Higher Gas Prices Doing Their Good Thing

I am in favor of higher gas prices even if it means raising taxes. As I wrote in the linked sources, price is the surest and fastest way to alternative energy sources and conservation. A recent Pew Study shows how this works. There is some time lag, but it is quick.

We missed a big opportunity in the 1990s. Gas prices were at an all time low (real dollars) in 1998. We should have taxed gas then to reduce demand. Instead, we convinced ourselves that $1 a gallon gas was normal and bought SUVs.

We will never run out of oil, but the cost in environmental and geopolitical terms may become too high. Why do we continue to use oil? Because it is cheap. Even at today’s prices, gas is cheap. We are still paying less for gas than our grandfathers did in the 1930s.

I apologize to all of you who have heard this from me before (I have linked to some of the other posts), but it must be repeated all the time. If you want conservation and alternative energy, you have to tolerate higher energy prices. You do not get a free lunch. But the good news is that with the proper conservation and energy efficiency, your total bill can be reduced. You just gotta do it because you are responsible for energy use.

My fear is that many people prefer fixing blame to finding solutions. I heard an interesting program on NPR. It was Lester Brown, Founder of Earth Policy Institute, fretting about a surge in ethanol production. He advocated ethanol when it was not really practical. Now he has second thoughts. Maybe it is a kind of market phobia. Brown prefers wind power. Good idea. I agree, but we know that wind power has limits and its enemies, even among liberal leaders . The best bet for our energy future is nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases. Of course, nuclear power has its detractors.

This is the truth and everything else a lie: all forms of energy come with costs. Cheaper forms of energy often come with significant external costs. "Clean" energy requires large capital investment. Often our favorite form of energy is difficult to get. We have to make choices among options, none of which will produce an ideal outcome. One thing is certain, you cannot have energy that is cheap, plentiful, clean and trouble free all at the same time. So make your choices and be realistic.

Posted by Jack at August 11, 2006 10:24 PM
Comments
Comment #174997

Jack,

I for one, can’t wait to drive the first wind or nuclear powered car.

Posted by: Rocky at August 11, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #175000

Bush says that we are adicted to oil. He is right. But he failed to add that he was the one holding the needle!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 11, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #175005

Rocky

You can have that wind powered car right now. You just can only drive it down hill.

Play

Price is the best solution. U.S. energy intensity improvements dropped during the Clinton times and rose under Bush. It was not policy; it was price.

I expect you would advocate a massive government program to create alternative energy. Wait, we did that under Carter. Working out well, is it?

If you look at the charts of energy use, you see no pattern at all related to political leadership, but you see a clear response to price. So maybe you should praise Bush for the high prices.

Posted by: Jack at August 11, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #175006

In addition to wind, solar, tidal, hydro, bio-fuel, nuclear, fuel cell, and geothermal energy(did I miss any?), there’s also the proposal by the governor of Montana to convert coal into synthetic petroleum-grade fuel using existing — indeed decades’ old but now improved — technology. As a good liberal and former resident of Montana, I have environmental questions, but I think it deserves a look. According to the good governor, Montana’s coal in liquid terms is equivalent to a quarter of the known oil reserves in the middle east. I’m not a scientist, so I leave evaluation of this to others.

For information on renewable energy sources, check out this Energy Information Administration (EIA) page.

Posted by: Trent at August 11, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #175007

Jack, maybe we dont need a massive government program but instead some new regulations to cause some need and urgency. The free market has had years but without incentive we are still stuck on oil. What say you?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 11, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #175011

A huge impediment to alternative energy is the EPA. I have struggled with converting my own vehicles… first I wished to convert to Propane… yes, it can be done, but it’s very costly. Now, there are companies that provide conversion systems to convert to E85, but the EPA will not license it for use in this country, with a significant fine for violations. I understand (to a very small degree) the reasoning (emissions) but the foot-dragging is outrageous, and probably due in part to both the oil industry and the auto makers standing in the way.
Brazil hopes to be completely energy self-sufficient by the end of 2007, and more than half their vehicles now run E85, including much older vehicles that have been reliably converted. Bush was right on target with his directive toward alternative fuels, including cellulosic biomass (sawgrass-much higher energy content than corn per acre) and can be produced with a net energy gain (IOW, it takes less energy to produce it than it produces).

Posted by: Andy at August 11, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #175015

Jack
So which oil companies are using their extra profits from the high gas prices to seriously develop alternative fuels? Tell me so I can invest in them.
I own stock in Chevron, Exxon, and Phillips. I have them for only one reason. They always pay a good dividend. But I’d take a smaller dividend if I knew for sure they were working on alternative fuels.
Sadly there aint an oil company that is seriously researching alternative fuels. Instead they are giving their executives $400,000,000 retirement packages. But then the poor babies need them. After all they only make a measly $70,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 11, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #175018

j2t2

We should and do have some reasonable regulations. The problem is that for every program that limits demand, we have one that works to lower prices. It is the perfect storm of screw up. Conservatives defend business, which tends to increase incentives and lower prices. Liberals want to protect the poor from price rises, so their programs tend to keep prices low. We pay less for gas because that is the way we demand it be done.

Using oil when it is cheap is not stupid. In fact it makes perfect sense. Why pay more to get the same thing? The only way out of this mess is to pay the price and pay it up front.

I can advocate high prices because I will never run for office. Nobody with political ambitions can do that. He will get smacked by both sides.

According to the Pew Poll I linked, only 17% of Americans think high prices have good effects. We few, we happy few, are not enough to elect anybody. But we are right.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #175019

Ron

Right. There is no money to be made in alternatives. Oil is cheap. That is precisely the problem. Oil IS the cheap alternative. When it gets more expensive, we will have solutions. It is currently expensive enough to have a good effect. I fear (yes fear, not hope) the price will drop.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #175021

Jack Wrote,

“Price is the best solution. U.S. energy intensity improvements dropped during the Clinton times and rose under Bush. It was not policy; it was price”.

Wrong. During the first few months of Bushs first term, John Kerry pushed for Cafe standards to go through congress. Bush fought them. In the first year of the Bush presidency, the VP made cushy deals with the major oil companies behind closed doors. (2001).

Ever since then, its been like feeding time at the troth for the piggies, as far as oil consumption is concerned. The bigger the car, the lower the gas milage, the fatter and the happer, Bush and company are. Heck if you want to buy one of the largest, most gas guzzeling, costlyest, gas pigs on the market…

Well, you can deduct all of it (up to $75,000.00) off this years tax return. Hows that for rewarding gas … “conservation”, boys?

(PS: oil = $22-$28 dollars per barrel 1992-2000
Oil = $75-$80 dollars per barrel 2000-2006
Man, according to your math, we must be
conserving gas like crazy!!!)

Posted by: PlayNice at August 12, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #175022

I listen to the coplaints about oil prices in Israel its over $4 a pint (liter). In Europe the price will run $5-7 a liter — we produce the gas.
All I have heard is Bush this and Bush that. Is he some kind of g_d or the ability to convince congress to do these things. Do you know how Bush has fought for and practices enviromental rules. His home in Texas is an enviromentalest dream. Oil money Chaney and Bush is all I hear. Did you know that the Kennedys own an oil company, that Mikle Moore has 1/4 of his investments in oil, as does other big stars. (In the 60’s we use to laugh about Union 76 being owned by Sanatra and his friends. What about New Jersey’s old oil company wasn’t it owned by the Dullas company -who also owned Duchea Bank and Shell oil arabia??
K

Posted by: kuzriel at August 12, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #175023

Jack -

The only advantage for wanting alternatives to oil, that I can think of, is to bankrupt the mid-east and send them back to the middle ages. The hoped-for result would be less terrorism and fewer weapons that they could afford.

Do I understand your point?

Posted by: Don at August 12, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #175024

Jack,

If you fear that gas prices will go down, you must be afraid that the major oil companies wont make their 9 Billion per quarter profits any more? My God, what a pure shame!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 12, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #175036

One side wants to control prices and the other side wants to control profits on this issue. Who will be the first to call themselves a socialist? why not just say nationalize the oil companies? that way your corrupt politicians have the say about energy in every manner.

Posted by: The Griper at August 12, 2006 1:08 AM
Comment #175037

Griper,
Then who would be on the side of big oil profits?

Posted by: PlayNice at August 12, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #175039

He chuckles as he responds to Playnice. What profits, since when does the government consider itself a profit making org.?

Posted by: The Griper at August 12, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #175043

It appears current prices aren’t curtailing consumption, we are setting new records for consumption this summer. Lots of complaining going on, and some tradeoffs, but, consumers are giving up on their travels.

