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The Truth About Oil?

9.20.2005

For those of us plenty perplexed by the rise in the price in oil and the knock on effect on the price of distillates, there is a plenty interesting article (of US origin so harping on about the 'costly' us price for 'gas' though still internationally quite cheap) over at energybulletin looking at some of the myths perpetuated about the whole oil price rise and the price of petrol. Its here and its pretty good.
Some exerpts to give you the gist;

"A sustained run of $3 gas could be what finally kicks the legs out from under the U.S. consumer—already, Wal-Mart is blaming lackluster sales on high gas prices —but it's hard to know for sure. After all, so much of the conventional wisdom on oil has been wrong. That's a problem, because if the U.S. is ever to make progress on treating its oil addiction, it needs to understand its source."

So in order to clarify some root causes and ensure $3 gallon doesnt just get el-nino ised into the cause of everything. Some myths dealt with;
"gas companies are rippping off everyone"
"Hedge funds are inflating the oil price"
"Were running out of oil"
"The US is running out of refining capacity"
"Government must intervent to bring down oil prices"

It makes for fascinating reading particularly the second myth regarding the hedge funds. To quote; "if hedge funds really are driving up oil prices, they're doing a lousy job of profiting from it."
I must say however, parroting do-gooders everywhere, that the rise in oil prices hepls us all to make decisions about our power and energy sources. The alternatives may not yet be there in shiny wrapper and packaging, yet the increasing price of oil makes r&d investment in these companies more inviting. The DTI in the UK have invested money in R&D for methanol fuel cells and the road to more sustainable and cleaner energy is one now opening in front of us.
I worry that once oil prices recede, even moderately, our political leaders and social commentators will forget the time we were all Greens and cease calling for bio-diesel and cleaner cars, cease calling for windfall taxes on oil companies.
That must not be allowed to happen, oil is not something to be used profligate, not any more. The sad and simple case may be that we casually ignore it, or our leaders do that for us, in pursuit of the easy life.
RR
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