Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oil, Sugar, and 35 Wasted Years

I just read something by Larry Littlefield, a fellow New Yorker, it would seem. Worth linking here even though it is going on four years old. Found this through Streetsblog. Never know where you might find interesting stuff.

I was well acquainted with both the '73 and '79 oil crises. In 1973, as a college sophomore, I had recently bought my first motor vehicle, a Honda 450 motorcycle.  That bike was a good balance between practicality and crotch rocket.  That fall, I watched the price of gas double in a few weeks. But fortunately, I had committed to a motorcycle rather than a car and it got 50 mpg on a bad day; living in the dorms there were few bad days.  In 1979, living a dozen miles from campus and beginning a life of bike commuting, I discovered the politics of oil could be deadly.  I was hit while riding my bicycle to the University at Stony Brook by a motorist making a run for a gap that opened in a mile-long gas line at a Long Island gas station. Waking up a bloody mess in a roadside ditch ain't much fun, especially with a doctoral qualifying exam a week away. But what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger, right?

Read on....esp. since that little issue called Iran seems to be surfacing once again. Nah...we can ignore this another 35 years, right?

Oil, Sugar, and 35 Wasted Years

 The United States is heading for a major anniversary on October 20th, 2008. It will be the 35th anniversary of the OPEC oil boycott, which began on that date in 1973 in the shadow of the Yom Kippur war. (Gee, a war in the Middle East! There is no reason to worry about another one of those, is there?) That was the first signal, years before the environmental consequences of fossil fuel use were understood (by some), that abject dependence on a depleting resource increasingly concentrated in potentially hostile hands was a future economic and national security disaster.  The 1979 oil crisis, associated with the Iran Hostage Crisis was the second signal. (Gee, conflict with Iran, that’s not likely to recur is it?) The 1990 Gulf War was a third signal. The attack on 9/11 was the fourth signal. But two generations of Americans willfully ignored these messages...
...It is nearly 35 years since the 1973 oil embargo, and many of the politicians now in charge have been around for most of them, given perpetual incumbency. So what do our "leaders" have to say for themselves? 

February 11, 1974 - United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger unveils the Project Independence plan to make U.S. energy independent.


Steve A said...

Interesting article. And appropriate. People will make choices based on the external circumstances. Mostly, those external circumstances were fostered by people other than what Littlefield claims. Mostly, those circumstances were fostered by people that came of age before or during WW II.

Khal said...

True dat last statement. The Interstate Highways and Levittown were designed and built by folks returning from WW II