Just goes to show how integrally married are American independence and automobiles. This will not be a civil divorce when all is said and done, if it comes to that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 12, 2006 2:51 AM
Comment #175044

The Griper, since we decided to send politicians to Wa. D.C. They profit nicely from government. Research their insider trading sometime.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 12, 2006 2:53 AM
Comment #175054

David R. Remer,

that, i have no doubt about. i guess my point was going to be to stop thinking in terms of price or profit. think in terms of costs to the oil companies.

price control only hurts the consumer. and profit control only hurts the employees. and we do not want either to happen or at least i don’t. a good business man thinks in terms of controlling costs.

if a commodity is cost prohibitive a company only has two choices. it can go out of business or it can choose another commodity to offer to the public. and right now oil is not a cost prohibitive commodity. even with added taxes to gas it still will not be cost prohibitive.

the consumer may drive less miles as a result of higher taxes but they will only pay a higher price too because the oil companies will just charge a little more in order to make that profit. and as consumers we will pay it too. as someone said we are addicted to oil. just look at the prices in europe and they still pay it.

what it comes down to, in my opinion, only supply and demand will result in a truly alternative energy source. when the oil fields are depleted and necessity forces us to use an alternative energy will we really focus on energy needs.

the only other way is innovative thought that will create a means to make alternative energy cost efficient. and that requires investment. and given the fact of the numerous ways and types of energy sources where is the best investment to replace gasoline, electricity, the hydrogen, solar or some other source not mentioned yet?

oil, whether we like it or not, has made our lives a lot easier and we will not give it up easily unless forced to. we can all sit here and say we are willing to pay the costs necessary but whether or not we are willing to actually do it is another thing. an addiction is a hard thing to give up and for some, impossible.

Posted by: The Griper at August 12, 2006 7:20 AM
Comment #175077

Play

You provided the counter to your own idea. You are speculating about what you think should have happened. We don’t need to do that. We know what DID happen.

Energy intensity DID improve under Bush. Gas consumption DID decrease when the prices rose. Your comments about Kerry and the piggies shows that neither made much difference. Price trumps them all.

The profits the oil companies make is not particularly relevant to the discussion. In fact, if you lowered profits and lowered the price, it would have a negative effect.

Don

Yes. That and the environmental aspects. If not for those things, there would be no reason not to use oil as much as possible for as long as possible. We use oil because it is currently cheap and easy. It is not a mistake. It just fails to take into account the whole picture.

David

Consumption drops with price increases. You can look at the charts. I reference several post in which there are even more links. There is some lag time, as the study explains. BTW the key indicator for everything is energy intensity. A recession will drive down energy consumption, but most people would not consider that a sign of success. A fast way to use less energy is to stop growth. I don’t think that is what we want.

Personally, I would prefer the higher prices be the result of taxes. This is one place where I am with our Euro friends. But I would want the additional taxes on gas to be offset by tax cuts somewhere else.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #175079

Jack, for this particular problem, I agree price is probably the best motivation for change. I guess we can blame John D. Rockafeller for making it cheap. What a commie he was.:)

The only problem I have with the universal application of this methodology is the little thing they call dislocations of the economy. Sounds innocuous enough, but sometimes are little things like depressions, which can lead to massive starvation, suffering and death. oops.

Posted by: gergle at August 12, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #175084

The Griper wrote:

“He chuckles as he responds to Playnice. What profits, since when does the government consider itself a profit making org.?”

Griper,

Since it became predominantly made up of mostly corportists.

The Griper wrote, to David R.:

“that, i have no doubt about. i guess my point was going to be to stop thinking in terms of price or profit. think in terms of costs to the oil companies”.

Griper,

“Costs to the oil companies”? Lets see. A) They set the price, (more than tripled over the last ten years, from 22-28 $ per barrel to 75-80 $ per barrel), B) They sell at an inflated price, (from $1 per gallon to $3 per gallon) C) They make billions in profits, (over 9 billion in the first quarter of this year, alone), D) They give fat dividends to their stock holders, (while other stocks go down, and other businesses suffer, due to losses in GNP from people spending less on other things because of the higher gas prices). Now, lets see, that is:

A) Oil companies 100% Consumer 0%

B) Oil companies 100% Consumer 0%

C) Oil companies 300% Consumer -300%

D) Oil companies 100% Consumer 0%


Capital Gains: Oil: 100% Consumer 0%

Profit: Oil: 100% Consumer: 0%

Loss: Oil Companies:0% Consumer 100%

Cost: Oil: 0% (all costs are a write off)

Consumer 100%

Griper,

Now if you can do the math?

PlayNice says to The Griper (in a very good Mr Rogers impersonation):

“Can you say bull-flop, boys and girls?
Sure, I ,,, knew you could!”

Posted by: PlayNice at August 12, 2006 10:24 AM
Comment #175089

Gergle

Oil is a problem because of the geoppolitical and environmental coniderations mentioned above. Otherwise it is a price issue. Higher input costs always create problems. But we can (as we have) adapt to higher prices in almost anything. We conserve and we substitute.

What we have now is just a terrible situation where many people want to keep the price of gas low AND move to conservation and substitution. That makes no sense. Why stop using something that is cheap and readily available? You have to change some part of that equation.

Gas is as close to religion in the U.S. as you can get. Americans of all political types believe they have the right to cheap gas. The only way you can tell left from right on this issue is who they choose to blame for not having it.

I say we have to shift the whole paradigm. Cheap gas is a BAD things that we cannot have and should not strive for. The pain of the prices now will help us avoid bigger dislocations later.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 10:55 AM
Comment #175094

Jack wrote:

“Play

“In fact, if you lowered profits and lowered the price, it would have a negative effect”.

No, without anything else in the equasion, it would stay the same. (But, it wouldnt have a negative on other industry s, because of more cash available for other purchases.)

If you want an insentive to stop using so much gas, then look at the world around you. The Cancer business is booming, Gas stocks are up, and our planet is dying. I dont see anything completely positive about any of those things. With perhaps the profits gleamed by the oil companies, (but even that has a high price, to American families and other American businesses).

Your whole theology is lop-sided. If you want an insentive to stop using gas, you have to provide an alternative. (Unless of course you want to un-invent the wheel, which will not happen). To get a substitute you will need the cooperation of government (again, will never happen, with all that sweet tasting gas money in their pockets), and you will need the cooperation of the gas companies……

YEA, SURE, LIKE THATS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!

(They would just corner the market on that too)

Untill then, we could follow the lead by England and China. We could develope and provide better gas efficient automobiles. However, it may already be too late.

1/3 of the “smog” comming into L.A. this year will be imported by China. Hey, way to go China! At least, now, you are trying to conserve. But, what is California going to do in the mean-time, until you get it completely right? Stop breathing?

Well, pay-back is a “B….” isnt it, cause you better stop breathing next year, from our smog….

cause you see, what goes around, comes around!

(Globally speaking)

Posted by: PlayNice at August 12, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #175099

Jack and Griper. You seem to be missing the point. Whether or not consumption decreases as a result of price depends upon the associated value people place on the consummable.

This summer has not seen a drop in consumption because the value Americans place on travel as a basic consummable like food or water is very high. In other words, our society is structured in such a way that food depends directly upon fuel to acquire it. Freedom depends directly upon the ability to hop in the car and drive.

Automobile fuels have a long way to go in upward price range to significantly dent consumption. That is not true of airlines or Diesel locomotives where commercial bottom lines are affected and market shares are weighed. But for individuals, too many essentials depend on car travel, like employment, visiting family, and food and consumables. Don’t expect individual consumption to drop significantly with price increases. Data are already showing that is true for current prices.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 12, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #175101

Jack
The reason there is not money in alternative fuels just might be that no one is making cars that run on them. And no one is making cars that run on them because there ain’t any on the market. It’s a catch 22.
The oil companies won’t jump in until they see a market. Then they’ll most likely try to corner it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 12, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #175108

Some hope on the horizon, cool fuel cells.

Posted by: gergle at August 12, 2006 12:22 PM
Comment #175109

The dumbest bunch of folks .
Remember 1 cheap food
2 cheap land
3 cheap fuel
feeds the American middleclass .
The intellgentia dillantes , don’t like the common man , so their happy now .
Watch for the ” depression comming ” .
Good luck , learn “chinese ” !

Posted by: paul smith at August 12, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #175125

Play

I truly do not understand what you are objecting to.

I am in favor of using less oil. I have observed that the best way to do that raise the price of gas. The relationship is very strong.

I also don’t know what you are talking about re efficient cars from England or China. We have fuel efficient cars now. Most of those are from Japan, but some are built in America. Today you can go out an buy a car that will get 50 miles to a gallon. I have a Honda Civic that REALLY gets around 43. You can also save a lot of gas by not driving. You can take a bike or mass transit today. You can save gas if you live near where you work. Maybe you cannot move today, but you can do that soon. I allow my staff to telecommute. Some take advantage.

There are lots of things we can do TODAY. We don’t do them when energy is cheap because we don’t want to. Our convenience is worth more to us. Change the equations.

So you can rant all you want about pollution or energy waste. I agree. I have a solution, if you want it. Unfortunately you won’t get to indulge in your blame big business. That is the downside to actually solving the problem.

