Third Party & Independents Archives

Fuel Price & Taxes

It has come to my attention …..
Our states, mine in particular,
are not collecting revenues off gas taxes like they have in the past.

The number of miles driven was down over 1 billion last month and our states are not collecting taxes on fuel like they were.
Does this mean a significant drop in fuel prices to fill up?
Let's hope even Nancy Pelosi catches on.

We had a new bridge project that had began just a few miles from us.
It is between our house and the school our daughters attend.
They shut it down. Planted grass where the bypass was going to be.
A friend who works for the highway department told us the state ran out of money.

The same man said they spent too much on repaving roads and other projects.

I said .. Yeah. They spent more money on those projects that the politicians use to 'create jobs'.
A bridge bulding project doesn't need as many jobs as repaving or whatever else they do to 'maintain' the roads.

Our state was one that suspended the road tax after 9/11. I am looking for them to raise it now.

Drill Now. Drill Everywhere.
We have the technology to keep it safe.
We cannot build bridges & roads with solar power.

Gas prices are still coming down.

I began this article 2 weeks ago.

Does anyone really believe the price at the pump is not effected by jobs our government 'creates'?.

Posted by Dawn at August 17, 2008 2:20 AM
Comments
Comment #257562

A French guy that stayed with us in the early eighties was amazed at our gas prices. Theirs was over three bucks a gallon while ours was just over one. We had a fit when it broke a dollar. I am of the opinion that our fuel prices have been artificially low for years. This was due to our large consumption therefore a discounted price. Now that we aren’t the only large buyer and can be replaced it is essential we drill our own. Alternate fuels become profitable at this price so lets pursue them.
As for taxes, they need to be changed to a percentage rather than a few cents on the gallon to keep up with inflation. I am all for infrastructure. Government is just terrible at benevolence and needs to leave it to religious organizations.

Posted by: Kruser at August 3, 2008 9:25 AM
Comment #258701

Do you have any idea what the ‘french guy’ thinks now?
Did he come to realize that taxes were higher on fuel in France than in the states?

Posted by: Dawn at August 17, 2008 2:35 AM
Comment #258704

Comparing gas prices between America and almost anywhere else (other than Canada) is misleading, because our economy is far more automobile-oriented than any other country. Almost any industrialized nation you care to name has a FAR more efficient mass-transportation system than we do.

In other words, their economies don’t suffer as much as we do from high gas prices. They already know how to do with less gas. We never learned that lesson….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 17, 2008 3:59 AM
Comment #258709

Kruser,

How many oil fields are there in France?
For that matter how many oil fields are there in all of Europe?

Though both of the above questions are rhetorical, Europe has been utilizing mass transit for years while we here in America stubbornly hold out for the privacy of our cars.

The alarm went off in the ’70s and America collectively hit the snooze button. Since then our economy has become even more entwined by the necessity for oil.

It’s time to wake up and smell the pavement.
Even if there were vast tracts of untapped oil reserves still waiting to be found, at the current world pace, realistically how long would they last.
It is unfortunate but true that the things man builds break, and no matter how great the redundancy, the sources of energy that have the greatest yield, and are the cheapest, are finite and extremely dangerous to the environment, and to mankind itself.

The alarm has just gone off again.

Do we go back to sleep and maintain the status quo or do we wake up and wean ourselves from nonrenewable sources of energy and actually work toward a better future?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 17, 2008 9:32 AM
Comment #258713

As a former State highway department employee, in Texas, I feel a need to defend them.

Yes, there is waste in some of these departments, but on the whole they (at least in Texas) They get the highest quality work for the buck of any construction I’ve been associated with.

Many highway departments now sub out portions of their work, in privatization schemes. This often ends up costing as much as keeping a larger staff, reduces the quality of the work, and is subceptible to crony awards. Many of these departments suffer political theft of their budgets for politically more glamorous projects. Minnesota has seen this occur as the legislature decides they can get a few more years out of a bridge without proper maintenance. It wasn’t the department of highways that failed, it was a state legislature intentionally underfunding these basic services.

The section I worked for was highly professional and wasn’t a waste of money.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 17, 2008 11:19 AM
Comment #258714

Developing renewable fuels will create thousands of more jobs than drilling for more oil that may or may not help America.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 17, 2008 11:30 AM
Comment #258720

Marysdude, why does it have to be one or the other? Can’t America walk and chew gum at the same time?

The horse and buggy didn’t disappear at the onset of the automobile. It takes years to change from fossil fuel to alternatives and there simply is no replacement, in sufficient magnitude, of oil at this time.

