Before the war in Iraq began,
SUV owners were polled about their attitudes toward the upcoming conflict, and by a very wide margin, they supported the idea. They all seemed to believe that the war would lower oil prices, and make fueling their gas guzzling behemoths cheap. Now many are expressing dismay that this has not
occurred. I spoke again to William and Susan Wellington, who expressed confusion about the current situation.
"I used to see bumper stickers and tee shirts that said kick their ass, take their gas." said Mr. Wellington, "We have done the first part of that, why not the rest? Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserve, and now we control it, but gas costs more now than it did before the war. It is already over two dollars a gallon, and I need premium!"
"We were going to buy a new SUV once the Escalade is eighteen months old, and loses that new feeling," added Mrs. Wellington "but now I don't know. I hate having to be seen in anything old. If I didn't know better, I might think that young chap I saw on the University campus talking about peak oil wasn't crazy."
For those who don't know, peak oil is the theory that the world's oil supply can be represented as a bell curve. The first half of it will be easy to extract, and therefore cheap. The second half would be increasingly difficult to remove from the ground, and increasingly expensive. Depending upon whom you believe, the result of this could be mere inconvenience, prolonged recession, or war, famine, pestilence and death.
I asked the Wellingtons to consider whether peak oil was a valid theory, and if we had hit it. Susan nodded no, and William bellowed. "That's a bunch of vegan tree-hugger doom-saying nonsense! Where did you get that idea, Al Gore? Are you trying to cause panic? Why do you liberals hate America? We will have oil for centuries to come if we just look for it. We have heard this nonsense since the 1970s. It was not true then, and it's not true now. I don't know exactly why gas prices are so high, but I would wager my last dollar that it is Bill Clinton's fault. After all, it was he who drove Rush Limbaugh to drugs, and he should accept responsibility for that"
The Wellingtons would not talk to me any further after that. I wonder how long big SUVs will keep selling with gas at these prices. Will they still say that fuel-efficient cars are only for tree-huggers in a year? One thing is for certain. People who depend on cheap oil don't want to talk about peak oil.