That’s just reality. Peak oil or no peak oil, we’re finding new sources of oil, which is good news, except that, bad news, it’s a lot harder (and thus more expensive) to tap these new finds like the ones off the coast of Brazil and in the plains of North Dakota. The reason oil companies are willing to develop these harder-to-extract sources is clear – it’s called moolah, and gobs of it.
Not that the U.S. government or even a coalition of any number of governments worldwide could do anything to cool the speculation on where oil prices are going to go, but even if they could, all that would do is make it harder (i.e. less profitable) for those interested in doing so to actually get the oil out of the ground and from beneath the ocean floor and into our gas tanks.
So basically we’ve got ourselves a bridge to our energy future – maybe five years, maybe fifty years. Either way, that’s what it is – a bridge, and an expensive one at that.
Here’s what we do – one, we continue exploring and developing these new, albeit quite expensive, sources of oil, because oil is a proven commodity in terms of energy generation. Then two, we throw ourselves at developing alternative energies like we did developing nuclear technology in the 1940s and 1950s. Maybe it’s solar, maybe it’s wind, maybe it’s any or all of the above, maybe it’s something new that we haven’t even thought of yet.
Point being, we’ve been fortunate to have bought ourselves some time, however much time it is, before we run out of the fuel that we need to make our 21st century world hum.
Another point being … my memories of filling up as a 16-year-old in 1988 at 59 cents a gallon are as distant as those of my late grandfather when he told me that he used to pay a nickel a gallon when he was a teen in his first car.
Don’t let any politician convince you otherwise. That $2-a-gallon gas we were filling up with in 2009 was that cheap because the world economy was in the tank. The only way it ever gets that low again is if we head back into the hole that we were in at the depth of the worldwide recession.
Cheap gas, or a job and a roof over your head? That’s pretty much what it comes down to.