Thursday, March 26, 2020

Oil Crises Old And New

                If you are old enough, you remember the old “oil crisis” that was one of the hallmarks of the Sorry Seventies…1970s, that is. Experts at the time said that the world was running out of petroleum, or crude oil, and that this “Energy Crisis” was with us to stay. After all, the planet wasn’t making any more black gold. We were told to expect rationing and a new normal lifestyle which would likely include shivering in one’s dwelling in the cold months and sweating in it in the warm ones. The family vehicle might have to be a Schwinn, they said, but, hey, we just might be healthier.  
               Fast forward until today. Welcome to the new “oil crisis,” one in which oil companies and producing nations are trying to weather historically low prices brought on by the “coronavirus crisis” and the discovery of vast additional reserves of oil and the technology to extract it. We have the bizarre reality that gasoline, a product derived from crude oil, a non-renewable resource that has to be somehow extracted from the ground with incredibly expensive, high-tech equipment, is now selling for far less a gallon than the naturally and continually produced milk fairly leaking from the bloated teats of the nation’s nearly 10 million dairy cows. Milk: $2.49/gallon, gasoline $1.99/gallon…perhaps going to 99 cents a gallon. Damn that Big Oil! (What does that say about Big Dairy?)
              With gas prices like this, I plan to “self-quarantine” by driving around the neighborhood in my car all day, hermetically-sealed in perpetual motion.
   Ponder this: in the 1970s, experts were certain that “global cooling” and an energy crisis were going to be two of mankind’s most serious challenges. There were long lines at the pump and rationing of gasoline was not unheard of. Nearly half a century later, experts are warning us about global warming and the collapse of oil prices.
   And people are standing in long lines and experiencing rationing of another vital product: toilet paper.
   Apparently, experts are full of crap. And so are we.

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