High Oil Prices

Luke Burgess

Updated July 29, 2005

Two years ago many market analysts would have said that $60 would have caused an economic meltdown.

But here we are, $60 oil, $2.35 for gasoline, and things are fine… or are they?

The 2005 summer has brought the yo-yo effect to oil prices.

This summer we’ve seen the ups and we’ve seen the downs. Ups when a new hurricane threatens offshore oil rigs; downs when it fizzles. Ups when the weekly crude oil supply report is dwindling; downs when the supply is adequate. Ups and downs and downs and ups. It’s a predictable but vicious cycle.

Yet $60 oil really hasn’t affected our lives for the most part. Yeah we grumble a little each time it takes $40 to fill up the car. But for the most part it seems to be business as usual. No panic. No riots. At least not yet.

And we haven’t made many compromises. We’re still driving hours on end to the beach. We haven’t taken carpooling seriously. SUV and pickup sales aren’t doing that bad. And the markets are quite healthy. In fact some, like the NASDAQ, are breaking to multi-year highs.

But how is the rest of the world fairing in the face of peak oil. Let’s review some of the current events across the globe:
Across Indonesia people were lining up at gas stations around the country in response to developing fuel shortages. In one city, over half of the public transport was inoperable due to a lack of fuel.
In Zimbabwe, the government has moved to deregulate fuel procurement in the face of severe shortages: waits of hours for buses, gas lines that are blocks long, and a bread shortage. The black market price for gasoline is now ten times the official rate.
Last week 36 protestors were killed in fuel riots across Yemen when the government withdrew subsidies resulting in dramatic price increases.
Tanzania, with the highest gasoline taxes in East Africa and a chaotic oil marketing system, is seeing its plans for economic growth suffocated by high-priced oil.
Nicaragua, which uses diesel generators to make their electricity, recently started blacking out the poorer districts during the hours of peak usage.

So when will we see events like these here in the States? I can’t tell you. But what I do know is that we’re going to have to come up with something quick.

And unfortunately we can’t rely on our government to get us out of this pickle. The newly passed energy bill is ludicrous at best. Sure it gives great tax breaks and subsidies to oil giants and that’s great for friends of the White House, but the bill does nothing to curb consumption.

One day people in the future will look back on the early 21st century and wonder what we were all thinking.


Iranian officials have announced that native scientists have developed solid-fuel technology to improve the accuracy of missiles.

This development is considered a major breakthrough that increases not only the accuracy of medium-range missiles but also can make missiles more durable and extend their range.

Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told The Associated Press that Iran has taken an "important step forward" with a successful test of a solid-fuel engine for its Shahab-3 missile.

The Shahab-3, meaning "shooting star" in Farsi, is fully capable of carrying a warhead into Israel and nearby U.S. bases

Solid-Fuel technology is difficult to develop and has historically been a challenge to such nations as China and the former Soviet Union.

And if this news isn’t scary enough, Iran has also claimed that the country plans to go ahead with its nuclear work.

In November Iran halted its nuclear activities to build trust in talks with Europe.

But Tehran always described the suspension as a temporary concession.

Iran insists it wants the technology to build power plants. But US leaders suspect Iran of working to develop weapons.

We’ll see.

-Luke Burgess

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