American’s demand the political will to develop new energy sources while using our God-given natural resources in the interim.

Posted by: Jim M at August 17, 2008 1:14 PM
Comment #258723

Of course your ignoring the fact that your “god given natural resources” are contributing to the destruction of the environment.
It always has stuck me with wonder how many that believe in god — believe the world is ours to destroy. Maybe they really want the end-times to come.

Posted by: A Savage at August 17, 2008 2:00 PM
Comment #258726

>Marysdude, why does it have to be one or the other? Can’t America walk and chew gum at the same time?

Posted by: Jim M at August 17, 2008 01:14 PM

Jim,

Under normal circumstances it might not matter if we drill and search for renewables at the same time. But, quite frankly, I do not believe the drilling would improve our American lot one iota, while chancing damage to our environment, contributing to the wealth of those who do not need more wealth, and once drilling starts our collective conscience will fall asleep…we will direct our resourses the one way and as in the past, drop the ball on the other…

NOW is the time to commit our agenda, our resourses and our conscience toward the greater good.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 17, 2008 2:26 PM
Comment #258729

Dawn

Maybe the better question here is why are we in this situation. A nation as advanced and rich as ours surely can figure out ways to be more creative in funding. Should we maybe be taking a closer look at our financial situation as a nation and wondering why we no longer have funds to provide options in times of distress. Could it be that under republican rule our nations debt is growing exponentially faster than its income. Could it be that procrastination has finally caught up with us. This situation has everything to do with a lack of insight and unwillingness to prepare for the problems of the future even when we were fully capable of recognizing them. Perhaps the procurement of oil in Iraq is more important than maintaining infrastructure.

In a nutshell, living for today, worrying about tomorrow when it gets here and poor policy have led us into this situation. We are all now paying the price for foolish procrastination and allowing a group of republican thugs to run this country for far too long. It all comes down to priorities and the failure to responsibly deal with them.

More drilling will do nothing to get your bridge finished. There are no shortages of oil. We are dealing with a very influential and ruthless industry who’s only motivation is profits. They will raise and lower prices as they see fit to suit their agenda. The time has come that we must re examine our priorities and make some very controversial decisions in that direction. Do we tackle the problem now and build a better future, or do we procrastinate again and give in to the oil industry only to face this same problem in the near future. The sad thing is that the oil industry is in essence using that bridge to maintain your reliance on their product.

Posted by: RickIL at August 17, 2008 3:24 PM
Comment #258732

The oil industry is simply an association voluntarily formed for the express purpose to sell and produce oil at a profit. This is an inert thing. All enterprise exists for profit of some sort. Government is an association formed by citizens to limit behavior by force. If laws are being broke then arrests should follow. It is a bad idea to give an enforcement entity, management capabilities. The so called profits or gains from enterprise will go to unprofitable and many times detrimental purposes. We can give examples such as ethanol, environmental damage from solar and wind and the list goes on. Free enterprise works and effective solutions will win the day if failing tech doesn’t get funded by force. Domestic oil has many more advantages than simply keeping price down.
The French were also amazed at the expanse of our country. Mass transit obviously would work better in a condensed high population area as Europe. We have great highways and mobility even to less populated areas. We could ban populating areas out side particular regions so transit works better but it certainly wouldn’t go over well.

Posted by: Kruser at August 17, 2008 4:56 PM
Comment #258734

I’ve come to the point now, where I really don’t care if they drill or not. Let the stupid babies drill where they want because it isn’t going to make us energy independent and it won’t bring back the days of $1/gallon or $2/gallon, or even $3/gallon gasoline. The “drill here, drill now” people don’t realize they are being used by oil companies and the Republican party to make them richer. That oil will take years to be pumped out, and it isn’t going to stay in America, but the oil companies will still make a fortune while you continue to pay high prices.

So if you guys are going to get legislation allowing more drilling, then I want the bill to be loaded with tax breaks and subsidies for electric, hybrid, and plug in hybrid cars. I want it to include tax breaks and grants for solar, wind, and geothermal heat exchangers for home owners. I want it to end subsidies for oil companies, and make them drill on their existing leases or lose those leases to companies that will drill. I want it to make sure these companies take precautions to prevent environmental damage, and not get to walk away from their mess like Exxon recently did with the Alaskan oil spill. This is the current plan that Pelosi is considering, let’s see if the Republicans in Congress are willing to put the good of all the American people ahead of their wealthy sugar daddies.

