We were idiots in the 70's, and still are!

Is anyone else sick of these incredibly high gas prices? I would imagine that I'm not alone, and at least 3 or 4 (million) of you agree. When we had our troubles in the 70's, we took it. That's all. We took it, waited for it to go away, then quickly put it out of our minds. Had we, at that time, thought "wow, this sucks! What can we do to make sure it never happens again?" We may be well ahead of our current possition on alternative fuels AND we would have tapped our own oil supplies, built more refineries, and stopped funding the Middle East!

Has anyone else heard that Cuba is going to allow China to tap into the Gulf of Mexico oil fields? I've heard quite a bit lately about China's ability, or lack there of, to safely inspect such little things as toy cars. I do not feel good about any safety measures they may put in place to reduce the risk of oil spills which could easily reach our shores!

I feel that if we start now, what we should have started then, we could be very independant within a decade or less. If we tap our own fields, we know that we can do it much more safely than most countries would. if we build the required refineries we will be able to process it efficiently. and the best part is we can tell OPEC, "we'll give you $15.00 a barrell, or you can keep it because we have our own" instead of begging them to increase production and being told "na, I don't think so".

I live on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and spend a lot of time on the beaches with my family. I can assure you that you cannot see the 100 miles or so off shore that the proposed rigs would be. For the Governors (past and present) of my state to fight this is inexcusable. We are talking about national security and economic issues here, and to pander to a group that thinks it would hurt tourism is unacceptable.

That's my oil gripe for the day after paying $3.21 a gallon this morning!

Idiots is harsh, but close; LAZY to the 10TH degree is closer..

Very true that Carter had foresight. Then Reagan came and croney profit-making shaped the iconic 80's grabbing..

But as my Subject states: we're just so LAZY in America; we do nothing until the last minute, until we HAVE to!

Part of that comes from greed: Those who make money via the status quo will pay off people to maintain those profits, beyond common sense, beyond good will for the country.

If we didn't base so many of our actions on greed, we would have (back in the 80's) and now, sacrifice profit for awhile to set up a new system of energy overhaul (and it's benefits of new America industry, American jobs, and American independence).

Companies will say, "it's too expensive to overhaul cars, and refineries!" ~simple greed, simple concern for the NOW. I believe they either don't have children to want to pass on a better world to, or perhaps no conscience (about why they can't let go of a decade of lower profit for the benefit of the future world), or simply, no foresight on what would be better for the world.

Here's a FACT: Oil, by the nature of it's natural production process, is a finite entity and will run out within THIRTY YEARS. You can research this, as I've done.. but the scary part it, oil futures are based on two things: there's EASY-access oil, and DIFFICULT oil. The predictions were that we'd run out of the easy stuff in about twenty years, and then we'd start to see that oil would become too expensive to extract, and then, (guess what?) we'd have to find alternative energy sources. I don't need to point any further than the corner gas sign to let you in on a secret: we've reached the beginning of the end of the easy stuff.

So what options do we have? Well, how radical/aggressive is your demeanor?

A. If you have blinders on for business as usual, you'd get buddy-buddy with Canada and tap their #1-worldwide reserves. Some estimates say their supply, if the workforce and Canadian economics boosted it, would last for another 60-100 years. Saudi Arabia claims to have the world's largest provable supply, but some estimate they're beyond their peak (also a much smaller nation). I tend to believe they're holding a bluff card, which is fine, because I don't believe it would be in our best interests to keep suckling from them anyhoo..

B. You go George-W-commando and take over any country which has large-estimated deposits of oil, and declare that we have rights to it. Sounds kinda.. a-holey to me.

C. You develop new energy sources, specifically LOCAL sources that would provide new American industry and local jobs, and become self-sufficient and free of the dangers of being dependent on the countries which are unstable and are, supposedly, home to those whose beliefs verge on 'evil', or axis' thereof..

**So in summary, I can't help but think of what's good for the world in the LONG term. Best in the long term is self-sufficiency. We have to stop leaning on the old crutches, because they're not stable in the future. Self-sufficiency means absolute new energy sources, and very locally based.

I believe that the October 2007 National Geographic should be distributed to EVERY world citizen in order to clarify our fuel options. It delves into current and future sources of fuel, their cost of extraction, renewability, and energy return, etc.

Which reminds me of one last point: CORN, is the WORST possible option, due to it's cost to produce as fuel, and it's low output. The only reason it's still on the Congressional table is due to the farmer's lobbyists who are, again, looking at their short-term profits, and ignoring what's best for the future. (Lobbyists quite suck. They need to be extricated from Washington so payoffs and buyouts don't form our laws.) In my opinion, what's best right now for transportation fuel options: switchgrass and algae, due to it's ease of growing. That stuff grows like.. switchgrass and algae, and by gum, we've got the land to grow it on. If we had a plant in every larger suburb, we'd be rolling in a promising direction.

