Every time the price of oil drops, the demand for that same product increases and the demand for alternate fuels, decreases. Why are gas prices falling?
China Daily reported that “oil dropped more than 6 percent to below $88.00 a barrel on Monday as a global market rout churned concerns that faltering fuel demand could slow further.”
In other words, we aren’t buying enough, so it’s time to lower the price. But can anyone other than the people vested in that market honestly say that we don’t use enough oil?
In his new book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”, Thomas L. Friedman writes “When I asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, why his company didn’t make more fuel-efficient cars, he gave me the standard answer: that GM has never succeeded in telling Americans what cars they should buy.” Thomas goes on to say , “But what the Detroit executives never tell you is that one big reason the public wanted SUVs and Hummers all those years was that Detroit and the oil industry constantly lobbied Congress against raising gasoline taxes, which would have shaped public demand for something different.”
European countries have been imposing high gasoline taxes for years, and when I was serving in Germany in the early 90’s, a gallon of gas was $6.84 a gallon, and that was 20 years ago! The result is that European countries have demanded smaller and smaller cars.
As of this writing, Gasoline in Denmark is about $9.00 a gallon, compared to $3.65 in the United States. (Up from $2.50 a year ago and down from $4.50 two months ago.) It seems like $9.00 a gallon gas in Denmark would decimate it’s economy right? Since 1981, there economy has grown 70 percent while energy consumption has been flat. In 1973, Denmark got 99 percent of it’s energy from the Middle East. Today, it gets zero.
We’ve become spoiled in the United States. We have grown up thinking that the oil that runs everything from our cars to our industrial complex, is cheap, inexhaustible and politically neutral. But we have come to an age where we realize that oil is in short supply, expensive, environmentally damaging and a political nightmare.
So with these realizations, instead of following the success of countries like Denmark, Brazil and Germany, we continue to lower the price, to fuel the demand, to use more of what we are running out of.
The Republican saying “Drill more, use less” doesn’t work. If we want more of the same Environmental devastation, financial crisis, repeated bailouts, and political situations like wars, terrorism and starvation, then all we have to do is…nothing.
I say it’s time to raise the price of Gasoline in this country. It’s time to drive this economy toward a sustainable energy program that will benefit our economy, our lives and our environment.
Photo courtesy of WiseOwl via Creative Commons License