Is there an easy way out of the “OIL” mess we've gotten ourselves into?

Is there an easy way out of the “OIL” mess we've gotten ourselves into?

Oil is nearly $100 a barrel. Gas may soon reach $4 a gallon. And Americans are being bitten in almost every way imaginable by this insidious oil hydra.

Two billion people in China and India are now eager consumers. They want the cars, gadgets, and lifestyle that Westerners have claimed as a birthright for a half-century. Their growing energy appetites mean that the international petroleum market may remain tight, even if Americans — who use almost twice as much oil per day as China and India put together — cut back on imported energy.

The Middle East is raking in billions each week. At best, our so-called friends in cash-laden Saudi Arabia subsidize fundamentalist mosques and hate-filled madrassas worldwide. At worst, our enemies in petrol-rich Iran are after the bomb, send weapons into Iraq to kill Americans and fund Hezbollah jihadists.

War in Iraq, rumors of fighting in the near-future in Iran and tension on the West Bank only panic markets raise oil prices and further enrich our grinning enemies.

The nearly half-trillion dollars we will soon pay for imported oil does a lot more than prop up Russia's Vladimir Putin, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The petrodollar drain also contributes to our trade deficits, falling dollar and a general demoralization of the American people.

Our oil habit not only makes us dependent on some creepy suppliers, but we look like fools as we work nonstop to hand over our earnings to those who are rich by an accident of sitting atop oil someone else found and developed.

There is talk in this country of a gradual transition to alternative fuels, solar power, wind machines, plug-in electric cars, and nuclear power. Supposedly Americans will soon be less dependent on imported oil — while helping to slow global warming — as we are weaned off our fossil-fuel addiction.

But let's talk about the present: If oil continues to climb, ultimately, it will change our very way of life. Hard-pressed families will shell out thousands more a year in direct transportation and heating and cooling costs, and more still as consumer prices inflate.

It may have always been unwise for commuters to buy large SUVs and V8 super cab trucks. Now, though, we may reach the point where these pricey huge vehicles will sputter to a halt. Indebted Americans will still shell out monthly payments to pay off their parked dinosaurs, only to drive them for emergency or ceremonial occasions.

Also expect rising popular anger at an asleep-at-the-wheel government that for the last 20 years should have been doing a lot more to mandate conservation, subsidize alternate fuels, encourage nuclear power and open up oil fields offshore and in Alaska.

Instead, doctrinaire free-market purists and radical environmentalists, hand in glove, for years have thwarted both conservation and exploration.

True, in a perfect world, the market would teach Detroit not to build gas-hungry big cars. Yet in the here and now, we are needlessly burning scarce fuel as too many 7,000-pound mammoths deliver single 180-pound drivers to work — while the auto industry continues on its path to irrelevance.

Meanwhile, green politicians may not want messy oilrigs off their coasts, or tankers up north among the ice and polar bears. But so far very few of them have sworn off jet travel, nice cars or ample homes.

Oil companies claim that they are only passing along escalating costs from overseas suppliers over which they have no control. But around a third of our oil is pumped here at home.

Think about it: The cost to extract oil from existing older wells is relatively fixed. For much of the 1990s and early 2000s, oil prices had been steady at between $20 and $30 a barrel (when adjusted for inflation) — and domestic oil companies did quite well. So now at near $100 a barrel, these corporations are raking additional profits of over $60 a barrel — potentially a domestic windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

Is there an easy way out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into?

Maybe a Silicon Valley genius inventor or entrepreneur will step forward with a breakthrough new energy source.

Maybe our government will start a crash project on the scale of the Manhattan Project to conserve and produce more fuels.

Maybe China and India will consider radical conservation measures.

Maybe countries like Iraq, Libya, and Russia will start reinvesting in their oil infrastructures and double production.

Maybe the Middle East will finally settle down and soothe jittery oil speculators.

Those are too many maybes to wait for while our way of life hangs in the balance. It is past time to demand from our presidential candidates, as well as the current government, exactly when and how they plan to slay this many-headed oil monster.

13 Answers

Relevance
  • John V
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yeah, I read the op ed by that Victor Davis Hansen guy in the SF chronicle this morning (on the train as I commuted to work b/c gas is so expensive these days).

