Thursday, June 26, 2008

Painful disbelief

I was distressed greatly by an entry I read on my nephew's blog this morning. From it, I gather that he feels there is no shortage of oil, and that the rise in oil costs is a big game that oil speculators (whoever they are) are playing to . . . what? He doesn't say. Scare Americans? (Can you say Code Orange?) Line their pockets? What?

An articulate writer, my nephew believes that these "artificially inflated" prices will eventually correct themselves, and living in America will be a Utopian experience. (As long as you don't charge anything on your credit cards; he works for the financial counselor Dave Ramsey.)

An actual quote from his blog is: "In the meantime, don't fall victim to the fuel efficient car trap."

I don't know if my nephew has ever driven in Europe where gas is sold by the liter (about a quart) because that makes the prices look lower. You don't see many SUVs in Europe because they've been paying exorbitant fuel costs for years and years. The cars are tiny over there as they should be. I'm sure Europeans would be delighted to learn that when they wake up tomorrow, fuel prices will have plummeted (because the economy has corrected itself).

From a May 2008 Time magazine article:
"Across the European Union, the average cost of a gallon of gas runs to about $8.70 — more than twice what Americans are shelling out to fill up. And Europe's dizzying fuel costs would be even worse if it weren't for the considerable appreciation of the euro and the British pound against the dollar over the past year, which has partially offset the price escalation in dollar-traded oil." [That $8.70 would be about $17 out of our pocket if we visited Europe today.]

I am appalled that anyone would believe that we have an unlimited supply of natural resources on this earth and that we can use them up without regard for future generations. Maybe my nephew believes that Jesus will come again before we have to worry about our fuel supplies, but he has a baby on the way and I can't imagine that he doesn't consider the future of his child.

One of the points he makes is that he doesn't think people should rush out and buy fuel efficient cars just because of the current oil crisis, thereby sustaining new debt. Because he works for Ramsey, I would expect him to say that. Fine, don't rush out and get into debt buying a fuel efficient car. If you don't already own one (and why wouldn't you?), make a small or hybrid or clean diesel car your next purchase. When you buy a new car, buy one that doesn't guzzle this earth's natural resources.

What would Jesus do? He would walk.


Eric Lackey said...

Hey Terri, first off, thanks for commenting on my blog. Isn’t it great that we live in this country where we are free to say whatever we feel and everyone can disagree? Second, I think some of my comments were misinterpreted slightly. I never that I “believe that we have an unlimited supply of natural resources on this earth and that we can use them up without regard for future generations” or anything close to that.

Just because I choose to be a little skeptical and not believe every single thing that environmentalists tell me does not mean that I don’t care about the environment or the future of my children. I strongly believe that we need to cut our heavy dependence on oil as soon as possible and we definitely should not be dependent on any foreign resources from countries who are enemies of the United States. We are just setting ourselves up for disaster if we do.

My main point was that people need to use a little common sense related to the current fuel prices. I know several people who have wanted to drop their paid off car for a new fuel efficient car. If they told me that they were doing it to protect the environment, I would say “If you feel strongly about that, then you should do it as long as you can pay for it”. But, they aren’t saying that. They are saying that it will save them money, but that’s mostly just nonsense that the car companies are pushing. If any of those people used a basic calculator, they would find that it would be years before they see any financial benefits.

As for the price of gasoline going down anytime soon, it very well may not. But, there is no reasonable explanation for the fact that a barrel of gasoline has gone up over $100 in 4 years. Demand has gone up of course, but not enough to cause a 300% increase in 4 years. Also, you seemed to think that I made up the idea of oil speculation. It’s actually a very large sector right now in the investment community and is one of the few investments that are currently making money right now. I believe that they have a very good reason to keep the prices high – their shareholders. It’s just disconcerting that a lot of the reports released about oil prices rising come from large investment firms.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got. We could probably go on for a while on this one topic. All we can really do is pray (and buy environmentally friendly cars when we can afford them). 

Love, Your Nephew - Eric

Anonymous said...

Gosh, my beloved spouse and my nephew, dialogue can also lead to greater understanding. One great problem we face is that, as a culture, those of us who are reasonably affluent can choose to live around people just like us. Hence, we rarely talk to sensible people of opposing viewpoints.

For example, if Terri and I were ever leave our comfortable Blue State atmosphere and move back to Tennessee, we wouldn't live in Williamson County if we were paid to. We'd go back to commie-pinko-liberal East Nashville or the Vanderbilt area, where our kind of people live.

And we'd attend a church where people believe just like us: that denying homosexuals equal rights in society and the church is a sin; that not caring for the world God pronounced good is a sin; that excessive energy us is a sin; that failing to care for the poor is a sin; that conversion of our own life is more important than converting other people; that all religions have value and are also subject to dire abuse; etc., etc., etc. That’s hardly what we would here in most Williamson churches.

So, let’s try to keep talking and be civil (a challenge for me oftentimes, particularly after a wee drinkie).

And let us all read the Sermon on the Mount weekly. Sermon ended.

Terri said...

Eric, I'm glad to know I misunderstood some of what you were saying. That makes me feel better.

I remember when I was in college (working at a drive-in gas station; they weren't all drive ins back then), the price of gas rose to a horrifying 60 cents per gallon. I actually took a photo of it because I thought it was so terrible. It never went down. To be sure, inflation doesn't explain the steep rise in oil prices, but I'm all for it. (Though I complain as much as anybody.) It just means we won't use as much of our natural resources.

Hello to Rachel and Mason.

Eric Lackey said...

I agree that their are benefits to the prices of oil going up. It will hopefully make some very smart people get off their butts and develop better alternative fuel/energy sources. This might just be the spark they needed.

Terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri said...

I removed my last post because I thought when you said "this might be just the spark they needed" I thought you were factiously referring to the blog. (So I said Our blogs saved the world!) And you meant higher gas prices. I seem to be misunderstanding a lot...