Ron

See above.

I believe government does have a role in encouraging stations and vehicles that can use alternatives. But we and our governments are not serious. Think of it. Governments (Fed, State & Local) control a big slice of the total U.S. fleet of cars and trucks. If government bought hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles, it would be enough to tip the balance. Just do it.

Gergle

I lost several thousand dollars investing in fuel cells. The promise so far has been much greater than delivery. Someday it will be possible, but not today.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #175126

Jack,
Perhaps the reason only 17% think higher prices are the way to go is because there doesnt seem to be much advancement in commercializing the alternative energy sources. I think if signicient, obvious progress was made and the higher gas prices were the cause of said progress people would be more apt to agree with the higher prices.The most apparent thing we see now is rich oil companies getting richer. This doesnt bode well for the higher price argument.
The issue today seems to be like the chicken or the egg argument in that if our homes and vehicles are not set up for alternate energy who will buy the energy. What company will start the ball rolling without Government arm twisting?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 12, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #175132

j2t2

Progess is fairly rapid. Think of the hybrid technology. It has gone from zero to common in about five years. Also check the latest developments in solar and wind.

The bottom line is, however, that alternative will be more expensive than gas we get from oil. We have been sold a bill of goods by all sides. They have implied that we could develop alternative that will be cheaper than gas - when gas is cheap. This is not the way it is going to be. Oil is very cheap. That is why we use it. Other things will cost more.

As I wrote many times, I have a hybrid. As the price of gas went from about $1 to $3, my getting a hybrid meant that expenditure on gas remained about the same. That is the way it is going to be. We will have more efficient technolgies AND more expensive fuel, so in the good case scenario our expenditures on energy will remain about the same.

BTW - you can probably turn goat piss into gasoline, but it will cost you more than gas you make from oil. The same goes for all sorts of biomass etc. Oil is cheap. That is why we like it so much.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #175135

PlayNice,
I hope you were just joking in regards to that list you wrote. every business has costs even oil companies. and i hope that businesses have profits of 100%. i don’t know of any business where when there was a profit it was less than 100%.

David R. Remer,

I thought the idea was to replace gas and oil as an energy source not just lower its consumption. that is where i was coming from in my posts.

Posted by: The Griper at August 12, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #175139

Check out this relatively affordable Zero Energy Home. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t provide estimates on rate of return on the energy efficiency investment, which of course is a huge factor. I own a three-bedroom house comparable to the house in the story, and I pay roughly $2200 a year for natural gas and electricity (with some weatherization I plan to do, I should get that cost down, but let’s go with this for now.) According to the story, the difference in cost between the Zero Energy Home and a standard home is about $75,000. That means a payback on the energy efficiency investment of, what, about 35 years? Still too long, but as fuel costs go up and the price of the technology involved goes down, it may not be too long before such homes are good financial investments.

Posted by: Trent at August 12, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #175151

Trent:

Your link takes me to a sign in page?

Posted by: womanmarine at August 12, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #175170

Griper, replacing it is easy. They have solar cars for one individual that get up to 12 mph. Then there are bicycles, and feet. The hard part is replacing oil and gas at what cost. For every choice there is an opportunity cost. How much are we willing to give up, in order to get those replacements?

That is the tough question to ask. U.of Mi. had battery electric cars (Simca’s) back in 1970. I was there when they were researching them. Why do electric cars now cost so much and sound like such a new innovation? Because the cost of gas and oil was dirt cheap and pollution costs never translated into their full negative costs.

Electro Magnet driven vehicles are also a viable option for our Interstate system with reverse magnetic braking systems for entrance and exit. Cost in infrastructure is huge. Cost in perpetuity probably far less than gas and oil.

One of the problems with gas and oil is the true cost is never published. Have the wars over oil been added to the cost? Have the health dollars spent on illnesses caused by oil and gas been added into the cost? Of course not. But, they should be. Our politicians have no vested interest in calculating the true cost of oil and gas given their campaign dollars from the enormous gas and oil profits of the industry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 12, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #175180

That’s a pretty scientific way of gathering information: call people up and ask them if they are driving less or not. I’m sure there’s no room for error there.

On the other hand, try googling

US gasoline consumption statistics

and you’ll find numerous sites citing data which says gasoline consumption is not dropping as a result of high prices.

Posted by: Crazy_joe_divola at August 12, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #175188

The problem with expecting price to effect consumption is that it has a much greater impact on the poor. If you’re struggling to get by, an extra $40 a month on gas is huge. However, if you’re rich, an extra $200 a month to feed your SUV might be annoying, but its no deterrent.

On the flip side, governemnt regulations on fuel efficiency effect the poor and rich evenly, and have a greater impact on oil companies and automakers. The government should enforce tough fuel economy standards, and institute a graduated consumption tax on anything that gets less than 25 mpg. There is simply no need for the mammoth vehicles people drive these days, and keeping them on the road is irresponsible.

Posted by: David S at August 12, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #175195

K,

Minor point, A liter is close to a quart. There are two pints in a quart, and four quarts in a gallon. And I expect you were refering to gasoline prices. I agree with your points though.

We need to push ahead with the advanced technology that will help us be more efficient. Better batteries are crucial to store the electricity however it’s generated. I hope leadership was right in betting on nanotechnology. That can bring a whole host of improved products/methods.

I’m still waiting for solar technology good enough and cheap enough to use to power my home. I would settle for fuel cells, but right now the fuel cells would cost more than the house. Mass production will help in that area, but only when enough people get on board. Technology will soar as it has in computers once enough people get excited about it. Price is a good motivator.

Posted by: Steve S at August 12, 2006 9:37 PM
Comment #175200

David S,
The progressive consumption tax you mentioned may hit the poor the hardest as they will be the ones driving the older vehicles.
And actually there is a need for some of these vehicles. I myself have a jeep grand cherokee because I found it got better milage than a truck. I tow a trailer fairly regularly and the smaller vehicles just cant hang with a trailer on the back.
Also if you want to discriminate I would be for penalizing younger people that dont seem to get the milage possibile out of their vehicle because of poor driving habits. I average 19.1 miles in the mountains, cities and highways with the jeep.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 12, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #175203

Dabid R. Remer,

“One of the problems with gas and oil is the true cost is never published. Have the wars over oil been added to the cost? Have the health dollars spent on illnesses caused by oil and gas been added into the cost? Of course not. But, they should be”

this i will not argue over. i’ll just concede the point as intended.

But it does lead us back to my earlier point, supply and demand. until supply of oil dwindles down to the point where it becomes cost prohibitive no one will take the idea of alternative energy sources serious enough to invest in the infrastructure costs, especially government.

this only leaves my other idea, innovative thought to make alternative energy competative to gas and oil. and right now it isn’t. this is not saying that in time it can be and will be.

but it also says that when the time comes that it must result in a demand that exceeds the demand of gas and oil in order to be considered as successful as an alternative.

Posted by: The Griper at August 12, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #175212

Jack
So you think that everyone should live with in 5 miles from where they work? I got news for ya. It won’t work. Specially in those stink holes called cities. At least not without some major relocations of businesses and residents. And I don’t see that happening any time within the next 100 years or so.
Even here in rural Georgia it’s not very feasible. I live on a farm and so do a lot of other folks. A lot of them are farmers but a lot of them also work off the farm. Just how do you propose to get all those farms with in 5 miles of a town? And that’s where the jobs are. And there aint no such thing as mass transportation around here.
So go ahead and endorse outrageously high gas prices. And when they get here you can enjoy the fact that your high gas prices have put a lot of folks out of work because they can’t afford the gas to get there.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 13, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #175223

Ron

Some of my best friends are farmers and I work on my tree farm. The problem is that the non-direct costs of gas are very high. We just do not have the option of cheap gas if at the same time we want alternative fuels, freedom from the power of oppressive tyrants, lower greenhouse gas etc.

As I wrote re hybrids, they don’t save money if the price of gas goes up, but it does keep you in the same place. That is about all we can really do.

You know that if we convert to cellulous ethanol it should help the rural economy by making useful much of that biomass you now cannot sell.

I am sorry that I cannot offer any immediate solutions. If you can think of a solution that will permit cheaper gas, while encouraging conservation and alternatives w/o contributing more greenhouse gas, I would like to hear it.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 12:34 AM
Comment #175224

Jack;

I dont understand what you are having a problem understanding. You say we should use less gas. I agree. I say alternative fuel sources should be found and used (But mega problems with that solution, as I have discribed, that market would just be cornered too, without a government that looks out for the “people”).

While you say to consume less. Well, yes, that too. However you say that the only way to make us use less is to charge more. I find that thought whacky. Look, if I put gas in my car to go to work and it costs $1 per gallon. Am I going to drive part way there, then walk the rest of the way? NO. And, if I fill the same car with gas at $4 per gallon, do I still have to drive to work? Yes. Now, I live the same distance from work with $1 dollar per gallon as I do with $4 per gallon. The distance does not change. But, if it used to cost me $10 to fill up my car, and I fill once a week, and now it costs me $35 to fill my car and I fill once a week…..Am I driving more, or am I driving less?

