On the one hand the $20B “OOPSIE” fund the POTUS extracted from BP is probably unconstitutional (we all know they’re guilty but shouldn’t we wait for a jury to decide?) But on the other hand I have no sympathy for BP, people who thought about our precious resources with the same attention span a 5-year gives broccoli, even less. Sadly, there is no shortage of people to blame in this catastrophe but I point the finger squarely at myself. If I had been more adamant about my distaste for oil and if a few million of my friends had been just as adamant then maybe we could have had a cheap, widely available alternative fuel by now. So while BP may be the Devil all of us are his legions. Please someone invent an alternative to gasoline that’s cheap and available. Please, pretty please!!!!! Or we’ll be forced to endure more of this in the future:
How Did We Get Here?
In 1859 Col. Edward Drake dug into the earth in Titusville, Penn., and came up with black gold. A mere 40-something years later in 1901 an small group of oil riggers stumbled upon Spindle Top, an oil well that began producing 100,000 barrels of oil a day. That single well discovery in Beaumont, Texas pushed America into becoming the world’s top oil producer and soon its richest nation. Some would argue that the discovery of oil, especially Spindle Top, helped to finance the industrial revolution that changed America and the world forever.
I find it ironic that head of the U.S. Commerce Committee, Sen. John Jay Rockefeller is wagging his finger at BP calling its oil spill
the most catastrophic environmental disaster in our nation’s history
when his great-grandfather put oil on the map. (But hey,we can’t choose our lineage). It was the oil barons like the German-born John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil (now Exxon or Amoco take your pick) and Andrew Mellon of Gulf Oil fame (now Chevron) that pushed crude oils many uses into the forefront of American industry. From wax, asphalt, fuel, heating oil to Kevlar, oil’s uses seem limitless and necessary for an industrialized society.
But more than anything else we use oil for movement – specifically gasoline.
Held Hostage by Oil
Though I hold out hope that one day we’ll run like hell away from our dependent upon oil I fear we’ll never wean ourselves completely from the wells. Currently, the U.S. consumes 19 million barrels of oil a day. A DAY! That’s a gazillion times more than was found at Spindle Top, to this day one of the biggest oil discovery in the U.S. (It’s worth noting that Spindle Top tapped out just a few years after it was founded.) While we consume 19 million barrels of oil a day we produce only 4 million (despite what you see on the steady cam that shows the BP oil leak.)
So even if we found alternative energy solutions today we would be hardpress to stop using crude oil. There’s way too much demand. Oil, I’m afraid, has got us by the gonads. What worries me more is that India has 6 billion people, 600 million of which do not have electricity. What happens when they want lights? When they want to drive a car? Let’s not mention China. If we the world consumes about 85 million barrels of oil a day and only the developed nations are using it what happens when developing nations become wholly developed? We’re only producing 85.4 million barrels of oil each day. We’ll never meet the increased demand with current oil supplies and resources.
So our search for alternative fuels is no longer the prodigy of hippy, left-wing conspiracy theorists. It’s a downright necessity. Otherwise we’re looking at a future of world wars, police states and governments ran by military force because our need for a scarce resource such as oil will usher in a violent destruction for us all. So I hope that $20 billion goes to R&D for alternative fuel because we need it now more than ever.