A couple of days ago, Jason Vines, vice president of communications for DaimlerChrysler, blasted the oil companies for allegedly manipulating prices and maximizing their profits instead of keeping prices low to help consumers. He said the car companies are developing new technologies and vehicles that are very energy efficient and yet the oil companies are just running to the bank with record profits. Not surprisingly, many environmental groups and anti oil types are smirking a bit while watching the companies battle in the press.
Car companies can accuse big oil of obscene profits only because the auto sector is making so little, but don’t think they wouldn’t trade places in a heartbeat if they could. Oil is riding high because oil is getting scarce due to supply issues both geological and political while demand keeps rising and at the same time, major energy substitutes like nuclear power have been kept offline for so long with massive resistance from environmental groups and unbelievable regulation. Petroleum products are great as a mobile fuel but a poor choice for power generation or heating.
Low cost and widely available electricity from nuclear would keep oil in it’s high value position in the automotive sector. Low cost electricity would also make hydrogen production less costly and would provide inexpensive recharging for electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. A number of environmental advocates like Stewart Brand, previously anti nuclear, have come around entirely and the sooner the rest of that crowd looks at nuclear again we may finally get the energy we need in the quantity we need. For those who think “conservation is the new supply” I may just add that no matter how slow you burn it, sooner or later you have to chop more firewood. Rather than shiver and conserve, lets discover, build and produce alternatives.
Supporters of the free market, like The Kneeslider, don’t believe for a minute that companies are run by angels, in fact, we firmly believe most companies try to maximize their own profit at all times, as they should, leading them to produce what we need and want. Left unchecked, they can make enormous profits at everyone else’s expense but competition from other companies or suppliers of substitute goods, keeps that from happening. Keeping oil’s competitors tied up in regulations just gives oil a free ride and environmental groups who have pushed the resistance to nuclear are actually working for the oil companies’ benefit. Keep thinking windmills and the oil companies chuckle.
It’s puzzling that environmental groups so aware of ecological balance, who say don’t kill the predators off or the prey will get out of hand, seem to miss the competitor relationship in the market and blithely ignore the results of their tinkering. The market, combined with ingenuity and creativity, will supply us with all of the energy we need, unless of course those groups really don’t want us to have lots of energy.
Let the car companies and oil companies take shots at one another, ignore it. Don’t buy into their finger pointing and “those are the bad guys” accusations. Just don’t get in the way of substitutes and competitors for energy products and we’ll have a long future of affordable transportation and vehicles for every use from pure utility to pure fun and I think most of us can appreciate that.