Archive for June 23rd, 2008

by jhwygirl

Just going to throw out some thoughts here – –

I’ve noticed for the last few weeks, since gas start hovering at $3.90+, that there has been quite a reduction in traffic. Even during commuter hours…at the very least, commuter times when traffic is usually higher (say 4:30 to 6) have been reduced to quieter roads sooner. I really notice it in the mornings. I’m used to waking up with the sun, but as for actually getting up, I usually hold off on most mornings until traffic starts picking up (used to be about 6:30 a.m.). Nowadays, traffic doesn’t pick up until at 7:15 or so, so that informal alarm clock had to be traded in for a real one.

Traffic is also slower. I tend to drive around town like an old lady. You don’t find me zipping around, and for years now I’ve had people riding my bumper, pissed off that I’m not flooring the gas, stop sign to stop sign. No longer. People are content, it seems, to drive the speed limits. I find that nice.

I have to say, fuel prices by and large haven’t changed what I do – yet. I try not to drive much, and considering the mileage I got on my old car, my new one that’s getting 26-28 mpg is like driving on farts. That’s going to change, eventually – natural gas prices are going to go through the roof this winter and that’s where isn’t going to hit my pocketbook. That sucks. I have steadily decreased my NWE bill over the last 4 years, reaching as rock bottom as I can get. My house is old, and the energy bill is pretty damned high, as compared to what I might pay for a newer-constructed placed of the same size. Knowing that the bill is going to go to what is likely going to be unmanageable levels is going to suck. Maybe if I’m lucky, I do get to purchase something by winter….

Flooding in the mid-west is going to deal another blow. There’d already been plenty of talk of rising food costs due to higher fuel costs and increased use of ethanol (corn). Food (cows, chickens) eat food (corn). Now the larger portion of the corn crop has been decimated, along with a whole bunch of other foodstuffs. Repurcussive effects have yet to be fully realized.

Will the “R” word turn into the “D” word? (there, I said it)

The whole world is suffering under the weight of this fuel situation. OPEC said today it was going to increase output by 200,000 barrels a day. Yawn. Hardly a dent. Prices promptly rose.

…and so McCain has flip-flopped on off-shore drilling. In late May, during a campaign stop in Wisconsin, McCain said that drilling off our coasts would be a waste of time and do nothing to resolve our broader energy needs. From Impudent Ways:

I’ll also say that during that town hall, someone asked the senator about off-shore drilling (to thunderous applause). McCain answered that not only was it a states-rights issues, it was also a short term solution to a long term problem, and that American ingenuity and renewable resources must be the future of American energy policy — rather than fossil fuels which are not only wallowing in the tar pits but dragging us, our economy and our foreign policy down with them.

I thought, “Now here’s the maverick thing everyone keeps talking about.” Telling a room full of Middle American Republicans that the idea they find so appealing (namely, drilling off coastal states like Florida and California, ahem) is… Not a good idea. He sounded honest, gutsy, and sure that he was right.

But on Thursday, McCain changed his tune and marched with lame-duck Bush Jr. in his call to drill off our coasts. I remember hearing Bush Jr. commanding Congress to lift the ban “before you head home for the 4th of July,” or something like that. Another yawn, that one, it seems, from Congress. Even Ah-nold wasn’t buying it.

Drilling isn’t going to solve a damned thing. The world’s economy will collapse if our only solution (“our” being the world’s) is to sit around and call on OPEC to release more oil and to call for more drilling. Drilling doesn’t happen overnight, or even if a couple of months. American doesn’t even have the refineries to handle more crude – and those take years to get online too.

Drilling is the equivalent of providing heroine addicts methadone. Doesn’t solve a frickin’ thing. The U.S. Government and its taxpayers are subsidizing big oil, they’re taking their windfall profits and handing them back out to their investors, instead of investing in cleaner technology, and leaving Americans – like the mortgage bankers left Americans – holding the bag. It’s been going on for decades. And the bag, if you haven’t noticed, isn’t just empty, its full of a steaming old pile of crap – and those investors are laughing all the way to the bank with their big ol’ bag of $$$$.

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