Sunday, May 31, 2009
Matt Ygliesias paints a somewhat dismal picture of oil prices going up along with the economic recovery, perhaps resulting in another recession. That's quite possible. While the financial industry's misfeasance and malfeasance is at the heart of the global economic meltdown, the rapid escalation of gas prices appears to have triggered the collapse.
The funny thing is, we could make enormous strides with conservation. But as the world economy gears back up, we're going to be back to the situation of consistent annual growth in demand for oil, with new oil resources being more difficult and more expensive to tap. We really do seem to live in a world that will only respond to disaster, and even at that not very well... but one way or another we will be returning to a world where oil costs $100 or more per barrel, and where gas prices again hit $4 or more.
I doubt that the next generation will enjoy anywhere near the same level of mobility as this generation. Oh, sure, if you can afford it, the options will be there. But high fuel prices will price long road trips and air travel beyond the reach of many families who currently take cheap fuel for granted, and we already have a remarkable national amnesia about the months of $4/gallon gas.