Tuesday 30 August 2022

Don't be Fuelish: Another Energy Crisis Beckoning

Art Credit: Jack Davis, a Public Service Announcement in Newsweek magazine, September 15, 1975.

An energy crisis of the sort comparable to those which occurred in 1973 and 1979 is already germinating in North America and on the European continent in the form of rising utility bills which are set to reach astronomical levels starting in October.

In 1973 widespread fuel shortages were caused by the oil embargo that was led by Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli War in October of that year, while in 1979, the “Oil Shock” or “Second Oil Crisis”, was caused by the reduction of oil production in the wake of the Iranian Revolution.

The causes are multifaceted and cannot be solely blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine. These include economic policy pursued after the declared pandemic which has led to a steady rise in inflation.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm got herself humiliated by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley when she tried to blame "Putin's War" for the rise in the cost of gas (petrol). When she explicitly blamed "the actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine" for the rise of gas prices in the US, Hawley was brutal in his comeback "With due respect Madam Secretary that is utter nonsense". In January 2021, Hawley reminded, the price of gas was $2.21 cents. But 8 months later "long before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine", the price was up over 30% and has been going up consistently ever since.

While the United States had to contend with the February “Texas Freeze” and the halting of oil production in the Gulf Coast owing to “Hurricane Ida”, a category 4 phenomenon, the boomerang effect of an ill-considered draconian package of economic sanctions which was placed on the Russian Federation.

The “shock and awe” nature of the measures was made with the intention of destroying the Russian economy which was expected to lead to the fall of Putin.

That did not happen.

But what is clear is that with the average consumer household being projected to spend close to half of their earnings on fuel costs, a bleak mid-winter lies ahead, and perhaps, a litany of Public Service Announcements of the sort which proliferated the media during the previous energy crisis’.

Expect a resurrection of the “Don’t be Fuelish” campaigns.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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