Conservation as unmentionable

March 6, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

The price of gas is shooting up again, and who knows how high it’s going to get.  Panic is starting to set in because, in one of history’s most incredible displays of poor planning (or lack of planning), the American economy will fall apart unless there is plenty cheap oil.  We burn an insane amount of this precious and dwindling resource:  10,000 gallons of oil per second (this is not a typo).  We already burned off our cheap oil, and the only oil remaining is difficult to extract and therefore expensive.  Our politicians refuse to say the phrase “peak oil,” but that’s what we are now facing.

Obama’s administration is now considering the following “solution”:  tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.   That’s because America has a huge amount of oil in its reserves–more than 727 million barrels of oil.   That’s enough oil to last us for [drum roll] about a month [sound of balloon deflating].   That’s because we burn 21 millions barrels per day. Those who find solace in tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves are either foolish or intentionally dishonest.

We could embark on using less oil, but American politicians can’t bear to even mention conservation or else they would face the torches and pitchforks of the populace.  Conservation is a powerful tool to use–every barrel of oil that we don’t burn is a barrel that we don’t need to yank out of the ground from 5 miles under the Gulf of Mexico.  With the amount of oil we could save through modest conservation, we could completely fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in about a month.  But no politician dares to mention conservation because it amounts to telling Americans that there are limitations on their “freedom.”  Even though conservation will enhance our freedoms.

You won’t hear any politicians uttering the “C” word.   Perhaps for this reason. Or these reasons. And though the conservatives have taken the lead on this dysfunctionality, “liberal” politicians are largely silent, and therefore complicit.

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Category: 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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  1. ocd_edit says:

    I think you mean 21 million barrels per day. This is what your source says, and causes the rest of the math in the article to make sense. Otherwise, thanks for the context.

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