OPEC Oil 10/7/22

Political Thoughts with Richard Bleil

OPEC announced that they were going to be cutting production of oil to inflate the price of it. The oil companies are already talking about rising prices at the gas pumps. But this isn’t the first time OPEC, an organization of the oil producing countries in the middle east, have done this. Honestly, I don’t recall recent restrictions such as this, but when I was just starting to drive in the ‘70’s it seemed to happen often. Of course, back then it was Sadaam Hussein that would betray the other OPEC nations and Iraq would do an end zone run around the other nations to sell oil to the US to make up for the shortage.

Then we killed him.

In the ‘70’s, we would have “gas wars”, when gas stations would presumably undercut each other’s prices, but honestly, the price difference was never more than a cent or two difference. But the American consumers fell for it. For a two-cent reduction in gasoline prices, people would line up at the pumps, spending far more money idling on fuel than the money they would actually save at the pump. The lines would often go out beyond the gas station, and cars would sometimes line up quite literally around the block.

The gas companies must have paid a lot of money for their political representatives because to this day there is little political advantage to promoting fuel conservation and alternate power. The politicians who pushed for, and gained, increased oil exploration seems to have failed. By now, we should be drilling enough oil to be independent of the OPEC nations, as we have been promised by politicians approving increased oil expedition and drilling for the past decade or so. And yet, here we are, expecting increased gas prices because of announced oil production restrictions.

And yet, when political parties begin talking about increased alternative energy, electric vehicles, and requiring increased mileage from the car production corporations there seems to be an uproar. Trump was a hero for promising to keep our nation dependent on fossil fuels, and Biden is evil for promising to build the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles.

The auto industry has their fingers on the pulse of gas prices, and American consumer response to it. I noticed many years ago that when gas prices are high, American consumers and the automotive industry start pushing smaller vehicles with higher mileage, and when the prices stabilize, the pendulum swings back to oversized trucks that guzzle gas. A year or so ago, I purchased a hybrid vehicle, which I assume is the best compromise in vehicles today. The electric engine has a range of roughly fifty miles on a full (sixteenish hour) charge, which is enough for my daily runs around town and is just borderline to drive to and from work (within about a mile). No, it’s not free as I do have to pay a higher electric bill, but electric prices are more stable than gas. Because it’s hybrid, once the batteries go dry, it automatically switches over to a gas engine, so I need never worry about running out of fuel. It is very nice, though, not worrying about gas prices and OPEC.

No doubt, there will be a lot of criticism of the current administration if there are gas price increases, but it’s important to remember that those people criticizing him will be the same party that have kept us relying on fossil fuels. It’s time to stop the political jockeying and for the politicians to start working for the good of the people and the nation. We won’t be able to switch from fossil fuels to electric like turning a light switch. It will be, under the most accelerated and ideal scenario, a slow transition, much as we saw the transition from leaded gasoline to unleaded. Lead additives, added for smoother running engines and to reduce engine knocking, was terrible for the environment. Newer automobiles began including catalytic converts that were deactivated by lead. As such, the transition began until today it is very difficult to even find “regular” (leaded) gasoline. Electric vehicles will be the same way. There will be gasoline available for years, and rapid charging stations will become an increasing feature of the landscape. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the two keys to the future of energy are diversity of energy sources and conservation. Over reliance on one energy source, as we’ve discovered with fossil fuels, will cause problems. Recently I’ve read an article suggesting that in some regions we are “running out of wind power”. Wind turbines will slow down the wind and cause problems if we build too many of them, and solar panels will lead to global warming, but a combination, along with geothermal and hydroelectric is our best. It’s time to stop thinking all-or-nothing with a single type of power production. Maybe then OPEC won’t hold such sway over us.


2 thoughts on “OPEC Oil 10/7/22

  1. Arguably, gas prices have been manipulated this year to give the GOP a political advantage. Please note that retail prices change immediately on any excuse, long before that excuse could be reflected in wholesale prices. Basically, the gas companies use any excuse to pad profits and the GOP defends the industry against an excess profits tax.


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