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What Should The Government Do About Low Oil Prices?

Jul 23, 2015

Steyer-Taylor Center scholar-in-residence Jeffrey Ball weighs in how the policy makers should respond to low oil prices in this Wall Street Journal article.

Oil prices have been down this year. How should policy makers respond?

We put this question to a group of energy researchers, professionals, and other experts. They presented a variety of suggestions that run the gamut—from imposing a carbon tax to letting the market run its course.

Their stories are below, in a compilation that relates to a previous Energy Report and formed the basis of a discussion on The Experts blog this spring.

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JEFFREY BALL: The price of oil is plummeting, bestowing a bonanza on drivers and upending the geopolitical order. That’s good for the U.S. Will it kill the drive toward alternative energy sources?

Almost certainly not.

In the past, interest in energy options has risen and fallen with the price of oil. When oil prices rose, so did the rush toward nuclear, solar, wind and other fossil-fuel alternatives. When oil prices fell, interest in kicking the oil habit waned too. The upshot of this roller-coaster history: In most of the world, alternative energy sources never got the chance to take root; fossil fuels remain overwhelmingly dominant.

The Wall Street Journal