    My answer is: No, there is no easy way out. Unfortunately, our global,national and even local economies runs on oil. We need to find a way to change our current automobile fleet into one that runs on something we can produce here, be that bio fuel, hydrogen, etc. That is way easier said than done though. Most experts agree there is no magic bullet, that is, there will have to be a comprehensive set of fuels which replace oil. Developing an infrastructure which sustains that for the transition between oil to this new set of fuels will be very challenging.

    To the guy that said bio diesel, that is part of the solution maybe, but to switch the entire automobile/trucking fleet to a bio diesel standard would require too much crop acreage unless the internal combustion engine were made more thermodynamically efficient or replaced with something new.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not even going to read all of that. The government should've forced car companies to reach standards a long time ago. If benchmarks were set decades ago, every car would probably get 50-100 miles/gal. by now. The last thing I want to see is a person driving a Ford F-350 complaining about gas prices. If you can afford the gas, then it's okay; but don't whine when the fact that your truck only gets 10 miles/gal. and gas is above $3. Why would someone with an office job need a work truck? When the U.S. expanded west, efficient public transportation systems weren't built. Most roads don't even have bike paths. I'm not riding a scooter because I'm afraid of the bad drivers in San Antonio and their huge vehicles. We can't just keep on depending on finding new oil deposits, we will always suck them dry and be left looking for more.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Zardoz
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The US should be committed to a new venture like the Marshall Plan. We should be building a new nuclear power plant every month, and none have been permitted since the three mile island problem. (I know I won't win any friends with that answer) We should be more involved in bio-fuels also.

    Instead we try to figure out how we can solve the oil problem. It can't be solved. The world is passed peak oil.. The emerging countries of China and India require more gasoline every day.

    We need to change and do it now.

    ed: It would take three years to get ANWR oil on line.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    No there is no fast and easy way out now. Ethanol might help but it will not replace gasoline, the same thing with hybrid cars they will help but there will always be a need for large vehicles and we could and should start drilling in the U.S.A. but even that will take time. What we should do is stop blaming the President for the problem and waiting for the next administration to fix the problem because that's a year away and I don't think any thing will change then. We need to come to-gather, decide what we want to do and put pressure on our government officials to make it happen.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Unfortunately, our Government IS the problem.

    Our Government not only has vehicles that run on water alone but they also purchased the rights for a carburetor that provides over 200 miles per gallon.

    Since alternatives are available and have been available for well over 30 years, one wonders why these methods aren't currently available to it's citizens.

    The answer is fairly easy to come up with when you consider that all of our Presidents have had links to the oil industry in one way or another. To share the technology for an automobile that runs on water or to allow the purchase of a carburetor that will provide 200 + miles per gallon of gas would impact their finances.

    Who says the President is dumb? Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. Both will refuse to share their wealth with the American people.

    Source(s): Seen both
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is no easy way sadly, the only thing that we can do is keep trying to fight our way out of the hole that we have dug ourselves into. First off we need to organize, get together with the people who really care about what’s going on today and don’t waste too much time on the people who don’t. The problem is that there are too many people trying to be heroes by taking on this oil crisis by themselves: Michael Moore, Al Gore for example. What’s the sense in making a documentary if the only thing that is done is that we sit back, watch it, say “That’s F-ed-up,” and still do nothing about it? It’s a fact of nature that there’s safety in numbers; the founding fathers of our country were a small group of men that had to struggle to and fight for what we have today, and they have made a great difference (Federalist Papers). Second we need to educate ourselves we’ll never be able to go anywhere if we don’t understand the situation and be able to argue intelligently. I now that there are allot of people out there who think that their “smart enough already” but if you carry this errant philosophy around to long you will never be able to truly understand the meaning of true intelligence.

    We are on a path of self destruction right now and if we don’t do something fast there will be no future for us or our children. So I ask everyone who may care enough to read this to set aside their hubris and lackadaisical nature so that we may be able save or future, if not for yourself, then for our children.

    Feel free to E-mail me, vg_champ@hotmail.com

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it's called oil rehab. Throw the country down, force it to come up with something and come out stronger than ever.

    Sometimes you have to bottom out before something happens. That's how addictions are kicked.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well we could begin tapping some of the huge oil deposits left untouched on US soil,due to idiotic and unrealistic rules. Like in ANWR,or offshore. That would be a start.

    YTP

    • Login to reply the answers
  • m b
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    The idea is to buy everyone elses oil until its gone, and then use all our oil last so no one else can have any.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.