Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hard Times Coming?

The news yesterday had two articles that caught my eye and scared me down to my bones. The first discussed the potential that gasoline prices in the US could reach $10/gal in 2- 3 years. The second discussed the potential for oil to go over $200/barrel - mostly due to the declining value of the dollar. A decline in the value of the dollar by 1% increases the cost of a barrel of oil by $4.00 Gloomy to say the least.

Suppose the cost of gasoline is $10/gal. What would that mean in reality on the ground here in the US? Think you could afford to fill your gas tank for $150, twice a week? Would that mean lots of people staying home and tele-commuting via computer? What if there aren't enough ports to access the network at your business if everyone is trying to work from home? What aout food. Fresh food would become unavailable. In fact, most goods of all kinds that are transported by truck would be either unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Locally grown food would likely be the only choice.

Imagine how life would be here in the United States, an entire nation that was built without regard to the energy cost to move from one place to another. Malls and big box stores in the suburbs would be empty - people avoiding any kind of driving that is unnecessary. People in low wage jobs unable to afford to go to work if they drive, so mass transit is crowded beyond endurance. Bicycles and scooters taking the place of cars on the streets. Local vendors selling locally grown food, while the big supermarkets shelves are bare. Roads empty of trucks and cars. Maybe farmers pulling trains of hay racks behind their tractors, loaded with people, a new sort of mass transit improvised out of necessity.

Most of all, people would be miserable. I have read that the United States is only two meals away from revolution. With gas at $10/gallon, the US is probably only 10 miles from a revolution.

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