What’s that Oily Taste?

Posted on March 9, 2011. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , |

 

The recent unrest in the Middle-East has helped push oil futures to multi-year highs.  After getting used to seeing gasoline prices in the mid-$2/gallon range, I was shocked to see my local Exxon selling premium gasoline at just under $4/gallon!  I thought to myself, “thank goodness I don’t own a car” and I kept walking.

But oil’s influence and reach goes far beyond just refined gasoline.  Per capita, Americans use more oil than people in any other country – about twice as much as Europeans.  Similar to our national addiction to fast food, our addiction to oil has many negative consequences.  The difficult thing is, an addiction to junk food has conspicuous symptoms for the individual like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, whereas an addiction to oil has much less apparent and more dispersed consequences.

A shockingly high percentage of everything that we use, consume, and rely upon on a daily basis is either produced from or powered by fossil fuels and their byproducts – all of which grow more costly as the price of oil rises.  Every stage of a product’s life-cycle, from production, to transportation & distribution, to delivery & consumption require energy and ingredients to make the product — and an ever-present ingredient in our products and a majority of what powers us is oil or other fossil fuels.

Because we don’t see or know how much energy goes into the products and services that we purchase and consume, we’re shielded from knowing the full extent of our personal energy demands — and unprepared when rising oil prices increase the cost of everything else.

While I’m hoping that we don’t find ourselves in a tight economic bind due to spiraling consumer prices; perhaps coming to a shared realization that we are all interconnected and that our daily economic choices have real consequences, could help us in the long run.

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