas, currently priced at the equivalent of about $2 a gallon, very attractive if the supply can be generated without spiking the price of natural gas. But since half of the gas we currently burn to heat and cool our houses is wasted, and since U.S. gas reserves and production are both increasing, the gas supply picture looks a good deal brighter than that for oil. And it's cleaner.
Although most of the coverage has been extensive, there is one remarkable exception. Fox News ran only a brief eight-line story that completely buried the Pickens plan and instead featured his prediction about the future price of oil. This is interesting because, in an earlier Fox interview with Pickens, they carefully edited out all of his views on the reality that we can't make a meaningful difference in our situation by more domestic drilling. If you watch only Fox News, you'll never know what the ex-oilman is really saying: That oil isn't the answer.