WAPO wants you to buy gold, but does this really make sense? Historically, gold price goes up during recessions and drops afterward, as investment flows to industries that benefit from recovery. Several industries benefit from recovery, for example energy prices and demand for consumer electronics go up in a recovery. Looking at the macro picture, we seem to be having a slow recovery right now.
Source: Washington Post
Lastly I have done an analysis for Oil royalties. I have combined the best year ever for crude oil production 2010 with optimistic projections for offshore and ANWR. The result is this will cover less than 1/2 of 1% of current federal spending. This is not even enough to pay 5% of the the interest on the debt. If we paid the interest, stop burrowing, and paid this amount, we would pay off the debt. It would only take about 760 years. USGS has a pretty good idea of how much oil is under public land. Improved technology and high prices makes more of it feasible every year. However, there would have be a huge increase in production and price for this to be a practicable way to pay off the debt. That does not seem likely to occur.
Drill Baby Drill? I did some quick math to figure out much much of a difference in the global oil market expanded drilling would make, and its about 2.88% . Clearly not enough to take us to $2.70/gal. Experts all agree oil consumption will increase over the next several years, particularly in China and global economic recovery and speculation are are also driving up gas prices. Yet, expert’s estimates vary on how much effect each of these factors is causing. And drilling will create some jobs, but estimates also vary on how many jobs and how many of those are long term. The US does export some petroleum, but banning that export could cause more harm than good by creating a trade war. The energy crisis has been going on since the Carter administration, if it was easy to fix we would have already fixed it. But the situation is not hopeless, many things can be doing to more smartly use what energy we have.
After reading reading that GM is going to halt production of the Chevrolet Volt I did some quick math and made the chart above. A electric car is not an environmental panacea because of the dirty energy used in making electricity and batteries. I did a five year analysis on how expensive gas has to get to make the volt worth while for the aver 20,000 mile a year, 50% city, 50% hwy driver. The answer is gas will have to average OVER $7.60 for the next five years. Less than that and drivers are spending less to drive a Cruze, which already has more space than the Volt. I am not a scientist, my understanding is battery life in these things is about 5 years. If the switch to electric vehicles requires most individuals to act against self interest, then its not going to happen. So how dumb is GM to invest in this sort of vehicle when this quick calculation shows how silly it is?