Americans only want to hear about the promise of ‘energy independence;’ they don’t want to hear that independence will ultimately mean higher prices. 
Well that’s not a happy ending! Shouldn’t we expect this recent, great oil production boom to have supplied us with just barrel after barrel of lower-priced oil and gas for we exceptional, entitled-because-we’re-in-fact-so-exceptional Americans? Isn’t that basic economics? Sellers must sell and buyers must buy, and if sellers are producing more than needed, buyers will buy extra only if prices decline. So what gives?
The inevitable day-to-day fluctuations aside, why haven’t gas prices at the pump dropped back to what they were back in the day?
Reality is a bitch, and facts still suck the life out of the best of happy narratives.
Not that we’ll get to energy independence to begin with—diligent suggestions by some notwithstanding—but if we even start to creep much closer to that dream, it’s gonna cost a lot more. Given the financial struggles most are dealing with every waking moment, “cost a lot more” is not the answer to any prayers.
A dilemma ensues. Fossil fuel producers need higher prices to produce what’s left—the harder to find, more expensive, less efficient, more environmentally-harmful sources they must turn to now as conventional crude oil supplies continue heading down the wrong side of the production rate slope.
We lowly consumers are rarely enthused about paying more for the same, and are just as enthused about having less of the same as time passes. We’ve gotten used to having what we need when we need it, and we need a lot it. A lot of other people in other countries have long envied what we have, and want some for themselves and their children. Can’t say as we blame them!
In a world where facts and consequences and reality do not matter at all if it interferes with the flow of don’t-worry-be-happy stories from those determined to shade the facts to suit their own interests at the expense of most everyone else, it’s imperative that they be in control of the facts released to a public burdened enough with concerns and challenges. Knowing more might change their buying habits. They might even start to plan for a different future for themselves and their children. Can’t have that!
So at some point there will be an inevitable reckoning. The realities and limits to future production will make their appearance no matter how diligent the efforts of some to prevent, deny, or hide those eventualities. When that happens won’t matter if the objective is to effect a seamless transition away from fossil fuel dependency. Too late for that.
But with every passing day ending with not enough accurate and honest information disseminated to the public, another opportunity slips past with no steps taken to at least have appropriate discussions, let alone making plans. That strategy is helpful to only some and only today. What happens when that approach has run its course?
Shouldn’t the preservation of our future well-being matter a bit more to everyone? When those in the know are reluctant to share their knowledge because their interests might take a bit of a pummeling today, what do they think will happen when it’s worse later?
~ My wife’s photo: scenic view, Gloucester MA – 08.13.10
Thought-provoking inquiries & observations about how (and why) Life does … and does not, work for everyone. [Inspired by my book of the same name]
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Peak Oil Matters is dedicated to informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil—while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth.
 http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/the-take/why-the-us-should-not-export-oil/; Why the U.S. should not export oil by Chris Nelder – 01.27.14