Wind, solar and ethanol have largely been failures and still heavily rely on subsidies. Programs to encourage conservation have spent taxpayer dollars but were the expenditures necessary? In the summer of 2008, did consumers need incentives from Uncle Sam to conserve gas?
The spontaneous interactions of consumers and producers has mitigated the problem. High prices encouraged oil exploration. New sources oil were found. Deep water drilling and other technologies were developed.
This is but one chapter in a long story of the battle between scarcity and market led innovation in oil production. Jonathan Fahey reports in “New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US” that a new and non subsidized drilling technology first developed for extracting natural gas but now applied to oil has the potential to greatly expand U.S. production.
Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day — more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.As with other market developed technologies, it is cost effective.
This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.
…drilling for shale oil is not dependent on high oil prices. Papa [chief executive of EOG Resources, the company that first used horizontal drilling to tap shale oil] says this oil is cheaper to tap than the oil in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or in Canada's oil sands.Problems remain. Oil is still a finite resource and like all energy sources, it pollutes. If environmental critics are right, and burning oil results in global warming by releasing carbon into the atmosphere and warming is costly, then developing relatively cheap new sources of oil is a mixed blessing, but a blessing nonetheless. Other things equal, I would rather struggle with carbon emission with relatively cheap oil prices.