A recent Bloomberg article notes that “ISIS” is more or less a “Taliban with oil fields”:
“The Islamic State, which now controls an area of Iraq and Syria larger than the U.K., may be raising more than $2 million a day in revenue from oil sales, extortion, taxes and smuggling, according to U.S. intelligence officials and anti-terrorism finance experts. ”
Well, that’s very interesting, isn’t it? What if there were to be a sudden drop in demand for oil? Wouldn’t that be a good thing in that it would diminish the money that “ISIS” has coming in? And who could lead the way in such a drop in demand? Why, none other than the world’s largest economy (for now, anyway): the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Does the technology exist? Would it be possible? An article at Scientific American from 2011 offers one take on it:
“Switch fleet vehicles to natural gas. Converting hundreds of thousands of cars, vans and buses to natural gas is technically not difficult, and because they operate from central hubs, they can easily fill up on natural gas there; there would be no need for a nationwide network of natural gas stations. Furthermore, many short and even long-haul trucks could operate in the same manner if only a small number of natural gas stations were built along major interstate highways.”
And of course, there’s Tesla and other electric cars:
“When industry analysts, financial analysts and the motoring press have all lavished praise on a car, there’s a fair chance it’s a pretty good car.
That’s the case for the Tesla Model S electric car, particularly as two market analysts from Credit Suisse have seen fit to provide a point-by-point breakdown on just why the car is so good.
They even go as far as to say that Tesla has proven electric vehicles are “inherently better”, even if the general public doesn’t know it yet.”
So getting off oil in a big way, it can be convincingly argued, is not only possible in the short run, but also quite desirable in terms of geopolitical and health impacts (smog, emissions-related issues). And thereby, lowering demand for oil would hurt the cartels and the oil peddlers, just as lowering demand for marijuana—by legalizing it, of course–has hurt the Mexican cartels that dominate the illegal drug trade:
The DOJ’s National Drug Intelligence Center, which has since been shut down, found in 2011 that the top cartels controlled the majority of drug trade in marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamine in over 1,000 US cities.
Now, those cartels and their farmers complain that marijuana legalization is hurting their business. And some reports could suggest that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is more interested in helping to protect the Mexican cartels’ hold on the pot trade than in letting it dissipate.
Seven Mexican cartels have long battled for dominance of the US illegal drug market: Sinaloa, Los Zetas, Gulf, Juarez, Knights Templar, La Familia, and Tijuana. While some smaller cartels operate only along border regions in the Southwest and Southeast, giant cartels like Sinaloa have a presence on the streets of every single region.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that pot farmers in the Sinaloa region have stopped planting due to a massive drop in wholesale prices, from $100 per kilo down to only $25. One farmer is quoted as saying: “It’s not worth it anymore. I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization.”
So why don’t we do it?
If getting off oil would have all these benefits–which would include stopping wars over energy—why don’t we do it? Because it would stop wars over energy, that’s why! As Smedley Butler, the most highly-decorated Marine in his day, said:
“WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
War is more profitable than all the weed in Mexico and all the oil in the Middle East. But that doesn’t change the fact that it really ought to be our patriotic duty and our goal as a nation to get off oil right now in order to stop these resource wars.