Monday, July 21, 2008

Hummers for ever

by Capt. Fogg

Conservatives like to prattle about the sense of entitlement Americans have about many things, but they seem to be no different than the people they chastise when it comes to a sense of entitlement to cheap and plentiful petroleum. Rising fuel costs however, may just bring about the undoing of the Republican empire from within and without unless the public can be convinced that there really is an abundance of oil and that it can be available at your corner Mobil station just as soon as we teach those Liberal Enviros a thing or two about priorities.

Of course we've listed so far to starboard of late that George H. W. Bush would have to be thought of as a radical left wing extremist for having signed a ban on exploration in some parts of the Gulf of Mexico. George the Lesser has undone it and the patron saint of deceit, Newt Gingrich is wagging his forked tongue about a "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." program to collect a million signatures that would somehow convince congress to "act immediately to lower gasoline prices" by allowing exploration off America's coasts.

Of course reality checks would quickly flock about such words but for the screeching of the addicts wanting oil and more oil and more oil NOW. Still the reality is that we're talking about unexplored areas at a time when explored resources still aren't being used. 83% of the currently leased fields are just lying there for an assortment of reasons including there being no oil where we thought there was.

We really can't be sure how much oil would be available and at what cost, but we can be sure that by the time anything did show up at the pump, the ballooning world demand would gobble it up. What Newt is really demanding could be better described as "poke around in the gulf, maybe drill a decade or so from now and pay pretty much the same if not more." Messiahs do well in such times with their wild promises and prophecies and even when they fail, their disciples don't accept it or recognize the failure. I think we're in times like that. The public just isn't going to accept that we don't own the world, we don't own very much oil and even if we produce more, we will still have to compete to buy what the rest of the world wants. Welcome to Globalization.

It's easier to dream about the kingdom of Hummers forever that we are entitled to by voting Republican. It's easy to sell the idea that faith will bring us the lifestyle we feel entitled to no matter who we squelch to have it: Faith that we can drill our way to eternal oil and borrow our way to eternal prosperity, Faith that we haven't been using it up so fast that we can't solve it by using it up faster.

Energy independence? sounds great in campaign speeches, but it's hokum. According to government estimates, what we would see from our domestic drilling would be about 1% of the worlds demand by the time it could be pumped. It can only provide us with cheap oil if the rest of the world sinks back into poverty and that's not going to happen and we're not going to be able to make it happen.

Still it's easy to make us hysterical - we already are and we're hysterical enough to believe in magic and to stone anyone who doesn't. We may just drill away for decades hoping for the second coming of the Sacred SUV's God want's us to have as his chosen people, while the rest of the world, leaner and more efficient, outpaces us. We may just burn up an appreciating asset to finance our Hummeresque lifestyle and find that we wish to hell we had saved some for later.We might just vote Republican.

Cross posted from Human Voices

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4 Comments:

Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Brilliant post Fogg. If I could I would print it out and paste in on every door in America.

3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

You'd get arrested for littering!

I'm not sure it's not too late to really do anything about it without having to go through a period of severe pain, but we need to stop spending trillions on stupid wars and invest in public transportation instead. Electric cars aren't going to solve the problem alone. People are going to have to live closer to where they work or be able to work electronically at home or near home - otherwise we grow beards and join the old order Amish.

I already have the beard.

4:30:00 PM  
OpenID expatbrian said...

Agreed Fogg and good post. The lifestyles to which Americans have become accustomed cannot be sustained as you say, at least not on a mass scale. The few who control our energy and their buddies who run related industries know this, of course.

They know that in order for THEIR lifestyles to be sustained or even improved, the lifestyles of other, less powerful Americans, must deteriorate. And that is exactly what is happening.

The rich will maintain a luxurious, pampered, and protected way of life while the poor and soon to be extinct middle class pays their way to do it.

I fully agree about public transport. Living in a place with a top notch PT system, I've actually learned that I don't even need a car. Haven't driven one for over 5 years now. But I don't see that happening at all, let alone in the near future. I just can't see those who control the dwindling discretionary funds that are available, spending them on an efficient public transport system. No, I think the infrastructure will continue to decay until the US looks like some 2nd world country - Malaysia comes to mind - where the potholes and cracks in the streets are permanent and there is always the odor of decomposition in the air.

6:30:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I also think it's going to worse here before it gets better. Mass transit. Better urban planning. A more local centric lifestyle would all help certainly.

8:18:00 AM  

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