Time to Exorcise the Oil Monster

How many times do we have to go through an oil crisis with skyrocketing gas prices and damage to the economy before we will get the monster out from under the bed?

There is no monster, of course. But as long as we think there is one, it’s no different than actually having one. So, it is time -- has been for a long, long while -- to change our thinking: exorcise the oil monster.

The problem with this particular monster is that it’s alive and well in the minds of reactionary, stubborn, dream-laden (or should I say nightmare-laden) environmentalists who perceive a problem that is non-existent. If an oil spill or chemical leak occurs, we have instant legislation that affects us negatively for years to come.

Here’s the problem and solution in a nutshell. It’s not that tough.

1. We use too much oil. Use less oil. Create alternative forms of energy.

2. We are dependent on foreign entities for large portions of our oil. Drill and refine considerably more of our own oil.

3. Our economy is dependent on energy -- including lots of oil.

4. Many of our “enemies” are getting enriched because of oil.

5. We don’t have enough alternative energy.

As with many of the “blueprints” for the future thrust upon us by progressives and liberals, this whole push to limit oil production in the U.S. and encourage development of alternative energy sources is 90% fantasy and 10% legitimate. Even the 10% legitimate part is fraught with problems and gross inefficiency. Take, for instance, the "Cash for Clunkers” program:

1. According to Edmunds, only 125,000 of the 690,000 purchases would not have been made without the incentives, and with $3 billion spent, that works out to $24,000 per car.

2. With reference to carbon dioxide emitted in the process of making a new car, William Chameides of Duke University said that in order to offset the carbon footprint of the new car from a clunker, the average driver would need to drive the car about five and a half years; with trucks, the figure jumps to eight or nine years of typical driving.

3. The price of used cars increased significantly due to the drop in supply, thereby impacting anyone (especially poor people) who needed to buy a used car.

4. Resources were allocated to production of new cars that to some degree would have been steered to other products and services.

5. Perfectly good capital assets (cars) were destroyed, even though they had years of functional use left.

6. Charitable organizations that depend on donations of used vehicles saw such donations plummet.

All this so we can see an immediate spike in emissions (from production) and then gradual reductions, so that after 5-8 years we will break even on total emissions. It's incredible when you consider we could achieve the same result by simply increasing the MPG requirements for new cars.

Similarly, anyone familiar with the financial aspects of solar programs and the ethanol industry knows that sorely needed taxpayer dollars have to date been poured down a large rat hole as well.