Well, duh! Im driving the same, it is just costing me more, but the distance that I have to drive doesnt alter just because the price is more.

And, now I have $25.00 per week, to spend on less goods, while the oil companies have 9 BILLION per quarter in excess profits, off my hardship. Now please tell me how in the hell….that makes me conserve gas? Meanwhile goods that depend upon shipping cost more, everything in our economy costs more, all because of higher gas prices. Now, how the blue-blazes does that cut back on gas consumption? It doesnt! It just cuts back on the economy at the expense of the consumer, and to the profit of the oil companies, and puts financial strain on the poor and middle class.

And, I cant imagine why you cant understand that,,,,,it is very, very, very simple.

Griper,

No, as a matter of fact I am not joking at saying that the profit is (not 100%, but) 300%, but that is just a guest-a-mate. I do not know what the so called expenses or true costs are, but neither do you. All I do know is that the oil companies are not just makeing a “reasonable” profit. They are rapeing us (without the benifit of even a dinner first, if I may say so). Everyone expects businesses to make profit - otherwise they couldnt stay in business. But, we the consumer are being unreasonably punished, because we need transportation. They, (the oil companies), are takeing advantage of that fact by reaping all time profits, at our expense. At least 36 Billion over and above their expenses, this year, after tax deductions (cause they dont pay taxes), and including their cushy deal with government kick-backs, (or The Federal Welfare program).

And, what is Washington doing about it. Nothing. What can Washington do about it? It is after all hurting the GNP. Washington COULD enact a windfall gas tax. But they wont. Washington could regulate gas as a monopoly, (only 5 multinational conglomerates), but they wont.

People are loosing jobs. Businesses unrelated to oil are loosing sales. Money is tight. But, the rich get their tax cuts, oil companies get their substities, and the middle-class is being squeezed out. Now, if you think this is, “fair” profits? Then you and people like you, have to be prepared for the economic and emotional consequences, that genacide, on the middle class in America, will and is, going to produce.

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #175226

Check out this post:
Posted by: David S at August 12, 2006 09:17 PM

David S.
Exactly! Right on, man!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #175235

The Griper wrote:

“But it does lead us back to my earlier point, supply and demand. until supply of oil dwindles down to the point where it becomes cost prohibitive no one will take the idea of alternative energy sources serious enough to invest in the infrastructure costs, especially government.”

False. The only entity that can help develop alternative energy for automobiles is the Government. And they wont take that seriously until “we the people” demand it. And, with the knowledge of the true costs of “oil”, (as you have pointed out), not to mention the costs in enviornment as well, we need to pressure the Governments (world wide) to develop a true enviornmently friendly product to meet our mass transportation needs.

“this only leaves my other idea, innovative thought to make alternative energy competative to gas and oil. and right now it isn’t.”

No, it is not. That is because our government is in “bed” with the big gas and oil conglomerates. But, public pressure could change that. And, I hope that when the true enviornmental costs are taken into effect, it will not only pressure development of enviornmentally friendly fuel sources, but also eliminate the need for world domination over the worlds oil supply as well. That way we can secure a true world peace in the middle east, and not be so anxious to exploit those of us at home, but also those in the middle east (for oil), as well. To accomplish this, the Government will have to give up their protectionism of big oil, and that is unlikely short of a public out-cry.

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #175238

j2t2-

As far as the tax for higher consuming vehicles hitting the poor harder due to older vehicles, you simply set and exemption for anything more than 5 years old at the time the law is passed. This is the same thing that has been done with most emissions restrictions.

As far as you needing to pull a trailer, therefore needing to drive an SUV, I guess you would also need to pay for it. I’m sure if you’re pulling your trailer for business reasons you can write off the additional expense. Regardless, the whole point of the tax is to make people think twice about buying a gas guzzler. Without knowing more about your specific situation, its hard for me to comment, but my guess is that if there was some kind of penalty for buying that Grand Cherokee you might have looked more carefully into alternatives. And the more people start looking for alternatives, the more readily available they will become.

Posted by: David S at August 13, 2006 1:25 AM
Comment #175244

Play

You will drive the same no matter the cost? Most people will not. They will be smarter and change their behavior in relation to different circumstances. They adapt almost immediately in small ways and over the longer term in better ways. That is what DID happen. Policies come and go.

Presumably Clinton’s policies were different than Reagan’s or either Bush. Yet energy intensity improvements slowed under Clinton and Reagan. They got better under Bush. The only thing that affected it was price of energy.

You are looking for a magic government solution. There is no such thing. You may want to reconsider your belief in magic and look to real solutions.

Maybe you should do your part. Buy a hybrid. Ride a bike. Take public transportation. All these things are open to you, whether or not the big oil companies give you permission.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 1:45 AM
Comment #175249

Jack,

Well, you may be in a position that you can just take, what is it now? 20-30-40K out of your bank and go buy a “gas efficient” alternative, how very fortunate for you! But, I am not in a postion to do so. And, that is the problem when you are looking at this problem from the “upper crust” point of view, and not from “main stream” society.

The very best I can hope for is to retire soon, on that sail boat and tell Ma Bell and Exon to go take a hike. (God, I look forward to that day!)

Meanwhile, all you politically incorrect people who tend to always put the blame on others or “the people” instead of on The Government (that is supposed to represent us and our needs, that is what our tax money is for, that is what they were elected to do). Government, where the true responsibility lies…..

Well, I can just hope that all you people, that want everyone to take responsibility except the government, (that is supposed to represent US), I hope you dont cause such world wide polution polution problem, that even in the middle of the ocean….

I will need a gas mask!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 1:59 AM
Comment #175270

America has the energy. But we have an enemy more powerful than the oil companies or terrorists. progressive invironmentalists who have hijacked environmentalism and use it as a political weapon.

We should drill the rest of gulf, drill the coasts, drill for oil in Alaska, allow the building of nuclear generators. But the anti America crowd is Anti Energy. Not until prices go much higher will we be able to defeat them. They like to bitch about prices now but only as a political weapon. Present prices are not a real concern.

Ramp up to about double and you would see the progressive anti energy agenda collapse.

Posted by: steve at August 13, 2006 4:13 AM
Comment #175275

Common sense tells me that Jack is right about higher prices being the incentive for the development alternative fuels. We will find new fuels when we either discover a better one or a cheaper one. As the price of oil goes up we are rapidly getting to that point.

I STRONGLY disagree with Jack that taxes should be raised to inflate the price of gas. If we tinker with the natural flow of the market, we will pay for it.

I work for a small, but growing company. We install and service network cabling mostly for government agencys. We have a small (14) vans to work out of. We need full size vans to carry the tools and materials we use. My Ford E150 in good tune gets around 14-15 miles per gallon. Last year I put 43,000 miles on my van for business purposes. Our company pays for the gas we use of course but if you multiply that 43k miles by 14 vans, fuel is a pretty big part of our expenses. We have to deal with market forces raising the price of business all the time, and we do. Let us not force undue hardships (taxes) on those who are pulling the wagon the hardest.

Posted by: tomd at August 13, 2006 7:02 AM
Comment #175279

“We will never run out of oil”???!!! How do you come up with that statement? Since when is the earth still creating oil? I am not saying we run out of it in ten year, or 20. However, at the rate we are consuming, you can be sure that it will run out one day.

Jimmy Carter, the anethema of the Right, was the first and only president to say that our biggest national security issue was OIL. However, starting with Reagan and continued with the Republican Congress in the’90s, any effort to develop fuel efficiency have been killed. As long as big oil underwrites the campaign coffers, we will not see any progress at all. (Who got a big tax break just this year? Not you and me, but Exxon)

Ethanol is a Big Joke. It takes 1.8 gallons of oil to produce 2 gallons of ethanol - that is not a solution. Corn is a big energy using crop. The only reason this is supported by Congress is that big agri buz is next in line after big oil in lobbying power in DC.

Just think if we took $100 billion of the current Defense budget and put it towards fuel cells, solar cells, electric cars, etc. Until we get a Congress not controlled by big oil, this will never happen. And that goes for both Democrats and Republicans who are in the pockets of big oil.

Posted by: Acetracy at August 13, 2006 7:27 AM
Comment #175284

Play

There just is no other choice. You cannot both conserve and go to alternatives AND have inexpensive fuel that you use in the ways you do now. The rule of thumb was that alternatives became viable when oil reached around $60 a barrel. They are becoming viable now. Listen to the NPR link with Lester Brown and you will hear that he is WORRIED that ethanol is an alternative. Alternatives will cost MORE not less than oil used to. Oil was an amazingly good deal. That is why we used so much of it.

Re blame - there really is no BLAME here. We used a product because it was inexpensive and easy to obtain. Some of the external costs were not immediately apparent. We got used to very cheap energy. We are going into a period of more expensive energy. We will have to adapt and we will. That will include all of us.

