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I often hear the claim in “E”nvironmental circles that were it not for the oil and coal and gas companies getting politicians in their pockets (especially oil companies) and for other unnamed nefarious activities that we would be well on our way to a greener and cleaner and more independent energy future.

credit to a southern grace for the image

OK, fine.

But if folks believe these giant fossil fuel corporations are so savvy and so clever as to do all of these things, then how come they do not do the single thing that would most directly stifle the development of alternatives to fossil fuels? What is that thing? Lowering prices. Since 2007 oil prices in particular have increased dramatically and are now  certainly at levels that make some existing “green” technologies cost competitive if only the fossil fuel prices remained this high.  It is only by continually lowering prices and/or improving the quality of their products that fossil fuel companies can continue to obtain the favor of consumers. With gas at $4.00 per gallon, and winter heating bills looking like they’ll be $300 per month, I am sure folks are as receptive as ever to alternatives to fossil fuels. Do you think they’d be more receptive if gasoline was $1.00 and heating cost $75 per month?

It is simply incredible that “green technology” companies continue to win favor for regulatory privileges and government subsidies at a time when the marketplace is set up perfectly for them to be making progress.  I can imagine the stock answer to my query would be something like, “well, oil companies are greedy, so they want high prices to make profits off of us hapless consumers.”  Well folks, what argument is it going to be?

3 Responses to “Oily-Locks”

  1. Harry says:

    I assume your question is directed toward Senator Schumer.

    I wonder how politicians who represent cold places think that high heating bills, not to mention high gasoline prices, can be advantageous.

    But then these guys believe spaghetti grows on trees, next to the money leaves.

  2. Michael says:

    At least here in Missouri, they won the privileges by writing a bill that was voted on by the people that might as well thrown in a few unicorns in every garage and a free trip to Alpha Centauri. Essentially the electric companies are required to use 10 or 15 percent renewable sources (excluding large hydro, which rules out the Lake of the Ozarks dam, etc.) with at least 2% solar (which can pay itself off in 75 years at current prices, if the least limiting major part which breaks approximately every 15 years holds up that long (most other major parts are estimated at 25 years)) and the electric companies cannot raise their prices by more than 1% to acomplish this feat. The bill sounds so good that of course people largely unfamiliar with the topic will vote for it.

  3. Harry says:

    Missouri and Kansas happen to be along great rivers, but also have thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines, already built, to heat their homes in the cold winter. Those pipelines go all the way to Chicago and north, to Detroit, to Philadelphia, New York City, and beyond.

    For thirty years, Boone Pickens has said the oil and gas industry is liquidating; as he said only a few years ago, “We already know where it all is.”

    Now, I do not mean to pick on Boone. At the same time, he said we are rich in natural gas, even if Mesa Petroleum had not bought all the leases. What he wanted then was to get the government to subsidize a vast windmill project, and to get the government to set up the infrastructure to fuel eighteen-wheelers with natural gas. He said that on Bloomberg, and the suave interviewer asked not a skeptical question.

    Good luck in Missouri next winter.

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