We have had more than 30 years to deal with this problem, but the shortsitedness of the American people and their enablers has created a problem that we can’t simply drill our way out of. Past generations of Americans accomplished great things when they put their minds to it, but Republicans today make it sound like it’s too hard so we should just try for a quick fix. They say we’re nothing more than a nation of whiners, who are too fat and lazy to come together and work to build a better future like our Grandparents. It’s time to move away from oil completely, we have the technology, we just need to grow some balls and rise to the challenge.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 17, 2008 5:52 PM
Comment #258738

Well said, pops…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 17, 2008 7:50 PM
Comment #258741

Hey, let’s just PRAY at the pump, says Rocky Twyman!

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Pray_at_Pump_activist_We_shall_0817.html

For all Twyman’s considerable good works, I think Jay Leno got it right in his July 29th monologue: “Hey, have you heard about this group called Prayer at the Pump? They’re a prayer group that sprang up, and they go to gas stations and they hold hands and they pray for lower gas prices. Otherwise known as the Bush energy plan.”

Personally I am a strong Christian…and I feel I’ve got a lot more important things to pray about tha the price at the gas pump.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 17, 2008 8:11 PM
Comment #258742

Pops

Ditto! I find it somewhat telling in that republicans act as though drilling is the only way out of this mess. As if there actually is an available immediate solution. What does it say that they claim to see the need for alternatives yet they fail to support a comprehensive energy bill. The only bill they want to support is 100% in favor of supporting more oil. They know that the success of such a tactic would once again be the death of any large alternative inroads. Once again they use the misfortunes of the consumer to prey on their sensibilities in an effort to guarantee dominance of an industry. What makes it even worse is if they are successful the consumers will be short and long term losers. The longer we put off the push for alternatives the more difficult and expensive it will be when we finally have no choice.

But hey maybe I am being a bit shallow here, after all, we all know that what really matters is insuring that big oil retains it’s lions share of the wealth for as long as absolutely possible. It is the responsibility of the republican party to insure that end.

Posted by: RickIL at August 17, 2008 8:20 PM
Comment #258748

Fact is we are and have been pushing for alternatives for years. They aren’t viable yet.
We are already pouring money into it. More money doesn’t guarantee success.I previously stated that high oil prices help make changing to alternatives worthwhile. We do need however, to secure as much of our own oil as possible and get off foreign dependency. We don’t just use it for fuel.

I lost a consulting career and changed direction when oil was 13 bucks a barrel. My job was exported to the Arabs. They say we should buy American when it concerns cars. How about oil?

Leases are a temporary arrangement and run out all the time. Major companies must have large reserves to turn a profit. You want a lease to protect your studies. The more there are available, the better your chances are for a strike. Just look at Brazil.

The price per gallon/barrel isn’t really that high now when you adjust for inflation as compared to 1980. That is the point of the French perspective ; their fuel was three bucks back then. We are doing pretty good only arriving at four, twenty eight years later taxes withstanding.

Posted by: Kruser at August 18, 2008 12:29 AM
Comment #258749

Dawn;
I am curious; Is traffic congested badly in your area? Was the bridge necessary? I would rather have existing roads kept in good condition than unnecessary new construction. We all should contribute a fair share. The Detroit area is depopulating so an abandoned project wouldn’t be a surprise.

Posted by: Kruser at August 18, 2008 12:42 AM
Comment #258750

Pops Mcgee nails it again.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 18, 2008 1:47 AM
Comment #258756

veritas/pops:


It is easy to manufacture reasons we haven’t replaced oil. The fact is that we have been trying for years and nothing up to this point is viable. There are no faults or deficiencies in our scientists and inventors and certainly isn’t a feigned conspiracy. Money won’t always produce breakthroughs. What is …is. It isn’t laziness it is realism.

Posted by: Kruser at August 18, 2008 10:05 AM
Comment #258763

We have the oil and we need to be using it instead of foreign oil. We have wells that can still be productive but are capped off. Why?
While I’m all for alternative fuels, until they are available we need to be using our own oil and let the Arabs swim in theirs.
Why do y’all that don’t want us to drill for oil here want to keep making the countries that want to destroy us richer and more powerful?
Even if alternative fuels became viable today it will take years to build the infrastructure to distribute them. It’s also going to take 10 to 15 years to get most gas burning cars off the road. So what do y’all propose we do in the meantime? Pay our enemies for oil?