Tomd

Please see above. The tax angle requires an additional explanation. If you accept the idea that we should not be so dependent on oil (you may or may not), the taxes will help us free ourselves. Let me explain the KIND of tax I am talking about.

The oil market goes up and down. Oil is now around $70 a barrel. We see it only going up, but it also goes down. Oil was at an ALL TIME low in 1998. Nobody ever would have believed that in 1980. At $60 a barrel, alternatives become viable. IF they develop, they can probably compete to around $40. If oil price go below that, the alternative producers go out of business. THEN next time the price rises, we have no alternatives. This is one of the rare cases of a market failure. I advocate a sliding tax to keep the price of oil above about $45 a barrel. Right now, there would be no tax. It would start to come in at around $50 a barrel.

Acetracy

We will not run out of oil because as it becomes rare it becomes more expensive until we use alternatives. We may run out of oil at $25 a barrel, but we have plenty of oil at $100 a barrel. The idea that we will just use oil under the wells are all empty and then we will have no alternative is just silly. At some point we will not use oil as a fuel, just as we do not use whale oil or tallow, but by that point it will make as much difference as a shortage of whale order does today.

Re Carter - Carter’s synfuels program did not work, but it is even worse looked at from today’s perspective. In 1978, we worried about global cooling, not global warming. Most of the synfuels were related to converting coal to gas etc. They created a lot of CO2. So it is really a good thing the Carter project failed. It was heading down the wrong path.

Ethanol technology is developing. It is not a viable alternative now, by definition. Otherwise we would be using it now instead of oil from gas. Corn is probably not the optimal feedstock. We are working technologies to use things like woodchip or switchgrass. Let me repeat, alternatives will cost more than cheap oil did. There is no magic.

We are spending a lot of money to develop fuel cells, electric cars etc. But how do you fuel fuel cell. The correct answer is hydrogen. Where do you get hydrogen? You can also use methanol. Where does that come from? Electricity for those electric car. Where do you get that? Most U.S. electricity comes from coal, BTW. I advocate more nukes, but we do not have them yet.

So when you get that solar powered flying car, it will be fun, but we do not live in this commic book world.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #175285

Ace

One more point. You like to blame the Republicans. Energy efficiency gains for the economy dropped most during the 1990s and improved after 2001. You blame Republicans.

Reagan was president in the 1980s, but Dems controlled the congress most of the time. You blame a Republican president. Clinton was president in the 1990s, but Republicans controlled the congress most of the time. You blame Republicans. You really cannot have it both ways. It is sort of like your solar flying car. It just doesn’t work.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #175292

Jack,

I have no doubt that higher prices will lead us to alternates. I also think it’s the only way we will get there, so we have no disagreement there.

Why the rush to get to alternatives that you would impose additional costs? Until the cost balances out to match an alternative, no alternative will work. If we add a tax to the price of gas to force us to look at different fuels then you are punishing the ones who use the fuel the most. Mostly small companys who are “pulling the wagon”. When different fuels are cost effective then we will change. Until then my company and others like us will have to raise prices to compensate for the higher prices we have to pay at the pump. More taxes will hurt everyone.

Posted by: tomd at August 13, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #175299

High gas prices only hurt the poor. The Hummer drivers still go on their merry way every day. What’ll it be? Dinner for the kids, or enough gas to get to work next week?

Posted by: Danny Williams at August 13, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #175305

Danny

So your plan to reduce oil consumption is what? We are going to get by with less. This always hurts the poor most. It is the definition of being poor.

tomd

Oil has external costs because of its geopolitical consequences and its ecological impact. Taxes would be to account for these things.

How powerful would the Mullahs in Iraq or Hugo Chavez be if oil was really cheap? How much money could the Saudis send to Madrasses if they were getting $10 a barrel for their oil? If we are going to pay $3 at the pump, I prefer the USG get a big share and those despots less. It is not so much a price difference as who is getting it.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #175306

prices of the well established oil industry versus the prices of an emerging market of alternative energies?… Kind of like the cumbustion engion versus the horse, dont ya think? My great grandfather stated it was a, “hellovalot cheaper to keep a horse in the yard then to keep that damn automobile around here.”

Gas prices are high and will get higher. As I see it, the question is; is it better for the american people to put their hard earned tax $$ toward the developmest of a new emerging market that may generate jobs, revinew for the tax coifers and, lead the world into a new and better tommorrow? or, shall we continue to reward the established oil companies and goosestep into the gas lines.

I feel comparing a new emerging market and an established economical stronghold is like comparing apples and comquates.

Posted by: greskorn at August 13, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #175307

Jack Wrote:

Play

“There just is no other choice. You cannot both conserve and go to alternatives AND have inexpensive fuel that you use in the ways you do now”.

ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

A) CONSERVE: In the first few months of Bushs presidency there was a spearhead committee headed by John Kerry to increase Cafe Standards which the Bush Administration and the Republician Congress sumarily turned down.

B) ALTERNATIVES: The first time gas got to $3 a gallon Congress called in the oil companies. (They did not require them to be under oath!) An opportunity to require a Capital Gains tax was rejected (big suprise!) that could have been used to develope “alternative energy”. (Our Republicians in Congress just dont think that is necessary or a viable solution to curb the oil companies glut for oil and exhorbident hunger for excessive profits). So if you want “alternative forms of energy”? Dont rely upon the Republicians to do it.

C) INEXPENSIVE FUEL: A Capital Gains Tax (mentioned above), on the oil companies, would force the price of gas (now, artificially raised price of gas for profit) down, reducing the price of gas at the pumps. While at the same time using any “excessive profits” raised, by the oil companies, to develop alternative forms of energy. (But, dont expect Republicians to do this, this will be up to us, “tree hugger liberals”)

You also wrote:

“The rule of thumb was that alternatives became viable when oil reached around $60 a barrel.”

Well, it is between $75-$80 now. Which only upholds my point of “artificially raised” priceing by the oil companies, in order to extract exhorbident profits.

“They are becoming viable now. Listen to the NPR link with Lester Brown and you will hear that he is WORRIED that ethanol is an alternative. Alternatives will cost MORE not less than oil used to.”

Well, duh! Not a really big suprise to us, “tree hugging liberals!”

“Oil was an amazingly good deal. That is why we used so much of it.”

OIL is an amazing good deal for the oil companies, and Bush Co seams to want to keep it that way! The reason why we use so much of it is because there are no alternatives. And Bush Co wants it THAT way too!

However, there is a new electric car out there now. It costs 80K but it will go from 0 to 60 (in a short time frame that I do not remember). It will go up to 250 miles between recharges. And if I had 80K right now, dont think that for one minute I wouldnt get one, just to stick it to the oil companies and politicians that support them!

Then you said:

“Re blame - there really is no BLAME here”.

YES, yes, there is. Dependency on oil is killing our planet. Bush can deny global warming, all he wants to. He can fire the head of the EPA, and try to shut up the scientific evidence behind it, all he wants to. This is not going to save the polar ice caps, clean up our air, or keep the polar bears or other forms of life on earth (including humans), from dying, from an altered enviornment and polution.

The price to keep oil as our main source of fuel at the expense of human life (both health-wise, and with war) is appauling. It is reprehensible.

But, all the rest of you people out there, the ones that do not fall into this 17% way of thinking. Dont get too excited about the price of this new electric car, comming down to your price range. Someday we will all be able to afford a car like that.

However, there will always be this 17% to worry about and the big money behind them. Namely the oil companies, and the politicians that support them. Oh, they wont be in the business of oil any more. But they will still be in the business of big business screwing the “mythical little guy”. You see, the utility companies are a natural manopoly already. And, you will have to get your electricity from somewhere.

It WILL BE the same game with the same players, only the name will be changed, (to protect the guilty)!

“We are going into a period of more expensive energy. We will have to adapt and we will. That will include all of us”.

Yes, Im afraid your right. We will always be screwed by someone!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #175314

Jack,

PS: Oh, and if you are still pushing hy-breds as the answer, dont forget that hy-breds still use some gas of some kind (developed from “oil”, or some other form of “killer energy”). And, as long as we are dependent on oil in any way —- the price for that oil in any amount —- is still going to be set by the oil industry.

So, who cares if gas is 1$ per gallon, $3 per gallon, or $15 per gallon? It is still killing us, our country and our planet. And, if it were one cent a gallon, that is still, too much!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #175323

You’ll never get your conservative colleagues to agree your rational ideology.

