CNN Gas gripes, Katrina & More About Oil
Following MSNBC's lead (we wrote about it in a previous post titled: "The Effect Of High Oil Prices On People", check it out for more context) CNN has created a page where people can share their experience on how the rising price of oil has affected them. As Grist points out, there is inspiring stuff in there. People describe how they dropped the SUV, started carpooling, removed extra-weight fom their vehicle or bought a hybrid. One person cut back on food, but at least it was soft-drinks so it's a healthy choice. Seeing these reactions from average people (instead of war chants and lynching oil company executives) shows that people are willing to change, and they in fact know what to change. They just needed the right incentive, which in this case is money.To put things in perspective, we could say that with the end of the "cheap as dirt" gas prices era, the US is finally joining most of the rest of the world (see gas prices from around the world here). Some people in the media will claim that these high prices are only temporary and that if only we could drill more wildlife refuges and invade more countries, things would go back to "normal". We do not subscribe to that theory and believe that peak oil (if you are not familiar with the concept, check out this primer) is real and unavoidable, and that desperate measures (destroying more pristine wildlife, waging more wars) to delay it are futile in the end. The best way to deal with it is to adapt and to change, not to bury our collective heads in the sand and keep doing business as usual. Even if we found lots of oil today, without some deep changes in the way we do things, we would only be pushing back the decline in oil production (which would mean that supply would become inferior to the ever-growing demand) a few years and we would be hit as hard then as if nothing had happened. It's the change and adaptation part that is important, not finding a few more million barrels of oil (unless you are an oil executive, maybe - but lets not count on them to save us when things go bad).
To bring back this post to more concrete and immediate matters, we want to point that hurricane Katrina will have a big impact on oil prices in the near future (unless, against all expectations, when we wake up tomorrow we see that none of the predictions made about Katrina were correct). Have a look at this map, this Reuters article and visit The Oil Drum for the latest news. You can also monitor oil prices at Bloomberg.
P.S. We write this on Sunday. We hope everyone will be okay in Louisiana tomorrow.