Since the oil embargo of 1974, there has always been news coverage of OPEC meetings. Usually it is about raising prices or cutting production. These stories are usually accompanied by pictures of smiling or laughing men. Until recently these articles usually caused a negative reaction in me, as they represented the fact that a small group of countries, blessed with large petroleum reserves, were manipulating prices and controlling the energy policy â€” and foreign policy â€” of countries around the world, particularly the United States.
There were some recent articles about the last OPEC meeting with headlines stating that OPEC producers were cutting production to prop up prices. This time I found myself cheering them on. Yes, keep those prices up over $60 a barrel. In fact, let them go higher. Ever since oil went over $60 a barrel earlier this year there has been a profound reaction and change in the perception of energy. As mentioned in an earlier post this week, this high price of oil has helped to trigger what seems to be a tipping point in the perception of energy and the need to both conserve our use of oil and to find alternative sources of energy.
I know this may be an unpopular viewpoint to some, but keeping the price of oil high seems to be one of the primary factors in solving the energy crisis. Not only does it make us want to find ways to conserve, it also provides economic incentive to those that want to develop conservation technologies and alternative fuels because they are now much more economically viable with the price of oil up. It also continues to reinforce the rapidly developing belief that dependency on foreign oil is now the number one security concern of American voters. All of this is good as it keeps us focused on the larger problem of energy alternatives to oil.
I would even support a tax of gasoline as it would further provoke conservation, and entrepreneurial innovation in the areas of alternative energy. Direct 100% of the tax revenues to the development of conservation technologies and alternative and renewable energy sources.. In the future, once we have begun to lower our nationsâ€™ oil consumption, I would even consider supporting a hefty tariff on each barrel of imported oil. It would give a price incentive to domestic producers, would continue to make alternative energy more economically competitive, and would also be a government supported effort to both aggressively lessen dependency on foreign oil and also provide an economic pushback to those oil exporting nation states that seem to divert some of their oil revenues to the support of terror around the world. The money generated by this tariff could go to support both the development of renewable energy sources and Social Security.
It is imperative for the long term survival of humanity for all of us to reverse the consumption of petroleum products. Whether you believe that we are going to run out of oil by 2040 or by 2100, it is a finite resource. The sooner we can lessen our reliance on it, the sooner we can eliminate the major impediment to our social, cultural and political evolution. The sooner we do it the better. So go ahead OPEC, prop up the price of oil. It will, in the long run, help us to lessen our dependency on your product