Thursday, May 15, 2008

John D. Rockefeller



This is a picture of John D. Rockefeller, taken in 1910. JD is the man on the right, and the younger man by his side is his son. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, and at the time this picture was taken, he was probably the richest man in the world. It was on this day in 1911 that the Supreme Court decided Standard Oil was a monopoly and ordered that it be broken up.

I am probably the only person that thinks this way, but I don't think it is the oil companies' fault that gas is so high these days. I think it is our own fault gas it too high. I think to get cheaper prices we have to do three things:

1) Use Less - Which we are not. We are still driving SUVs, we don't carpool, we don't use mass transportation, and we don't reduce non-essential travel.

2) Find More- Which we are not, (Anwar, etc.)

3) Develop Alternatives- Which we are not doing. No one wants wind turbines off the coast in their area. No one wants new nuclear plants.

So, I am afraid that high prices are here to stay, and I don't think we have the stomach to do what needs to be done to fix the problem.

6 comments:

  1. I must respectfully disagree. All of your solutions are laudable, but do not address the root problem. If supply/demand were the problem then the price of oil would track the percentage of demand increase. I am not convinced that the demand has increased (or the supply decreased) six-fold over the last six years. Twenty dollar per barrel oil existed just that long ago. Let's look at rampant speculation as an additional cause!

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  2. I have always felt that there is a level of fuel cost that would finally grasp the attention of the average user. As the cost of oil has quickly increased to over $120 a barrel (and 3.60/gal of gas) I have begun to wonder if we will every break the gas addiction. Battery powered cars are now appearing and, for local trips, work just fine. I will buy the first one that can be air conditioned and have at least a 100 mile range between charges.

    Wind and solar power are nice but the real generation of electricity must ultimately come from nuclear reactors. France generates about half of that nations electrical power using nuclear fission. There will come a time when the uninformed "skairdy cats" will finally have to agree to nuclear generation or swelter/freeze in the dark.

    While I am at it, the next big crisis for this country will be fresh water. Sounds like time for large scale desalinization plants for the coast cities.......

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  3. I love the hats.

    I disagree about oil.

    It costs about a dollar a barrel before refining/transport. The oil companies are making the largest profits ever on the same unit consumption. Why are their profits going up? In other words their costs are going up by less.

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  4. I must comment on yet another facet of this ever-expanding problem. In addition to wind energy, the U.S. has also embarked upon a biofuel policy in order to reduce the effects of costly crude. However, this will prove to be more costly to the American consumer than even the increasing price of oil. The reason: because corn is now a valuable fuel crop the cost has skyrocketed. Due to the the increased profit potential of the crop, more farmers have switched to corn and away from wheat. The two-fold effects of this trend is that the cost of corn that we feed our livestock (chicken, pork and beef)is so high that retail protein prices are going through the roof. We have seen the increases in chicken, and it is just the beginning. Beef has actually diped in price as ranchers dump their herds due to high feed costs. Once the process cycles, beef will skyrocket due to decreased herd size. The other side of this two bladed knife is that now wheat production has decreased, increasing the price of all wheat based products. Is this due to the cost of oil? No. It is due to the misguided decision to use one of our food crops as a fuel crop. The use of corn for biofuel will not bring down the price of oil or gas. However, it will increase the cost of the food we eat. As historians review this presidency, perhaps the most dubious accomplishment of this administration will be the burden placed upon the American people by one tiny decision in eight years of big decisions: using corn for fuel. What was he thinking?

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  5. It is a small point at this point, but George needs to realize that the President did not say to use corn for fuel. He did agree with the Congress that a renewable fuel needed to be found and mentioned that there were several available such as corn, sugar cane and beets. Sugar cane is the best bet in my opinion for now, but I think there was pressure from the farmers to boost the price for corn to improve their profitability in a declining profession.

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  6. The cost of a gallon of gas in Saudi Arabia is .64 per gallon. Something tells me that the oil companies have at least something to do with the high price of gas here in the US. That being said, it is very easy to resent their record quarterly profits while regular consumers struggle to pay the $50-$75 per week just to get to/from work. I guarantee the Exxon CEO doesn't worry about the cost of a gallon of gas.

    Littlepadre made a comment that brought a comparison to mind. That there will be "a level of fuel cost that would finally grasp the attention of the average user." I have heard so many people say that they always thought they would quit smoking when a pack hit $X amount. Well, they still smoke and we still use gas.

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