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The United States accounts for 25 percent of the world's oil consumption. We could crush oil's power to hurt us with a serious campaign to kick our fossil-fuel habit. But we don't because we have an administration and Congress that care more about the oil industry than about us.

Someone must be dreaming I wonder who?

The Eternal Bird

Mr. Phoinix20 -- you are obviously entitled to your conspiracy theory. But I would hope opinions would be based on the clear examination of all the pertinent facts, and not on some kind of selective data selection to support your emotional ideological outburst.

Yes, it is true that the U.S. economy consumes about 25% of the world's oil. But we also produce more than 25% of the World's GDP. It is not as if we are just burning the fuel away for no good reason – we are producing goods and services for ourselves and the rest of the world.

In fact, when one analyzes the number of barrels per unit of GDP we produce yearly, the U.S. has been making tremendous efficiency progress over the past 30 years. Our "energy intensity" has been reduced essentially in half. The 30-year efficiency improvement line shows a trend of improvement of about 1.5% per year (suggest you spend some time reading Exxon Mobil's latest energy outlook update to the year 2030. There are all kinds of graph on efficiency, hybrids and the like, and there you can look and study all the details to your heart's content) -- and the improving efficiency trend is likely to continue on into the future or accelerate, especially now that energy prices have increased by almost 50% in the last couple of years.

If you remember how to do your math correctly, raise 1.015 to the 25th power and you will see, that by 2030, we would have achieved another 45% in effeciency gains. In Excel this is done through the following operation 1.1015^25. The "^" is on top of numeral 6.

By the way, Mr. Phoinix, the reason we have not kicked the "oil" habit is because oil, despite its $60/B level, still remains CHEAP as compared to other alternatives --that simple. It has nothing to do with a conspiracy or any Administration or Congress that “cares more about the oil industry than about us."

To illustrate my point on economics, I and other co-workers here at the Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge refinery, looked into the incentives for buying a Toyota Prius or other hybrids (such as the Lexus RX 330 –which I cannot afford, but others can. These hybrids essentially double the available MPG of non-hybrid models of similar size. Using some rather elementary arithmetic operations we discovered some simple, cold facts. In general, it does not pay to buy a hybrid, unless you are a taxi business.

The calculations unequivocally showed that it did not pay to buy these more efficient cars given the miles per year most of us drove on average, and given the current price level of gasoline (We in fact used $2.50/gallon).

In my particular case, it would take almost 9 years to payoff the up front price difference of a hybrid, even with the gov't rebate. For me, the decision to become more "efficient" through the purchase of a hybrid is not a sound investement decision. My husband and I don't have money to waste buying the hybrids with three children to feed, one of which is college bound. Prices would have to exceed $5/gallon before I can be tempted to justify such a purchase. Is there a conspiracy in my economic decsion?

You, sir, are free to buy the Prius, or any other hybrid – or invest in a solar water heater, or hang your clothes out in the back patio to dry -- and so are all the millionaires in Hollywood and all those who sincerely believe they want to make a contribution to lowering emissions and lowering our dependance of oil. This is the beauty of America -- you are free to do those things.

But please, please, don't impose it on me. And as long as oil remains a cheaper alternative, we will continue to be “hooked on oil.” . It has nothing to do with one Administration or another, it is simple household economics.

In fact, to borrow a slogan from the Clinton years, I would like to use a close analogy -- "it is simple economics, stupid"...

Madame Butterfly


I would hope that you don't think that we should "mandate" people to shed their SUVs, because if you do -- you qualify in my book as those who believe they know better than the average common man or woman as to what is good or bad for them. I hope you are not in favor of a nanny state like we have in Europe -- where the elite wants to "mandate" everything from the center. No wonder, the common folks in France, Holland and Denmark, recently rebelled at the ballot box and told the “elite” to shove it by rejecting all the "mandates" in the EU constitution.

I ask myself a simple question, did not our pilgrim forefathers come here to runaway from such oppressive environment? Are we free, or are we not free to make our own decisions? Are we free or not to decide what kind of car we drive, and what kind of movie we watch without a nanny state telling us like little children what to do?

The Administration and the Congress we now have in Washignton were duly elected and reflect the will of the people. Beware, before you blow your top, that President Bush this last time around received more votes that Clinton or any other President ever did – and proportionally got more votes than Clinton ever did in his two elections. Clinton was never even close to 48%.

If you feel this Administration and this Congress are doing a poor job... grin and bear it, and vote again in the 2008 elections to kick the bastards out and give it to the Democrats ...that simple --but quit this conspiracy nonsense, be a nice little bird --rise from your conspiracy ashes, and admit to yourself that what is happening in the oil world is the result of just simple free market economics... and not of a conspiracy.

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