While it’s tempting to blame an economic crisis on a single individual (the president, a foreign head of state, your deity of choice), the truth is inevitably more complex. And so it is with the skyrocketing cost of oil and gas. A complicated network of forces combined to create the present situation, where gas could possibly reach $5 a gallon within the next year. Here’s a primer on some of the intersecting forces that combine to make the price of gas too damn high.
“Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World” by Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD narcotics officer turned investigative journalist, attributes much of the September 2008 economic crash to the spike in oil prices. Ruppert lays out a 25-point plan for a cost-effective method of managing energy resources—suggestions include the wide-scale evaluation of alternative energy sources and the creation of a second strategic petroleum reserve for the use of state and local governments.
Former oil NYMEX trader Dan Dicker says the oil markets are broken—and he’s got plenty of ideas on how to fix them in his book “Oil’s Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy.” Dicker argues that “the financialization of oil transformed a sleepy niche market into a global Ponzi scheme” rife with “dumb money” investment opportunities. Rather than discussing future alternative energy options, Dicker focuses on ways to fix the present-day oil situation through economic tactics.
In “Barbarians of Oil: How the World’s Oil Addiction Threatens Global Prosperity and Four Investments to Protect Your Wealth” Sandy Franks details the 150-year history of Big Oil, covering everything from Colonel Drake’s 1858 spike in Pennsylvania to the 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He paints a damning portrait of an industry he claims is rife with corruption and unethical political influence.
Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin makes the case that energy is the primary currency in geopolitics—and the literal and metaphorical fuel on which modern society runs. His latest book, “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World,” takes readers from D.C. to Beijing to the former Soviet Union to the Middle East, stopping at other key points along the way, in order to illustrate the elaborate interplay of political and economic forces in the global oil market.