The pillars that had pushed up the price of oil and other commodities seem to be crumbling all at once: the American consumer is in full retreat; the Chinese economy is sputtering; financial markets are collapsing; developing countries are trimming their energy subsidies; and the dollar is strengthening.
The speed of the falloff is a testimony to the world’s dire economic straits. As growth in the United States, Japan and Europe contracts, global oil demand is headed for its first annual decline in 25 years.
And from Andrew Leonard at Salon (who is happy about the Waxman victory)
When economic growth resumes across the globe, demand for oil will surge once again. Only this time around, given the constraints presented by declining oil fields and the current apparent freeze in investment in new oil production capacity, the supply-demand equation will likely send oil prices shooting back up, perhaps even further than before.
Which is why now is the time, more than ever, for government leadership that promotes conservation, energy efficiency, fuel economy, and increased production of renewable energy. Waiting until the economy recovers before tackling energy would be a huge, huge mistake.