There it was bumping along the road, that battered beat-up bus that had seen better days just a short time back. There was King Abdullah at the wheel looking for $75 oil with his sidekick Ali al Naimi at his elbow guiding him through unknown peaks and valleys with a battered ExxonMobil road map. On board were ticket takers, the dour Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forever glum, braying at his passenger, unhappy with his far too jolly outfit. And there was Hugo Chavez, mumbling about his displeasure at working in a bus with U.S.-made tires. On board as well, forever taking copious notes, were the bus company's most accomplished apprentices, those prickly twins, Vladimir Putin and his factotum President Dmitry Medvedev .
In its meanderings the bus had lost its way ending up at this faraway place called the North Pole where a Mr. Santa Claus in a cheery red outfit hailed it to a stop. His usual transportation, a heavily loaded red sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer couldn't be budged. It was stuck in melting snow, so you can imagine how happy Mr. Claus was seeing the battered bouncing bus clambering down the road. He waved it down and climbed on board.
In his sack Santa carried a gift for all of us. It was a barrel of oil which we could buy at a special Christmas discount of $35 a barrel. It was well hidden in his sack. Had the driver and his crew known about it, I'm sure poor Santa would have been heaved off the bus and would be up in the tundra somewhere wandering about, looking to hitch a ride with whatever came along. But the bus crew didn't know, and happy to have a paying customer brought him along and delivered him among the good souls waiting for his annual visit.
Well, let me tell you, now that was a Christmas present! Spectacular! Consider that the bus proprietors, the OPEC Cartel Company had managed to get the price of oil to $147/bbl a barrel in July of this very same year. And now here was Santa bringing us oil at $35/bbl a barrel. You see, the OPEC Cartel Bus company could charge passengers whatever the market would bear whenever there are lots of passengers and few buses, or when the government's bus route administration messes up authorized bus routes to such a degree that passengers lose sight of what is what. But when all that gets fixed and real competition sets in, the OPEC Bus Company no longer has the punch to charge whatever it wants, even to the point where the buses have to wander wherever just to pick up passengers.
What does the difference of $147/barrel and $35/barrel mean to us (and just remember those OPEC Bus Company sponsors at Goldman Sachs who were predicting $200/bbl)? Well here in the United States (am rounding out numbers) we consume some 20 million barrels of oil a day. With a price differential of $112/bbl ($147-$35) that comes to slightly over $200 million/day Americans would be paying oil interests, the cartel and its members or near $800 billions a year. An enormous sum even in this age of TARPs, enough to fund a good share of President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plan in the making, toward rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.
Santa also gave us another gift. He showed us where the range of oil prices can and should be, and making us aware, in the price reaching $147/bbl on the commodity exchange, of the levels to which the oil patch and the cartel would take us if they could and would take us again, were they able to do so. That we must do whatever we can as a nation and a society to prevent that from happening. That never again can we permit ourselves to become so dependent on the oil producers. That alternative energy is essential to our economic, national security and environmental future.
Well, Happy New Year Santa! By way of thanks from all of us, before foregoing their private air fleet, General Motors should at least organize one last trip, giving you a lift back to the North Pole.