The cloud of smog enveloping our cities is not a figment of the scientific imagination. Find a high point outside of any major metropolitan area and you can easily see it for yourself. Iâ€™m certain we could get a heated argument going about exactly how dangerous smog may be, but no sane person would argue that breathing heavily polluted air is a good thing.
As the price of oil rises, the cost of driving our cars is going up. You can rail against the oil companies all you want. Iâ€™ll be happy to join you. Their profits are obscene, yet they are still subsidized by our government.
By subsidizing the oil industry and keeping taxes on gasoline low, the government has helped to keep gas prices down. We pay much less for gas than drivers in Japan or Europe. About the only thing the government could do to keep gas prices from going up would be to regulate oil company profits. Donâ€™t hold your breath on that one. In the long run, the price of gas is rising and will continue to do so, for reasons that are beyond the governmentâ€™s control.
Oil is a finite resource. While the amount of oil on the market at any given time may fluctuate, the amount of oil left in the ground (the total supply) can only go down. The demand for oil is rising as China and India and other smaller countries around the globe join the Industrial Revolution. Anyone who understands the law of supply and demand, knows that when supply goes down and demand goes up, prices rise.
The law of supply and demand is not subject to repeal by Congress. Our economy is going to be impacted by rising oil prices. By acting aggressively to reduce our oil consumption, we will be less susceptible to inflationary pressures as the scenario described above continues to unfold.
Calls to reduce our dependence on foreign oil have been a staple of political rhetoric since the the first OPEC oil crisis in the early 1970s. There are good reasons to move beyond vague, empty promises. Not all of the petrodollars flowing to OPEC are being used to build lavish palaces. A fair percentage is being spent on weapons.