BTW, Have any of y’all noticed a drop in your gas mileage lately?
The oil companies are buying up the ethanol and putting it in the gas. They make a gallon of gas go further for them, and make more money per gallon. Your gas mileage goes down and you buy more gas, and they make more money.
And the mechanic makes money when the seals in your fuel system dry up and start leaking.
It’s a win - win situation for everyone but the consumer.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 18, 2008 12:26 PM
Comment #258812

Kruser,

I’m talking about things that can be done right now. There are businesses that have been around for 4/5 years converting hybrids into plug-in hybrids, why can’t the manufacturer do it? Why can’t the government give tax breaks for hybrid and electric vehicles, or low interest loans for home solar or geothermal heat exchangers? These technologies have been around for a while, and they make economic sense over the lifetime of the product, they just require alot of money up front. Why can’t the government offer low interest green loans to get more of these systems installed, cut down on fossil fuel use, and grow the economy at the same time?

There are things that can be done now, but Republicans in Congress who are beholden to the oil lobby can only come up with “drill here, drill now.”

Ron Brown,

“Pay our enemies for oil.” Democrats have been talking about that for years, especially after 9/11, but what did Bush and the Republicans do about it? We don’t have the oil to do what you want to do, if we did we wouldn’t be importing more than we produce domestically for the last 30 years. The USA reached its peak in the 70’s. Increased drilling here will only speed up the rate we exhaust our reserves, and as long as conservation and alternatives don’t get addressed it won’t make a dent in our imports by the time those new wells start flowing. By getting more people to drive hybrid and plug in hybrid cars with tax breaks and incentives, it will reduce demand for oil and buy us more time to upgrade the grid for the day when battery technology makes a completely electric car cheap and reliable. The same goes with geothermal heat exchangers for the home, they reduce the use of heating oil or natural gas, but they cost alot up front. By helping people with the initial cost, and allowing them to pay it back over the lifetime or half the lifetime of the product, it reduces oil use immediately, puts more Americans to work, and improves our economy.

These are not pie in the sky, throw money at it and hope something sticks solutions. These are things that can be done now to make an immediate impact on our use of oil.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 18, 2008 4:30 PM
Comment #258816
Why can’t the government give tax breaks for hybrid and electric vehicles, or low interest loans for home solar or geothermal heat exchangers?

Because they already do…?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2008 4:57 PM
Comment #258819

The tax breaks put in place back in 2005 were temporary, usually for just the first 60,000 cars delivered by the manufacturer. Many of those tax breaks have expired at a time when we should be encouraging more people to buy those cars.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 18, 2008 5:26 PM
Comment #258820

Pops,

There are still tax breaks in place for hybrid cars, solar panels and geothermal. Some are federal, some are state level.

BTW, the point is made with your link that even WITH the tax incentives that California put on the cars above the federal level, no one wanted to buy them.

Perhaps if we investigate the reason for that…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2008 5:43 PM
Comment #258822


Kruser:

These are not manufactured reasons or facts. In the 1980’s and 90’s, much of the research into solar technology was centered around small entrepreneurs and universities with a minimum of government support and virtually no support from private capital. This was reality despite the fact that we were being repetedly warned that our dependence on foreign oil was going to come back and bite us right through our wallets.

In the last decade, money for research has greatly increased compared to the levels of the previous decades. Again, most of that money came from the government rather than the private sector. During this time, the effeciency of solar collectors has risen from around 7 percent to around 25 percent and recent technologicial advances suggests that the efficiency of these systems could approach 50% in the next few years.

Today, we have T.B. Pickins, a man who’s name has become synonymous with oil exclaiming how terrible it is that we became so dependent on foreign oil as if he played no role in it and did not become filthy (the most appropriate adjective) rich from it. Also, there is hardly a week going by in which some oil company runs a new television commercial touting how responsible they are being by investing in alternative energy. At the same time, these oil companies, in an effort to gain control of All the oil that we have left, have their predominately Republican mouthpieces pushing a false panacea to the hedonistic masses who are concerned that their self-indulgent, throw away American Way of Live could be in jeopardy.

Some might argue that the energy corporations, especially the oil companies have a sudden interest in alternative energy sources because our dependence on foreign oil has become very detrimental to our economy and because the world demand for oil is begining to out pace the supply.

While these problems are a cause of great concern, I don’t believe for an instant that they are the major concern of the energy corps. IMO, the primary concern of the energy corporations is that much of the research in solar energy, wind energy and storage of energy is centered around home based energy production. The trend in this area is increased efficiency and decreased cost which will make them more accessable and more popular to an ever larger percentage of families and businesses, both large and small. The period of time needed to achieve a return on the investment will decrease as well.

In addition, electric cars will soon become a reality, especially as more and more Americans begin to realize that they really don’t need 300 or 400 horses to get them to work and to the shopping mall. Hey, we can use our home based energy system to charge our car battery and our employer is offering to do that as a perk. If we need to go long distances on business or vacation, the savings garnered from not driving a gas guzzler on a daily basis will more than off set the cost of renting a gasoline or hydrogen powered vehicle on those occasions for the vast majority of us.

