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I'm rather perplexed at the number of diaries of late complaining about the price of gas.  $4 a gallon is NOTHING--they pay twice as much for that in Europe.  And before you point out that places like Iran and Venezuela only charge 50 cents a gallon, it should be pointed out that these are prices subsidized by their respective governments.  Basically, they lose money for every gallon that is sold.  They also have a huge production surplus for which most is used for their export market, hence why they can afford to sell gas at a loss for their domestic consumption.

I may be taking an unpopular opinion here, but I see nothing wrong with oil companies making a profit because of the high prices.  In fact, I hope they make even more money than ever before.  Perhaps then the average American will be able to DEMAND that their representatives provide better public transportation.  It might even force them to think more about energy conservation as well and take that issue seriously.

Instead, most Americans feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to their cars.  Even Democrats who should know better try to pander to this crowd by staging these "investigations" into alleged price gouging.  Funny, these same Americans who complain about high gas prices now didn't complain one bit when the housing bubble went crazy and doubled, sometimes tripled the value of the equity in their homes.

Where are the investigations regarding the subprime mortgage industry which created the housing bubble mess?  Instead, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer want to bail out the over-leveraged homeowners.  This is just a scam/ubsidy for the very industry which has caused this problem.  Link:

There is something quite duplicitous when Democrats trys to be all things to all people, one, trying to adopt an environmentalist agenda and then telling the average voter that it should have the right to 99 cents a gasoline for gas at the same time.

Ethanol subsidies are another dead end--we could at best, supply 5% of our total vehicle fuel consumption if we geared our entire agricultural production towards this end.  And besides, ethanol has priced tortillas out of the market for many poor Mexicans.  Link:

We need to educate the voting public about peak oil and its ramifications.  Production peaked at approximately 85 million barrels per day in 2005-2006 and we will need to adapt and adjust our society and economy to that end.  The American economy where it can only produce 40% of it's energy consumption is unsustainable, especially when it's currency is losing value VS emerging economies (India, China) who are buying these resources.

I'm not suggesting a return to 17th century agrarian lifestyles--this would trigger a die off of historic proportions.  Hand and tool farming sustained the global population at 500 million inhabitants between the years 500 and 1500.  It was fossil fuels, along with industry and the internal combustion engine that allowed society to progress.  It could be argued that slavery could not have been abolished without industrialization.  Fertilizers injected with oil & natural gas have improved crop yields tremendously.

The upside of the oil age is a bettery quality of life.  The downside being is that it also created overpopulation.  The human species natural instinct for consuming and reproducing as much as possible in the first 99% of the history of it's existence (which made sense, considering it's harsh environment) does not work well on the latter curve of the oil chart.

Oil is a miracle of nature, it provides a fantastic form of energy that needs to be preserved.

Originally posted to Shonakifala on Tue May 08, 2007 at 04:49 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  is that you... (0+ / 0-)

    lee raymond?
    tung sol

    'cause you're the green manalishi with the two prong crown--Peter Green, Green Manalishi

    by tung sol on Tue May 08, 2007 at 04:47:16 AM PDT

  •  I agree that America needs to have a debate on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    Peak oil, now. It might get people moving towards a greener World. But you have to realize there are many people in this Country who would see nothing wrong with fighting Iraqi's for their OIL. It would end up as a me first idea, of the stronger Country gets the oil. Many of those people in Europe do pay more for gas. It helps fund their Social medicine program. We don't have our medical care paid for and many of us Americans can't afford the price even now. We NO LONGER have good paying jobs to support the high price of OIL. The oil companys should be allowed to make a profit but not on the backs of the poor working class.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Tue May 08, 2007 at 04:52:40 AM PDT

  •   When you have Nation Healthcare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and aren't putting out hundreds of dollars a month for Drs and Meds you can afford 4 dollars a gal. I'm paying just 10 cents short of 4 dollars now and the other. I won't last long at this rate. Gas or Meds ? Which choice do you think I should make ? Life giving meds ? Maybe life giving grocerys ?

    -8.63 -7.28 Molly "..We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children's blood."

    by OneCrankyDom on Tue May 08, 2007 at 04:53:21 AM PDT

  •  Easy For You To Say (6+ / 0-)

    '$4 a gallon is NOTHING--they pay twice as much for that in Europe."

        You lost your argument at the beginning with this assertion.  This is the same lame excuse every republican uses whenever the price of gas goes through the roof.

        The high cost of gas affects every part of soiciety e.g., trucking companies, truckers have to pay more to deliver goods, and who do you think pays the higher cost of those goods the rest of us buy? Every American.

        I couldn't care less what they pay in other countries for gas. I'm American and I'm hurting badly. So are so many other Americans. You know, those in minimum wage jobs and those barely making enough to get by and who can't afford to put away anything for a rainy day. So $4.00 or even $3.45 a gallon may be "nothing' to you, but for most of us, it's a calamity.    

    •  ...... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Idaho Guy

      Welcome to the new world. Oil is an international commodity. The US imports 60% of its oil every year (and that percentage increases every year), so it has to "fight" with others to get its share. You don't get to say if you like the price....its going higher...get used to it.

      Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

      by taonow on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:44:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullsh*t (0+ / 0-)

            That's like saying we don't get to say whether we get out of Iraq or not. We do. Get used to it.

        •  Denial (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Idaho Guy, Diaries

          Do you work for Bush?

          The US uses 40% of the world's gasoline and 25% of the world's oil with only 5% of the world's population. So Americans are using far more than their share (now it wouldn't matter so much if the US produced its own oil, but it imports 60%). What part of its not under your control do you not understand.

          America as a country is in denial. The world has changed and America still thinks it has a god given right to be top dog. Sorry to say, but it ain't so. America has squandered its assets and now owes more to the rest of the world than any country ever has in the planet's history.

          No country ever spent its way to prosperity!

          Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

          by taonow on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:57:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Selfish Interests (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            So what you're saying to the poor and those low-wage earners, people who work hard every day and some at 2 or 3 jobs, is go to hell. Some democrat! You got yours and screw everyone else.

            •  Complications (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Idaho Guy

              This is a complicated problem and getting all self-righteous about it is no substitute for arguing through its complexities. If you think gas prices are going to come down, you are kidding yourself. There are deep structural reasons for the general rise taking place that can only be offset by huge additional subsidies which will in turn come at a cost somewhere else. If that is what you are advocating spell it out. Personally I'd rather use that money to subsidize a massive expansion of mass transit than to enable low wage workers to keep feeding the beast that is the Automobile-Petroleum Complex.

              "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

              by Christopher Day on Tue May 08, 2007 at 06:24:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Far from it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Idaho Guy

              I've lived in parts of the world where people are really poor and where each drop of oil is protected. What I'm saying is stop wasting the valuable resources of the planet on what you consider to be "basic" uses, which are in fact very extravagant when looked at by anyone else on the planet. Conservation is essential and since people don't seem to want to conserve on their own then price has to be used.

              And! while you are using "your" oil the rest of the poor and low wage earners in the world are walking, or sharing a ride with three others on a scooter.

              I guess I look beyond my borders, and at the plight of my fellow human beings.

              Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

              by taonow on Tue May 08, 2007 at 06:28:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not saying (0+ / 0-)

              None of us are saying to poor people
              'go to hell.' But poor people are not
              poor because the price of gas has
              gone up in the last few years. You
              make light of the causes of poverty.

              Meanwhile the biggest users of gas
              are not poor, of course -- poor people
              can find the $40,000 or 50,000 for
              a gas-guzzling, fuel-efficiency-standards-
              exempt SUV the way our Repub friends can.

              Can we think of other ways to help poor
              people afford the basics of life without
              subsidizing the extravagant wheels of
              those living a lush life of conspicuous
              consumption and without causing global
              heating and climate change?

        •  Externalities (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          retrograde, Idaho Guy, alefnot

          Here's the rub. Yes high gas prices inflict costs on people. But so do low ones. The costs of low prices are the consequences of excessive consumption: global warming, pollution, oil wars, economic underdevelopment for oil produing countries, etc... The fact of the matter is that U.S. gas prices are effectively subsidized in two major forms: below market prices for domestic oil concessions and socialization of protection costs for overseas oil (military expenditures on oil wars and propping up compliant oil producing regimes). More indirectly is the public investment in roads and other infrastructure that encourages gas guzzling. We may not be paying 50c a gallon like they do in Iran or Venezuela, but our consumption is subsidized.

          The problem is that the price of all these subsidies is going up. Sure they can be maintained, but at increasing costs to other people and the planet.

          There is no way that a transition to another mode of living (alternative energy sources, increased reliance on mass transit, wearing sweaters when its cold and linen when its hot) is going to occur without costs. I'm all for putting those costs on the rich as much as possible, but I don't see how we make the move without getting rid of the present subsidies and raising the cost of gas.

          "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

          by Christopher Day on Tue May 08, 2007 at 06:19:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You rang? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      I just balanced my checkbook after getting paid friday. I have 66 dollars, and one more bill to pay before next payday. 65 bucks.
      Next payday is May 18th. I guess gas will go on the credit card.
      Excuse me, I need to go cut some milkweed to fry and take to work for lunch.

    •  You have touched on the fundamental problem. (0+ / 0-)

      "The high cost of gas affects every part of society." We have a living arrangement that cannot be sustained as fuel becomes more expensive. For the past half century or more this country has built its economy on cheap energy. We use roads and trucks to haul goods coast-to-coast. We have built our homes away from places of work and shopping which seems to require each of us to have an automobile. And these autos have not been engineered to get the best possible gas milage.

      Are there any changes you can make to ease your use of gas? Move closer to work? Get a more fuel efficient automobile? Other form of transportation? I don't think cheaper gas is ever coming back, or if it does it will be for a short time.

      The reign of bush has made it all too clear that significant changes need to be made. Just getting out of Iraq and investigating the the crime bosses that run big oil and forcing them to reduce their profits and our cost at the pump won't make the problems disappear.

  •  Different kinds of oil (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Idaho Guy, Spoc42, Diaries

    The problem is that not all oil is equal. Some comes up easy from your backyard (Texas). Some comes easy from foreign places (Saudi), some is hard to get (oil sands) and some comes from way down deep (deep drilling).

