As oil gushes into Gulf, Americans snap up SUVs

oil-spill-suveditors-blog-entry3What gives?

The worst oil spill in U.S. history unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico – and America goes out and buys SUVs.

Sales of SUVs accounted for nearly 49 percent of all new automobiles purchased in the U.S. in May, up six percent from two years ago.

At the same time, polls show Americans are steamed at BP and frustrated with President Obama and the Federal Government for its (mis)handling of the environmental disaster in the Gulf.

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Yes, there have been some calls for conservation from some – though, sadly, they haven’t come from the President who, as New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman recently noted, has clearly missed a chance to offer real leadership on energy consumption in the wake of the BP spill.

In general, though, conservation and a meaningful movement away from oil and toward electric vehicles powered by renewable energy forms like solar and wind is not even on the mainstream media radar.

Is Gulf spill only BP’s fault?
Sadly, it would appear it’s not on the radar for most Americans either, most of whom either:

  1. clearly do not make the connection between their own oil consumption and what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico;
  2. or do not want to make this connection and prefer to live in denial;
  3. or perhaps do make the connection, but naively believe that the BP disaster is only BP’s fault and absolutely no one else’s.

I’m guessing that not too many people who spend much time on the pages of SolarChargedDriving.Com fall under “a” or “b”, though some might fall under “c”. A poll I posted about a month ago querying visitors to this web site on their thoughts about who is to blame for the BP disaster seems to indicate this is the case. Out of eight votes cast so far, three people have said they felt “not very responsible” for the spill, two have indicated they feel “somewhat responsible,” two chose “very responsible”, and one indicated he or she feels “not at all responsible” for the ongoing BP oil spill disaster.

The trouble with “a” is clear: The deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is undeniably happening because of our insatiable appetite for oil. The trouble with “b” is also clear: Living in denial, while convenient, is dangerous. The trouble with “c” is perhaps not as clear. The logic of those who argue it’s BP’s fault only goes like this: If BP had acted responsibly, then the spill would not have happened.


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Oil-induced damage a global issue
What this perspective misses are the ongoing environmental oil disasters we never hear about because they’re not occurring in the U.S., but, for instance, happen in off-the-American-media-radar spots like Nigeria. Perhaps even more significant, this perspective misses the simple fact that oil companies like BP will increasingly have to go after oil in harder-to-access and more dangerous areas, for example, several miles below the surface of the ocean, something which almost certainly will increase the likelihood of accidents.

Many experts say we have already reached Peak Oil, or the point at which global oil production will decline – and this happening precisely at the same time giant developing world economies such as China and India are jumping aboard the global oil express. Although you never hear about The End of Oil in the mainstream media, this, too, is coming, almost certainly by the end of this century, meaning within the lifetimes of your children, and certainly their grandchildren.

Then what?

Although you never hear about The End of Oil in the mainstream media, this, too, is coming, almost certainly by the end of this century, meaning within the lifetimes of your children, and certainly their grandchildren.

No doubt, as our industrial oil-based societies come closer and closer to End of Oil and as its inevitable approach forces more drilling in increasingly treacherous places and, therefore, inevitably leads to more BP-like disasters, more of us will start to make the connection between our own actions and what is going on “down” there or “over” there.

Let’s hope this transformation doesn’t take too long. Because the sooner more of us make this connection and stop buying inefficient vehicles the less painful the End of Oil will be and the less likely that we will have to watch helplessly as another sickening oil disaster unfolds before us , and at least in part because of us.

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