A word of warning to our friends in Norway, Australia and the UK: I’m going to complain about cheap gas.
To you, $4 per gallon is cheap, I know. Last I checked prices in Oslo, Norway, I was floored to discover a staggering $9.28 per gallon. Ouch.
For those of us in the U.S., though, four dollars remains the freak-out-inducing number that throws suburban commuters into a panic. At my local station, the price of the 92-octane stuff has eclipsed $4, with 87-octane hot on its heels.
To make prices go down, in theory, we need one of two things to happen: Use a lot less gas, or produce a helluva lot more.
One company thinks it may have a piece of the answer, in the form of tar-soaked sand in Utah.
To quote from the opening paragraph of an AP news story:
Beneath the lush, green hills of eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin, where elk, bear and bison outnumber people, the soil is saturated with a sticky tar that may soon provide a new domestic source of petroleum for the United States.
I’m already sold. It gets even better later in the story, when Earth Energy Resources Inc., the Canadian company that leases the land, said it estimates there are 250 million barrels of recoverable oil just under the surface.
Since America will be stuck on oil for the next generation, at least, we might as well find and exploit all the domestic resources we can to decrease our reliance on the foreign stuff.
Environmentalists are in a bit of a tizzy over the proposal, whining about the destruction of the land, increased greenhouse gases and the like. On the other hand, company officials promise not to pollute, to comply with all regulations, and to eventually leave sand in the area “as clean as beach sand.”
Here’s the way I see it:
There’s a resource we need in the sands of Utah that we might as well extract. Yeah, it would probably change the landscape of the area for a while and might generate some greenhouse gases in the process, but that’s the price we have to pay for oil. Someday technology will evolve and we won’t need oil anymore (or we’ll just run out of it), but in the meantime we might as well keep it local.
If it’s pure, unspoiled land you’re after, try going on a road trip through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Trust me, there’s plenty out there, so sacrificing a few thousand acres in Utah for 250 million barrels of oil seems like a nice trade!
I say go get the oil in Utah. Do you?