Tuesday, July 15, 2008

That Oil Thing

I don't really like going into this kind of stuff here, but at some point, if you ride enough --especially if it's riding to get to work, store, or other non-recreational riding -- the ridiculousness of our car-culture will hit you like a ton of bricks.

Riding your bike will not insulate you from the rise in oil prices. Clearly, our entire economy is based on the fact that oil is cheap.

There are a bunch of interesting sub-topics around high oil prices: transportation, urban planning, bio fuels, politics of NIMBY drilling, ANWAR, refinery issues, the war in Iraq, oil speculation... the list goes on and all of these issues are connected. And there is very little consensus on what "THE ANSWER" is.

I know one thing: the quality of our children's future relies on our generation to make some changes in our lifestyle. And that's the last thing people want to hear.

Anyway. The guy on the phone in this YouTube clip is Matthew Simmons. The absolute recognized world expert on oil and oil production. He was the advisor to HW Bush and an advisor to Cheney and Co. He's an ex-oil guy with tons of creds on both sides of the aisle.

The look on the faces of the talking heads as he explains why oil is still cheap at $140/barrel and will only go higher is priceless.

He also explains the fix: we need to make some changes in how we live.


Anonymous said...

Wow, it is refreshing to hear some contrarian-style perspective on all the oil hullabaloo. Nice clip.

Anonymous said...

Good post John. After spending a few days last weekend riding my bike in suburban/semi-rural Western Washington just south of Puyallup I'm very happy to be back in Spokane. As much room for bike friendly improvements as there are in Spokane now, we're in so much better shape when it comes to embracing the bicycle that it's like night and day.

newsdredge said...

Excellent. He must not have read the script. They won't let him on again.

How silly to think that a monopoly that can charge up to $6 a gallon, with no real decline in usage, would even want to drill for more oil. One thing no one ever talks about is that if they were to open up ANWR, it would have NO effect on the price at the pumps. Just another red herring to prevent us from doing the right thing.

There is no supply problem. THere are no lines at the gas stations.

If we were to nationalize the oil industry, then perhaps it would make sense to increase the supply.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear big-picture wisdom on a financial station. I love the looks on the analysts' faces when he talked about "living in villages" again, like, 'I don't understand - he sounds like a liberal but he's a respected commodities expert - he should be saying what I'm used to hearing!'. And the young financial buck summarizes with 'but commodities are cyclical, what comes up must go down, right?' Yeah, from what I hear they're growing dead dinosaurs all over the planet, we just need to get brokers to trade contracts on them more. Wait, oil's made from what??

bleckb said...

Interesting clip and comments. It was surprising to hear what I'd assume to be a pretty hard-core capitalist espousing what he did. It was interesting how the others responded to the mention of villages, though I know he is meaning more urban villages such as what was sought in the West Plains that will now be home to some big box stores.

It's amazing how huge our dependence on oil is. The Smart Routes 2010 study for Spokane shows that in Spokane County there are roughly 10 million miles driven daily. That's no typo.

Here's the document if you're interested: http://www.srtc.org/Publications/bike-ped/SmartRoutes%20application.pdf

bleckb said...

They forgot to mention the declining value of the dollar as part of the price rise, with oil being priced in dollars. Still, I think the higher it goes, the better we'll be in the long run.