Once in a while, it makes sense to check one’s “sources”.
With the glut of information that is continually flooding my mind space from a seemingly endless array of sources and mediums, it is necessary to develop a system for both cataloging and qualifying information. The “system” I have developed is a hybrid of intuitive sense and objective reasoning.
For example, if I am reading about a current event, I intuitively account for the particular slant (political/philosophical, etc) of the publication and I also look for 3rd party verification of information presented. Off the top of my head I can think of several such 3rd parties that are used in the media to validate information—Gallup, BBC, Zogby, New England Journal of Medicine, etc. Another “source” that I hear quoted on at least a weekly (if not daily) basis is the Lundberg Survey, which is often used in reference to U.S. fuel prices (gasoline and diesel) as well as a source for a myriad things relating to the Oil Industry.
Somehow, I have been cajoled into accepting the Lundberg Survey as an unbiased source for market research relating to the Oil Industry. My Mistake. This past week I was shocked when I came across the Ms. Trilby Lundberg’s pontifications on oil consumption, conservation and climate change being reported by none other than CNN.
Rather than taking the easy shot and firing off a clever comment to draw attention to either her grossly lacking understanding of the issues involved or her blind allegiance to Big Oil, in this case, I think it is better to let the Fuel Maven’s words stand as evidence that she and the Lundberg Survey may not be the best source for insight and/or data relating to the Oil Industry. Shame on CNN for publishing such gibberish.
A few things seem obvious at this point.
1.) Climate Change is real and is exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels. Both the reality and effects of climate change are recognized by those in the scientific community, the economic community, and the military community. Even George W. Bush has been forced to recognize this fact. Thus, quoting Ms Lundberg as an authority on issues relating to climate is irresponsible at best, if not negligent.
2.) Global demand for oil is increasing (at an alarming pace) and global supply is limited. The increased demand is driving up prices and creating unrest in the global community. Conservation through improved efficiency is most likely the best way to avert shortages in the near term and maximize the stored energy of existing fossil fuel reserves over the long term. Apparently it is also good business, as it was reported this week that, for the first time in history, foreign automakers (which, on average, build more efficient vehicles than US automakers) exceeded 50% of the US auto market.
3.) The United States’ dependence on foreign oil is a threat to both its national security and its economic stability. There are many facts to supports this assertion. However, the most glaring fact is that oil imports make up approximately 30% of the US trade deficit and much of this money is being handed over to people who are not exactly our “friends.”
What is not so obvious is that the true cost of oil is not included in the per barrel price on the world market. For example, the military costs to secure and protect oil supplies around the world from a myriad of threats are borne by individual taxpayers. Likewise, the environmental costs (i.e. the negative health and economic costs associated with environmental destruction) are borne by ordinary citizens rather than Big Oil. Thus, contrary to Ms. Lundberg’s assertions about the “free gasoline market”, the only thing free about the US gasoline market is the free ride that oil producers are getting at the expense of the common citizens.
I am certain that Ms. Trilby is a worthy source for data collection on oil prices and I am happy to accept her company’s publication with regards to gasoline prices as well researched and accurate. However, she is far from a climatologist, an economist, a states person or a policy maker. It might serve our citizens and our society a bit better if CNN and other major news organizations scrutinize their sources a bit more prior to granting individuals the authority to weigh in on topics that reach far beyond the scope of their expertise.
Sustainable Transport Systems