The Price Of Green Madness: California’s Oil Collapse

  • Date: 22/02/18
  • Forbes

The collapse of the oil industry in California, once our second-most-important producing state, is a very sad thing to see. The U.S. shale revolution has completely passed the state by.

Although domestic crude oil production has reached heights not seen since the early-1970s, and will actually be setting new records this year, California’s oil output has plummeted nearly 60% since peaking in 1985 — with no sign of reversing. In stark contrast, mighty Texas has seen its crude production triple since 2010 alone to 3.6 million b/d.

The facts remain: While California positions itself a leader in “clean energy,” that hardly means that the state doesn’t use oil, still easily our most vital fuel. In fact, California uses a ton of oil. For every vehicle that California has that runs on electricity, it has 115 that run on oil. Here are the overwhelming oil demand numbers in California that the state’s politicians ignore:

  • Every day, California consumes around 38 million gallons of gasoline…8 million gallons of diesel fuel…and accounts for 20% of all U.S. jet fuel consumption.

Yet, California continually enacts policies to not produce any more oil itself. Unfortunately, imports from undemocratic oil nations have been forced to compensate: California’s Imported Oil Problem. Simply put, oil policies that hurt Canada and favor Saudi Arabia are more “greenwashing” than they are “green.” And poor energy policies also help to explain Why are California’s Gasoline Prices Always Higher?

For shale oil, California could seek the Monterey formation, but that seems highly unlikely. The Monterey “contains vast reserves of oil” and should be key to California economic future. Offshore development? No chance.

And while championing itself as a leader in energy efficiency, Los Angeles Tops INRIX Global Congestion Ranking. “Angelenos spent an average of 102 hours last year in traffic jams during peak congestion hours, costing drivers $2,828 each and the city $19.2 billion from direct and indirect costs.” Although to be fair, this is a national problem: “As much as 15% of all the gasoline burned in America—up to 25% in places like Los Angeles—is burned by cars that aren’t moving.”

But overall, missing out on the shale revolution for California might be worse for the natural gas side of things. Even though California Is A Natural Gas State, it imports about 95% of its supply, a growing problem considering how pretty much every state is moving increasingly toward more gas-based electricity to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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