03/08/2009 05:52 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Price of Oil, July 4th, and Chuck Berry

I just filled the car for the holiday weekend, $4.53 per gallon. It goes up a nickel every day.

As the dollar signs flew by on the pump, I unconsciously hummed the song blaring on the outdoor speakers:

"Ridin' along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin' wild
Cruisin' and playin' the radio
With no particular place to go"

Suddenly it hit me: driving with no particular place to go? Is Exxon-Mobil now doing stand-up, or just being sarcastic?

Reminds me of another Chuck Berry song:

"Well, I'm so glad I'm livin' in the U.S.A.
Yes, I'm so glad I'm livin' in the U.S.A.
Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A."

Chuck obviously sang of a different time and place. For now let's be real.

George W. Bush's own Energy Department admitted in 2004 that if we opened up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil development, it would take until 2013 to get any crude flowing and would only reduce oil prices by 50 cents a barrel. Not 50 cents a gallon, mind you, but 50 cents a barrel!

The price of a barrel of oil was less than $19.00 shortly after 9/11. Today it's pushing $150.00. The report also said that when ANWR finally hits "peak production" we'll still be importing two-thirds of our oil, as opposed to 70% if we don't drill there. A distinction without a difference.

Thus it's official. Messing with the caribou does nothing to alter our energy plight, now or in the future, and shame on politicians who suggest otherwise to frustrated constituents.

The unnecessary war of choice in the Middle East, which the Bush administration falsely claimed would be paid for with Iraqi oil revenue, has instead rattled the world's oil market.

The economic upheaval that has ensued hurts most of us, including the person running the cash register at the self-serve gas station. It substantially benefits, however, those who are either A/ corporate executives employed by fossil fuel or B/ significant stockholders.

No surprise, really. After all, even during the Great Depression some were able to carry on as if the Gilded Age had never ended.

Back then they were captains of industry, taking care of their heirs for generations to come. Today they're also the highest elected leaders in our land.

So enjoy the parade down main street, the hotdogs and marching bands. And Mr. Berry, I'm sorry your sentiment didn't end up matching modern reality. I truly am. I guess someone should tell Tchaikovsky the news.