Oil Prices

James Duncan Davidson, the photographer, is also a good writer. His latest, Surprised about Oil Prices? Really?, has some good (scary, too) points:

$4/gallon gas is definitely here in a big way and that’s going to have major impact on America’s suburban lifestyle. And, as a kicker, the news people are running around talking about experts and ordinary citizens being surprised. Surprised?

How the hell can you be surprised about this? Really?

And more:

I find it galling in the extreme that the head of state has to effectively go beg for more oil to run the machine that we’ve built over the last century. It’s appalling, in fact. And, almost every member of the United States government shares responsibility for the mess that we’re currently facing. It’s not just the reaction of Bush II that is wrong—it’s the result of 35 years of U.S. policy that is wrong.

Via Hivelogic.

3 comments left



Well, I guess I am a little confused and maybe it’s because I’m not exactly up to date on oil/energy economics, but why SHOULDN’T we be surprised about $4/gallon gas prices? What was so obvious pre-2003 or 2004 that I failed to notice? Does this photographer tell us how this crisis is going to end? Did he take any pictures to support his point of view?


Price of gas in Japan: 170 yen/liter (spell checker says litre ain’t a word. it’s ok with ain’t, however, but not “ok”). That’s just north of $6 a gallon. Not really sure how that’s relevant to the conversation, but you know…

Alexander Micek

Yep, we calculated, with exchange rate, $10/gallon in Spain. I’ll quote a little more to clarify the “surprise” idea (emphasis mine):

“$4/gallon gasoline isn’t surprising. The exact timing of when we would see it first in May of 2008, sure, that’s a surprise. The current rate of price increases now that the $100/barrel barrier has been broken is a bit of a surprise.”

To further address Nils’ concerns, I think the author was getting at the idea that the average American should have seen the trends worldwide through the past 50 years pointing to inevitable, sharp increases in gas prices. Thing is, the author also talks about the media simply echoing public sentiment. It seems that the media also echoed public ignorance in this case, effectively leaving the economics of energy out of its coverage for years and years…

In short, I can understand how people really didn’t see this coming. Even in my college curriculum, I can count on one hand the time that we learned something in this pattern: “While conditions are like X in the US, it’s much more like YZ elsewhere in the world.”

It would seem we have enough trouble educating our population, to say nothing of giving them a perspective on the way their nation fits onto the world stage. I think that is the root of the “surprise” factor with this issue.

Dan, can you deliver the nuclear perspective?

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