The Katrina storm is obviously very, very bad news. I have to admit that I wasn’t paying very close attention to its approach up the Gulf of Mexico — whenever I hear or read about fear of the weather, or of carjackings, or other alarmist news, I run in the opposite direction — but the Times is now saying that at least 55 people have died , which is awful of course, and the vision of thousands of people gathering in a stadium with a roof that’s threatening to fly off makes me shudder. But there’s one thing coming from this that may end up being slightly positive: due to the shutdown of oil mining in the Gulf region, the oil prices going up.

I know it sounds easy for me in pedestrian-friendly New York City to say that it’s good for oil to go up, but these things affect all of us. My building still needs to be heated, I still need electricity from the grid, I still take taxis. The price of oil affects all of these things and much more, and as it goes up our services go up, and regardless of whether or not we drive we pay for it.

But I still think it’s good for the oil to get more expensive. Why? Because the more our wallets take a hit, the more we might realize that it’s time to get serious about efficient energy, and we might even question the nefarious ways in which the oil industry is run. The technologies for efficiency are out there, they just need resources and support. There is no reason why we can’t all be driving hybrids right now, or installing more windmills across the country, except there’s no incentive for car manufacturers to make better, more powerful hybrids, and the NIMBY’s of the world hate to see their perfectly manicured gardens be overtaken by the might of the modern windmill.

The only time the majority of the country will support these and other initiatives is when they have financial incentive to do so. So keep rising, oil!

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