If you have been doing any driving, you may be aware of the escalating price of gas. You may have even bought a hybrid vehicle. What causes these market fluctuations that dictate the price we pay at the pump? And why can’t we take control of them?
Generally speaking, the American government has little control over the price of fuel. As supplies shrink and grow, the price travels up and down, following the dictates of the laws of supply and demand that drives any free market economy. Is there nothing that can be done to ease fuel prices? And why do people in different areas pay different amounts for their fuel? And how can a hybrid vehicle help?
The answers are both simple and complex. If the government were to intervene in the pricing of fuel, it would very quickly cause problems with OPEC, the consortium of oil producing nations. OPEC basically has held the world in it’s palm for many years, enjoying profits beyond what most people can dream. To break the back of the oil giants would require providing more oil and distributing the refined product to oil starved countries.
The oil fields in Iraq offer a solution to the dilemma. It is widely believed that the Iraqi oil fields are the richest on Earth, and can likely produce crude for around a dollar per barrel, a significantly lower sum than normal. Providing new sources of oil would eliminate OPEC’s monopoly and allow other nations to enjoy lower fuel prices.
How do we get more gas? The difficulties in securing the oil fields are two fold. Securing the fields by military force will certainly not be easy, as insurgents continue to fight American forces. Critical targets like new oil fields would likely take precedence for jihadists who wish to utilize explosives or suicide bombers and would likely become miniature warzones, crawling with enemy combatants, and would surely not go over well in the media, which is part of the second problem. Also, there are no hybrid combat vehicles, for some reason. Save money while saving gas is a credo that should extend to the military as well.
Political Will. It is unlikely that after the world’s reaction to the war in Iraq, that the native resources could be harvested without a public outcry. No doubt protests and riots would flare up around the world as has been seen in the past, especially in Muslim communities. The strength to persevere and take the oil fields by force simply may not materialize, due to political infighting and policy derailment.
If that were to happen, then we would be stuck with the current gas situation, basically an empasse. Environmental groups like Greenpeace keep us from drilling in America, while politicians refuse to move any new energy policy forward that involves any new drilling or building any refineries. Any new source of energy , gas or otherwise, would be welcome, including nuclear and coal, but the long and the short of it is automobiles run on gasoline. As long as other nations have it and we don’t, they can charge what they want and we will pay it. Because we have no other choice.
Breaking the world’s dependence on foreign oil is critical. The vast wealth of oil producing states is well known. Allowing energy sources to go undeveloped has not only allowed gas prices to spiral out of control, but has also increased the power of nations and states that we may one day come into conflict with. In the game of global dominance, it’s important to maintain an upper hand, remaining strong on the world stage is an important component to maintaining international political clout.
Without new energy sources, we will never break our dependence on foreign oil. Foreign oil creates wealth only for the OPEC nations; If we continue supporting them, we will eventually find ourselves in an unhealthy situation. The complete control of energy is the ultimate power. Without it, even the greatest nations will grind to a halt. Even hybrids run on gas, after all.