Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

bird oil spill

I am back from New Jersey where the gas prices are significantly cheaper- sometimes even under $3.00. We mistakenly take this as good news- less money out of our pockets- but it’s one of those age-old truisms – something cheaper isn’t always the best thing for you.

Based on an analysis of sea-floor sediment samples collected from the Gulf of Mexico, geochemists reported on the final resting place of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. The data was gathered as part of the ongoing federal damage assessment to discover the fate of oil beyond the reach of oil spill cleanup efforts. The study found that as much as 31 percent of the oil originally suspended in the deep ocean (up to 620,000 barrels) has come to rest on the ocean floor, the foundation of the ocean food chain from which all of our ocean life stems. Ugh!

Oil supply is rising because of the American fracking boom, the return of stability to producing nations such as Libya, and falling demand because of economic slowdowns in countries such as China. This brought the price of crude oil from $100 per gallon in recent years to below $85 per barrel. Lower prices for oil have two negative effects: more gasoline burning and less investment in cleaner alternatives and technologies. The EPA predicts that progress will slow down as lower gas prices lead Americans to buy more trucks and SUVs.

It is sad- low prices encourage more oil use, leading to greater CO2 emissions and less regard for such things as the clean up of our oceans- higher oil prices encourage oil-consuming individuals and companies to investment in cleaner zero-fossil-fuel strategies technologies.

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