A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"We need a dramatically different energy policy for our country"

Gas prices, as everyone knows, are up.  Way up. Out by my house, "cheap" gas is $4.26 a gallon. And drivers are struggling with the higher prices.  For the first time in recent memory, people are actually driving less (and gas prices are still going up). From reading this article, even mass transit programs are struggling.  Ridership is increasing because people are driving less and taking mass transit more, but the increase in the number of fares paid is not keeping up with the rising cost of fuel to run the trains and buses.
The airlines are having huge difficulties, and I think they are caught in a catch 22. They can't afford to fuel their planes, so they are cutting down on flights, imposing baggage fees, and so on.  In order to meet the rising cost of fuel, they need to dramatically increase fares.  However, if they do that, many fewer people will travel, and the airlines will be flying emptier planes, and still not able to pay for the fuel.
The thing is, people don't understand what is going on.  The last time gas prices climbed like this, there was an oil embargo.  Somebody saying, "No oil for you."  This time, why are gas prices climbing?  Why are oil prices at $135 a barrel? It's because there is not enough of it.  Between stagnant production, declining exports from exporting countries due to their own internal rising demand, and rapidly increasing demand from developing economies like China, which has recently discovered that they, too, should be able to live the American Dream, there simply is not enough to go around.
Then there is the other problem with our energy use... what we are doing to ourselves in the process.  We are a bunch of frogs sitting in a slowly heating pot of water, oblivious to the trouble we are getting ourselves in because it is happening relatively slowly.  At least, climate change, although accelerating, is happening more slowly than our gas prices are increasing, and we don't ever solve problems until they are PROBLEMS that have to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. And by the time it has to be dealt with right now, it will be too late to avert many of the consequences.
Can't people see that we need to do something different?
Hello???  McFly???

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