|On the Road to Blister photo by WLK Photography|
Might we be reverting to horse & buggy days in North America much sooner than expected? Whether in Toronto, Dallas, or in “Twixley”, an imaginary village in Morgidoo’s Christmas Carol, it strikes me that fuel must ultimately be affordable if it is to be purchased at all. Does that make sense?
I cannot imagine any logical reason why the richest corporations in the world might need more money for crude oil other than to satiate endless greed, but at the current OPEC meeting in Ecuador, it is likely the collective OPEC eye has been secretly attached to the $100.00/barrel benchmark with crazy glue if only because the rest of the world will meekly accept it.
According to some, that price is “affordable”. Really?
Meanwhile, OPEC is estimated by the US Department of Energy to have suffered through a miserable year, with a paltry increase in profits,-- $750B -- only 32% more than in 2009.
Not enough money? My eyes are misting with sympathy already.
Is there ever enough profit in the petroleum industry? Our eyes may be soon be smarting from oil fumes, our lungs may be burning from sour gas wells, and billions of essential life forms continue to die from sloppy, ecologically disastrous spills and failures in the industry, but profit for the greedy will never seemingly be “enough.”
Apparently there is never enough oil used, either, and few people realize that the automotive industry was borne out of the necessity to use up all that crude oil. We must therefore immediately devise more creative ways to consume oil faster since it “reportedly” disappears within a few weeks like magic when it is spilled into Gulf sea water and onto pristine beaches.
I wonder how fast oil will disappear in the freezing waters of the Arctic? Shall delusion prevent the first Arctic well blowout, guaranteed to happen in real life, and shall we all breathe a sigh of relief as it freezes into solid floating islands of oil? Perhaps the industry will creatively suggest it will help polar bears survive? Oil packs instead of pristine ice packs. How helpful. How absolutely predictable.
How shall we ever keep up the good work? National television ads, courtesy of Cenovus Energy are currently advertising how important oil “ is”. Perhaps they feel additional brainwashing of the North American consumer is essential to justify their multi-billion dollar expansion program in the oil sands. Why waste advertising money on Canadians, when the oil will soon be going to China? Better expand quickly , there is an estimated requirement for 2011 of only 90 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), but why not go for 100 million barrels per day, or 200 million barrels per day, let us use it faster, get it all over that much sooner and make even bigger profits? Perhaps with the total collapse of the petroleum industry, sanity can return to civilization?
It is little wonder Alberta is proceeding full speed ahead with the questionable Athabasca Oil sands projects and planning pipelines to the west coast. The necessary supertankers shall be plying pristine coastal waters ever so carefully just like the Exxon Valdez did, if only to enable shipping Alberta’s oil to China. Profit is surely more important than life itself. That guaranteed potential of ecological disaster will help the greening of Mother Earth in Alberta and ensure the supply of mutated fish for all. Perhaps economic greed drives both stupidity and insane irresponsibility?
Happily, back at the meeting of OPEC ministers no “immediate” intention of raising crude oil prices or changing crude production quotas has been announced at this moment, a move hardly necessary since they have been known to cheat in the game of quotas anyway, but OPEC producers are certainly not outwitting one another in any bid to lower prices either.
Although economic conditions in the good old USA and Europe are substantially dampened at the moment with the global meltdown, international bailouts and the shady shell games taking place in all things financial, with China’s burgeoning economy in an unprecedented growth cycle --in spite of an almost unheard of growth rate and now a 5.1 % inflation rate, it is quite predictable the busy Chinese will consume more oil, store more oil, and demand more oil, driving total demand and international prices ever higher.
Should we carefully avoid mentioning India in the same breath, which now may be the fastest growing economy in the world? In India, modern life is taking hold. Low-end “family” cars at a retail cost of $2,000 per vehicles are coming out soon, courtesy of Tata Motors. Literally millions of them will be plying cow-paths in the very near future, with happy owners imagining they are finally living the American dream of owning a car, --and simultaneously lining up for gasoline, each tiny vehicle spewing pollution into the air in a gargantuan collective effort to catch up to the Chinese, who are already suffocating themselves in the worst industrial pollution in existence.
We are all admittedly part of the problem, but even at that, I fail to see why in Canada, our proud oil producing nation, gasoline must be $1.29/liter, which is $5.80 per Imperial gallon.
With crude prices close to $90.00/barrel already and difficult winter conditions upon us, the die is likely cast, suck it up, it will go even higher--- but in Venezuela, another oil-producing nation, gasoline is sold for mere cents/liter to it’s citizens, and happy Hugo wants $100 USD per barrel or better yet, even more, presumably to teach all North Americans the ultimate lesson in frugality.
We must therefore remain slaves to OPEC and the petroleum industry and pay the piper, or alternatively, grow as an advanced civilization, dream of using common sense, become smarter, and go electric. Electric vehicles are viable and have been since gasoline was invented.
Either that or do like the gentle folk in Twixley, and just get a horse.