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Slight decrease in oil prices only temporary

Just in case anyone needed to be reminded, scientist Joseph J. Romm has a piece on about how the dip in gas/oil prices we’re seeing is only a temporary reprieve:

John Hess, chairman of Hess Corp., a global oil and mineral exploration company, said recently, “An oil crisis is coming in the next 10 years. It’s not a matter of demand. It’s not a matter of supplies. It’s both.” In October, Christophe de Margerie, CEO of French oil company Total S.A., said that production of even 100 million barrels a day by 2030 will be “difficult.” In November, James Mulva, CEO of ConocoPhillips, the third biggest U.S. oil company, told a Wall Street conference: “I don’t think we are going to see the supply going over 100 million barrels a day … Where is all that going to come from?”

Why does this matter? Because although Amtrak has been hitting record record ridership levels all over the country, the driving force behind this trend has been fuel prices. If politicians, being the fickle creatures they are, don’t think that prices are going to stay up, they won’t see the point in investing in Amtrak after years of neglect (despite that just being one of many reasons we need intercity rail).

I wish I could say that we’re not so shortsighted as to believe that this is the end of the fuel crisis, but I saw a piece on the local news the other day about how SUV sales at area dealerships have spiked in recent weeks due to lower gasoline prices. This is exactly the kind of thinking that prevented us from addressing this issue 25 years ago.

HT to Streetsblog’s daily update for the original source.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Travel Woes,

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August 2008