Thursday, April 27, 2006

Intermission: gas price insanity!

Every other news story right now is about how high gas prices are, how upset this is making people, and how much our politicians are going to do to help us. As Jacob Weisberg points out at Slate (the link behind "other" in the previous sentence), the politicians are having a stupid idea contest, and everyone's winning. From sending every American taxpayer a $100 check for gas money to imposing a windfall tax on oil companies to drilling in Alaska, there's no shortage of ideas--just sense. Unfortunately, those ideas are, respectively, a ridiculously stupid waste of money; a catastrophically misguigded abuse of government power over corporations functioning just like corporations should; and an attack on one of the last wild places left in the world.

A commodity doubling in price doesn't mean jack. Politicans should get back to making the country's laws and quit screwing with something they have no business touching. There is one solution to this problem: taking the country's infrastructure off of oil.


At 5:42 PM, Blogger JasonSpalding said...

Have you ever looked at a map of gas prices in the United Stated based on county? Have you compared it to the results of a presidential election based on a precinct map?

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

Low presidential poll numbers, record oil company profits, pissed off SUV drivers who don't understand supply and demand... I think I'd call this the perfect storm for worthless legislation.

I'm all for oil exploration, and I'm all for taking the infrastructure off oil- but how do we do both simultaneously?

At 1:34 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

I'm all for conspiracy theories about high gas prices as punishment for not voting correctly.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger StandingOutInTheCold said...

I know this argument has been made many times before, but I don't understand how $3.00/gallon is too much to pay for gas when the average American is willing to pay over $1.50 for a bottle of tap water. A gallon of gas will propel you and a large vehicle 15-45 miles (depending on your vehicle) at high speeds. A bottle of water will make you look cool and trendy. Which really has more value? I'd love lower gas prices, but a gallon of gas definetly is valuable enough to me that I'll pay $3.00 for it.

Maybe yuppie liberals pay more for gas because they live in big cities where everything is more expensive, not because they didn't vote for Bush. Has it occured to you to consider that gas prices were distributed with a similar proportion when Clinton was president, Mr. Spalding? Coincidentally, its these same yuppie liberals who pay large sums of money for bottled tap water on a regular basis.

One clarification: the term "yuppie liberal" is used only to offend and sterotype and conveys little to no real information.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

Clarifying at the end of comments is a sure sign of yuppie liberalism.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous cranky old liberal said...

I'd like to add that it seems to me gas zoomed up when Bush began heavy saber-rattling toward Iran. Oil futures traders regarded this as a sign that Iran would be attacked, which would cut oil supplies and drive prices up.

I agree with everything that's already been posted, by Charles and everyone. But it's fair to do a bit of finger-pointing at Bush.

It's annoying when prices go up overnight and you pay more at the pump for gas that was already in the gas station's tanks; that's not really more expensive gas you're getting, it's cheaper gas that's been marked up!

And the oil companies profits would make more sense if they held on to that money to buy more expensive oil in the future. But they won't; tomorrow's expensive oil will be paid for by tomorrow's expensive gas. TODAY's expensive gas is simply, precisely windfall profit. Not that I'm saying it should be taxed, but that's what it is.


At 1:36 PM, Blogger E.A.P said...

Europeans are used to paying double to triple what we pay on gas. When we went on our honeymoon, my husband and I noticed that gas prices in the Dominican Republic were about $10/gallon for people who typically make about $45 per week. I know that our country runs on systems like the trucking industry and the average Americans ability to commute and shop far away from their homes sans public transporation. But this does not negate the fact that we still have it good in the scheme of things. Sure, the solution is to reduce our dependence on oil, but there are still stop-gap measures. There may not be a TON of ways to stretch your gas dollar, but there are some, and if it means more Americans getting off their famously "ever-widening behinds" to walk more then maybe we can take care of the obesity epidemic at the same time. I would be more than happy to get beyond both of those "crisis" headlines.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

Crazy oil spikes have less to do with "Bush's saber rattling" than it has to do with Iran constantly denying international pressure (This isn't some maverick GW action, it's the entire European continent also), or doing things like testing low-range missles. It isn't a tail-wagging-the-dog scenario. Bush had nothing to do with crazy Iranians saying they intend to wipe Israel off the map.

Also, can someone tell me how taxing oil companies will do anything to reduce the price of gas? I'm not saying I'm not against exploitation if it has been occuring, but it hasn't, and increasing taxes will do nothing except make the oil companies produce less gas, to avoid the tax. The same thing happened thirty years ago... or should we just nationalize the oil industry already?


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