Columnist Finds ‘Downside’ to Low Gas Prices, They ‘Undo Progress’ on Green Energy

Detroit News publishes David Lazarus’ claims U.S. ‘dependence’ on fossil fuels is like crack addiction.

While low gas prices prompted strong sales last month of trucks and SUVs produced by American automakers, one Los Angeles Times columnist found multiple experts who viewed this as bad news. And his criticism was published online by The Detroit News.

Columnist David Lazarus promoted the views of multiple experts critical of low gas prices. One claimed those prices were actually bad news because they undermined “progress” in green energy. The Detroit News ran his column on its website Dec. 21, despite the fact that Detroit’s economy still relies heavily on the auto industry. The unemployment rate in Detroit was at 8.1 percent in October 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national rate that month was 5.5 percent.

Lazarus, the consumer columnist for the LA Times, cited Chris Knittel, an energy economics professor at MIT, who said green “progress” could be undermined. Knittel said, "People are less likely to adopt more fuel-efficient vehicles, and companies have less incentive to invest in new technologies."

Although Lazarus said he was not “complaining” about lower gas prices, he predicted that it was “all but inevitable” the price of gas would go up again. As a consequence, he said that “the SUV purchased today will come back to bite you tomorrow.”

Lazarus also told readers to think of U.S. “dependence” on fossil fuels like crack cocaine addiction.

“Look at it like this: Would crack addicts be able to kick the habit if the price of crack kept dropping? he asked readers.

Lazarus was not the first to compare Americans’ oil use to a crack cocaine addiction. Thomas L. Friedman, foreign affairs op-ed columnist for The New York Times, made an almost identical analogy in an op-ed July 20, 2008.

Chris Hayes, host of “All In with Chris Hayes” on the far left network MSNBC’s, similarly compared America's use of oil to a “drug addiction” during his Jan. 31, broadcast.

Hayes said, “Our nation, our society, is addicted to fossil fuel. Quite literally we are dependent on it. We have a chemical dependency and we need to break it or we will raise the temperature of the earth so much it will invite massive risk of widespread catastrophe, disaster and misery.”

This “addiction,” Hayes added, would lead to the “dependence and self-destruction and dissolution” of America.