Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It's A Gas Gas Gas

Enjoying your gas prices lately? Starting to regret buying that second Hummer? Getting into the office pool on when it'll hit $3.00 a gallon?

There's nothing to refocus your moral outrage like paying $2.49 a gallon to get the ol' Honda Accord back home from work, which is exactly what I did this afternoon. And yes, it starts with beating up on idiot "bigger is better" SUV owners, with all the externalites and increased aggregate demands.

It continues to China, whose rapidly ramped-up demand has very abruptly tightened up supply, hence affecting production and distribution. Yet China, whose gas prices are only slightly less than the US', has shrewdly expanded its supply, helping negotiate an end to the Darfur genocide in Sudan (and thus securing oil field access), and signing extraction contracts with Canada (who is clearly getting sick of the US' 'tude) and Venezuela. Either China's prices will start declining soon (especially if they re-peg the renminbi), or they will go the Euro route and invest fuel taxes into an actual public transportation system, count on it.

And what have we done to secure our own ever-increasing supply? Well, let's see. We invaded the country with the second-largest oil reserves on the planet and turned it into a net importer (for which we pay Halliburton to pay the ungrateful Kuwaitis $2.65 per gallon, and subsidize the Iraqi pump price of 5¢ per gallon). Remember how were sneeringly told by our moral and intellectual betters that this would all "pay for itself"? How's that been working out?

We tried and failed to topple Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who has since vowed revenge, and threatened to completely kill Venezuelan exports to the US if we try that shit again. (China seems all too eager to help him carry out that threat from a financial standpoint, offering Chavez a huge new market. He may just decide to cut us out for sheer spite at some near point.)

So the big brilliant master plan from these geniuses boils down to drilling in ANWR, from which we should start seeing benefits in, oh, about a decade or so. I am fairly heterodox, as liberals go, on the environment. I am all for protecting nature, and natural parks, hate clear-cut logging, etc., etc. But I believe in the concept of resource stewardship; I believe that you can have paper and redwood decks and still have groves of old-growth trees. I believe you can drive cars and have lots of electric power, and sensibly extract oil and natural gas. The key is not getting too greedy or stupid, something at which we fail terribly.

The problem is that we have no balance. We think we can drive an enormous piece of shit to run simple errands, and never deal with all the externalities. We think we can get a cheap redwood deck and never have to hear about the volume of lumber that had to be extracted to drop the price so low. We have allowed liars and crooks to repeatedly dupe us into believing -- just as surely as we believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that God will come save us from our carelessness right before we finish ruining His master creation -- that we can eat our cake and still have it.

We could have agreed to drill in ANWR five years ago, with the proviso that CAFE standards be reinforced. But the automakers wouldn't hear of it; Ford makes something like $10-12K profit from every Expedition they sell. Again: short-term hard-on for the shareholders, long-term externalities for the entire rest of the world, whether they bought one of these fucking things or not. Meanwhile, oil companies keep on posting record profits.

And Dear Leader does exactly fuck-all about any of it. It's as if this stupid shit would just be a distraction from all the brush-clearin' and fence-paintin'. Liberatin' is hard work, done by good people.

Thanks again, values voters!

1 comment:

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