Originally posted by e1618978
OPEC is pumping at 100%, and will continue to do so as long as the price of oil is over $40/barrel. Oil will never go below $40/barrel again, because we have passed peak oil and are on an exponential demand curve due to 3rd world industrialization.
Therefore, no matter what you do every drop of oil that we can burn we will burn.
The current price of oil, adjusted for inflation, is not all that high historically speaking, and much of the current price is related to the mess in Iraq, other Middle East instability, and the troubled US/Venezuela relationship. We simply aren't seeing the kind of pricing which indicates a large unmet demand. Yes, we'll get there, but currently I don't see signs of the ferocity of unmet demand it would take to ensure the kind of inflexible, consume-every-drop-available demand you claim exists which would make any and all attempts at conservation futile.
Suppose current demand is 105% of current supply. Suppose conservation allows us to burn 20% less fuel. That brings demand down to 85% of supply. What magic formula of supply and demand automatically, unquestionably guarantees the price drop for fuel caused by that drop in demand will ensure demand immediately surges back up to 100% or more of supply?
If we can make really big inroads over the next 10 years via both conservation and alternate fuels, and reduce our demand for oil by say 30-40%, and in that process help provide the rest of the world with products and technologies which make consumption of oil, even if cheaper, less appealing, your "give up, it's no use" attitude makes even less sense.
That kind of conservation would certainly take more than having few SUVs on the road, but that's good start at building the whole collection of little savings which, coupled with a Manhattan Project serious about alternative fuels, could get us there.
Energy costs are only a fraction of the costs of things people do that consume energy. Even at current prices, we're still living in a period of fairly cheap energy. If big energy consumers like the US cut back their demand for oil via conservation and alternative energy, the desire and the capital to buy more cars, buy bigger cars, build new factories, buy air conditioners, etc., etc., which will burn up every drop of oil we save, just because we made that oil a little cheaper, hardly follows automatically or quickly.
1. Keeping up with the Jonses
2. Think it is cool to have the most capible off road vehicle on the planet.
I bought your "conservation is hopeless" argument, that still doesn't excuse the stupidity of having so many SUVs on the road. They are wastefully consuming fuel that, if it's going to be used anyway, could be used far more productively.