Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jerry Pournelle on energy and Middle Eastern oil

Pournelle is an old techie and sci fi author:
Regarding energy and the market: at the moment we subsidize gasoline and fuel oil prices by paying for military operations required to keep Middle East oil flowing. If the true costs of those operations were added as a tariff on imported oil, the market would be a great deal different, and domestic energy production would get more investment -- as would conservation measures. But we don't do that...

...You can certainly heat your house with electricity. Right now. And for $300 billion you can both build nuclear power plants and develop fuel cells. And subsidize replacement of inefficient cars with more efficient ones. Three Hundred Billion Dollars is a lot of money.

And, of course, the war is going to cost more.

Perhaps the simplest measure would be to put a tariff on oil imports large enough to cover the costs of the Middle East operations. Then see what happens.
To the extent that our military presence in the Middle East is indeed about oil, he may just have a point.

But make petroleum users pay the real cost? eGad.

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