Oil. How much is left and how much will we pay—both in terms of money and well being—to continue to extract this unsustainable resource? Turmoil in the Middle East and Africa has driven petroleum prices higher recently, which have historically taken a large toll on the American public, particularly during the oil shocks of the 1970s that sparked rounds of stagflation. Is a per barrel price of over $110 the new normal or are we seeing a temporary spike that we will weather without much ado?
What’s the Most Recent Development?
There are two main effects of a rise in oil prices: psychological distress at the pump and damage to the national economy. Oil’s grip on the American psyche may be here to stay, due to simple factors such as omnipresence of gas prices posted on American roads and the necessity of driving a car everywhere. The American economy, on the other hand, is better equipped than before to outlast this temporary price hike because many Americans have already replaced their S.U.V.s and clunkers with more fuel efficient vehicles.