Thursday, April 27, 2006
...It's A Gas, Gas, Gas
I guess that I've become rather numb to the rise in the price of gasoline. After all, as a scarce non-renewable resource, the price isn't going to get cheaper over time. But, a few days ago I started relating it to other things. Statistics show that we go through 20 million barrels of oil a day in the U.S. Of course gasoline is a major consumer of that oil but there are the thousands of petroleum-based products on the market (CDs, cosmetics, auto polish, safety glass, PVC pipes, industrial cleaners, wire insulation, printing ink, paint, pesticide... anything made of plastic, elastic, polyester, rayon, dacron or orlon among many many others) that bid for their share that oil so they can continue production. Of that 20 million barrels, we as a country produce: 8 million. We produce 40% of a product that we use multiple times each day. It's that stat that keeps rattling in my head.
I keep thinking that if I had 12 million barrels of oil per day coming in from other countries at $70 a pop, that comes to a mere $840,000,000. If I wanted to balance trade internationally, I'd want to cut that back some and depend on ourselves more. We don't and wont. Instead, we actually put some of what we produce aside in a oil reserve. In some respects, it's not a bad idea to put something aside because we are oil dependents and it's good to have some sense of security. Currently, we get the remaining 60% from (in order of supply): Saudi Arabia, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Nigeria. I'll avoid boring you with how we could currently produce more oil at a cheaper rate (which I know you've heard a lot about), how we haven't opened an oil refinery in nearly 30 years and about how we can cut consumption by embracing new technology. I just wonder if we as a country are purposely purchasing from others something we could produce cheaper as a means to be "last man standing" when the oil supplies of other countries start drying up.