Getting Off Oil Won’t Happen Overnight

We’ve been waffling since the summer of $4 gas.  We’ve gone from demanding electric cars now to drill, baby, drill back to wanting electric cars to come out sooner.  And we don’t mean the $50K Tesla sedan.  (Dear Mr. Tesla, drop the price by 50% and I’ll drop by the dealership.  Until then, forget it.)

The BP debacle in the Gulf has, I think, permanently etched the need to get off oil as soon as possible permanently into the American consciousness.  It’s dirty, dangerous, and too often supplied by people who hate us.  But we need to think clearly about this as we make the shift.  For starters…

  • Let’s stop using the idiotic phrase “oil addiction.”  We’re not “addicted” to oil.  We’re trapped by it.  Alternatives have been available since the 1970’s, but no one thought it was that important.  The embargo of the early 1970’s should have been a hint, but we Americans do have short memories, much to our detriment.  When someone offers a viable alternative, we’ll get off of it.
  • Despite the disaster in the Gulf, I don’t believe we should stop drilling.  But while I feel for Bobby Jindahl, who is scared that his state is going to get hit hard in the wallet without some petroleum jobs, I agree with the current government position of keeping the drills silent until the oil industry can prove it can drill without pissing in our collective swimming pool.  And when they do, prove they can staunch a leak in DAYS instead of MONTHS.  When they don’t, there needs to be pain involved as a consequence.  Massive, make-the-CEO-and-the-board-and-all-senior-management-curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-and-beg-for-death type pain.  The CEO of BP should be forced to live in a trailer on a Wal-Mart greeter’s salary while the government divvies up his personal wealth among the victims in the Gulf.
  • Let’s stop this BS about electric cars just transferring the pollution to the electric grid.  First of all, it still produces less emissions than millions of gas-belching cars on the road now.  Second, it’s easier to replace obsolete coal-burning plants with something cleaner over a couple of decades than it is to retrofit those millions of gas boxes rolling down the highway.
  • America, lose the train phobia.  Yes, Cincinnati, I’m looking at you.  It’s embarrassing that the nation that put men on the moon has become a bunch of Fox News-watching whiny little pussies.  Or do you truly enjoy being raped by Delta, United, et. al?  I don’t.  More trains, less cars and jets.  Stop whining.
  • That seven percent of scientists who say there’s no global warming?  They work for oil companies.  I would not believe an oil company if it said the sky was blue and I was standing in the middle of Death Valley with no cloud in sight even if I looked up.  So why believe these sellouts?  Oh, because the alternative is scarier?  Hey, stupid!  Cowering under the sheets is not American.
  • This is not going to get fixed overnight.  But please stop writing off solutions because they’re not perfect.  Guess what?  Perfect is for fantasy writers.  Perfect does not exist and never will.  Ever.  Not when humans are involved.  If you can’t accept something that improves the problem, you’re the problem.