Wednesday 7 January 2015

peak oil or race to the bottom

The last time that petrol prices were at this level was just after the so called Great Recession impacted the markets and caused an industry glut and gas was on the trajectory upward in June of 2009. This flashback index, which is just a point on the continuum that’s made all the more painful by knowing it’s neither a wholly good thing nor liking to be lasting, finds H and I fresh from our Roman holiday—Qaddafi was apparently visiting at the same time. 

Elsewhere US forces were withdrawing from a tumultuous Iraq, Michael Jackson passed away, France is in Sarkozy’s court, North Korea prepares for nuclear ballistics tests, civil war rages in Somali, too big to fail enters economic terminology, bird flu is spreading and swine flu becomes endemic and Russian aggression in Georgia continues with the establishment of a permanent military presence. Seeing the prices at the pump is not as jarring as seeing the gas station billboard conserved in that 1985 (the Iran-Iraq War and the OPEC price-war) Tears for Fears music video Everybody Wants to Rule the World—but conveys almost the same sense of apprehension. Whatever factors are behind this downward trend, nefarious, punitive or accidental, is no favour or respite, as current prices do not provide any incentive for diversification, even if there was already a little will and delicate momentum to improve, businesses, with transportation costs less of a consideration, can well afford to cast its tenterhooks further afield and stir up some cut-throat competition, and for consumers, once prices do rise again, it will be particularly punishing. What do you think? Will any good come of this?