“Within our culture, economics-
not community well-being,
not morals,
not ethics,
not justice,
not life itself
—only economics drives social decisions.” - endgame

Posted by: mem beth at August 13, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #175332

I see the debate on this issue is still hot. it does seem, from what i have read so far, that there is an general agreement for the need of an alternative energy source. the question seems to involve the how and why more than anything else.

oil has made our lives very convenient as well as easier. a huge portion of the economy is dependent upon oil not only nationally but world wide too. very few products are made without the use of oil in some fashion or another. and they will affect the environment in some way or another also.

every one of you can just look around the room you are in and find something that involves the use of oil. so, those of you that wants to shut down every oil rig on the planet today, take that into consideration. it won’t be just transportation that will feel the effects. and i’ll bet that includes that sail boat you are going to retire on too, PlayNice.

though i recognize that Jack’s post was strictly in regards to gas and its use these other concerns are just as important.

Posted by: The Griper at August 13, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #175333
We are still paying less for gas than our grandfathers did in the 1930s.

Jack, did they even make gas in the 1930’s?

Seriously, you used to say that we were paying less for gas than in the 80’s, what happened? Oh, that’s right we passed that point this year. Now, you’ve got to go back to a period when there was, what, one or two wells pumping?

Jack, high gas prices with no viable cheap alternative to gas guzzling cars is a killer for working folk.

Your “Let them eat cake” attitude is typical of the Republican elite who brought this country to the low point it’s at right now. Rather than provide a viable alternative to oil, you guys laughed it off and helped oil companies help themselves — and now the woking folk are paying for it.

“Pain at the pump drives changes”

It took five years of scrimping – including living two months in a garage with no running water – for John Brown to make it back to the fresh air and simple life of his beloved Palomar Mountain.

But just a few months of paying more than $3 per gallon for gasoline forced him off the mountain again.

John Brown couldn’t keep up with the $600 it took to fuel his Ford Bronco every month, so he moved to Rancho Bernardo to cut down on his commute and expenses.

Last fall, Brown, 57, an aerospace worker, had bought a small cabin on a third of an acre in an area that he had lived in, and fallen in love with, during the 1990s.

Brown knew that the 100-mile round-trip commute to his job in Kearny Mesa would be a grind, but what he didn’t count on was a $600 monthly gasoline bill. He was putting $60 into the tank of his 1996 Ford Bronco every few days and finding himself $50 to $75 in the hole each week.

That was too much for a man who endured years of underemployment and transience after being laid off from his manufacturing job in 2001. Brown threw in the towel last month, selling the small cabin at a loss and moving to a one-bedroom apartment in Rancho Bernardo, 12 miles from work.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 13, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #175339

Jack,

Yes, higher prices are doing their job.
Yes, the low prices lulled us into a sense of false security.
We need to develop alternatives soon, or suffer more later.

Record profits for oil companies will not lead to many (if any) solutions.

Like many things, lessons come from pain and misery. Climbing prices for everything may finally motivate people to build and buy more efficient automobiles, build more efficient homes, become less wasteful, and hopefully, develop new technologies and alternative energy sources. Supply and demand will not do its thing.

The U.S. (a mere 4.5% of the world population) uses 7.7 billion barrels of oil per year (21 million barrels of oil per day; 25% of the world’s oil produced), 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, 1.1 trillion short tons of coal, and produces 28% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Homes could be much more energy efficient.
We don’t need to commute to work in Chevy suburbans.
And, we don’t all need to go to work at the same time of the day, which wastes a lot of fuel (since we are sitting in traffic, at a crawl or standstill much of the time). Dallas needs something like that very badly, because of air pollution (not just red-alerts, but purple-alert ozone days). And, what good is the Department Of Energy? What are we getting for our $23.5 billion (DOE’s 2007 annual budget)? That’s $64.4 million per day !, for cryin’ out loud. For that kind of money, some corporation(s) could have developed many alternative energy sources and more efficient automobiles.

What the [explicative] is wrong with this picture?

Lots of government departments are like this.
What do they produce? Charts and ever bigger budgets?

But, we will learn, even if it is the hard way. Pain and misery is a good teacher.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 13, 2006 6:52 PM
Comment #175340

CORRECTION: Supply and demand will not now do its thing.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 13, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #175344

The biggest issue here is why we are behind the curve on this in the business world. Supply and Demand seems to be an excuse sometimes for not doing something different. Only now when its really getting painful are people doing anything about it. Only because of the paint its inflicting, that’s putting a drag on our economy, reducing investment.

It seems to me that we’re looking at a real problem in responsibility. When are we going to make the decision to commit ourselves to developing alternatives and stick to that? We’re better than this, Jack, I know it.

Whatever happened to the country that innovated first, rather than wait for the rest of the world?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 13, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #175349

Play

How would taxing oil companies lower the price of gas?

Most of the price of a gallon of gas is the price of crude. If gas is about $3 a gallon, the oil companies make a profit of about a dime. So even if you take ALL their profit, the price of a gallon of gas drops from $3 to $2.90. Great.

Re alternatives - they are currently being developed and ARE viable. We are developing so much ethanol capacity right now that it worries Lester Brown (see link)

Things are working as we would predict. You are trying hard to find someone to blame, but there really is nobody. You are very angry, but your wrath is misplaced.

Try to set aside the hate and just think logically. You say BushCo keeps us hooked on oil. Did we use so much less oil before Bush became president? Price does reduce demand for gas and encouraged alternatives. Is Bush doing the wrong thing?

You keep on trying to bring up the problems of oil. I agree. The difference between us is that I want to do something about it, while you want to revel in the blame game.

Re hybrids

Hybrids lead to conservation. You claim you are interested in higher CAFE standards. What does that mean to you? If you raise the CAFE standards to 40 miles a gallon, you are approaching what a hybrid will give you. So are you interested in CAFE standards or not? Or once again, are you just looking to set blame again.

AP

What is your solution? We need to develop alternatives. The days of low price gas are over.

BTW - gas prices are about what they were in 1980 in real dollars. It looks like it going higher now. We now have a big and growing demand from China and India, among others. Alternatives become viable at about $60/barrel oil. They ARE viable now. But that means that we are looking at prices the correspond to oil at about that rate. NOT cheap.

Your example is kinda sad, but that man is certainly part of the problem. You really cannot advocate that he commute 100 miles to work. If gas is cheap, he is adding lots of CO2 and pollution to the air. He is requiring paving of roads way into the mountains and he is scaring off the wildlife.

High gas prices doing the good work again. So are you for conservation and lowering greenhouse gases or do you want to indulge this guy’s 500 weekly miles in a Bronco.

Take a look at the damage this guy was doing. Sure am glad we stopped him.

Did you create this as a straw man for me to knock down. It seems way to easy.

d.a.n.

I don’t care either way about the profits. But we are talking 10 cents a gallon profit. Eliminating it saves a dime.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #175363

Danny Williams

High gas prices only hurt the poor. The Hummer drivers still go on their merry way every day. What’ll it be? Dinner for the kids, or enough gas to get to work next week?

Right! And the Hummer drivers will still get to work and feed the kids at the same time their taking vacations in their 8 mpg Hummers. I see them all the time out on I75 with Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and other out of state tags.
Mean time back at the ranch, the poor working person is either letting the kids go hungry so he can get to work. Or he’s not getting to work and the kids are still hungry.

Jack
Do you really think that with high gas prices that the oil companies are gonna step up alternative fuel research? Your a lot more optimistic than I am if you do.

d.a.n
I agree that we need more energy efficient vehicles, homes, and factories. And low fuel prices most likely have led to inefficiency in these areas.
But I don’t see the oil companies doing anything about these or alternative fuels even with higher prices. They’re just gonna pocket the profits.
They’ve posted record profits for 2 quarters in a row and I haven’t heard any of them say they’re going to increase research on alternative fuels. When alternative fuels are developed it will be from outside the oil industry. But once they are look for the oil companies to try to corner the market on them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 13, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #175364

d.a.n
I know you live in Texas but in your post you mentioned Dallas. Do you live there? I’ve got a sister in Farmers Branch.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 13, 2006 10:22 PM
Comment #175366
Did you create this as a straw man for me to knock down. It seems way to easy.

No, Jack. It’s an example of how 12 years of Republican obstructionism on fuel efficiency standards and alternative energy R&D are robbing people of the American Dream.

It just amazes me that you have the gall to say higher gas prices are good. That extra expense seriously impacts those of us who can afford it least.

And to have the rich Republican elites who spent the last decade getting even richer from tax breaks on stock dividends and capital gains tell us that we should tighten our belts further and give up on the American Dream is completely offensive to me and every other American who works for a living.

If there was a cheap viable alternative to gasoline right now, you could get away with your “Let them eat cake” rhetoric, Jack. But to watch you celebrate the hardship that high gas prices puts on working folk just pisses me off to no end.

If you’re going to dance your little victory dance on the grave of the middle class, at least have the decency to do it in private.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 13, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #175371

Jack,

“How would taxing oil companies lower the price of gas?”

Well, for one thing, taxing oil companies on excess profits would make oil companies charge less for their gas because of the tax “penalties”. “Excess profits” are those profits that are over a reasonable profit expected, from the sale of their product; and, after a reasonable amount of dividends are paid to their stock holders.

