The perfect storm is here, but the Senate isn’t doing anything about it.

That’s my one sentence paraphrase of this morning’s Washington Post editorial.

Calling the energy bill “nothing to be proud of,” they cite the big three:

  • the skyrocketing market for crude and gasoline;
  • instability in the nations that produce it; and
  • an ever-growing consensus that global warming must be dealt with.

My question is, if the Senate doesn’t take action to shift away from oil with this kind of impetus, what will it take?

This shift can be accomplished in two ways, as the editorial notes:

[The energy bill] still doesn’t shift this country as far in the direction of alternative fuels as it should go, and of course it does not dare raise taxes on petroleum use in any way.

Any senator who wants to keep her job is going to pick promoting alternative fuels over taxing gasoline or ending the “de facto subsidies” it receives. Unfortunately, this course will inevitably take longer to have impacts.

On the other end, the skyrocketing market for gasoline is a mixed bag — while it will make people look for long-term solutions to end their own dependence on petroleum, it will make politicians even less willing to hike gas taxes.