Thursday, November 13, 2008

I saw gasoline for $1.96 today!

While I was out running my daily errands today (I was off of work, so I was running them slightly earlier than usual), I saw gasoline at a local station for $1.96/gallon. This was a station that does not participate in the typical "Thrifty Thursdays, 5 cents off" promotion.

Gas is cheap again. Fuck.

While cheap gas means less strain on my wallet, it also often means less support for the alternative fuels industry. I've long been a supporter of alternative fuels, both for home and vehicles. I'd love to see a country full of electric cars and solar/wind/geothermal powered homes. I've love to see the removal of oil, coal, and nuclear power sources from the grid.

Unfortunately, every time cheap oil prevails, these alternative technologies get buried. It's happened several times throughout history.

There are far more reasons to get off of oil as a primary source of energy, even if you don't believe in the greenhouse effect and global warming.

The US imports a vast majority of their oil. Of the total oil consumption in the US, most of it is used for transportation (cars, buses, trains, trucks, etc).

The US Department of Energy supports this. Well over 60% of our crude oil consumption are used solely for transportation. In comparison, only ten percent are used for electricity production, including commercial and residential. The remainder is used commercially in manufacturing plants, often producing oil-based materials such as plastics.

By contrast, the US imports about 1.9 billion barrels of oil a year, while using about 19 billion barrels of oil per year.

The price at the pump may be cheap. The price for the nation is expensive.

The price of oil irregardless, here's the possible problems of remaining dependent on foreign oil:

War: Gulf War 1 was waged after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Most of our oil supply at the time came from Kuwait. It was less of a war against Iraq, so much as it was a war to protect our oil sources.

OPEC: OPEC controls the price of oil. Many of the nations with vast oil fields that are members of OPEC are not friends of the US. The US being the worldwide leader in oil consumption are the ones likely to be targeted by high oil prices. As a result, OPEC can, at a whim, raise oil prices, and weaken the US.

America: How much can this great nation really focus on itself when we're worried about oil prices globally? If we were truly energy independent, we could ignore the oil economy worldwide, and focus on Americans here at home.

I'm sure there's others that I've missed, but the above should be enough to chew on for a while.

The bottom line is this: Oil prices are dropping. Don't forget about alternative energies that will truly help America in the long run. Oil prices fluctuate at a whim. Natural, renewable energies, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and tidal are always here, usable at will.

We will run out of oil eventually. We need to be energy independent far sooner to avoid far greater problems.

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