It's about our community and our spirituality!

Saying No To Oily Foxes

I just barely remember the energy crises of the seventies. I remember sitting in long lines and queuing up to a gas pump. I remember hearing my parents and the news talk about the gasoline shortages and the effect it has on prices. I remember seeing gas stations with signs on the pumps saying that gas is limited to five gallons per customer. I remember President Jimmy Carter trying to calm the nation’s collective anxiety by saying that we are all in this together.

Back in the seventies, we could point to the oil producing nations who made a collective decision to show gas gulping nations, the United States specifically, how vulnerable they are. A new sheriff was in town and if people wanted to play then people had to pay. Oil spigots that were running at full tilt were being regularly turned off or only partially opened. There wasn’t enough oil to go around. In the first crisis, gasoline that was originally selling in the lower thirty cent range doubled in a relatively short time. When the second crisis hit, the price of a gallon of gas jumped even higher. Gas pumps weren’t designed for to charge the unheard of price of more than a dollar a gallon and for a while we were buying gasoline in liters in order to charge the higher fees. We all were being squeezed and we were being squeezed and we all were feeling pressure.

Today we have another energy crisis. Seven years ago when the Middle East was relatively stable and the value of the dollar was much stronger in the global currency market, oil was trading at something like twenty dollars a barrel. Now, oil is trading at five times that price. We have endured a five hundred percent jump in wholesale oil prices in just seven short years. That’s the kind of thing you just have to endure when you put greedy and self serving men who made and who plan to make their living on oil in the White House. The price of gas is knocking on four dollars’ door in many places around the nation. In other places the price of gas has bust through the door and haven’t looked back. Oil companies are making tens of billions of dollars in net profits and oil executives are earning grand lottery sized bonuses that rival the gross domestic product of many countries around the world. In this energy crisis, we are not in this together. The price of fuel is driving up the price of everything. While most Americans are feeling the extra burden of fuel prices, food prices, utility prices, etcetera, some Americans are doing extremely well

Earlier this week, President George Bush made the claim that one of the ways we can get our hands around this energy crisis is to open Alaska to oil exploration and drilling. Alaska is sitting on top of a multi billion barrel oil reserve that makes the oil company executives drool like Pavlov’s dog with an extraordinary salivary gland. Opening up the Alaskan wilderness would make gas cheaper and solve all of our problems. It would send a message to the oil producing countries that we are serious about this energy situation. By sacrificing Alaska we won’t have to make any changes to our living habits. We can continue buying our Escalades, Escapades, Expeditions, Hummers and Vipers. We don’t have to do anything and we can be happy knowing we have given the oil companies access to America’s last oil reserves.

The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough oil to buy. Unlike the seventies, you can take your Dodge Ram 1500 Supercrew 4X4 with the dual fuel tanks down to the local gas stations and buy as many gallons of fuel until your heart is content and your wallet is exhausted. There is no fuel shortage. The reason oil is costing so much is that there are people who are investing in oil speculation. With the dollar plummeting against other world currencies and real estate no longer being the rock solid safe investment it used to be, people with money to invest is buying up oil in order to make money and consequently keeping it from flowing freely in the two player market of suppliers and demanders. The oil market is now a three player game of suppliers, investors, and demanders. How else can we explain oil companies making their billion dollar windfalls when the rest of the country is struggling?

And perish the thought of expecting an oil company showing more environmental responsibility than absolutely necessary. No matter what environmental regulations are set the oil companies will hire a ton of lawyers, lobbyist, and environmental engineers willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder to find or create the legal loopholes to do as little as possible. Exxon/Mobile is still fighting against any further responsibility for the Valdez spill that decimated Prince William Sound. How dare the Alaskan public hold them responsible for hiring an alcoholic captain with an oil laden tanker to navigate through an environmentally sensitive area! Lord knows big oil has never given the public any reason to doubt their desire to do the right thing if an accident occurs.

Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska to the oil companies and expecting the price of energy to drop would be like opening up a chicken coop to foxes and expecting the price of chicken eggs to drop. All it would do is give a handful of people that much more oil to hoard and that much more money to make. The price of oil won’t change with the addition of more oil sources because we are not having an oil shortage. Besides, it would be years, maybe even decades, before we would see a drop of this extra oil come to market. The only message this country would be sending to the other oil producing countries would be that we refuse to make the changes to curb our gluttony for petroleum. The traditional market of supply and demand is not at play here. Don’t believe everything a fox who continues to have close ties to people in the oil business tells you.

Thursday, May 1, 2008 - Posted by | Alaska, ANWR, Capitalism, Life, Thoughts | ,

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