One last thought: Please, no more status-quo!!! Drilling in ANWAR for example, would take 10 years to build, and would produce for 10 years. Then it would be dry, and we'd need alternative energy. So I ask; "Why bother?" Find the better alternative NOW, rather than later. 'Cheap' now doesn't mean 'good idea'.

~Who would have ever thought they'd see $4/gallon gas?? Don't wait 'til the world is dry and we're having wars for oil. Create the alternative NOW, before it becomes much scarier. Do it for your children. And innocent children everywhere.

--Dean M

"Learn something from everyone you meet; aspire to be a better person than you were yesterday."

DeanM | May 24, 2008 - 4:21am

I agree efficiency and

I agree efficiency and alternatives will play a key role in the future. One of the problems I have is what do we do in the here and now? Fuel prices have continued to rise faster than the 15% per year estimate from 2006 with no end in sight. Most working class consumers will find it hard to discard or sell thier gas guzzling autos. My wife and I currently have two small vehicles that get better gas mileage than the big SUVs but how am I to afford a hybrid which is the best current solution? The tax insentive was only on 60,000 vehicles per manufacturer and is already starting to be phased out for the Prius. Without the tax incentive hybrid vehicles are 26K to 28K minimum. My wife and I are fortunate enough to be able to afford one but what are the people on the edge of bankrupcy supposed to do? Will the government offer further tax incentives or subsidies and/or will they be able to due to Gov dept? These are valid questions that are not being addressed. Are we all to scrap our current vehicles for hybrid or E85 compatible cars? I would like to see proposals of how we are to accomplish a total automobile turn over.

a random Joe (not verified) | April 29, 2008 - 5:11pm

Here's to changing your mind Talker...



Please read these two links which point out that with known reserves, and the current price of oil making them more cost effective, we could easily become oil independant. We need to not only allow the extraction, but also build refineries so that we are not sending it out to be refined in Canada and elsewhere.  Besides the huge boost to our economy from the business of extracting it and the reduction in our oil prices, imagine us keeping all of the current oil expenditures recirculating within our own economy. This would surely upset the Middle East, and they would want us dead, but they already do and this would force someone else to fund their attacks on us!






Autobob | April 2, 2008 - 4:47pm

Carter, anyone?

You'll recall in the 1970s we did start putting a lot of forethought into energy diversity and conservation. But, then we caved to the oil interests and installed a petroleum president because one Middle East oil producer took one of our embassies hostage.

Do you wonder why the wahabbists have such free reign in Saudi Arabia? I don't have a conspiracy theory well worked out, here, but the elements are there if someone wants to take that on.

And my metro card is $81 ?

Rionn Fears malechem (not verified) | March 27, 2008 - 10:35am
Koli_Mitra's picture

as long as we keep "exploring" this topic...

Although my comment was limited in its terms, I confess I really prefer your formulation of "our" to mean all humanity and "wilderness" to include oceans. And I didn't mean to suggest that the Gulf of Mexico _should_ be drilled. But since we don't control that, we should at least agree on not drilling the areas do control.

It's a bad idea to "explore" (either the Gulf of Mexico or ANWR) just to _find out_ whether there is more there than we thought. I guess it's about baseline values. I think the environment deserves to be protected even if that means we don't get to use every last bit of fossil fuel lurking inside the earth. We can start by protecting the areas that are in our control and try to dissuade others from destroying the ones that are not.

I think splitting hairs about "who will drill with more care" misses the point. It's a little like saying "I will kill this person more humanely than the next guy would" when answering someone who is asking you to spare the person's life. It's usually a little disingenuous as well, because people who make such arguments also tend to argue for eliminating any environmental regulations/constraints on the companies that would do the drilling. I'm not accusing you of that, but (considering the typical pro-drilling coalition) I am wondering whether you would favor very strict requirements tied to drilling rights.

I confess I haven't had time to read the links you posted, but they look interesting... I will check them out soon.

And sorry about the bad pun :)

Koli_Mitra | March 24, 2008 - 12:22pm

Great pun actualy...

...I enjoy when people are willing to have a serious discusion and keep it light and fun at the same time!

I do encourage strict laws governing the effects on the environment of both exploration and extraction. That said, I do feel that we can ballance both and extract what we need while allowing the wildlife to thrive. I will admit that I have not done extensive research on either, but from what I have read there are thriving colonies of sea life around oil platforms. I think this is because they provide, as would a reef or rock structure, protection for the smaller animals and food for the larger.

As for Alaska, I've read that the additional heat put off by the pipeline alows grazing animals access to vegetation that they would not otherwise have certain times of the year. This in turn has allowed these animals and those that feed off of them to thrive in the areas of the pipeline.


Autobob | March 24, 2008 - 1:38pm
Koli_Mitra's picture

separate ideas

I thought my comment on "our wild country" was plainly about ANWR (have you ever heard anyone characterize a patch of sea as "wild country"?). Anyway, it was in response to your remarks about "tapping our own fields." I hope you don't imagine anyone advocating a policy that allows a scenario in which something that can be considered "our own fields" is opened up to China for drilling but not to US companies?

