The never-before-seen high price of oil is having a stressful and devastating effect on just about everyone at levels of society.
Who could ever imagine that a barrel of crude oil would shot up to US $140 in a single day?
A mere 10 years ago that same barrel was selling for US $15.15 and today nine times as much. Little wonder the average price for a gallon of gas in New York is between $4.35 and $4.45.
The airline industry in the US is in a shambles as result of the high cost of jet fuel. Fares have been increased by more than 300 per cent in some cases, fewer flights are available; there is now a charge for luggage and massive layoffs.
In Cayman, consumers are paying more to put gas in their cars and diesel in their trucks than we are paying here in New York and other states.
The ripple effect is that high oil prices leads to high gas prices, which leads to high food prices, higher airfares, higher electricity bills; and on and on it goes.
Experts tell us that there are several reasons for the astronomical cost of oil. There is the supply and demand factor, depreciation of the US dollar (oil is traded in US currency) and the influx of investors into the commodity futures market, where speculators and index traders will bid the price as high as the market will bear for investors.
Demand for oil and oil products has dramatically increased because of the rapid industrialisation of countries around the world, such as India and China with their huge populations. On the other hand, the United States with only three per cent of the world’s population and consumes 25 percent of the world’s energy. America consumes 10 billion barrels of oil per year.
Looking back, oil was dirt cheap then as compared to these times, so there was no reason to even consider conserving or finding alternate sources of energy. However, times have drastically changed and demand will continue to rise as many countries economy depend on oil as their main source of energy.
I believe that one of the best ways out of this gloomy situation is to find and develop alternative sources of energy, such as solar power for homes and businesses, build vehicles that can use hydrogen, develop batteries that can power a car engine for a couple of hundred miles before recharging, rapidly increase manufacture of hybrid (gasoline/electric) vehicles, and utilize nuclear power to generate electricity. Windmill turbines are also proving to be a great source of electricity.
Each of us can also play a vital role in energy reduction and conservation by modifying our travelling habits; do more car pooling to get to/from work, installing more energy efficient lights and appliances in our homes and businesses.
Here in New York the bicycle as a means of transportation is becoming more and more popular and rider ship on the trains and buses has increased considerably.
We are all in the fight together. Let us support each other.