Marriage is love.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fuel Crisis Expands: diesel new victim; can we even call this an "economy?"

During the 1920s and 1930s, we started to see a contraction of the rail system in this nation. The irony is - and visitors to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry already know this - the Bullet Trains now in use in Asia and Europe were not pioneered by the French or the Japanese: the very first bullet-trains were American. Silvery aluminum, fast, and air-conditioned . . . back in the 1930s. Before WW II.

The growth of the automobile and of surface streets along with government subsidies of airlines have pretty much made trains irrelevant . . . but cars and planes require one thing to be cost-effective.

That one thing is cheap fuel.

Per this article (below), those days are over. But what shocks me is not that the Petro Giants are falling in front of our eyes. We knew these days would come back in 1972. Remember the Arab Oil Embargo? I certainly do: like all other American families, my folks had huge gas-guzzlers (ours was midnight blue). We spent our fair share of time in gas lines, windows up, engine off, either freezing or sweltering to keep a Buick fed.

What shocks me is (1) how little the Republicans, the Fundamentalist Christians, and the Conservatives have been investing in our energy-efficient future (resurrecting the Zephyr may not be such a bad idea, at this point) and (2) how quickly we forgot what gas lines looks like.

The first three paragraphs of the article are re-posted here: click the link and watch the commercial for the rest because the read is well-worth the effort.

Oh - and start buying canned beans: this is going to be one hell of a winter.

Fueling our pain

Already reeling from record gas prices, American consumers could soon face soaring costs caused by a diesel shortage.

By Robert Bryce

Oct. 11, 2005 | If Americans are hurting from $3 gasoline, wait till they feel the pain of $4, or even $5, diesel fuel.

We'd better get ready, because it's probably on the way. On Monday, the price of diesel reached an all-time high of $3.21 per gallon, and that may be just the beginning of a long-term rise. Over the next 18 months or so, parts of the country could be seeing shortages of certain diesel blends, and the resultant price spikes. And that means more bad news for American consumers. America's economy runs on diesel; nearly 80 percent of U.S. communities get their goods solely by truck. As diesel prices go up, so will prices for goods at Quickie Pickie, Wal-Mart, and practically every other commercial outlet. Right now, most Americans are focused on sticker shock at the gas pump, but higher diesel prices will mean higher prices for many things we buy, from bananas and Starbucks coffee, to newspapers and orange juice.

Alas, we can't blame Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for the looming price spike. Although 10 refineries (accounting for about 14 percent of domestic capacity) remain shut down from the storms, the coming diesel disaster will be caused by several other things that have nothing to do with the weather. Those factors include stringent new federal regulations on sulfur content in motor fuel, a global shortage of refining capacity, and soaring demand for diesel, both in the United States and around the globe.

Just fills ya with cheer, huh?

So, anybody want to go beat up a Republican today?

I surely do: this is one gay guy who has just plain had enough!