Tuesday, August 5, 2008


A combined dynamic of forces has advanced oil prices to historically high levels for a period of time that all consumers have been impacted, enough to make some very serious decisions. Oil and gas hit all taxpayers hard on all fronts. Forbidding prices at the pump were not the only new reality. Food prices escalated accordingly, as did manufactured goods, regardless of where they were made. 2008 offered a threshold into energy consciousness. Consumers stepped through.

It is said that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days to change a habit, or to develop a new one. When the amount spent on filling our tanks, calculated as a percentage of our average incomes, rose into the teens, it arrested everyone’s attention. The price of oil has remained well over $120 per barrel for long enough to have impacted habits, and more importantly to have affected consciousness. Although price increase rates were extreme, price descents will come at a much slower rate as oil companies process the more expensive inventories through their distribution systems.

Oil consumption in the U.S. is apparently down 900,000 barrels per day. That’s a good start. Even if we see crude prices dropping to below $100 levels, the impact on the population is likely to be permanent. Between fill-ups at the pump, and checking-account-shattering purchases for the family’s groceries, we have all been subjected to “alternatives” by the media. As we budget our purchases of food, we’ll also become more conscious of what will sustain us nutritionally.

Most critical to our long-term economic and ecological health, we have been thinking about alternatives in our overall consumption of all goods, and a majority of us have begun implementing changes in our daily and weekly routines. The longer such changes persist, the greater the likelihood that our collective behavior will shift permanently. This shock to our system and newfound awareness, launched by the oil infrastructure, will have enduring impact that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be grateful for. ...And so will our environment.

1 comment:

  1. unfortunately it's a bit too soon to celebrate, with oil prices declining again it's only a matter of time till Americans rediscover there love of oversized SUVs.

    there has been some discussion about putting a floor under the price of oil to spur development of clean energy but that will go the way of higher mileage standards and higher gas taxes, Americans feel they have a right to cheap gas, no rephrase that, they have a god given right to cheap gas.

    interesting link

    Real Question Should oil be cheap