I agree with you about ethanol -- I thought I was pretty clear on that too. But rejecting ethanol as a solution doesn't strengthen the argument for more drilling. Both bad ideas. Separate ones.

Koli_Mitra | March 23, 2008 - 2:01pm

Sorry for the confusion...

...but I regularly work for a well known marine biologist who always refers to the sea floor as "our wilderness", the "our" being mankind.

I think we should drill in ANWAR, I think we should drill in the Gulf, and I reject the thought that we have found and know of all oil reserves. Ten years ago we thought the Gulf reserves were small. Who knows what more will be found if we allow for proper exploration.


Autobob | March 24, 2008 - 7:46am
Koli_Mitra's picture

it's not about burning food

Why assume the only alternative to drilling is ethanol? Ethanol (especially corn-based ethanol) is disastrously inefficient. But there are many other options: electricity, for example (generated by hydraulic, wind, or solar power) or even sugarcane-derived ethanol. 

Also, What's the use of "tapping" our domestic resources when doing so will do virtually nothing to solve the problem at hand? Is it really worth PERMANENTLY destroying the last of our wild country for 2 years worth of fuel?
I agree with Talker on the pricing issue. Oil prices set by the world market are not offset by domestic production the way you suggest. As long as demand is high in the world market, American companies drilling in Alaska are not going to offer us significantly lower prices simply because it's cheaper to ship here if the Chinese or the Indians are driving up the price enough to eliminate any margin advantage of selling to American retailers for cheap. Transportation costs -- like all costs of business for every company with an international presence -- will have an aggregate effect on the price of a commodity on the world market. 

Besides, do you really think it's that much cheaper to transport from Alaska than from anywhere in Canada (since Alaska is FARTHER  away)? 


Koli_Mitra | March 19, 2008 - 2:05am

I'm not saying ignore other options...

...but I am saying that the current rush toward ethanol is causing an increase to our food prices. I don't think you can ignore that. As for transportation, do you think it's much cheaper to transport from the Gulf of Mexico to Louisianna refineries instead of from the Middle East?
The transportation from Canada is after we send to them to refine.

As for "Permanantly destroying the last of our wild country", are you kidding? Who do you think will drill in the Gulf of Mexico with more concern for the environment, The U.S. or China? Read about the destruction of the environment around a mining operation for the components of an electric car battery. It makes the Valdez oil spill look sterile.



I'm saying that we need to explore alternatives, but when we realize something is not the answer, like ethanol, we need to move on.


Autobob | March 19, 2008 - 2:58pm

Agree somewhat...

Okay Talker, I'll try this again (I've tried to reply all week but the system erases anything I enter)


I agree the price will never be what it was.  I also agree that we will not eliminate our need for foreign oil.  I do believe, however, that if we build more refineries and can process the oil we buy (I read that we send 20% of what we use to Canada for refining), we will save the cost of sending it out.  I also believe that if we tap our domestic resources we will require less imports.  When we increase the domestic supply and increase the refining capability, we increase the supply at a cost savings, due to the domestic product which, even if priced on the world market, will realize a savings in transportation and security required. If we have a greater supply, at a lesser price, we will realize some sort of savings.  Couple this with exploration for alternatives and we may even reduce the demand while increasing the supply, lessening the price even further.  Add to this the fact that we should STOP BURNING OUR FOOD! and we can also get our meat and produce prices back to where they should be.  Ethanol is not the answer, we cannot hope to trade expensive fuel for expensive food!



Autobob | March 14, 2008 - 3:27pm
talker's picture

Autobob - I wish I could

Autobob - I wish I could feel your pain - but with my $76/month metrocard as my sole transportation expense, I can only try to sympathize from afar.

Seriously, I know Americans are being tremendously hard hit in the pocket with skyrocketing gas prices - and I imagine you are far from the only one losing your s*@# when you go to filler up.

Here's the bad news: tapping into all of our potential oil sources will barely put a dent in gas prices and certainly won't ever get us to the point where we can tell OPEC to bugger off. Here's why: 1) We import 60% of our oil. 2) We consume 25% of the world's oil but only have 3% of its known oil reserves. 3) If we were to tap into ANWR (one of our biggest untapped resources), we'd only add on about 1-2 years of our total oil use.

Most importantly, though - even if we had enough oil at home to supply our needs, our oil companies are private and operate on the world market; the price of a barrel of oil is set by the free market and sales are not dictated by governments - unless, that is, we want to nationalize the US oil industry. Of course, that's something socialist and communist states are known for doing - so I don't think it's in the cards here.

Here's the good news: technology and increasingly fuel efficient cars. Americans have had a few good decades of cheap fuel, so there's been no pressure on car companies to make cars more fuel efficient. Remarkably, I think we were burning fewer gallons to the mile back in the 80s than we are today. That's hairbrained, but we could get away with it. For better or worse, that ain't so any longer.

talker | March 8, 2008 - 10:05am