This past weekend, my hubby and I decided to drag the kids to Costco after church on Sunday. We’re obviously masochists, I know. Our Costco has a gas station that sells fuel for about $.25 less per gallon than the average local station. When we pulled into the parking lot, the lines for these discount pumps were eight and nine cars deep.
People were waiting for half an hour or more to pay $3.75 per gallon of gas. I just hope they weren’t letting their engines idle -- that sort of defeats the purpose. By the time we waded through the crowd in the warehouse store with our 12-pack of chicken breasts and so-cute-we-had-to-buy-them matching pajamas for the girls and were on our way home, the price of unleaded had gone up to $3.77.
Supply, demand, and speculation over the woes in the Middle East have contributed to some pretty pricey gasoline. Let’s face it: There’s a limited amount of oil in the world, more countries are developing industrially, and the place most everyone gets their oil from is, for better or worse, in the midst of a revolution.
Of course the cost of energy is going to go up. It’s written in The Law of Common Sense, right in between "what goes up must come down," and "never stare down the barrel of a shotgun." (You can find this book in the ‘Welcome Newbies’ section of the Republican bookstore, along with Facts Are Not Hard and A Convenient Truth.)
As more countries develop, they’re going to want more of the oil. As more buyers compete for a limited supply, the price goes up. The United States currently imports 58 percent of our petroleum, even while we sit on huge supplies of our own. As for other sources of energy, we hold one quarter of the Earth’s coal reserves, yet our politicians have made it practically impossible to build new power plants to process it. Want to talk natural, renewable energy? Let’s put a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod. Oops, don’t want to mess up the view of the rich residents. Solar panels in the Mojave? That would “spoil our desert,” according to U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein.
We have lots of ways to bring down the cost of energy, but our hands are tied by bureaucrats that elicit empathy using events like the 2010 oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico to shut down progress. The rig explosion (and subsequent oil leak) was not because drilling for oil is bad. British Petroleum was not following standard safety procedures, and they were exempted from safety inspections.
We need affordable energy. We need a way to get to and from work, to heat and cool our homes, to power our laptops and refrigerators and the labs where scientists discover new cures and our televisions so that we don’t have to miss a minute of Castle.
Aside from enforcing safety regulations, get the government out of the way. Put solar panels in the desert and wind farms on the coast. Drill the heck out of the barren wasteland of ANWR. Bring down the cost of energy so that we Americans can do what we do best: Innovate.
Maybe someday we’ll even be able to use our own body heat to power our cars. Like The Matrix -- only with the humans still in charge.
Image via futureatlas.com/Flickr