The Rockford Files

Diversity Is Our Strength

As the summer slid into August, gasoline prices fell a bit, back to about $3.79 per gallon here in the Midwest, and even that modest reprieve seemed to dispel some of the summertime blues.  Traffic on the interstates around Lake Michigan was not quite up to normal August levels (on Sunday afternoon of the second weekend in August, we sailed through Chicago without ever coming to a standstill), but it had picked up from earlier in the summer.

As the November election approaches, the Bush administration will undoubtedly put some pressure on Big Oil, now reporting its third straight year of record profits, to lower the cost of gasoline a little more in hopes of giving a boost to the economy and improving the chances of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.  But in the long run, 2008 will not prove another 1973 or 1979.  Gasoline prices—energy prices in general—will continue to fluctuate, but they are not likely to decline significantly.

Fewer people are laughing at James Howard Kunstler these days, as “peak oil” is becoming a relatively common phrase.  On the other hand, the number of people who are seriously discussing what all this will mean for the United States—economically, culturally, even politically—is still relatively small.  It is not just the end, as I lamented a few months ago, of the automobile culture and the summertime activities that accompanied...

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