Friday, September 02, 2005

Important Opportunity

I was reading the article "Beyond Petroleum" , an article wisely calling for Katrina to be the opportunity to get serious about petroleum independence. My natural inclination was to launch into a snarky tirade about peak oil, energy independence, corporate profits, America's oil glutony, and the nonsense that is our foreign policy due to oil dependence.

I remember the 70's quite clearly. Waiting for hours in a gas line to get gasoline at *gasp* $.60/gal. was an awful experience. Back then, we would pay ANY price just to get some. Things sure have improved!

Gas was in the high $2.00/gal. range (in Cal-eeep-forn-ya) prior to Katrina and now swiftly moving higher. Shortages are being reported throughout the country (again) and we're stuck in a war in the middle east, largely because of petroleum.

Meanwhile, we drive illegal cars:

Andy Bowers of Slate:
Well, here's a surprising piece of news. It may not be. Cities throughout California—the nation's largest car market—prohibit the heaviest SUVs on many of their residential roads. The problem is, they don't seem to know they've done it.

I discovered this secret ban after noticing the signs at both ends of my narrow Los Angeles-area street (a favorite cut-through route for drivers hoping to avoid tie-ups on bigger roads). The signs clearly prohibit vehicles over 6,000 pounds.


It turns out every big SUV and pickup is too heavy for my street. Here's just a sampling: The Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, the Range Rover, the GMC Yukon, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes M Class, the Porsche Cayenne S, and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup (with optional Hemi). What about the Hummer, you ask? Hasta la vista, baby!
With "peak oil" obviously occuring.....or close to occuring, I'd like this disaster to result in something good.

The 70's were a wakeup call. No one listened.

Now some 30 years later, we're getting another loud alarm bell ringing. I really really hope that Katrina and Iraq can finally serve as the dead canary in the mine that wakes up the American public to the need to become energy efficient and independent. Renewable technologies are a must and will get increasingly affordable, provided we don't allow ourselves to again get seduced into "adjusting" to the new energy costs while allowing the vested corporate energy interests to dominate our national policy on petroleum.


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