I can already hear everyone shouting at me on this, "Are you crazy!?  Ten dollars-a-gallon?  And you think that is a good thing?  Have you gone mad, sir?".  Believe me.  I can understand how one might think I am being naive for stating such a thing, but hear me out for a minute and if you still think I am "crazy" ... then I will apologize, and admit wasting your time!  But before you write me off, take a look at this article by Shirley Skeel from MSN from May of 2008: 

 

What if gas cost $10 a gallon? 

 

        In her article, you may have noticed Shirley cites the spectacle of that terrifying threshold of $10 a gallon for domestic gasoline, with a crude price-per-barrel of $350 ... But if we look at the ratios today, we can easily see that a gallon of gas could actually hit that mark at just over $250 a barrel.  Have the ratios changed?  Will you pay more per-gallon in the near future?  Well, of course you will ... but so will we all. 

 

          Keep in mind that this article is from 2008, and we were just beginning the precipitous slide into the economic abyss that we still find ourselves struggling with today as a nation, and indeed, as participants in the entire stricken global economy.  So, clearly part of what has kept those prices down can be said to arise from a decrease in demand as a result of fewer commuters to their jobs, less fuel and oil consumables consumed, and of course, more pessimistic and frugal spenders. 

 

          As the recovering economy begins to gain steam, we should see the expected uptick in demand to match the increase in prices;  but what we now have to factor into the equation is the knowledge that Shirley could not have had at the time she wrote this article... the current civil unrest and possible domino effect in our oil-producing 'allies' such as Libya and Egypt.  As we find ourselves in a historical democratic movement, how can we possibly dictate how it will all play out with the US consumer in mind?  How can we even know if the OPEC of last year will still exist next year? 

 

But is this really any different from 2008? Come to think of it, is this any different from 1970? 

 

          We knew then we had a deep dependency issue with oil and let's be honest here, the issue is not just with foreign oil, but all oil; oil as a consumable commodity ... the whole paradigm is faulty.  Unlike other fully replenishable and renewable commodities, we can not put a oil seed in the ground and watch it, tend it and then count on coming back to harvest it. The sad reality in this is that we have known for decades that we need to find alternative solutions. I don't mean alternative in the sense of supplemental, or optional, I mean complete replacements.  Additionally, we can supercharge this effort and possibly still stave off our impending destruction by adopting renewable-focused societal life strategies for living an "oil-addiction-free" life based in the principles of resource allocation, partnership and innovation. 

 

          So again, how terrible would it be if the US market should see $10-a-gallon gas as the new normal?  Some may agree that the end-result might not be so terrible as it seems at first glance, and only measuring with an economic yardstick.  As has been said, whats the worst thing that can happen?  That we just might make the world a better place for our children to live, breath, and play in? 

 

          The troubling issue I have noticed in our modern digital society is that we tend to take no action outside of our own private sphere unless it is directly required of us; so until the system in place strains to the point of breaking, or actually becomes broken, we take little to no action to fix it.  It is really hard to get that many people, living individually in a free democracy, to come together in unison on much of anything ... these days especially.  To accomplish this much-needed mass mutual reaction, we must impact people at the daily core of their lives;  in American history, we find that these are the only times in which we, as a people, are able to come together collectively to solve these societal ills and mature as a nation. 

 

          One great idea we have been hearing about is a call for a more robust nation-wide mass transit and rail system throughout the states.  With the majority of society now feeling the gas pinch, getting on the buses and rails will be more acceptable than ever, and it is the duty of any responsible democracy to focus on developing our national infrastructure to encourage the growth of business.  Not only does this provide a much-needed employment boost for our local communites, it also is an investment in our future as it is a critical open invitation for business investment and manufacturing opportunities.  These economic facts make it imperative to bring about a societal shift in our politics and our funding choices in order to protect ourselves from the coming oilpocalypse. 

 

          As a democratic society, we have the responsibility to see to our future, and we will likely have to endure a calamity before we make the change if we just stand around and wait for it to happen.  

 

          Hey, we can all hope. But what has to happen for us to act? 

 

John Reagan 

jreagan@boredbrains.net 

www.boredbrains.net 

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