Everybody’s Business

Discussion in 'In the News' started by swoon, May 25, 2008.

  1. swoon

    swoon Well-Known Member

    Running Out of Fuel, but Not Out of Ideas

    [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/071126_PeakOil_dl-vertical.jpg[/xfloat]Ben Stein - The New York Times - May 25, 2008

    Does it really make sense to replace one non-renewable energy source with more expensive and dirtier non-renewable sources? -- Ed.

    AS I watch the drama about gasoline and oil prices play out on the streets and in the news media, some images and memories come to mind.

    There is Will Rogers, the great sage and comedian, who famously commented during the Great Depression that America would be the first nation to “go to the poorhouse in an automobile.” This doesn’t sound comprehensible now, because driving a car is so basic to American life. But in those days, it was still something of a luxury and a novelty to have a car, and to drive it to the poorhouse was a contradiction in terms.

    There are also scenes from the great “Mad Max” movies. In one of them, Australia has been reduced to chaos amid a cruel shortage of oil and gasoline. Men will kill in an instant for a few drops of precious gasoline to power their motorcycles, and life as we know it has stopped because of a deficiency of that magnificent stuff.

    Most of all, the images are of the glory of driving cars, cruising through our towns and suburbs, just burning up gas… [rm]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/business/25every.html?bl&ex=1211860800&en=bd602c42bf4daa1e&ei=5087%0A[/rm]
  2. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    This part hits home:
    "If we keep acting as if the landscape were more important than human life, we will make ourselves the serfs of the oil producers and eventually reduce our country to poverty and anarchy."


    It's hard just to get the rich folks to allow windfarms off the coast around here.
    They will never allow offshore drilling for oil.



    Letting endangered bird species control our future will lead to 'us' becoming an endangered species.
  3. IPlayTrumpets

    IPlayTrumpets Active Member

    I gotta agree with Ben - we need to explore OUR sources of energy and reduce our dependency on Foreign Oil. I think energy independence is a bit more pressing than environmental concerns. If our economy is destroyed and we descend into chaos, nobody is going to care about the environment.......fix the dependency first, THEN worry about the environment. If we can take care of both at the same time, then that's great.
  4. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    Well the good thing about Ben's article is he is stressing that an extreme situation is around the corner without action.

    Putting wind turbines in off-shore area is realtively benign compared to an Oil drilling rig. Think about about a hurricane going into Nantucket sound full of Oil platforms? Versus a bunch of bent over wind turbines on a shoal that has been there forever.

    While I do not favor windfall profit taxes. I just cannot stomach freebee oil resources to refiners either. Which is in effect what happens with US Government Property Oil rights. Maybe it makes more economic sense for the Government to develop these resources and sell them on the market like others. And also be able to start putting oil in the strategic reserve again.

    And, while on the topic, it seems like wind is also a resource, and off-shore areas are government property. And the US has a big deficit.
  5. Arctic Fox

    Arctic Fox Member

    It's good that the article realizes the problem, but the solutions...? The environment has always taken a back seat to the economy and probably always will. It's not hard to understand why it's this way (not claiming any perfectly pristine behaviour on my part, by any means), but it is very unfortunate. The more we harm it, the less we'll be able to fix it by throwing money and effort at it later. Wait too long and possibly no amount of trying will be able to restore it, not to mention that the damage will also harm the economy everyone is worried about. Human society doesn't exist in a bubble outside of nature. We're quite firmly in it and depend on it.
  6. jimfromthefoothills

    jimfromthefoothills Active Member

    Ben Stein is a Likudnik that doesn't give a crap about The US or Science. In Ben's world, god, not science will solve the energy problem.

    Forget oil shale, tar sand, liquefied coal, ethanol and for now, hydrogen. Conservation and higher efficiency are our only hope at this point.
  7. Squint

    Squint Member

    I agree. I don't see why the environment has to "take one for the team." It's not like we're choosing between survival and the environment. We're choosing between the environment and the bloated, unsustainable American lifestyle.

    It's interesting that conservation gets almost no mention in the media. It's always drill, drill, drill.
  8. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    "If we keep acting as if the landscape were more important than human life, we will make ourselves the serfs of the oil producers and eventually reduce our country to poverty and anarchy."

    This is the best thing I've heard in a long time. If we think the polar bears or the deer in an utterly uninhabitable area are more important than human beings, then we've got a serious problem.
  9. Squint

    Squint Member

    They're more important than driving gas guzzlers.
  10. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I see what you're trying to say but you're never going to sell that idea to anyone, because a major part of living in a free country is the freedom to choose what you want to drive. If it's an enormous FSP that's never going to haul anything or go off-road, then it's your problem if it costs $100 to fill it up twice a week.

