$20 PER GALLON OF GASOLINE
By Frosty Wooldridge
September 17, 2009
Part 1: A book review
At one time, as a kid, I flipped a dime to the cashier to watch Vincent Price scare the heck out of me at a movie. I pulled out a nickel to pay for a Snickers candy bar. I bought a hamburger for 15 cents. I bought a school lunch for 35 cents. When I hit 16 with my ‘57 Chevy, I paid 29 cents a gallon of gas. I gobbled popcorn for a dime while I watched John Wayne in Rio Bravo.
On the wall of my office, I enjoy a picture titled “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” depicting a Hollywood Diner with Marilyn Monroe sitting on a bar stool, Elvis Presley sneering at me, James Dean scowling into his leather jacket and Marlon Brando standing in a muscle T-shirt—quite handsome I might add!
Those stars defined America in the 50s, 60s and 70s. At the time, we thought they and we would live forever. No doubt a candy bar could always be bought for a nickel. And, of course, a gallon of gas would always remain at 29 cents a gallon!
Today, I bought a $1.69 Snickers at Walgreens. A movie sucked $10 out of my wallet last Friday night as I watched Julie and Julia. I laughed a lot! A hamburger costs up to $5.00 depending on where you buy it. Popcorn at the movies goes for $6.00 a bucket! And gasoline? It hit $4.50 a gallon last year, but remains at $2.55 this summer in Colorado.
Even that’s about to change!
It’s called “Peak Oil” hitting around 2010. Yes, we still enjoy half the world’s oil supply beneath the surface of the earth, but it’s farther down, harder and more costly to drill and it lies beneath the ground of many unstable countries. And, whether you like it or not, the fact is—as the USA burns 20 million barrels per day and the other countries burn another 64 million barrels of oil per DAY, the cost of oil will inevitably rise to $20 a gallon. It’s already $8.00 a gallon in Europe.
Expect everything to change: your life, your city, your state, your transportation means, your speed of life, your food intake, your housing and your way of life.
Once President George H.W. Bush said, “The American Way of life is non-negotiable.”
Mother Nature replied, “Wanna bet!”
In a new book, $20 Per Gallon by Chris Steiner, our civilization faces abrupt, escalating and dramatic change as the cost of gallon of gas inexorably grows from $5.00, $8.00, $10.00, $12.00 to ultimately $20.00 per gallon.
It will change everything in our civilization. It will change the whole thing the way the Model T changed everything from a horse drawn and coal-fired train era to modern automobile freeways. Expect a return to the basics as the price of oil escalates!
Did I tell you that it won’t be easy or fun?!
Steiner titles each chapter with $5, $6, $7 all the way up to $20 while he explains how we will be forced to adjust in very definite ways. Folks, he’s not kidding! He’s methodical, logical and exceptionally well-researched.
Sure, you will gripe and complain. You will gnash your teeth. You will be forced to change your entire paradigm from a century of excess. Most Americans think we are exceptional both as a society and a species. We think divine providence guides us. We think our superior intellect will ‘discover’ alternative energies. Sorry, not going to happen! We find ourselves in a sobering predicament.
“As we go from this happy hydrocarbon bubble we have reached now to a renewable energy resource economy, which we do this century, will the “civil” part of civilization survive? As we both know there is no way that alternative energy sources can supply the amount of per capita energy we enjoy now, much less for the 9 billion expected by 2050. And energy is what keeps this game going. We are involved in a Faustian bargain—selling our economic souls for the luxurious life of the moment, but sooner or later the price has to be paid.” -Walter Youngquist
“There’s something guttural, something personal, about the price of gas,” Steiner said. “During 2008, a year when gas prices touched historical highs, Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles than they did the year before.”
Why the price of oil will keep rising!
“The sunny “this is merely a passing bubble” outlook—unfortunately for Hummer drivers and the airlines—has taken no measure of world economics, demographics, or capitalism. The following two statements, in most sane circles, are accepted as fact:
The demand for oil will gradually increase and will continue to increase
as the global middle class expands.
2. The oil that remains in the earth will be more and more expensive to locate and extract.
Those two statements lead us to a third conclusion:
3. The price of gas will climb to prices far past where we’re at right now.
“The world’s total population will jump by 1 billion in the coming twelve years,” Steiner said. “But the middle class will add 1.8 billion to its ranks, 600 million of them in China alone.”
China adds 27,000 cars to their highways every seven days. They expect to burn 98 million barrels of oil PER DAY by 2030. You can verify that number in The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. As you can imagine, they won’t make it! But neither will we!
M. King Hubbert, famed geologist, projected Peak Oil and decline for the United States in 1970. Indeed, we dropped from nine million barrels daily to three million. We currently produce 2.7 million barrels daily. With the late Dr. Ali Samsam Bakhtiari, director of National Iranian Oil Company, he talked about world oil supply, “After some 147 years of almost uninterrupted supply growth to a record output of some 82 million barrels per day in the summer of 2006, crude oil production has since entered its irreversible decline. It will eventually come to affect everything else under the sun.”
“The United States has now burned through 70 percent of its extractable oil,” Steiner said. “But we’re so desperate that we’re drilling at a pace we haven’t approached in more than two decades: 40,000 new wells a year. But production continues to decline. What’s jarring: the declining production of half of the twenty largest oil-producing countries.”
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Hang on to your hats folks! Part two will deal with how our lives will change for every jump in gas prices. We may hang on from $3.00 a gallon to $8.00 a gallon, but after that, $10.00 a gallon and beyond will change our civilization dramatically. As I look up at my picture of Elvis, Marilyn, Brando and Dean, I cannot help but mourn the loss of once was, but will never be again.
Part 2: How incremental rise in the price of a gallon of gas will affect the United States.
Listen to Frosty Wooldridge on Wednesdays as he interviews top national leaders on his radio show "Connecting the Dots" at www.themicroeffect.com at 6:00 PM Mountain Time. Adjust tuning in to your time zone.
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