Americans get what they deserve
Everybody is whining about prices at the pump. But America is not a resource-poor country like Japan. In fact, it is one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. So why is it that there never seems to be enough oil?
For the answer, look at the eastern outskirts of Los Angeles in the morning rush hour. Here's what the lanscape looks like. Miles and miles of empty open space with an occasional community of 50 single-story houses here and there. The terrain looks like a developer's dream, but it will stay empty forever. Baby boomers need high property values. Running through this open terrain is a highway that leads straight to the desert, and this highway is literally clogged with tens of thousands of cars trying to get to the downtown. Why would all these people live in the desert? Because the residential density in the near suburbia is too low to house the entire population. If you want to have one single-story house per square mile, the urban sprawl becomes inevitable. As a result, every day hundreds of thousands of people have to drive a hundred extra miles to get from home to work and then from work to home. This, in turn, means higher consumption of oil, faster loss of cars to wear and tear, higher road maintenance costs, steeper premiums for liability insurance, and thousands of hours of precious time wasted needlessly in driving every day from Victorville to Anaheim. Of course, what is true for Los Angeles is also true for any other big city. Los Angeles is just a good example of a community obcessed with property values and paying the cost in an indirect way, which incidentally, makes GDP statisticians delighted with all this unnecessary economic activity. Now, the domestic production of oil would cover most of the reasonable consumption, which would result in zero trade deficit and no need to worry about OPEC and fight stupid wars in the Middle East. But Americans have to drive more than any other nation on earth because their city planning authorities wouldn't let people live near where they work. The high price of oil is just the price that Americans are paying for the high price of their houses.
$104 per barrel. Why is happening to us? Oh why?