An observation worth noting … and pondering, from the 2012 report “The New American Oil Boom,” issued by the Energy Security Leadership Council (a project of Securing America’s Energy Future).
In 2010, the U.S. transportation sector relied on petroleum-based fuels for 93.2 percent of delivered energy. Even this figure understates the problem, as liquid fuels derived from biomass provided approximately four percent of delivered energy. These fuels, which are substitutes for petroleum, are priced on the same curve. Taken together, liquid fuels provide 97 percent of the energy that moves our cars, trucks, ships, and aircraft.
As a result of this utter reliance, American consumers and businesses, and the economy by extension, are fully exposed to oil prices with practically no means to choose less costly alternatives in the short term. In other words, oil demand is highly price inelastic….
[I]ncreased spending in the short term must come at the expense of other spending on goods and services, the negative effects of which reverberate throughout the economy (links/citations in the original).
It’s actually fairly straightforward and simple to understand. As long as we continue to allocate ever-larger portions of our own finite budgets to paying high prices for gasoline and other fossil-fuel products, we have less of that same budget to spend elsewhere. These spending practices do not exist in a vacuum, and so of course the adverse consequences ripple out across the local, regional, state, and federal economies.
And until we come to a greater appreciation for the basic fact that our economies (and as specifically noted: our transportation needs) remain utterly dependent on increasingly costly, less efficient, harder-to-come-by finite resources, we are digging deeper holes to climb out of in the years to come.
All the Happy Talk from fossil fuel industry cheerleaders that we might possibly could perhaps have the potential for vastly massive resources must be recognized for what it is: self-serving and carefully-scripted half-truths which does not begin to tell the whole story about our energy supplies. Hand in hand with that greater knowledge must be the motivation to begin planning for a future not nearly so dependent on those finite resources.
All are choices we still own….What will it be: crises, or opportunity?
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