March 07, 2008

The President’s Energy Analyst

Is $105 a barrel oil the President’s answer to Al Gore’s Nobel ?

This speculation arises from the writing of someone even Neocons ought to listen to—David Frum.

In his biography of his former speechwriting client, The Right Man , Frum reports:

I once made the mistake of suggesting to Bush that he use the phrase cheap energy to describe the aims of his energy policy.

He gave me a sharp, squinting look, as if he were trying to decide whether I was the stupidest person he?d heard from all day or only one of the top five.

Cheap energy, he answered, was how we had got into this mess. Every year from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s, American cars burned less and less oil per mile travelled. Then in about 1995 that progress stopped. Why?

He answered his own question: because of the gas-guzzling SUV. And what had made the SUV possible? This time I answered. ?Um, cheap energy?? He nodded at me.

Thanks to John Lanchester,  for noting this exchange last March inThe London Review Of Books

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