The Path to Lower Oil Demand and Gas Prices: A Green Vehicle Revolution Is a Much Better Route Than a Global Financial Crisis
Would a dramatic reduction in demand for oil caused by a green vehicle revolution cause the same type of reduction in oil prices that the global financial crisis has?
Overall, I don’t see why not.
In fact, I’m guessing that the eye-opening impact of the financial crisis on oil demand and prices is exactly what major oil producers are afraid of should the world experience a green vehicle revolution.
Think about all the benefits that our society would receive from an oil demand-destroying green vehicle revolution that lowers gas prices via efficient, clean technologies rather than via a global financial crisis:
* Broad economic stimulus beyond the oil sector: the combination of highly efficient clean vehicles and low gas prices will free up untold fortunes of peoples’ gasoline money to be spent on all things non-energy, providing a green injection of economic stimulus far and wide. Previously, I noted that:
Switching from a car that gets 20 mpg to one that gets 50 mpg will save the average American nearly $1,100/year in gas costs at $3/gallon (given the average distance Americans drive per year – about 12,000 miles; savings rise considerably as gas prices and miles driven go up). That savings is nearly two times the cash provided to us by our 2008 stimulus checks! Multiply that by the 112 million households in the U.S. alone, and that’s $123.2 billion/year that American households are now spending on gas that with a mandate for more efficient vehicles, they would have to spend on…everything else.
Even at currently lower gas prices, a Clean Vehicle Revolution promises to be a significant stimulative force in our economy.
This is fantastic news – and another sign that the stars are aligning for some serious sustainability-oriented policy changes to take place in Washington…
Automakers’ closest friend kicked out of chairmanship
It’s the end of an era — Michigan Democrat John Dingell has been officially toppled from his post as head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In a secret ballot, Dingell was voted out by the Democrats 137-122 and replaced with Rep. Henry Waxman, a notable critic and aggressive investigator of the Bush Administration as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
The vote is a victory for environmentalists… Dingell was…a consistent (opponent) of tighter fuel efficiency [CAFE] standards for automobiles.
The Petroleum Ceiling and the Limits of Growth
Since the credit crisis began, we’ve been hearing a lot about how investing in a ‚ÄòGreen New Deal‘, ‚ÄòA Green Economy‘, and ‚ÄòA Clean Energy Economy‘ will rescue us. But how, specifically, will green solutions be our savior, and why – at the end of the age of oil and a time of increasingly dangerous human-caused climatic instability – is this type of policy package so crucial for President Obama to implement during his first 100 Days?
Over the past few months, as I’ve talked about how our economy won’t experience a prolonged period of growth until we wean ourselves from our addiction to oil, I’ve referred to this limit on growth as the “Petroleum Ceiling” on our economy. What I mean – even now as gas prices have temporarily dropped due to recessional demand and investors’ flight to safety in the dollar (among other reasons) – is that as long as our economy is so foolishly dependent on oil, once the business cycle starts to heat up again, demand for oil will go up and with it, the prices of food, commodities and other critical goods and services – bringing the period of growth to a screeching halt.
Thoughts On Accountability and Opportunity As the Credit Crisis Slows Investment In Clean Energy Development
I just finished reading this post on Grist and a N.Y Times article that it links to about the credit crisis slowing investment in clean energy development, and I’ve gotta say – I’m pretty hoppin’ mad. As one of the sources cited in The Times piece acknowledged:
“financing for carbon-cutting projects is harder to find and…financiers (are) more cautious than before the crunch.”
Reading this N.Y. Times expose last weekend detailing how the Bush Administration’s policy blunders and negligence on oversight have brought us to this point didn’t exactly help me feel better. Lovely – thanks for bringing us to the verge of another Panic of 1873. As top market analysts have stated:
“We still don’t know the extent of the damage still coming from Lehman. But we do know that the federal government has made it so we are all afraid. That’s not going away. My hope is this — new president, better team.” – Jim Cramer, TheStreet.com
“Recessions are simply part of the business cycle… Depressions are caused by governments making major policy mistakes. And we have made some in the areas of not regulating mortgage lending, allowing the five large investment banks to increase their leverage to 30 or 40 to one in 2004 (what was the SEC thinking?), and failing to oversee the rating agencies.” – John Maudlin, Thoughts from the Frontline Weekly Newsletter, 10/10/2008
While other sources in the articles about impacts of the credit crisis on clean energy investment fortunately remained optimistic – as do I – one thing that leaves me at a loss of words as I consult with top sources to understand both the problem and the best potential solutions is this: where is the accountability?
Exposing Diverse Audiences to Green – Mos Def, Backed By 30-Piece Orchestra, to Headline FREE Green Music Festival in S.F.
Are you a green maven who loves your work and finds it hard to put it all down and go out and have some fun? Well, here’s an opportunity to do both – and if you’re a Bay Area green business or non-profit, there’s also a unique marketing opportunity for you here (see the bottom of this post)…
On Saturday, October 18th, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated actor and Grammy-nominated artist, Mos Def, will be joined by the full 30-piece Realistic Orchestra and very special guests – headlining the first annual Band Shell Music Summit, in Golden Gate Park’s (S.F.) Band Shell Music Concourse.
Mos Def’s performance will cap a FREE day-long sustainability-themed music festival – presented by Meadowlands Entertainment Group and Conservation Value Institute – that by including artists from multiple musical and cultural backgrounds, aims to connect diverse audiences with green solutions. Also in the line up are Mingus Amungus w/Special Guest Arab Summit, Bayonics featuring Zion I, Josh Jones Latin Jazz Ensemble Featuring Jesus Diaz and John Santos, Dmitri Matheny Quartet, and much more.
The Summit will celebrate the San Francisco cultural icons located to each side of The Concourse – the California Academy of Sciences (just re-opened as the world’s first ever LEED Platinum-rated museum) and the De Young Museum. It aims to leverage the uniting, inspiring power of music and culture to foster awareness of the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits that the city’s diverse communities can achieve by participating in the burgeoning clean energy and energy efficiency revolution.
The Future of America’s Major Media Outlets – Fixing the Fourth Estate After Failures On Drilling and Iraq
Why do the American People — needing the right information to choose a president whose policies will prevent Peak Oil and Climate Change from becoming society-destabilizing catastrophes — believe the fantasy that domestic oil drilling is the right energy solution to bring down gas prices? How can this be, when even our Department of Energy’s own Energy Information Administration makes clear that this idea has no more basis in reality than believing that the Superfriends are going to save us by swooping down and leaving solar-powered hovercrafts in our driveways?
As this disturbing report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) points out:
“there is no empirical basis for believing that drilling in environmentally sensitive offshore zones would significantly affect gas prices. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that such drilling would add some 200,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production in about 20 years. This is about 0.2 percent of world production, and the EIA describes this as too small to have any significant effect on oil prices.”
Even if the EIA’s projections end up being short by a factor of five, and these areas produce 1 million barrels per day, it will still take well over a decade for this oil to reach gas stations, and will still be only about 1% of global output — far too little to significantly bring down gas prices. So if this is what the best available data tells us, the critical question becomes the one that the CEPR report examined:
“How did 51 percent of Americans come to believe the opposite, that this drilling would significantly lower gasoline prices?”
The report’s authors found that:
“By repeatedly reporting the false claims of drilling proponents, while giving little or no attention to the available facts, the most important news media helped to convince the public of something that is not true, and thereby influenced the entire political climate around this issue.”