America's dependance on cheap oil may be one of the least understood vulnerabilities of our society.
No country in the world is as dependant on cheap oil like we are.....it is the key support beam of our society and economic viability.
When people say look at Europe, they are paying $8 per gallon of gas, what are we complaining about....I think to myself have these idiots ever been to Europe? In almost every country in the world, most of its population lives near work or has access to public transportation to take them to work.
The average European Family consumes a fraction of the gas as the average American Family. Therefore, higher gas prices has a much lower financial impact than the price differential would suggest.
Our society is focused into suburbs with commuters often driving in excess of one hour each way to get to work. We drive distances to shop and entertain ourselves. Walking to the theatre or the store is almost non existant. The entire socioeconomic functionality of America is built upon cheap fuel.
Not only that, we ship goods great distances within our country distributing products primarily by truck. The amount of fuel America consumes per capita is simply unparalled to support our way of life.
Therefore, no country in the would is as unprepared for high fuel costs like we are. We have a very poor public transporation infastructure. We live material distances from just about all of our activities. Transporting goods for nationwide distribuiton is very fuel dependent. Simply living our day to day existance forces many Americans to consume over a hundred gallons of gasoline per month.
Each time gas goes up $1 per gallon, it is like a $1200 tax just on usage of one's vehicle. Then add in the extra costs for goods and services and we are looking at some pretty serious headwinds.
Niether Asia or Europe is burdened like we are by rising fuel prices. Life is centered much more around the immediate community and public transporation. As oil prices keep going up, or competitive advantage decreases further. At some point, we simply shut down. $4 per gallon gas, $5, $6, $7..... the drag is simply too heavy for our country to reasonably function.
Imagine, a nation perceived as the strongest power ever brought to its knees because its people, goods, and services can't afford to move......wow....think of all the money saved by not having to build up a big military effort to blow up our roads and bridges to accomplish the same end.