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Friday, April 22, 2005

Yes, Merle, Good Times Are Over For Good

Yesterday, Rick Holmes wrote about the 80's energy crisis in the Watertown paper:

Back in the '70s and '80s, the automakers said all American drivers wanted was muscle cars. Their business model counted on millions of people feeling the need to buy a new car every year, an appetite they encouraged deliberately by changing styles - though not performance - with each model year, and unintentionally by building cars that started to fall apart after a year.
"I wish a Ford or a Chevy would still last 10 years like they should," Merle Haggard sang back in the '80s. "Are the good times really over for good?"
Americans soon figured out that Hondas and Toyotas lasted 10 years and then some. They didn't have a lot of chrome and their styles didn't advertise the model year, but they got 25 or 30 miles to the gallon. They had to - they were designed for Japanese customers who were paying $3 to $4 for a gallon of gas.
Detroit's first response to the invasion of cheap, dependable, fuel-efficient cars was to lobby Washington for help. They begged for limits on imports and resisted higher fuel-efficiency standards.

Read It:

Gee, that sounds familiar...I'm sure glad Detroit has learned from its mistakes, and now builds economic cars rather than cheaply-constructed gas guzzlers. The difference between the eighties and the present day is that the price at the pump won't be going down. Don't take my word for it--after all, I'm just a chicken-little environmentalist--listen instead to the petroleum geologists from the oil companies.

The one thing that international bankers don't want to hear is that the second Great Depression may be round the corner. But last week, a group of ultra-conservative Swiss financiers asked a retired English petroleum geologist living in Ireland to tell them about the beginning of the end of the oil age.

They called Colin Campbell, who helped to found the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre because he is an industry man through and through, has no financial agenda and has spent most of a lifetime on the front line of oil exploration on three continents. He was chief geologist for Amoco, a vice-president of Fina, and has worked for BP, Texaco, Shell, ChevronTexaco and Exxon in a dozen different countries.

"Don't worry about oil running out; it won't for very many years," the Oxford PhD told the bankers in a message that he will repeat to businessmen, academics and investment analysts at a conference in Edinburgh next week. "The issue is the long downward slope that opens on the other side of peak production. Oil and gas dominate our lives, and their decline will change the world in radical and unpredictable ways," he says.

Read The Guardian Article:

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