And, secondly these monies collected by the Federal Government by way of a “windfall” tax on oil companies, could then be divested to a special fund that develops alternative feuls, or puts money in the pocket of industry, to develop solar or electric cars. This is already becoming a reality, and will wean us off of foscil fuels. (A very Good Thing).

I do not see a problem with this, but of course, I am sure that you will come up with something!

As to alternatives like ethanol, that is a joke. As you say, it can or will be regulated just like gas, so what is the difference, anyway? You are just exchanging one adiction for another!

And, I dont have to “work hard” to find someone to “blaime” for big oil. It is a cake walk, really.

No matter how ignoble you think developing an alternative will be, the simple fact is that we already have the worlds oil tied up. Exchanging it for another fuel or a hy-bred fuel, will just keep the line of greed and corruptism going in the same direction that it is going in, right now.

At least with an electric car, or better yet, a solar car (!!!), we wouldnt have to be held by the balls, every time we needed to get somewhere.

And, any Administration can see to it that this form of energy is developed.

Just not this one!

(Or, any other administration in bed with big oil).

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #175373

AP

A Friggen Men !!!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 11:03 PM
Comment #175377

AP

The guy drives a Bronco. It is one of the worst vehicles there is in terms of mileage and environmental impact. If he trades that Bronco in for a Civic (which he can probably do more or less even up) his total gas bill at $3 a gallon will be what he used to pay when it was only $1.50.

I am not interested in helping him be stupid. Do you want him to continue with his 100 miles a day @ 12 miles a gallon lifestyle?

Rich or poor, this guy burns more gas in a single day of commuting than I do in an average month. Talk about a carbon footprint.

Play

We went the way you suggest in the 1970s. Worked not at all.

If you tax ALL the profit on a gallon of gas and give it ALL back to the people, you have moved the price at the pump from $3.12 (station near my house) to $3.02. Does that solve your problem, or that of our Bronco owner in AP’s example?

I like your idea of free energy, but I stopped believing in magic a long time ago. But let me go on the record saying that anytime you come up with energy that costs nothing or nearly nothing, I am for it.

Posted by: Jack at August 13, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #175379

Did anyone notice we are paying less than our grandfathers IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION. If you can only say we are better than the worst economic time in the nations history, it is not a good thing. According to my Grandfather, being out of work and paying high prices in the 30’s sucked, kinda like having a Bush in office.

Posted by: Grattan at August 13, 2006 11:54 PM
Comment #175380

You have three problems with nuclear power. I’ll reduce it to THREE WORDS so it can be caught in the coarse mesh of the conservative mind.

Mine, refine, confine.

You have to mine it. That costs money for infrastructure and fuel for the machines and transport. It ruins the landscape, much as strip-mining of coal does. For the scale you dweebs are talking about, it’s rather a bit of devastation.

Refine it. Very messy, creates a lot of waste that nobody wants in their back yard. Costs money to do, and fossil fuel too!

You have to confine the results. I’m sure you believe that Just Around The Corner There’s Confinement In The Sky, but it hasn’t happened yet. And the amount of waste that will fulfil your Status Quo Plus dreams is a nightmare.

Enjoy your nuke dreams, fools. Bush loves you for the fools you are.

Posted by: Vanna at August 13, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #175381

Jack,

Stop saying that I want to give gas tax money back to the prople. Gas tax money on Oil Companies will keep them from gouging us, and that keeps prices “Lower”. Meanwhile, while they are getting their hands slapped for being greedy piggies, the tax money that is collected, (because they just cant help themselves) goes to development, to wean us off of foscil fuels. (Or at least make it better eventually). Solar and electric are the only alternatives.

Start believing in magic Jack,
Cause it is comming….
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1998992,00.asp?kc=EWNKT0209KTX1K0100440

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #175382

Jack, the guy’s dream was to live out in the boonies on a dirt road and he needed a truck. If Republicans hadn’t blocked higher fuel efficiency standards for trucks over the last decade, he’d be living his dream.

This is exactly what I’m talking about. The rich Republican elites set up the conditions for the working folk’s hardships, and then blame us when we have a hard time making ends meet.

The guy needs a truck. If there was a fuel efficient truck on the market right now for under $35k, you’d be right. But there’s not.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 13, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #175383

Good One, Grattan !!!

Posted by: PlayNice at August 13, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #175392
Ron Brown wrote: d.a.n I agree that we need more energy efficient vehicles, homes, and factories. And low fuel prices most likely have led to inefficiency in these areas. But I don’t see the oil companies doing anything about these or alternative fuels even with higher prices. They’re just gonna pocket the profits. They’ve posted record profits …
Yep, no doubt about it. There has been no leadership. If anything, there has been foot-dragging and resistance. We’ll have to learn the hard way.
Ron Brown wrote: d.a.n I know you live in Texas but in your post you mentioned Dallas. Do you live there? I’ve got a sister in Farmers Branch.
Yep. Actually, a few miles north in a Lewisville, but it all runs together. The entire metroplex (Dallas, Ft.Worth, Plano, Lewisville, Farmers Branch, Coppell, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Carrollton, Richardson, Irving, etc., all put together have a total population of about 5 million. Yes, I know Farmers Branch well and spent a lot of time in that area.
Jack wrote: d.a.n. I don’t care either way about the profits. But we are talking 10 cents a gallon profit. liminating it saves a dime.
Jack, I don’t care that much about that either. There’s some gouging, profits are good, but we have ourselves to thank for this mess, since we didn’t do what we should have done a long time ago. Instead, we’ve been crappin’ in our own nest for decades.

But, necessity is the mother of invention.
Look at Brazil. They couldn’t get enough oil, so they use biofuels and ethanol.

What bothers me most is the worthless Department Of Energy and their astronomical $23.5 billion budget for 2007

the Department of Energy’s budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2007
was crafted. While seeking to meet America’s short-term energy needs, the $23.5 billion
FY 2007 budget is also focused on the future. The budget request makes bold investments to improve America’s energy security while protecting our environment, puts policies in place that foster continued economic growth, spurs scientific innovation and discovery, and addresses the threat of nuclear proliferation.

That makes me wanna puke.

That is $64 million a freakin’ day ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

On top of that, the government and the Federal Reserve are printing over $370 million PER DAY of new money (over $135 billion per year) ! ?! ?! ? ! ?! ?! ?

What the [explicative] is up with that [explicative]ing [explicative] ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

Are we getting our money’s worth?
I don’t think so. The DOE’s daily budget itself would buy 21.46 million gallons of gasoline (at $3 per gallon) PER DAY ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

Government, growing to nightmare proportions, is strangling America. It’s full of incumbent politicians (a.k.a. parasites). And, then there is the missing $24.5 billion from year 2003. Where the [explicative] did it go? That would pay for 22.4 million gallons of gasoline (at $3 per gallon) PER DAY ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

Pork-barrel, graft, corporate welfare, and waste for 2006 is $29 billion. That is enough to buy 26.5 million gallons of gasoline PER DAY ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

We are being strangled by a severely bloated, do-nothing, corrupt, incompetent government that just grows and grows and grows and spends and spends and spends and borrows and borrows and borrows and prints more money and more money and more money, and runs up more debt and more debt and more debt that will take 140 years to pay off (if you started now by not borrowing $1 billion per day, and also started paying back $1 billion per day).

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how ridiculous it is, and how ridiculous it is going to get.

Voters are going to get their just desserts for continuing to re-elect incumbent politicians over and over, empowering them to keep doing this crap. Go to Citizens Against Governemnt Waste ( cagw.org ) and look at what they uncover. It’s jaw dropping.

Voters might wanna start paying attention, OR they will only have themselves to thank for the painful consequences (if it is too late already) of our bought-and-paid-for, FOR SALE, irresponsible, corrupt incumbent politicians and an out-of-control government that has now grown to 19% of GDP ! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?! ?

Posted by: d.a.n at August 14, 2006 1:27 AM
Comment #175402

Play

So you are looking at a punitive tax. The bipartisan commission looking into price gouging found none.

Whether or not you give the tax back to the people, the oil companies CAN reduce the price of gas by about ten cents a gallon. That is their total profit. You cannot make them reduce it any more, no matter what you threaten.

It is very hard to LOWER the price of anything by raising taxes on it or on the guys who produce it.

Re the magic - IF these things work, we buy them. Good. That is the market. But I read about a lot more solutions than I see.

AP

Lots of people have dreams. Are you living all of yours? You are right. I really do not care about this guy. If he wants to live in a rural area, maybe he should find something to do in the rural economy. His particular dream is impractical. He needs to adjust to reality. Forget the price of gas or the gas itself. Think of the environmental cost of his commute in terms of road maintenance. He drives this Bronco across dirt roads every day. Does he maintain these roads? Then he drives across hundreds of miles of blacktop. Not to mention the cost of running phone and utility lines. I also am not enthusiastic about dividing mountain real estate into 1/3 acre plots so that city people can pretend to be woodsmen. You are familar with the problem of fragmentation of habitat. I bet this modern day Daniel Boone still wants electric lights and cable TV. Society is paying a fortune to give this guy his dream. We share roads, but each of us has his impact. Mine is small (I bike and never drive to commute). His is very large. He needs to adjust.

