In a country which has inflicted upon itself a long war in the Middle East with no certain end date or plan of victory, in a country where the credit crunch has helped to gobble up the equity of homeowners, comes a new report of trouble on the horizon: our commercial transportation infrastructure is being hit hard by the rising cost of diesel.
There is an article in today's New York Times, "Paying at the Pump", by Christopher Maag.
At first glance, it may be hard for those in the environmental left to feel sympathy for people paying higher fuel prices, but it should be kept in mind that we are not just talking about giants like Walmart- but about small Mom and Pop trucking companies, tug boat captains, the railroads, and of course farmers.
Not only are the high fuel costs likely exact high personal costs by those employed by these fuel dependent industries- driver layoffs, foreclosed property, lost farms, but the rest of us will begin to feel the pain as well, as we begin paying higher prices for needed commodities.
From the Times:
Rising fuel costs come at a difficult time for America’s transport companies, already hit by slumps in new home construction and consumer spending. Truck tonnage fell 1.5 percent in 2007, to just under 11 billion tons, said Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Association. Rising diesel costs will almost certainly lead to higher consumer prices and more bankruptcies, he said.
In the long, the very long run, it might be good that this is happening now. Such stories bring home to the American people that "The End Of Oil" does not lie in some far off future, but is a looming date which has a very real impact on our lives today.
We will need leaders who will begin the painful chore of laying the groundwork for this new world. AND we need a public who will engage, and hold their leaders accountable for the work being done.
But in the short run, we are going to need a President capable of some fancy footwork, who can help spare the American people the worst of what is probably coming and who can help put the pieces back together as quickly as possible.