Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch America Go Back to Sleep

Earlier in the year the price of oil spiked, and everyone freaked out. The right started screaming about drilling and the left started screaming about alternative energy. And regular people just started screaming when they went to the pump.

Now, with a looming global recession, the price of crude oil has plummetted over 50% in just a few weeks. I was in Pennsylvania over the weekend, where I saw gasoline prices as low as $2.49.

This is great news in the short term, but very bad news in the long term, because it means America is going to collectively go right back to sleep on the energy issue. It has utterly disappeared from the presidential campaign and from media awareness. But it hasn't disappeared from reality.

The dropping oil price is one of the silver linings of the recent economic collapse, but we must use it as an opportunity rather than imagining that it means the underlying issues have gone away. While some of the oil price rise was overshoot due to speculation, it is also clear that it is now overcorrecting in much the same way. And regardless of price, we still have a dwindling resource sought by a growing population.

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