If he has cake, he might want to eat some.

Posted by: Jack at August 14, 2006 6:08 AM
Comment #175404

I agree that higher prices is the cure for dependence on oil. I don’t think taxes are the answer. “Necessity is the mother of invention” I don’t remember who said it but I was taught that over 50 years ago and it still applies. It’s getting to a point that we “need” an alternate energy source. We have come up with many such as solar, wind, clean coal, nuclear, to name a few and we are working on others. At some point we will overcome our objections to the above sources or develope new ones. In the meantime I’ll drive my Ford E-150, getting about 14-15 mpg and pay the price at the pump.

I don’t think taxes are the answer because any monies collected would go into the general fund to buy more pork. It wouldn’t help the situation at all.

As much anger as there is agains’t oil companies now I kind of hate to say it but they are in the best position to find new sources of power. The way they spend their money is a problem and could be discussed in another thread, but they know a lot more about energy than the government does and their future is on the line.

I’d much rather see profits rise than taxes.

Posted by: tomd at August 14, 2006 6:13 AM
Comment #175411

Some people shouldnt be allowed to think.

And, when they talk,

they are harmful to themselves

and other wild life.

Posted by: PlayNice at August 14, 2006 9:20 AM
Comment #175418

Play

I agree, but we probably have different people in mind.

Posted by: Jack at August 14, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #175518

For the consumer, the most important issue is local production and distribution of energy. Ethanol, biodiesel, wood pellets, corn kernels for heat, wood, etc. can all be produced locally. This prevents monopolies from taking advantadge of the consumer, as is now the case. Small entrepreneurs must step up to the plate however. Farmers are the most logical choice. They could each produce energy crops, have solar panels, and windmills simultaneously. They can also refine ethanol and beodiesel from their own products.

Ron Wagner

Posted by: Ron Wagner at August 14, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #175546
His particular dream is impractical. He needs to adjust to reality.

No, it would be fine if there was a cheap viable alternative to gas.

Here’s the reality: You’re telling the working class to give up their dreams because Republican elites stacked the cards against us. That’s pretty crappy.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 15, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #175549

“Just think if we took $100 billion of the current Defense budget and put it towards fuel cells, solar cells, electric cars, etc. Until we get a Congress not controlled by big oil, this will never happen. And that goes for both Democrats and Republicans who are in the pockets of big oil.” Acetracey

Ace,

Exactly!

That is what I have been talking about. We do not even have to take it from the defense budget. Jack claims that the oil companies are only making a dime per gallon in excess gas profits. Well, if that is true, then they are due to make some 36 billion this year alone, in excess profits. Then why not get half of that in a “windfall tax” on the oil companies. This gives the government 18 billion each year until gas goes below say, $3 or even $2.50 per gallon.

This could make everyone happy. A nickle a gallon does not seam like much. But, that kind of investment by a government that gives a poo, could really jump start the solar, and electric car market.

I do not see how anyone could find fault with that…….

But,,,,,wait……

Do I see Jack lurking in the wings?

Posted by: PlayNice at August 15, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #175731

AP, I applaud your taking on J. Anthony re his “high prices is good” mantra but when you stop beating your head against that brick wall, it’s gonna feel better. But thanks again just the same. You are right, in my opinion.

Posted by: ray at August 15, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #176390

Play

If you put that tax on the gas by the gallon, I am content. My interest is in encouraging conservation and alternatives. A tax on consumption helps. A general tax does nothing.

AP

Yes. If we have a miracle fuel this guy and other like him can drive 100 miles a day and live on 1/3 acre lots in the forest. Assume fuel is free. What about all the roads and infrastructure. Do we really want everybody commuting 100 miles a day in a private car? We don’t have enough traffic already? Roads don’t divide enough forests and fields? Not enough of our country is aleady paved? NO. I do not want to encourage or subsidize such bad behavior.

Ray

We get a lot of people talking about the environment, global warming etc. They like to jump on others, but they refuse to do the things THEY can do now to make things better. I am one of the only people who actually is willing to walk the walk (literally).

Posted by: Jack at August 19, 2006 12:32 AM
Comment #176509

I watched Greg Palast on Democracy Now the other day he offered up some interesting documents and ideas.

He used the words Mission Accomplished to describe what some may believe is our mission there. Raising the price of oil.

Sadam was a problem not for killing Kurds, invading Iran or even Kuwait, not even ICBM’s or suitcase bombs of Sarin, but because he bucked the limits imposed by OPEC.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq (the second time around) the Baker Institute wrote up a plan for the privatisation of Iraqi Oil with a preference given to US interests (Exxon Mobil—Baker/Botts client). The privatisation language was written into the Iraqi Constitution and administered by Paul Bremer.

The interesting part of his premise was that Iraq, whose oil fields are no.2 behind Saudi Arabia, was that the goal of controling Iraq was to control the oil production below 3 million barrels a day, which thus far has been accomplished. This has helped to raise oil to it’s new levels. His theory is this is another cartel like the DeBeers are with Diamonds. Thus….Mission Accomplished. Maybe that’s why no Republican candidate is for a masssive plan for renewable energy sources.

I know many think Palast is another Michael Moore, but both create valid juxtapositions of occurences that cause me to wonder. Money has a funny way of being in everything and usually hidden. To quote Deep Throat, “Follow the money.” He has shown more than anyone, the use of Republican lists and slimy tactics to deny voting rights.

Posted by: gergle at August 19, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #251521

Hello! I’d like to say high gas prices might be good for you rich people but did you ever think what it would seriously do to the poor people. It will take more taxes out of us because more people will apply for food stamps and WIC. I see it already. I work in a grocery store and I definitely see more with food stamps more now than ever. It’s like a domino effect the gas prices get higher, people then can’t afford tm put food on the table, the truckers need more money to transport goods and people can’t afford it so small business who keep this country going go out of business and people loose there homes but of cores you rich people don’t care. You just want your money. Well soon you wait if people don’t have a job they can’t pay taxes and if they can’t pay taxes people who need help (not illegal immigrants) in this country can’t get it because no one has a job to pay taxes. More people will loose there homes and jobs if prices go up too high and the poor people will have no where to go. you say well, “get a job close by so that you don’t need to drive too far” well that’s not always possible you need to sometimes get a job where you need it and sometimes it’s impossible to find a job close bye.
In the end we will all loose out even the gas companies. They’ll always get money but with everyone without a job who will even be able to pay for gas.
I dare any of you to write me back because right now I’m very angry at all of you for not looking at both sides of the problem here. The side where everyone losses out. Out of a job and out of a house. Out of something to eat too.
More people in my town are going to food pantries then ever before and the food pantries don’t know where they will ge there food because no one can afford to give to them.

Posted by: Holly at April 26, 2008 10:29 PM
Comment #251522

Hello! I’d like to say high gas prices might be good for you rich people but did you ever think what it would seriously do to the poor people. It will take more taxes out of us because more people will apply for food stamps and WIC. I see it already. I work in a grocery store and I definitely see more with food stamps more now than ever. It’s like a domino effect the gas prices get higher, people then can’t afford tm put food on the table, the truckers need more money to transport goods and people can’t afford it so small business who keep this country going go out of business and people loose there homes but of cores you rich people don’t care. You just want your money. Well soon you wait if people don’t have a job they can’t pay taxes and if they can’t pay taxes people who need help (not illegal immigrants) in this country can’t get it because no one has a job to pay taxes. More people will loose there homes and jobs if prices go up too high and the poor people will have no where to go. you say well, “get a job close by so that you don’t need to drive too far” well that’s not always possible you need to sometimes get a job where you need it and sometimes it’s impossible to find a job close bye.
In the end we will all loose out even the gas companies. They’ll always get money but with everyone without a job who will even be able to pay for gas.
I dare any of you to write me back because right now I’m very angry at all of you for not looking at both sides of the problem here. The side where everyone losses out. Out of a job and out of a house. Out of something to eat too.

Posted by: holly at April 26, 2008 10:31 PM
Comment #251600

What, you rich people are to afraid to respond to my comment! Well I’ve got better things to do and I guess you do too. I just hope that all of you rich people loose your jobs and your money to this reception that’s now taking place. You say that you want the gas prices to go up but guess what if people can’t afford gas they can’t afford anything else and that will make it so people will loose there jobs and then no body not even you rich people will have a job. Even if you don’t have job right now the money that you have saved in the bank will slowly deplete because prices are getting higher and higher. So keep saying that you want the gas prices to go up and see what happens to all of us even you rich people! So you can finally put yourself in my shoes for once where you can barley afford to feed your family!

Posted by: holly at April 28, 2008 12:19 PM
Post a comment