This poses a grave threat to the energy corporations monoply of energy and makes it imparative that they find cheaper solutions before the trend becomes a full blossoming of self-reliance. There is still a possibility that if the oil companies can get control of our remaining oil, they can drive down the cost of oil long enough to stymie the efforts in home based systems long enough to get their own alternatives on line and possibly maintain their monoply.

Contrary to popular belief, energy from the sun and the wind will never be totally free and our dependence on energy corporations will not be totally eliminated in the forseeable future. However, if we become more self-reliant for our energy needs, we can reduce our future costs, provide more jobs for our fellow citizens and maintain a good standard of living at the same time.

Posted by: jlw at August 18, 2008 5:48 PM
Comment #258824

I don’t really understand if Dawn is complaining that the bridge wasn’t built, or that we have a government that raises taxes and then doesn’t do what they are supposed to do with the taxes, or complaining that the gas taxes are less. Most bridges now are temporary structures that have to be replaced at an additional expense later, like the limited access highways that make so many bridges necessary.

I was at a 7-11 today getting my first Slurpee of the year and the guy in line in front of me was paying for his gas. Unbelievable. It costs me $1.50 to get on the bus right in front of the 7-11, or $1.75 if I need a transfer (usable for 2 additional rides in 2 hours), but if you buy a fare card, it’s adds up to $1.60 when they take out the money for the transfer. It’s $45 online or by mail for a 30 day PACE suburban bus, $50 if you buy it in a store (It’s more money when I have to go into Chicago) . The guy in front of me just spent more than that for gas, but I doubt that he can make it last a month.

A jar of Kraft mayonaise was 5.99 this week, 5.49 last week at the local grocery store. Kraft was formerly owned by Philip Morris, which had a 3way split with PMI and now Altria, but if you add the dividends together for the 3 companies, they are exactly equal to what the dividend was when combined. Other companies cahoot and collude besides oil companies.

There was a forum recently about the new General Motors Volt. The guy from GM, who sounded like he knew what he was talking about, says that one of the reasons that so many people are using SUVs now is the state of repair of the roads. There was also something about the number of man hours that go into the production of the lithium ion batteries for an electric car, a much larger number than for a conventional vehicle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoYnnSKH_6I

The chevy commercial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_J2Jx51XZs

Posted by: ohrealy at August 18, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #258825

Rhinehold,

You obviously didn’t read the link except for the blurb below the photo which said: “The tax breaks implemented in 2005 are disappearing for some cars, but some buyers weren’t motivated by them to begin with.”

This meant that many people were going to buy hybrids regardless of the tax break, so it wasn’t the main motivating factor in purchasing the car. The article also mentions how only 20% of the customers even knew about the tax breaks. The more tax breaks the federal and state governments make available, and made known to its citizens, the more people will buy these types of cars.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 18, 2008 5:59 PM
Comment #258830


Dawn: “We cannot build bridges and roads with solar power.” That is false or perhaps I should say that had we invested in solar power we could.

Helping to build bridges used to be how I made my living and I know for a fact that had we invested in solar energy and if we had the solar power, we could not only build bridges and roads with solar power, we could also use solar power to manufacture the materials need to build them.

Many bridges would make ideal locations for solar collectors and wind generators.

Posted by: jlw at August 18, 2008 6:22 PM
Comment #258842

Kruser,

The bridge was built back in the 1950’s and it is on the main highway in and out of our town to the east.
Yes, of course, the road sees more traffic than in the past.

My complaint?
Important projects, such as deteriorating bridges, are more important to me than planting wildfowers on a bank along the road.

googlumpugus,
From what I have scene of Texas - from the Rio Grande Valley to Padre to San Antonio - Texas highways are among the best in our nation.
Our state doesn’t seem to be able to manage our highway system and has outsourced some of our roads to foreign companies.

Posted by: Dawn at August 18, 2008 9:03 PM
Comment #258872


In the United States of Mass Consumption, trash from fast food resturants is appropriate beautification for our highways.

Posted by: jlw at August 19, 2008 12:10 PM
Comment #258893

Dawn,

Texas is in the process of gutting their Highway department. Texas has more road miles than any other state. The governor has been pushing a Spanish corporation to build toll roads with bonds funded in part by our taxpayers. Texans are revolting against this…so far. The NAFTA highway isn’t very popular either.

My guess is he’s lining up funders for his future presidential bid.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 19, 2008 2:49 PM
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