When I was reading through roblog's Gas Prices Rising on Refineries' Failures blog entry, I got to looking back. The oil industry has had plenty of chances despite all the mergers and plant closings over the years to either build new plants or modify/modernize their current ones. Will we see a recurrence of the 1974 gas shortages all over again?
We have the abilities and technologies to have cars with higher MPGs, maybe 50+, not the hybrids. Heck, by now, we could have had better ways of burning that gas so it burns more completely with less toxic and lethal exhausts.
If they modernized or built new plants, they'd be taking advantage of various things available today that weren't 25+ years ago. The plants could use less electricity, be computerized more or less than they are now, maybe fewer personnel, backup processing areas in case of failures, and a few other things, which could easily add up to less expenses. All that can translate to lower pump prices. It can be done.
So why aren't we there? Is greed rearing its ugly head again? It's not just the events in the Mideast, the weather, or plant issues. It could be a matter of time before we see another Enron or Worldcom meltdown, a rather oily way to go. The failures we're seeing now will only accelerate given enough time and inactivity. Until then, we'll be paying an arm and a leg to fill up our gas hogs. Do your part by swapping to a higher MPG vehicle or keeping your current one in good shape with tuneups, tire checks, that sort of thing.