Oil is over $60/barrel today, and I notice that yesterday there was an editorial in the NY Times with some pretty bad recommendations, which is very dangerous because policy makers are reading this garbage.
The national security of the United States is already at risk because the nation depends on imported oil for nearly 60 percent of its daily needs. That will only grow as demand increases and domestic supplies dwindle.
This implies that the U.S. has some sort of moral failing, when in fact our use of oil is simply a natural result of our country having a large population and the strongest economy in the world. Because we were the first country in the world to develop our own oil resources, our oil production peaked in 1970.
Much of that oil comes from volatile countries in the Persian Gulf region, and the American money flowing there does nothing to encourage either more-balanced economic development or democracy. The rest comes from other parts of the world - often the most unstable parts.
Oil comes from unstable countries because the stable countries develop strong economies, increase their oil use, and become oil importers. But where the governments are run by dictators who stay in power until the next dictator kills them off, the economies stay poor, so they have no domestic uses for their oil.
The antidotes are simple. Americans need to use far less oil than they do now, which means requiring more fuel-efficient vehicles and finding an alternative to refined oil to power cars and trucks.
Bad bad bad! Someone needs to pick up an Economics textbook. When prices rise, demand falls. Price levels will take care of everything if the government will only stay out the market.
The word “requiring” is a dangerous suggestion which implies that the government needs to determine who is “allowed” to use fuel and who isn’t. There is also the implication that billions of taxpayer dollars have to be wasted researching technologies which may be dead ends. We need to remember that billions of dollars let us put a man on the moon, but it did not enable us to do it inexpensively. After tens of billions (or maybe hundreds of billions) of dollars wasted on space research, it’s still not practical to send humans into space.
But the NY Times editorial fails the mention the most important thing our government should be doing, which is to allow the use of nuclear power again. I say “allow” because our policies make it clear that nuclear power is not favored. After the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station fiasco in which billions of dollars were spent to build a power plant that was then closed and never used, no private company is going to build a nuclear power plant again unless the regulatory environment is changed, and that requires government action.