Art Bell led off a night of special Open Lines by reading from an article titled The Long Emergency in which James Howard Kunstler ponders America's problematic fate when it runs out of its cheap gas supply. Art then posed a number of questions for callers to consider, which included:
- Do you believe the oil crisis is real or a conspiracy?
- At what pump price would your current lifestyle be unsustainable?
- Would you steal or kill to feed your family?
Callers were split on whether the oil crisis is genuine or contrived. People said would they would start to be adversely affected when gas prices reached $4 a gallon, on the average. And most callers asserted that if society broke down into a Mad Max scenario, they would be willing to steal or kill for the survival of their families.
Stephanie, an organic farmer from Southern California, detailed that the majority of foods are produced using petroleum and that the average item travels 1,400 miles before arriving at a store. Accordingly, she's made landscaping precautions to guard against future theft at her farm.
Another caller suggested that the problem is that our refineries are in disrepair, and unable to process needed amounts of gas. Callers from Canada and France cast a critical eye on the United States, implying that not enough was being done here to deal with the crisis. A film producer living in Paris said they had adapted to higher prices there (currently $7 a gallon he estimated) and that in many metropolitan centers, people must leave their vehicles at the periphery and take rapid transit into the city. Europeans were also making a strong effort towards using biodiesel and electric as well as investigating zero point energy possibilities, he added.