What happens when the irresistible force of Chinese oil demand runs into the immovable object of peak oil production? The price of oil goes up dramatically, just as it is now. Congress can repeal many laws, but it cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. Neither can all the speeches about “all of the above energy” repeal a stark geologic fact: We don’t have the domestic oil reserves to have an appreciable effect on oil prices. Nor will “drill, baby, drill” make us energy independent. We burn 25 percent of the world’s oil but have only 2 percent to 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, tops.
If there are any doubts about how rising Chinese demand and limited oil supplies will drive up the price of oil, take a look at oil economist expert Jeff Rubin’s recent best-seller, “Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller.” Rubin’s work describes in stark detail how limited our options are in regard to future oil production compared to demand.
So let’s come together and find a new reason to reduce our waste of this precious crude, not only out of a desire to save the planet, but out of a real respect for its value. Let’s find a way to power our cars without it, not out of our distaste for oil, but out of our recognition of what it can do for us in the future. In doing so, we save consumers’ dollars at the pump and create new, homegrown manufacturing jobs across our country. I believe that Americans are ready for us to find common ground.
Now that’s healing worth talking about.
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is co-chairman of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Inslee is the co-author of “Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy.”