a potential gas shortage in America

10 07 2008

I saw a show on CNN the other day, and it was called something like “We Were Warned: Out Of Gas”.  It took a hypothetical look at a situation that could realistically happen that would cause a major gas shortage in America.

Suppose a major hurricane (like Katrina) hit the Gulf Coast, but this time it destroyed many of the oil drilling rigs in the ocean and it hit the oil refineries in Texas.  That’s where most of our own oil is drilled and processed.  That alone would drive gas prices up in a big way, and people would have even more trouble affording to fill their vehicles, and of course it would make the cost of everything go up more.

Then suppose Al Qaeda saw the panic that would be happening in America if gas went up over $6 a gallon.  So they coordinate an attack on the oil plants in Saudi Arabia (where we get most of our foreign oil).  So now there will be months to years before we can fully restore our two major sources of oil.  Imagine what gas prices here would be then.  $8?  $10?  Think of what effect that would have on the average family as well as the cost of goods and services we need.  So many households in America are already on the brink of financial disaster, and adding a few hundred dollars to their monthly bills could be catastrophic.

How vulnerable would America become in this situation?  In addition to our economy taking a big hit, our military would be hurting, too.  There’s already a shortage of available funds in our government.  (Our national debt is over $9.5 trillion!  We can’t really grasp trillions, so look at it this way — if our government paid 1 million dollars per day toward the debt, not counting future interest, it would take over 26,000 years to pay it off.  Don’t believe the number?  Do the math.)

It’s about time our government and the “Big Oil” companies did something about our dependence on foreign oil.  As I wrote recently, prominent leaders of our country have talked about it for over 30 years, yet not much has been done.  Are we going to wait until it’s a really, really big problem before we try to fix it?  This can’t be fixed overnight, nor could our economy handle a quick change even if it were possible.  We really need to do something about it NOW.

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2 responses

15 07 2008
Fab

Not that I disagree with your premise, but a fact correction: we actually get more oil from Canada and Mexico than from Saudi Arabia. Canada’s #1, Mexico’s #2 and Saudi Arabia’s #3 as of 2007. Saudi Arabia hasn’t been our #1 source of foreign oil since 2003. Since then our North American Neighbors have been on a steady increase to where we now import around 400,000 more barrels a day from Canada and about 35,000 more barrels per day from Mexico.

Thank you, drive through.

16 07 2008
Beppo

Thanks for the correction. I wonder if the show’s producers knew that. I don’t know if they said Saudi Arabia was the top importer of oil, but I got that impression. But either way, if they were attacked in that scenario above, oil and gas prices around the world would skyrocket. Much of the current price of oil is because of uncertainty and speculation, and if a terrorist group started attacking oil refineries, there would be even more uncertainty and fear in the market.

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