Editorial: Before oil was king
During World War I, petroleum products were being established as essential to moving armies and operating businesses. These were the heady early days of oil, and the Gloucester News-Reporter, a weekly then published in this county, reprinted an article on Jan. 10, 1918, predicting "Oil to be King in Future."
Some excerpts: "The great clash of arms on the continent has from its commencement shown that the necessity for the products of petroleum in up-to-date warfare is no less than in either the industrial circles or in domestic life. We are today as much dependent upon the refined product of crude oil as we are upon wheat and other necessities of life and as time goes on, and as the uses which are constantly being found for petroleum multiply, our dependency upon oil becomes the greater."
It was an accurate prediction and now, more than 90 years later, we remain dependent upon oil and its products and are always looking for more. This is the case, even as not-so-friendly oil-producing countries can decide to tighten the tap at any time, and as the evidence mounts that our dependency on carbon products is causing the earth to heat up dangerously.
"Oil will be king" was good news as America transformed itself from an agrarian to an industrial society. Nearly a century later, it is past time to be looking for an energy king that will provide more benevolent rule over Mother Nature and our pocketbooks.