U.S. Lack of Energy Policy Really Bites Right in the Wallet

Reality bites. It is a sad but obvious fact that many Americans just can’t come to grips with. A lot of that is because U.S. high schools teach facts but not logic, making it impossible for many adults to cope with change or make rational decisions about most things. Not their fault, they simply don’t have the tools they need to think with.

It’s actually not the fault of their teachers either since they don’t determine what to teach – it is the fault of voters who don’t demand changes, who don’t understand the need for changes because they didn’t get a useful education, etc. In engineering it is called a feedback loop. Engineers who don’t learn how to think get slapped in the face with reality every day.

Every election cycle almost all candidates complain about U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Every president says he will do something about this – and for 35 years or longer they have ALL done something – unfortunately for all of us, what they DID was ignore the problem except for occasional really dumb ideas.

The last big idea was to burn food as fuel which caused the price of food (corn) to surge which led to starvation in many countries, such as Mexico and Central/South America. Who could have seen that danger unless they actually thought? Did people facing their starving kids decide drug production and sale would put food on the table leading to greater drug problems in Mexico? Who knows?

Of course an intelligent person would have seen after the last big price scare that gasoline prices would probably go up again and would now be driving a very high mileage vehicle, but instead most people live far from work so they have to commute and drive big cars then complain about what it costs to fill a gigantic gas tank.

The current increase in gasoline prices is mostly due to fears that supplies MIGHT be cut off – not because the small amount produced in current war zones stopped – it was quickly replaced by Saudi Arabia.

Long-term (say, 5 years) we will see higher prices anyway due to the simple economics of supply and demand.

You would think that anyone smart enough not to walk into traffic while texting could see that there is a limited amount of oil and it will eventually run out.

(Of course not everyone can think – I had a local garage owner tell me there was nothing to worry about because God would just make more oil if we needed it. He was serious. He’s also been out of business since the late 70’s so he may have been incorrect.)

Thinking a little more might help Americans realize that as China produces more cars they will use more gasoline. A LOT MORE GASOLINE!

Connecting those two facts of limited supply and increasing demand means we will eventually run out of oil.

Do you seriously not realize that the government will keep the last oil for themselves and the military so they can fight for the last oil well?

If economics were taught in schools people would know that long-term prices are mostly controlled by demand and supply.

When two families want the only loaf of bread they will either fight for it or pay more – same goes for oil.

So, we are using up all the oil. That will cause prices to go up. All the politicians already know that, but voters don’t, don’t care, or want everyone else to give up something.

The U.S. could have turned to nuclear power to conserve oil, coal, and natural gas, but while the French, Indians, and Chinese did so, the U.S. didn’t – we sold off the technology we invented.

We could use our vast resources of natural gas to power cars – there are inexpensive kits to compress the gas and it is easy to build cars that run on natural gas. T. Boon Pickens pushed that idea with no success and that was even before companies started to drill into the super giant Marcellus gas field.

Cars could be made much more efficient very easily.

For example, why can so many cars go more than 100 m.p.h.? That’s not legal or safe anyplace in the U.S. but to make those cars you have to have more horse power and bigger engines than you do in a car with a top speed of, say, 75 m.p.h..

Think of all those high-speed police chases or those kids near you who were killed in that single-car wreck last week.

If all new cars and trucks (including big trucks) had such a limit lives would be saved along with oil.

But as long as voters don’t demand simple and easy changes – for example having some sort of rational energy policy, nothing will change except the price of gasoline and heating oil which will trend upward.