Oil prices have fallen below $50 a barrel, and there are some predictions that they could fall in further — to perhaps $40, $30 or even $25 a barrel. While this is a boon for many, especially since gas prices are falling, it does not mean that we should become complacent.
A few months ago, the interest in alternative energy was the highest it has ever been. As we struggled to pay more than $4 a gallon for gas, we were adamant that alternative energy had to be developed. Now we've been granted a reprieve from the gas prices, and that urgency to develop alternative energy technology is disappearing.
We shouldn't let it.
The fact of the matter is that fossil fuels — coal and oil especially — are limited resources. They will eventually run out. They are not renewable. This means that, over time, there is only one direction for prices to go as the reserves become scarcer: Up. Renewables, on the other hand, are just that: Renewable. They do not become scarce. As our technology improves and as their use becomes more widespread, the price of alternative energy will go down.
So it seems downright silly to waste this chance we have. If the government is going to insist on spending trillions on economic stimulus, we should encourage our representatives to make sure some of the money goes to developing alternative energy and infrastructure, which would be of enormous benefit in terms of jobs, and increased efficiency.
Instead of becoming complacent about how low oil prices are right now, we should use this chance to invest more in alternative energy. In our society based on instant gratification, we need to change our thinking and look to the future. Fossil fuels are the energy source of the 20th Century. We should be moving beyond them.