I'm not an economist by a long stretch. I'm not savvy to the corporate world or in with the in-crowd of shakers and movers. By comparison, I'm a grain of sand on the beach. But even this grain of sand gets it...high gas prices are here to stay. The sooner you get that through your sandy hair, the easier it will be to reorganize your life.
Why does this grain of sand believe this? It seems pretty obvious I think. First, the fact is oil is a finite resource. Second, there is a growing demand for it from emerging countries, like China and India. These countries are growing in their demands because we are enabling their economies to rapidly expand. QUIT BUYING THINGS MADE OVERSEAS! (And we need to stop outsourcing jobs and industries. This is so basic I can't believe we continue to buy Chinese products and send industry to places like Mexico and S.E. Asia. Anyway...)
So, as the demand for this product increases, the price goes up. The Saudis are, after all, besides being xenophobes and haters of westerners, shrewd businessmen. It's called the Law of Supply and Demand.
Cashing in on this are the U.S. oil companies. They can boo-hoo and make all the lame excuses they want, but I have no pity on people who make billions in profits and then act helpless.
What will happen is that ultimately the U.S. will break down and start drilling in places that environmentalists are trying to safeguard. However, just because there will be more oil, don't expect prices to come down. Why should they? The oil industry will keep them elevated since they know we, as consumers, will continue to pay at the pump. They'll come up with all the lame excuses about costs for drilling and blah blah blah. They are only waiting until we are screaming and rioting before they begin drilling here. Perhaps they'll lower costs a token just to appease us, but probably not.
A way of life is ending. Pure and simple. Sadly, as a country we have done nothing to prepare. We still drive gas-guzzling vehicles. There's still a dearth of public transportation such as trains, subways, etc. etc., particularly in the West. What is there...a subway in San Francisco and a monorail in Seattle? Maybe a trolley here and there, but public transportation is absolutely pathetic compared to that which is available in European nations.
So, what can you do besides buy a fuel efficient car? Here's what I've gleaned on this topic. First, slow down. Second, use your cruise control when possible. Third, accelerate and brake SLOWLY. Fourth, try to live closer to your job so you can bike, walk or take a city bus. Fifth, if you must drive to town, be organized and make all your stops in one trip rather than driving in every day for an item or two. Ever thought of driving a motorcycle or motorscooter?
This does not touch on heating fuel. People who live in the north should get ready to wear lots of sweaters! Maybe move to Panama...Peru...pick your equatorial spot. Sick of high food prices brought on by the cost of fuel? Try gardening...even container pots can produce a lot of food. Keep a chicken as a pet! Eat meat less. Milk's not all it's cracked up to be anyway, so I've been told. Learn to eat beans. Vacation at home and do house projects or explore the city where you live instead of driving or flying to Disneyland, Hawaii or Orlando. Forget Europe! Download Google Earth and visit all those places vicariously.
All of this debacle over fuel is going to affect every aspect of our lives. It's not going to be at all nice. People are already literally starving to death in poorer countries because of the high fuel prices. It's going to be a third class world...except for the Middle East and the new nation of Exxon-Mobil.