A bit about oil and our dependence on it

A bit about oil. The lowest cost oil comes from the Middle East, where it is readily accessible, which makes it cheap. Dambisa Moya in “Winner Take All” states that “most oil, Norway excepted, is controlled by powerful, often fabulously wealthy, frequently tyrannical ruling families or closed political cartels. Thus, in one fashion or another, much of the industrialized world is beholden to a whole range of despotic, even dangerous, oil-supplying nations. About 4/5 of the world’s known petroleum reserves lie in politically unstable or contested areas. This is why countries such as the United States continue to depend on energy imports from some of the most politically suspect and unstable countries and regions on earth.” So, should we be dealing with these countries? No, of course not.

On the other hand, the more difficult oil is to produce, the more expensive, in both money and energy spent to obtain it, it gets. In the Mid East, a 10 percent profit can be made at $20 per barrel. Deep water oil needs $40 per barrel, ultra deep water oil needs $60 per barrel, extra heavy and Arctic oil need $80 per barrel, and fracking for oil needs $120 per barrel for the company to make a 10 percent profit. We have a choice, deal with dangerous, unstable governments, or pay through the nose.

Actually, we have a third choice, convert to electric, run by solar, wind, tidal, hydro, or geothermal power, clean up the environment and help to mitigate global warming all at the same time. Once the infrastructure is in place for clean energy, the earth’s natural systems do the work for us without polluting the earth and changing the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, please conserve oil, drive less, carpool, consolidate errands, avoid drive-throughs and idling your car, and go hybrid or electric for your next car. Remember, each gallon of gas burned sends 5 1/2 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere.

JAHNN SWANKER-GIBSON

Johnstown