How long would it take to virtually eliminate our dependence on oil?
By “virtually eliminate” I don’t mean that all oil drilling would stop and nobody would ever buy another barrel of oil again. I mean that the nature of energy needs in the world would change such that oil is a much less significant part of the equation. How much money would be needed for the research? How long before we made a serious dent in oil consumption if we funded the research to the hilt?
I imagine it would go something like this: The President (probably not the current one) presents a budget calling for an unprecedented amount of money for research into the hard science of clean, renewable, inexpensive energy production. Over the next several years, as new developments are made, oil and fossil fuel consumption gradually goes down. Some energy is supplied by solar, some by wind, some by water, etc. Remember that the money is buying innovation. The research is constantly making energy production by these means more efficient and problem-free.
We learn things. People come up with new and better ideas. Eventually, we build a fusion power plant on the moon that makes batteries for 100% electric cars. The Space Elevator makes this extremely practical, as there would be no more need for launches from Earth.
I’m getting ahead of myself here. The topic is, how much money and how long? If tomorrow, George W. Bush announced that, due to both environmental and national security concerns, the elimination of our dependence on oil and fossil fuels would be the top priority of his administration (stop laughing) what kind of budget and timeline are we looking at?