We have seen this before.
While we have been through a number of "energy crisis" situations, this is the first one in memory that started with this level of social unrest in the middle east oil producing regions. The others are "manufactured" and this one is more real, though no expert has gone on record yet to say that Libya's oil production has slowed or halted.
The $200/barrel price of oil is purely speculative. It is our friends at Wall Street once again taking advantage of world events to feed their greed. Oil is flowing at the same rate now as a year ago.
That being said, consumers are "over a barrel" because this kind of speculation always happens with finite resources. If we continue to tap the world's oil supply at any rate, some day it will be exhausted.
The call for alternative and renewable energy is always the loudest in time of high oil prices. In the past, those prices would fall again just in time to subvert institutional and corporate investments in alternatives. OPEC would play us just long enough for us to think about getting serious about our dependency, but somehow prices would drop again just before we get real serious. Funny how that seems to happen.
But this time it may be different. Driven by actual revolution in the middle east oil producing regions, price fluctuations may actually have some basis in fact. The successful resistance to overthrown regimes will not forget that their predecessors were friendly to the US. The OPEC cartel may be threatened, creating even more instability.
This insanity should make us do the sane thing, to get off this roller coaster once and for all. We need to follow all avenues for the creation of a network of sustainable, and better yet, self-sufficient energy sources. Solar, wind, geothermal are all immature technologies, but worth pursuing. Nuclear is a mature technology which we must adopt in the short term.
It won't be easy, Big Oil will not go quietly into the night. But never forget that these are multinational corporations, and the best interest of any country is not their best interest. And that includes the United States.
It is time to get off the road of speculative greed, manipulated pricing and false political ties to other parts of the world. It is time to say enough is enough to the oil game.