OK, this is a sentences I’ve just heard Mr W. Bush say on CNN: “America is addicted to oil”. (in the CNN program ‘We were warned - Tomorrow’s Oil Crisis’).
Now, We all know what he means by that and he is certainly right. Some US security official say that America’s addiction is a thread to the national security. I know there are lot of controversial aspects around this topic and I’d like to add some of my observations.
In Europe the fuel prices have also risen quite sharply again and many Germans (and other Europeans) are complaining that they don’t know if they will be able to afford filling up as often as they used to. I agree that high petrol prices are unpleasant for any car owner. But then again, maybe the gas prices are still too low? No kidding. Just think about it: How many seats has an average car? Five.
I see more and more Germans drive vans or min vans like the VW Touran (a very popular car in Germany) - most of those cars have even more than 7 seats. Now, how many of those seats are occupied most of the time? One. Why is that? Why can we not think of ways to reduce fuel consumption and use our resources more wisely? As for me, I have put more than a quarter million of kilometres on my car because of my job. Being mobile is a good thing but why not use new technologies like the Internet to work more effectively? Take our forum. We can communicate, share ideas, collaborate on projects, learn new things, crack jokes and have a chat without having to waste petrol or gas and spend hours in our cars alone.
So maybe it’s good if the petrol prices rise even higher? Perhaps this could make us draw upon our creative resources to come up with better solutions?
Please, let me know what you think.
Torsten, I’ve seen this scenario play out before. When I was just out of high school, the price of a gallon of gasoline rose from 15? to an outrageous 35?! “Experts” told us that the world would completely run out of petroleum by 1980 and that the entire economy of the US would collapse. The only thing that happened was that oil companies used the higher profits to search for more oil, and when that stuff came through the pipe, oil was cheap again. Today those same “experts” who predicted complete depletion of all world petroleum sources and total economic collapse are being trotted out to predict catastrophic climate change. Almost every prediction they have made over the past 30 years has been wrong (there are scientists who have kept score), but they are still treated in the media as respected authorities.
Not that I think Bush is wrong about the oil addiction. He’s right.
As for the SUVs in Germany, I predict that if the price of gasoline gets so high that people can’t keep their cars (and in Europe most of that price is taxes), the Germans will be cursing at the Americans for starting the whole SUV thing to begin with. It’s a repeated pattern: See some American fad, ape the Americans, and then when it’s clear that the American fad is impractical or stupid, curse at the Americans as if we’d forced people to do it. This is done with many things, from pop culture to education all the way to management fads. Sometimes the fad is adopted after the Americans themselves have realized it’s foolish and have already begun to give it up.
We are already seeing that cost efficiency you mention in many fields, especially translation and communication. Translators here don’t have to drive across town to pick up and deliver their work the way they used to. A company where I worked years ago has fired my witch of a manager and asked me to work for them again. This time the work will be exactly the same – downloading and uploading projects from the server, dealing with coworkers on the phone, etc. – except that I’ll be doing it at home instead of in the office. I won’t have to rev up my SUV and physically go over there. The only thing missing will be the cute editor walking in and massaging my shoulders when I’m killing myself on a project for her after 5:00.
Talking about how to reduce the fuel consumption i often use an example:
When i worked as a steel constructor ( the firm was placed in a town named OELDE ) we built up a steel constructed hall near OSNABR?CK (a distance of about 60 kilometres). At the same time in OELDE an area became prepared for the " Landesgartenschau ". There had to be build some steel bridges. The range of prices and profit of both projekts were nearly the same even as the demands on the skills and the point of time for the erection. While our collaborators drove to OSNABR?CK at the half of the distance they met collaborators of an other company who drove to OELDE to erect the bridges. It?s absolutely curious, isn?t it?
What about the world around us? Our Europian politicians spend a lot of the taxes from the price for fuel we pay to keep the world clean, don?t they? At least for the next few centuries!
Respected authorities informed us that the Mars can be made fit for habitation during 2 centuries. There are two problems to solve only. 1.) How to get there in a quick save way? 2.) How to breed humans who match on the demands of Mars? I?m sure respected authorities will find a way, or did they yet? I don?t know but since dolly everything is possible!
But what if on the Mars we can?t find oil? That is no problem! We can cultivate rape seed on the biggest part of the Mars and on the rest we build refinerys. A small part of the rape seed oil might be used to transport the rest. Don?t worry about the pollution. The galaxy is spaceous enough!
Arrived the world the rape seed oil can be used by us to drive from one place to the other in the world. For a little more taxes our politicians can do a little bit more for the world around and respected authorities can develop new visions. You see, no problems anywhere!