The Sand Diego Union-Tribune discusses oil: Difficult choices await a nation – and world – stuck on oil.
To be sure, America long ago lost its energy independence and has at times lost control of prices, as it did when OPEC flexed its muscle in the 1970s.
But new forces in world energy markets, unrestrained consumption epitomized by the boom in sport utility vehicles and the depletion of oil have subjected the United States to buffeting by forces outside its control.
Call it the era of the permanent oil shock.
China and India have developed enough economic strength for a substantial number of their citizens to begin buying automobiles, said Raghuram Rajan, research director at the IMF.
In both countries, demand for oil has doubled in 10 years. Although ox-drawn carts are still common as the two nations leapfrog from the 19th century into the 21st, the impact on the oil market has been enormous.
“This demand starts taking off in a tremendous way,” Rajan said. “Our sense is that the growth in transport demand will account for a very, very big chunk of the growth in oil demand going forward.”
Said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy, “They have doubled their use in a decade, and eventually that kind of doubling gets you.”
But it’s misleading to assign Asia sole responsibility for the surge in world oil prices. The United States uses twice as much oil as India and China, despite having a less than a sixth of the comibined population. Person for person, the United States uses 15 times as much oil as China.
Again, I’m glad to see this coverage and I’m sure there will be more but it is a case of too little, too late. We’ve waited far too long to begin this discussion. There is a part of me that is so angry… truth is I hardly ever go out anymore because I cannot bear to look at my fellow citizens as they motor down the road in their SUVs. I’ve never been so disgusted and I fight back the urge… “I told you so” does not begin to describe it. Americans are, generally speaking, ignorant selfish fools and as this oil-based system comes crashing down around them they will have no one to blame but themselves. And remember, it’s not just about SUVs, it is also unbridled consumption at WalMart and Target… it is grass lawns and chemical-based agriculture… it is the culture of consumption.
Enjoy it while you’ve got it and remember, it comes at the expense of others.