Fracking Unbound

The Energy Department has once again lowered its prediction for the price of gas next year.  For 2015, the price will remain in the range of $2.94, a full 44 cents lower than the department’s most recent prediction last month.

This is one of those rare developments that has no downside – unless you’re an Iranian mullah or a bark-shoed Green fanatic.  While still high by historic standards, this price will inject over $60 billion into the economy, acting as a massive tax cut for drivers.  Like all tax cuts, it will have ancillary effects on the rest of the economy, freeing money that can be spent elsewhere and lowering overall costs for production and transport.

The reason for the windfall can be expressed in a single word: fracking.  Along with boosting the economy, the technical revolution that swept through the American energy industry over the past five years has defanged OPEC, negated the doctrine of “peak oil,” and embarrassed the environmentalists, to mention only a few welcome developments.  (Also among them: negating Obama’s efforts to depower much of the U.S. through coal regulations and curtailing the Keystone pipeline.  Obama can shake his rattle over that as much as he likes – cheap oil and gas will only make him look silly.)

But almost none of the reports on gas prices so much as mentions the word.  Apart from a few vague references to burgeoning American energy supplies, you’d think it had been brought about by the Tooth Fairy and her little helpers.

Few Americans understand the facts behind the energy circus of the past fifty years.  Almost without exception, the energy “shortages,” leading to “crises,” leading to “policies” intended to do anything but solve the problem, have been man-made.  While the public suffered, oil sheikhs, fanatical environmentalists, and corrupt politicians and officials benefited, either through increased wealth or power.  Fracking has gone a long way to putting an end to this.

All this remains a mystery to those with the most to lose.  The “oil companies” get the blame for price hikes, fracking has been turned into a dirty word, and the fact that many of this country’s elites would gladly see energy prices skyrocket, the economy tank, and the peasants freeze in the dark remains beyond comprehension.  

Why is this the case?  Because no effort has been made to tell the story.  Fracking is a textbook example of how the “doer” class in this country fails to get its side across.  Instead, it’s left to the intellectuals and pols, who are either uninterested or happy to exploit it for their own purposes.

This state of affairs may have been understandable back in the ’70s and ’80s, but in the 21st century, it’s inexcusable.  The infowave provides a thousand distinct paths to get information where it will do the most good.  And it is neither difficult nor expensive nor futile.  People who can figure out and exploit technologies as abstruse as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling should find it no challenge.

This analysis can be extended to the space program, nuclear power, aviation, the auto industry, and genetic modification and biotech in general.

Eventually, somebody is going to figure out the importance of getting the story behind new developments and ideas to the public before left-wing fanatics and corrupt politicians get their hands on it.  Until then, we can only hope that fracking, the premier 21st-century American technology, remains untouched and thriving.

And oh yeah – fill ’er up.