Oil consumption collides with disaster in the not too distant future as can easily be seen in the chart below.
These wonderful interactive charts are available at GapMinder.org
The dotted diagonal line, which I inserted into the chart, represents home production versus imported oil and it is instantly visible that the United States consumes vastly more oil than it produces. Our politicians have been warning us for decades about the necessity of the US becoming energy independent while our consumption rose and our production consistently went down. It is obvious that the only reason this was possible is because the US has military dominance of the Middle East where the oil is located and being produced. If the US didn’t have dominance it would not be possible to maintain the distorted condition. It has been easier for the US politicians to support a vast military empire than to create and enforce laws which enforce more fuel efficiency. Americans can afford to live in distant suburbs, drive monster muscle cars and live in huge energy wasting buildings because they have access to cheap energy based on a preeminent military.
The chart above shows that the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have embarked on an imported energy consumption path also. Their economies are growing fast and they are now manufacturing automobiles, such as the Tata Nano, which are much cheaper to manufacture and operate than American cars. That personal efficiency of the individual cars will allow their entire economies to operate more efficiently than the wasteful American individual and the wasteful US economy. In a world that is increasingly Hot, Flat and Crowded as documented by Thomas Friedman, where most things can be created anywhere in the world and sold anywhere on the world market, those people and countries who can market their goods most efficiently will surge to the fore.
The United States has an enormous existing fleet of gas guzzling cars and poorly insulated buildings which so far the public has only talked about correcting but the inequities will not last much longer because they can’t be sustained. China and India will soon be requiring much more of the Middle East’s oil and they will have the money to pay for it. That will run the price of US gas up to levels more in line with the rest of the world’s gas at the pump prices. Iran is the only country not dominated by the US but it is surrounded by US military forces. When China, India and the rest of the world’s abundant supply of oil importers come knocking Iran will find itself in a very favorable bargaining position.
The Iranians have been trying to get an A-bomb into the field quickly to protect themselves from the Americans but that makes for a very precarious situation. They need the A-bombs to keep from being invaded for their oil but by ranting their ideological policies they have created a justification for preemptive attack by Israel. These various conflicts are life threatening to the lives of the various nations involved and they can only get worse as the various individual stressors grow—growing populations, advancing economies, diminishing resources and A-bombs. There is no polite solution to these obvious conflicts of vital national interest. At the moment the United States has a huge military advantage but that can’t last forever. When the United States starts to show weakness around the whole Middle East and especially Iran these other countries with their own vital national self interest will come visiting. It can not help but become very nasty.
Talk about sending wrong messages … here’s one in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle p. B1
What chain of command had to authorize this foolish waste of gas? Certainly the Mayor-Newsom of San Francisco, the Governor-Schwarzenegger of California and the President-Obama of the United States should all condemn this and at least put the heat on those who did authorize it.