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Best Business Commentary
January 7, 2008
High oil, it’s not all about us anymore
“A hundred factors” pushed oil to the $100-a-barrel mark last week, but this time is wasn’t really “about anything Americans do, or don’t do,” says Daniel Gross in Slate. As demand in China and the Middle East soars, oil consumption actually fell in the U.S. and the industrialized nations of Europe and Asia last year. In fact, “we matter less and less each year, macroeconomically speaking.” So we can take action to tame high oil prices—“using less gas, running factories at fewer shifts, redoubling efforts to conserve and find alternatives”—but the way the world is shaping up, “it won’t result in lower prices at the pump.”
Dashing dreams in Detroit
“Under normal conditions, the star of this year’s Detroit auto show would be the 620 horsepower 2009 Corvette ZR1,” says Joseph White in The Wall Street Journal. U.S. automakers’ old formula for success called for selling “fantasies of power,” but the reality of $100-a-barrel oil put a stop to that. So Detroit is now touting both high-performance monsters and tiny, gas-sipping hybrid concept cars. “Changing strategies on the fly looks messy and incoherent,” but it “beats getting run over as consumers stampede in a new direction.”
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