Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Transitioning to a more European culture.

Living Well In The Era Of High Gas Prices
Posted by: Christian Peralta
20 May 2008 - 6:00am
Want to learn how Americans can maintain a high standard of living in an era of sky-high gas prices? Just look at Europeans, who've been going it for decades, argues economist Paul Krugman.

...There have been many news stories in recent weeks about Americans who are changing their behavior in response to expensive gasoline — they’re trying to shop locally, they’re canceling vacations that involve a lot of driving, and they’re switching to public transit.

But none of it amounts to much. For example, some major public transit systems are excited about ridership gains of 5 or 10 percent. But fewer than 5 percent of Americans take public transit to work, so this surge of riders takes only a relative handful of drivers off the road.

Any serious reduction in American driving will require more than this — it will mean changing how and where many of us live...


Economically, there is not any other choice. But as long as we're clinging to the entirely greedy and intellectually bankrupt idea that focusing our lives around automobile transportation is our "non-negotiable way of life," then our society is in for a very rude awakening.

As I mentioned recently, we are about 5% of the world's population and use over 40% of the world's oil resources. In order to cut our usage down to a more fair level, that means reducing our usage by about 90%. And this will be done - either voluntarily, or against our will when other countries simply decide to stop selling us their natural resources at prices we can afford. Even if we brought every possible domestic oil field into production, it would only be enough for a fraction of our domestic usage - enough for city, state, and federal government usage, plus some essential services. Not a bit would be available for private automobiles if we had to rely on our own oil resources.

Biofuels, of course, is a serious joke - as I have also linked previously, it would take every square inch of arable land in the US to provide biofuels for all our personal automobiles - and that's if they could figure out how to do it without any petroleum products being used anywhere in the process. Right now, it takes more than a gallon of petroleum imputs, all together, to produce a gallon of biofuel on the market. That's going out backwards, class - deep in the red, actually.

Electric cars are problematic because of the already overburdened grid infrastructure. Our capacity to generate and transmit electricity everywhere it needs to go is at capacity as it is - adding millions of automobiles to the grid is just not feasible and won't be for several decades, presuming new generation and transmission capacity is beginning to be constructed even as we speak, which it isn't.

Drilling for oil in sensitive environmental areas would only only provide a handful of years worth of product to the US market. Which, by the way, isn't even possible if we wanted it to be. People say silly things like "we" have plenty of oil in Anwar - but unless the US nationalizes the oil industry, the "we" is the spot commodities market, meaning the "we" is the highest bidder, not the country of origin. And with their strong manufacturing bases which give their economies real tangible wealth instead of paper fantasies, India and China can and will outbid us for available oil resources without blinking an eye - even our own resources. That's how the globalization scam works, class.

2 comments:

Ahavah said...

Junie B:

Thank you for your comments, but this isn't a site for prostylizing. If you would care to resubmit them without the excessive rhetoric, they will be accepted for publication.

If you're looking to argue theology, there are several groups that like to do just that at Yahoo. But this blog is not a forum for those types of arguements.

Shalom.

Ahavah said...

Junie B: You said...

"Comment" sections in blogs are usually the appropriate place to leave opinions and ideas of the reader based on the topic provided by the writer of the blog.

I reply - they also have to be appropriate to the audience. That's why people moderate comments in the first place. Your comments were not appropriate and the topic is switching to "European style modes of transporation," in place of private automobile usage, not your religious beliefs.

You obviously don't know anything about me, so your snide comment about "rhetoric" at the end of your latest comment was particularly unappreciated, as well as being indicative of your true motives for posting here.