Oil Price Shock and Blame
Steven Mufson writes this morning that soaring oil prices "are damaging the profits of oil-intensive industries, tearing holes in the pockets of American consumers, offsetting the stimulant effect of tax breaks, sapping more than $1.5 billion a day out of the U.S. economy for oil imports and diverting ever-bigger gushers of dollars to oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran and Venezuela." Not to mention that the price of gasoline is more than $4 a gallon and rising every day while the dollar continues to lose value.
Our readers provide a range of comments that cover most of the points usually raised in this issue -- foolish behavior by SUV-loving consumers, tree-hugging protectionists who block drilling for oil in sensitive areas, the growth of prosperity and consumerism in China and India, profiteering by big oil, the war in Iraq, unconscionable delay in developing alternatives, and a White House occupied by an oilman.
Not only that, but wise men have been warning for years that this was going to happen and we ignored them. Our transportation policy has been to build highways and discourage passenger trains and mass transit.
We'll start with egalitaire, who asked, "...doesn't anybody realize fuel prices are beyond our economic carrying capacity?...
STOP American Dollar devaluation.
STOP rising fuel prices.
STOP rising food prices."
To which billmosby replied, "...There are plenty of ways to do all three of these things. Pity they're just about all politically incorrect. So, we'll do the only thing we know how to do, as exemplified by the statements above: panic."
mjones1 said, "...The hard, cold, nasty fact is that the world has a lot less oil than it did before. What is left is expensive to drill, and often is in the hands of nations who have no reason to be nice to us. Look, use the execs as scapegoats if it makes you feel better. But it won't change diddly squat at the pump."
jrw1 agreed, writing, "...Geologists have been warning us this was going to happen since the 1960's, but no one would listen. Now it's too late."
sandram1 said, "for over a decade, Cheney and his ilk have been peddling the ridiculous notion that there is plenty of oil while responsible professionals have repeatedly warned about the decline of easily accessible oil reserves. Then add to that the "All war all the time" approach to key oil producing areas such as Iraq and Iran- plus "Conservation is only a personal virtue, not a policy" and what did we expect.?"
rmorris391 said, "...The value of the dollar is falling; huge federal deficit; cost of war without end; runaway bankrupcy; mortgage meltdown. All a prescription for inflation, the dollar is losing value."
samellison wrote, "Don't think for one minute that the energy executives meeting on Capitol Hill and the price spike weren't related. Big Oil likes to be self-policed."
bb211 said, "The oil execs told Congress that they only make 4 cents on the dollar. Isn't 4 percent profit actually very, very high? Couldn't they settle for less?"
gsross wrote that "...Oil prices are up - and will continue to climb - because the oilmen are concerned that when Democrats control the White House and Congress, they may not be as favored. Ergo, they are going to get all they can before the changing of the guard. Supply and demand has nothing to do with these prices."
bdstauffer suggested, "Something that I think would be good to do would be to develop plug-in flex fuel hybrids that have built-in solar cells... the concept is, you charge up your car at night. Drive it to work, park it in the parking lot, let the solar cells top off the battery, drive the car home, plug it in at night, and never burn a drop of fuel. It may be pie in the sky, but if it works it would be cool."
presGWBfanclub said, "... it's time to consider state run AND owned oil. gazprom style... the oil companies have not been fair to the american people in their most critical time.. so why should we cut them slack now? and by the way... while they have been RAPING the american people.. they have been getting tax breaks and federal subsidies..."
Thundershock wrote, "It doesn't make fundamental sense if you ask me. IF world demand only grows at say 4% a year, this would justify only a 4% increase in price."
TerrifiedCitizen said, "This is not complicated... Oil is up because it's good for business... After sucking the middle class dry, the administration has a new cash cow in big oil to help finance and perpetuate the oil wars expanding all over the globe... why would you doubt that greed is at the bottom of this latest challenge facing us?"
floyd4456 wrote, "We could be less dependent on foreign oil and have cheaper gasoline if it weren't for the liberal environmentalists restricting our ability to drill anwar. We also need to overturn the moratorium on building refineries (since we have not been able to build one in over 30 years)... I blame congress..."
birvin9999 agreed, saying, "...imbeciles like Obama and Hillary prattle about "alternative" fuels. What is needed NOW are more refineries, drilling offshore and in ANWR, and more emphasis on nuclear. Look what an "alternative" like ethanol got us."
But garryh wrote, "...for those arguing that drilling on wildlife refuge lands will fix the problem it won't. Nor will modest conservation. We will use less but the price will still go up, so we will pay the same. It is childish to think the oil companies will charge less with the minimal amount of oil added to the world supply if we were to drill in Alaska..."
gala1 said, "...If anybody needed help on figuring out why oil prices are sky-rocketing, I could charge them a lot less than the experts and give it to them straight in about a minute flat. It's called profiteering in basic commodities during wartime..."
bullmountaininc said, "...It is not just a need to drastically conserve, there is an accompanying need to accelerate the changes in lifestyle and adoption of alternative energy sources that cannot wait for the "End of Oil" before being considered. Then it is far too late."
And burtonpaul wrote, "Not to mention, America is the only industrialized country in the world WITHOUT an effective system for public MASS TRANSIT."
jabreal00 said, "...It's plain and simple Americans need to buy more fuel efficient cars. The mentality of getting a 7 seat SUV... for a family of four has got to stop... Europe pays $7-8 a gallon. They have more fuel efficient cars. They walk more. They have better public transportation. It's time that the US follows Europe."
tryreason asked, "Could it be the infallible forces of the free markets don't always work and become just another path for money to leave the hands of the poor and end up in the pockets of the rich. Without democratic regulation capitalism is just another ism and when paracticed for the benefit of the wealthy it becomes just another scam."
Last word goes to halifar59, who said, "Since America is so short-sighted, we need a short-sighted, short-term answer. Open those capped wells and wildlife refuges, and suck those wells dry. This should bring gas prices down to 3.75 for a few years, and then bring us right back here where we started from: Slaves to Big Oil. On second thought, no thank you."
All comments on this article are here.
Posted by: sylvia | May 28, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: tc125231 | May 28, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Issa Gallego | May 27, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jarhead | May 27, 2008 5:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: L J | May 26, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: hereistheporn | May 26, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: headache | May 24, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fdef | May 24, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Inplanesight | May 23, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ned | May 23, 2008 3:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ned | May 23, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dcp | May 22, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Wolfcastle | May 22, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Grant | May 22, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: carmelita chico | May 22, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Adam | May 22, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | May 22, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Playa | May 22, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.