    Unfortunately you can't sign into law specific limitations on vehicle size, targeting larger SUV's and pickups. The minute you do, where does the slippery slope end? When we're driving Yugos? If we're so hell-bent on reducing our carbon footprint that the economy collapsed and anarchy ensues? Then we've got much, much bigger problems to deal with than high gas prices.
  11. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi Lamebums,

    We have a socalled "gas guzzler" license fee here in Illinois. Because heavier vehicles cause more road damage, primarily. That fee could be boosted easily.

    I think the automotive property tax is more of the slipery slope. They have that in Connecticut, and its level varies from community to community. I travel there on occaision, and people buy cars that depretiate fast just to lessen the burden. So the Yugo is the ideal car there, if it can be kept running. Or surplus police cruisers. Or ten year old pickup trucks. Technology cost money to develop, yet the regressive tax in Connecticut diminishes what can be charged for a vehicle. This is kinda an AMT situation. I imagine it was originally meant to ding the rich but now you cannot buy a car which you will pay more in property tax for it each year, than the gas it uses. Or it was that way till this year.
  12. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Sure we can; in fact, we just did. The new CAFE standards law is too weak with too many loopholes, but it will in fact dictate what vehicles you can drive in the future.

    Peak Oil will dictate terms, anyway. Don't be too surprised to see gasoline rationing. That law took effect during WW II. Be fun to see how the gas-hog drivers deal with something like that.

    Ben Stein is a smart guy, but I agree that while he mentioned that we drive SUV gas-hogs, he didn't emphasize the importance of changing over our fleet of vehicles to fuel-efficient ones a quickly as possible. Hopefully, high gasoline prices will do that more efficiently than the government can, especially a government that is corrupt and guilty of being bought by lobbyists.

  13. IPlayTrumpets

    IPlayTrumpets Active Member

    And, I think that conservation would be a higher priority for everyone concerned when its OUR oil we're burning, and not somebody else's.....:flag:
  14. IPlayTrumpets

    IPlayTrumpets Active Member

    I can't say I'm a fan of more government regulations to try and solve the problem........
  15. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I'm not 100% in the know about the new CAFE, but can't they get around those CAFE requirements if it's a flex-fuel E85 vehicle? :angry:
  16. fitmpg

    fitmpg Well-Known Member

    Yes, and Americans don't like to hear (or acknowledge) that we're mostly a bunch of mega-consumers-and that there's little reason for it. Why, I just heard either Hannity or Limbaugh taking it to Barack Obama for a comment he made several days ago stating as much (albeit in a very cautious way.) There's a reason we're called "Ugly Americans" in Europe, as well as some other countries in the world. Instant gratification is the mantra of the day, I'm afraid. There is very little real "drama" in our day to day lives as Americans; thus the proliferation of the "reality-based" television shows which scar the television landscape and popular culture at large. I think I'll quote some John Prine now: "Blow up your T.V., throw away your paper, move to the country-build you a home. Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, try to find Jesus on your own!" I feel much better now.
  17. chief302

    chief302 Well-Known Member

    Many great past civilizations have collapsed in large part to environmental degradation and climate change (man made and/or natural). Check out Collapse by Jared Diamond. I agree that we need to shore up our economy and continue to look out for "numero uno", but if we totally disregard the environment, we may do so at our own peril.
  18. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Yes, if I understand it correctly, that is one of the biggest loopholes, courtesy of GM and Archer Daniels Midland. Ain't it a wonderful country we live in? It's the best government money can buy...

    All the shaningans our government and auto makers engage in can't get around the awful prospect of Peak Oil. Our fleet of vehicles must change. Gasoline prices will see to that. And if our auto makers won't supply the fuel efficient vehicles we need, then the Asian and European auto makers will. That's how the free market works. Hopefully, we'll still be able to afford these new vehicles...

  19. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    I Wish we were Ugly Americans. Unfortunately, far too many of us are so insular and self-assured of our own righteousness that'd it never happen.

    And please, could everyone stop quoting books they've never read or understood? In the book, the Ugly American is the GOOD GUY!:rolleyes:
  20. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Therefore the new CAFE does not really change the type of vehicles we will drive, since all the Big 3 have to do is make their FSP's flex-fuel compatible and then keep pumping them out?? :angry:

    But yeah I agree that gas prices will change the market in ways that no amount of government regulation will ever achieve.

    As to Asian and European automakers supplying the more fuel-efficient vehicles, didn't that happen in 1973? In response, we drove around Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas, and imported Volkswagen diesels from Europe because of their better mileage?

    Of course, those same Japanese automakers have succumbed to the lure of FSP sales and the wider profit margins--so who perhaps would take the place?

    Mark my words--we'll see cheap imports (most likely China--google Chery Automobile) that are little ****boxes but they're good on gas and relatively easy to maintain despite being really, really unsafe. But it won't cost a fortune to fill it up and as a result they'll sell like mad.

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