The political chemistry of oil

In the Gulf oil spill’s aftermath, Lisa Margonelli says drilling moratoriums and executive ousters make for good theater, but distract from the issue at its heart: our unrestrained oil consumption. She shares her bold plan to wean America off of oil — by confronting consumers with its real cost.


Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    September 5, 2010

    The “real cost” won’t scare people away – all they’ll think of is “but how do I earn a living?” We need to get off of oil and quick – it’s running out and the best guesses are that there are only a few decades to get our act together. This is where industry and government are deadlocked; industry will not put serious money into such research because the emphasis is on maximizing investor returns in the short term. Government on the other hand says “this is something for private enterprise”. Some economists don’t help at all with their “science will miraculously come up with a solution” attitude.

  2. #2 itzac
    September 6, 2010

    I only half agree with you, MS. There is very little incentive for developing alternative energy sources when they can’t compete with oil on cost. Eliminating oil industry subsidies would help level the playing field, as would rolling the peripheral costs of oil, such as defense costs, into a gasoline tax. Industry will make whatever people buy, and people buy what’s cheapest.

  3. #3 sailor
    September 6, 2010

    Forget just removing the subsidies, Oil tax should pay for each and every war with a oil producing nation. By the time we add that up solar is going to look like a bargain.