Why It’s Smart to be Energy Independent
One of the big stories this week is the skyrocketing price of gasoline in California. At many pumps the price was over $5 and some places in Los Angeles stopped selling gas altogether.
The talking heads are pinning the blame on the usual suspects: greedy speculators who orchestrated a “short squeeze.” In fact, Henry Waxman, the ranking member of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, is asking the FTC for an investigation. However, the obvious answer is two of the state’s largest refiners had to shut down recently due to fire and power failure.
But this problem sheds light on a larger discussion. Why are we so dependent on a fragile supply chain that affects almost every aspect of our economy? If the price of gas is too high it causes a ripple effect all the way down the supply chain. If truckers have to pay more to ship food, then customers are going to see that increase in their grocery bill. If people can’t afford to drive their car, then you will see it in layoffs at car companies and slumping fortunes at vacation destinations. Basically, expensive energy makes life more difficult for everyone.
I think the country would be better served by having a robust energy policy with multiple layers of redundancy. I applaud efforts to develop sustainable energy, but we need to be realistic about what’s available to us right now. While the US is developing the next generation of energy sources, let’s make sure we are being intelligent about our current supply chain and making energy as inexpensive as possible.
What’s your take?