Whose oil spill was it?

August 11, 2010 | By | Reply More

The Editors at Scientific American have reminded us that oil users (and that includes all of us) are pushing the big oil companies into taking the drilling risks they take:

[I]f we expect oil companies to manage risk better, then society as a whole needs to do the same. The market forces that encouraged BP to take ill-considered risks are largely of our own creation, as stockholders, consumers and citizens. The hodgepodge of subsidies that masquerades as our current national energy policy invites disaster; it fails to grapple with the urgent need to stop wasting energy and start encouraging clean sources. Every day we still need 85 million barrels of oil—the equivalent of more than 25 Ixtoc spills—to keep the wheels of our society turning.

If you do the math, you’ll see that 85 million barrels of oil equals 3,570,000,000 gallons per day. That equals 148,750,000 gallons per hour, 2,479,166 gallons per minute, and 41,319 gallons per second. Americans are currently using an amount of oil that makes us staggeringly dependent on a dwindling natural resource that is mostly imported. And most of that imported oil is sending huge quantities of American dollars to regimes whose interests run counter to American interests.

Our oil dependence should thus be seen as a major risk to our national security. We could slash this usage dramatically with reasonable conservation measures. But politicians believe that it is suicide to ask Americans for any form of sacrifice, even when national security depends on it.


Category: Consumerism, Energy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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