Rejoice, Rejoice

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Filed Under Domestic Policy on Feb 10 

As my friends and colleagues know, I am somewhat peripherally interested in the world oil market, since it had just a little bit to do with our economy, domestic politics, and international relations. OK, maybe “peripherally interested” isn’t quite accurate. Maybe “psychotically obsessed” is a little closer to the truth, given the seemingly never-ending series of articles and analyses I’ve sent their way over the years.

Still, nothing determines the state of our day-to-day financial lives and personal economic outlook/sentiment as does the status of the fuel/energy market. Each day, as you drive by the corner gasoline station or receive your heating oil bill in the mail, you see prices rise–often for what seems no reason at all—and it dampens your mood and imparts a feeling of financial despair and helplessness.

Then the TV news stations chime in with their shallow, unsophisticated reports of “rising gas prices,” and they offer no detailed, in-depth explanation, utterly failing to relate the decisions made in Washington to the oil/gas pricing you see every day.

Well, I’ve been saying for years that additional oil reserves are there to be had, and once we make the decision to go after them–necessity being the mother of invention–the technology to access those reserves will come. (This is the free market at work–this technology is not Gov’t-invented, nor is it Gov’t-mandated. Never will be. That’s the essential folly of Government-orchestrated “Green jobs.” That’s another discussion however, for another time.)

In this case, we’ve discovered that we could recover the huge stocks of natural gas in the Mountain states’ shale-rock deposits. We’ve long known that those rocks contained oil as well–huge amounts of it. But now, the discovery has been made that a variation of the recovery method used to capture the natural gas can be used to recover the oil as well.

And there’s lots and lots of it there. Enough, according to this article, to reduce our imported oil by as much as 60% within a decade.

Holy smokes.

Read the article. Does it say that this route guarantees that we’ll never buy another drop of oil from Sheik Mustafa again and that gas pricing will drop to $1.12/gallon tomorrow? Not quite.

But this is very good news for the US economy and the US consumer, from all angles.

And just to explicitly pre-empt the expected howls of protest from the Eco/Green/Anti-fossil/Warming crowd:

1. Yes, pollution is bad, and we’d like to avoid it or minimize it whenever that is practical in the real world we live in, day-to-day.

2. The implied notion that “If we continue to pursue fossil-based fuels, that will delay the adoption of clean-fuel technology” is ludicrous beyond all logic. Absolutely ludicrous. The FREE MARKET is at work here, folks. The profit motive. Inventors of a truly viable “alternative energy” are furiously at work, because a veritable FORTUNE awaits them if they’re successful. No oil-shale extraction development is going to deter their efforts.

And one last—but very important—point: The world uses ‘X’ amount of oil per day, at any given time. If US production goes up, then US imports (which means overseas production) goes down. It’s a zero-sum game in the short term. The win here for the Greenies—and it’s a big one—is that when US oil production increases, with its oversight and EPA regs and near-total immunity from sabotage or terrorism attacks, then dirty, polluting, sabotage-prone production, in say, Nigeria goes down. In other words, when the Greenies limit US oil production, all they’re accomplishing is to export pollution somewhere else, BECAUSE THE WORLD IS GOING TO USE THE SAME AMOUNT OF OIL ANYWAY, REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT COMES FROM. The world’s environment would be better off if America was using cleaner US-produced oil instead of dirtier foreign-produced oil, coming from unstable states. Don’t the Greenies understand that?

So until those free-market profit mongers come up with cars that run on pleasant thoughts (and they will!), if we can just get ourselves a President and a Congress that will actually approve exploring for oil in that postage stamp-sized wasteland called ANWR, we could be on to something meaningful…

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