This editorial will appear in Sunday’s newspaper.
The recent plunge in oil and gas prices has hurt the bad guys and helped the good guys.
It has threatened Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other petrocrats whose job security rises or falls along with their countries’ oil revenues.
It’s a godsend for undeveloped countries heavily dependent on oil imports. It’s great for the poor in general, who’ve already been slammed by the recession and can barely afford the gasoline they need to make it to their jobs – if they have jobs. In most cases, it’s also good for the businesses that employ them.
For Western Washingtonians, it’s been a blessed relief.
We’re finally seeing the fruits of the price collapse, now that the West Coast’s refineries are up and running again after six were off line – somewhat suspiciously – at the same time this spring.
The resulting shortage – compounded by the loss of output from the fire-stricken Cherry Point refinery near Blaine, Wash. – had gasoline prices approaching $4.50 a gallon at some South Sound service stations, even as prices were falling in the Midwest, South and Eastern states.
Out-of-state energy companies spent much of the spring siphoning money out of the pockets of Washington drivers – money that otherwise would have been spent sustaining jobs close to home.
Against this backdrop of volatile gas prices, another piece of automotive news – the much-anticipated rollout of Tesla’s luxury Model S in California last week – is especially notable. The Model S is a sign that Washington’s cars eventually will be powered by Northwest dams, not a fossil fuel whose prices fluctuate between larcenous and ruinous.
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