Wednesday :: Feb 18, 2009

No Crying For Big Oil

by Deacon Blues

In a large bit of sweet justice, oil has fallen below $35 a barrel, and may head down towards a psychological barrier of $32 a barrel within days. Analysts believe that if it falls to that level, it may tumble into the 20's soon. And yet gas prices keep going up because of "scheduled" maintenance and refinery closures. Yup.

Big Oil and an unregulated speculatory market, both of which are the core of GOP free market orthodoxy, teamed up with the financial meltdown (also caused by GOP orthodoxy) to kill off the global economy. And now Big Oil can't sell oil for even $35 a barrel, less than a fourth of what it was a year ago.

Sure, at prices this low, alternative energy development looks less attractive, unless the government gets involved to mandate it and push it along. One big problem progressives and green energy advocates have is an inability to effectively articulate an economically-sound master plan to gradually convert our existing fossil fuels economy to a green one. It sounds great to talk about wind, solar, biofuels, and the like, but plans that assume Americans will take mass transit and abandon their cars ignore reality. With gas likely to be low for the near future, and with the stimulus bill only making a down payment in our infrastructure needs, a carbon tax to pay for the green industry seed money and additional infrastructure; and tax incentives for energy efficient cars can prod along the desired gradual conversion. But you can't significantly raise the federal fuel tax in the midst of a recession/depression, and can only think of doing this once the economy crawls out of the ditch.

But what to do about Detroit, who wants billions in additional bailouts while they eliminate thousands of jobs, without any commitment to actually build better, more fuel efficient cars? Should the administration give them the money with strings attached, or should we let Detroit go bankrupt like the GOP wants so they can please their Japanese car company campaign contributors?

Deacon Blues :: 4:14 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!