Trace the irony-laden journey of crude oil into American autos.This brilliant 4-part series by Pulitzer-prize-winning Paul Salopek of the Chicago Tribune should be required reading for everyone who drives. Thanks to JasonZ from The Watt for posting this.
Fossil-fuel consumption is a cancer. It may yet kill the patient. It is a scourge, a plague, a tragedy. No word would be too strong. We are causing untold damage and destruction to the Earth and to our own future every day through our thoughtless actions. Oil production leaves a bitter trail of corruption and death in its wake.
I predict global competition and instability will drive pump prices for petroleum to $8.00 to $10.00 per gallon within 10 years. The true costs are far higher. We are making people who hate America fabulously wealthy and powerful. And we are melting the polar icecaps. Mark my words, this will come back to haunt us in ways we cannot now imagine. Start planning. I predict the global implications of petro-use and petro-scarcity will be the defining issue of our lifetime. You can safely invest in renewable energy, electric autos, and anything related to weapons manufacture. The energy transition is going to be a really bumpy ride.
It didn’t have to be this way. But taxpayer-subsidized imported oil has kept Americans complacent and oblivious. And kept the hundred-million dollar bonuses flowing to executives who’ve made their fortunes selling a public resource back to the public. Worse, the siphon hose in our collective wallets is now largely controlled by foreign dictators, and it’s about to start sucking even harder.
The oil executives, the politicians who allow the travesty, the truck manufacturers (oops, ‘car’ companies) and Western drivers of these wasteful vehicles are all guilty of gross criminal negligence. (And that’s an understatement.) We will be looked at by future generations as some of the most shortsighted dumb-fucks in history for our utter failure to open our eyes and address this challenge in time. Like it or not, the great hundred-year-long-gasoline-powered-automobile-party is at the beginning of its end.
Note: It took a bit longer than the 10 years I predicted, but we nearly made it to $8.00 gasoline in 2022 in the US. Here’s the highest photo from a verified journalistic source that I could find. I take no pleasure in being right. But we had plenty of time to change our ways before it came to this. –Sean Prophet, August 2022