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Headline: America, Beyond Thunderdome

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In reading the news I noticed a few items over the weekend about rashes of gas theft. This one, about a man using storage tanks to steal between 3,000 and 10,000 gallons of gasoline in Florida and this one, about a gentleman in Balitimore who hijacked a tanker truck with 7,100 gallons of diesel fuel inside. It seems as though these sorts of theft will become more and more commonplace the higher the prices of gasoline rise in combination with it's dwindling reserves.

It seems as though the post-apocalyptic nightmare of The Road Warrior is fast becoming true.

Unless we almost completely shift our energy dependence from fossil fuels, it's very easy to see us in twenty years living in small, tight knit communities, zealously guarding our gasoline with our lives from any would-be thieves. We'd barricade the streets with discarded vehicles and old busses, we'd sandbag the holes with old tires and we'd protect the precious gasoline. Because without gasoline, why would life be worth living?

It seems as though the oil companies and politicians who won't insist on shifting our focus from gasoline to renewable and clean burning fuels are those poor souls in that community already, guarding their livelihood with their lives. (Does that make Republicans the feral child with the boomerang?) And I suppose that in this terrible metaphor, that would make those who care about common sense and the Earth Lord Humungus. Which isn't so bad if we need to attack the problem with the same amount of zeal that Lord Humungus and his posse did and take the oil away from them.

But the problem isn't going to be easy, and it's going to be to the death. Like Thunderdome: Two men enter, one man leaves....

(I bet you can guess which President and Vice-President team would be Master-Blaster in that metaphor. I'll let you decide who gets to be Master and who gets to be Blaster)

On a more serious note though, aren't these reports of gas theft proof positive that the problem with dependence on oil for energy is out of control and it's having disastrous effects on the economy? What happens when gas supplies dwindle and the price of gas skyrockets and John Q. Middleclass can't afford to get to work? An oil economy is just not a viable system.

The sun. Now there's an energy source I can get behind, we've got plenty of that. But if we don't fix the problem soon, we'll be living in George Miller's films a lot sooner than we think.


Bryan Young blogs daily at This Divided State

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