Posted by: Nathan | May 6, 2007

Who will lower gas prices?

I am hardly the best person to comment on economics, but as a consumer, I can tell you the ever-increasing price of gasoline is infuriating. And even I know the following: more money spent at the pump without increasing wages to compensate means less funds available for other purchases; less funds for other things means every business receives less money (theoretically); if businesses make less money, the economy heads south.

I’m shelling out $3.15 per gallon in Colorado, which came to $36+ last time I filled up my puny, fuel-efficient Nissan. Due to my location and my car, I am positive that millions have it worse than I. Gas prices rose $0.40 last week! This is an impending crisis.

But where are the politicians in this crucial issue? Nowhere. Nobody’s saying anything that I’ve heard lately. Sure, the Iraq war deserves plenty of face-time, but we’ve got to address problems in the U.S. when they appear. I’m not feeling to loyal to any political party right now; if someone makes a push to lower gas prices and actually manages to do so, squi’s got a good chance of getting my vote and many others. I know all you politicians care about is power and staying in office, but fixing problems often gets you votes. Did you know that? Maybe you should try it!

I know I don’t have the solution to this issue. Do we drill in Alaska, the last unspoiled wilderness in the U.S.? Do we work something out with the Middle East? How close is hydrogen fuel, or some other alternative fuel, and will the current fuel-dispensing companies sell it? J and I have already started driving less. If we don’t have to go anywhere by car, we walk or stay home. I doubt we’re the only ones.

I am extremely curious what price of gas will spark an outrage (if any will). $5 per gallon? $10 per gallon? $20? What will it take? Apparently, the key to screwing over the American public is to raise gas prices slowly; like the frog in boiling water, we don’t even realize we’re heading toward disaster. However, we are, and somebody in Washington (not you, Kyle) had better do something.

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Responses

  1. I’m with you on this one, home slice. Gas has GOT to come down in price. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime real soon. OPEC wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Further, even if there’s no such thing as global warming, what does it hurt to “go green” and pursue alternative fuels? Nothing that I can see.

  2. I must admit that I’m not even slightly irritated with current gas prices , which were $2.95 at the corner station this evening. Granted, I don’t do much driving; work is 3 miles away, and the grocery store is only 1/2 of a mile. But I make no effort to combine errand trips. In fact, we drive all over town and its suburbs for nothing but geocaching (ie. pure entertainment). But, while I may not be outraged like you, I’d like to see prices come down all the same. I’m with you.

  3. You’re right about the importance of this issue. Gas prices, combined with the superior car quality of the Japanese and the laggards at Ford and GM are already changing the face of the American economy. As American car makers crumble, they’re trying to innovate and capture market share, but everybody buying autos is thinking “Hmm, I could buy a car that’s trying to be more like a Honda or Toyota…or I could buy a Honda or Toyota because they’re better made!”

    Over time, higher and higher gas prices will increase standard of living costs and should develop into increased wages and inflationary pressures for the economy, but it hasn’t had a large inflationary impact yet.

    It seems to me that the problem with drilling in Alaska is this: If we start in on this extremely high-level expenditure, guess who is going to start dropping there prices to make sure that companies will keep buying oil from the Mid-East? OPEC has seemingly monopolistic control over this industry, so…let’s go alternative fuels!

  4. When I took Environmental Writing (which had little to do with writing) in college, the class was supposed to brainstorm ideas for combating urban sprawl. The favored method in the class was to levy a huge tax on gas, which would discourage long commutes. This would have the added benefit of discouraging Hummers and other inefficient vehicles, promoting alternate fuel resources, etc. A financial incentive is necessary to change behavior.
    Although I would be happy to have lower gas prices myself, I’m a little surprised that the rise in price has been so strongly denounced. Where have all the environmentalists gone?

  5. Great point, JL. The environmentalists have two problems facing them when gas prices are higher: 1. They drive and fly themselves and don’t like paying more money out of pocket (most of them). 2. If the economy suffers due to high gas prices while they applaud the high prices, that does not translate into votes.

    You’re absolutely right, though; those who don’t want people to drive should rejoice. Hopefully, something will be done about alternative fuels.

    Li’l bro, I was hoping you’d comment, what with your economics knowledge and all. You’re right about OPEC lowering prices if we went to Alaska; there must be some way to bluff them. If we acted as if we were going to drill there, maybe set up some decoy derricks or something, perhaps gas prices would fall.


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