Fatal Tragedy

November 3, 2012

One of the great — and most-horrifying — paradoxes of our time is the destructive cycle of humanity’s obsession with oil and its by-products, way-most-notably, gasoline.

A vivid illustration of this phenomenon is the picture at left of a gas station in New Jersey (photo found here), just one of dozens like it across the muddled and twisted landscape left in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — people are scrambling to get some of that precious fluid which propels ‘normal‘ life in this particular age of history.
And via this vicious cycle, we strive (and get pissed for not getting it) for the exact same ingredient which helped create that overwhelming storm in the freakin’ first place, and which in the short-long-term, apparently will eventually kill all of us.

Way-bizarre, huh?

So inundated by this surprisingly self‐contradictory lifestyle, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order on Friday — to begin today at noon — declaring a state of energy emergency and instituting gas rationing for the purchase of fuel by motorists in 12 counties, which harks back to the 1970s scenario of distributing fuel by even/odd vehicle license plates.
Back then, I think (at my age and ex-mental facilities) some of the gas stations — or maybe all — were also closed on Sundays, maybe in just some regions.
Yet this from Wikipedia: Nixon requested gasoline stations to voluntarily not sell gasoline on Saturday nights or Sundays; 90 percent of owners complied, which resulted in lines on weekdays.
And that the 1974 ‘oil crisis,’ not to be confused with the the 1979 Jimmy Carter ‘oil crisis,’ and so on to this very day at noon, I’d guess New Jersey time.

Meanwhile, back out here on the Left Coast, north and behind the Redwood Curtain, life continues unabated, though somewhat irregular — it’s been warm, a bit humid and sometimes quite sunny.
During the onslaught earlier this week by Sandy, amid pictures/videos of the storm, the weather here was near-impeccable, which did cause some nervous guilt.
And from customers at the liquor store I manage, one don’t gotta be Dr. Phil to sense an undercurrent of an odd anxiety off remarks about how-great our local environment.

Ditto the hassle of getting gasoline.
Yesterday, I put another $20 worth of gas in my Jeep at the local Union 76, and once again, the price had fallen — now down to $4.19 a gallon for regular.
A 20-cent drop in just a bit more than a week, down nearly 50 cents since that crazy highball early last month.
Statewide, California’s pump prices have also had a downward spike, if one could use such an inverted descriptive phrase: The California average of $4.14 a gallon on Tuesday was two cents lower than on Sept. 30. South Bay drivers were forking over $4.09 a gallon, which is 10 cents cheaper than the average price one month ago.
And there were no long lines at the station, in fact, during this visit my Jeep the only vehicle at the pumps — easy in, easy out.

Even with the mess in New Jersey, nationwide prices at the pump have also dropped fairly well — from cnbc on Friday: Regular gasoline is now $3.496 a gallon on average nationally, down 8 cents in a week and a 28-cent plunge in a month. The national average is only 7 cents higher than a year ago.
Gasoline’s source, oil, gained in price at the end of the week, based not only on events off Hurricane Sandy, but some optimistic economic news: On Thursday, the benchmark contract for crude oil gained 85 cents to finish at $87.09 per barrel in New York. In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was up 24 cents to $108.41 per barrel.

Hence, back to that peculiar time of right-now and oil.
National Geographic in understatement summarizes climate change:

One of the first things scientists learned is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways.
Most come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, factories and electricity production.
The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide, also called CO2.
Other contributors include methane released from landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.

Pulitzer Prize winner Cynthia Tucker this morning on climate change and Hurricane Sandy just the ‘taste of things to come:’

For years now, climate scientists have produced reports warning coastal cities of the dangers they face because of rising sea levels produced by a warming planet.
Those reports have been ignored or, worse, dismissed by politicians and a public who didn’t want to believe that could be true.
Climatologists have also pointed out that extreme weather events  –  calamitous hurricanes, severe droughts, devastating floods  –  are occurring more frequently.
As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted last week: “There have been a series of extreme weather events. That is not a political statement; that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there is not a change in weather patterns is denying reality.”

Current reality, however, is that literally we need to stop immediately-if-not-sooner the use of fossil fuel — period.
Discontinue by everybody on this planet the driving-engine of civilization?
Chances of that happening are…what…zero?
Which if you live in New Jersey is considered an even number.

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