    Up to now we have been using (wasting?) the easy oil because it has been cheap to extract...except that the easy oil is also usually the best oil (highest BTU content). Now that we have wasted the easy oil, the only stuff left is the harder to get, lower quality oil.

    Guess what prices are going to go up..and up...and up..The best thing we can do is use less (cheapest oil). It would be nice if moral suasion worked, but failing that, rise the prices higher and higher until folks get the message. The era of cheap energy is over. You do not have a GOD given right to cheap energy.

    Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

    by taonow on Tue May 08, 2007 at 04:54:46 AM PDT

    •  Yes, And... (0+ / 0-)

      What is amazing to me is that we've really only been doing this for a small fraction of human civilization.  A teeny tiny fraction.

      I regard the right to embarrass each other one of the cherished parts of American democracy. -Barney Frank

      by otto on Tue May 08, 2007 at 07:35:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As soon as they lower prescription drug prices (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Love and Death

    to what Europeans pay, I'm on board. Till then, I'll consider it a trade-off.

    If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.

    by jhecht on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:10:09 AM PDT

    •  The way to go (0+ / 0-)

      That's probably the most politically
      possible way to go on this issue --
      use most of any added gas taxes to
      pay part of the costs of single-payer
      medical insurance. Your gas bills
      would go up while your medical bills
      would go down.

      Then when you get your next car, buy
      one that gets a few more miles per
      gallon and you could come out ahead.

      Your friend down the way carpools
      with another neighbor and they also
      come out ahead.

      Your kid at Big State U decides he can
      get a degree without having a car first
      because her roommate has one and
      wants to split some of the bills; your
      kid gets a bike and shares use of the car.

      Put a tax penny per gallon into funding
      Amtrak, another penny a year for the
      next 10 years, and raise about a billion
      a year or more to improve service.

      Then your parents come for a weekend.
      They take the train instead of driving. The
      train works for them since the new Amtrak
      schedules, using the new traincars the
      extra gas tax paid for, have added some
      additional daily roundtrips, and investment
      in uprading trackage has cut the trip times.

      Higher gas prices  -- through taxes and/or
      through continually higher OPEC prices, will
      cut our use of gasoline, for sure, and no
      matter what.

      It will not be easy, it will often be painful.

      It will be easier if it's gradual and foreseeable --
      another 25 cents a year for 10 years would
      be one approach, or maybe 2 cents a month.

      That way, for example, Detroit -- oh, sorry,
      showing my age -- that way Toyota, Honda,
      and the other transplants could shift their
      production and sales to more fuel-efficient
      models. The effects would soon trickle down
      into the used car market.

      When your kid gets out of Big State U, she'd
      buy that first house a few miles closer to her
      new job, keeping in mind the high price of
      driving to work.

      We can accept that gas prices will rise --
      maybe not like it, but accept it -- and plan
      how to deal with it, or not. If we don't plan,
      the price of gasoline will go up anyway
      because the era of cheap oil is over. Over.

      If we plan, we can shift some of the price
      increase from the sellers of oil to other
      purposes, like single-payer health care,
      better transit alternatives, etc. And we can
      try to guide our economy onto a more
      fuel-efficient path, to try to avoid costly
      entanglements in the Middle East and
      to reduce our costs in the bidding war
      against other big importers -- China,
      India, Japan, and Europe -- for oil on
      the world market.

  •  You pay A LOT more than $4 a gallon.... (6+ / 0-)

    Do you realize how much it costs to station an army in every oil-rich corner of the globe, have the Navy escort tankers through the gulf, and wage the occasional war to ensure that we maintain a bulkhead where we can launch strikes against uppity (snark) Arabs who are sick of having sheiks and foreign investors get loaded while extracting the deposite right below their feet?  That's not to mention the cost of terrorist attacks and our shock and awe response which ends the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. And don't forget the medical expenses of our soldiers wounded in battle. 50 years of VA health care doesn't come cheap.

    A gallon of gas in America is highly subsidized.  When you consider the trillions that are tied up in U.S. foreign policy and the protection it provides to the WORLD'S oil supply, you actually end up paying a lot more. Europe doesn't shoulder hardly any of that burden.

    I suspect that raising the price of oil will just cause consumer goods to skyrocket, the economy slow to a crawl, and yet our defense budget won't go away. I'm afraid that it won't be good enough to wait for people to get fed up with oil company profits...we need to make changes NOW.

    Thought provoking diary, just wanted to bring another angle...

  •  We will pay more for gasoline. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, taonow, Idaho Guy

    The price will continue to rise until demand decreases. Whether the increase will go to oil exporting countries and big oil or the increase, through taxation, will go to some socially useful purpose(univerasl healthcare, ect.,) remains a choice to be made or not made by the American voter.

    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful,,,they never stop thinking of ways to harm our country and neither do we" G W Bush

    by irate on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:21:54 AM PDT

  •  Tax oil, not income or benefits (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, taonow, Idaho Guy, Democrat

    Tax carbon dioxide emissions, not the value of people's homes.

    Tax heat sources, not job creation.

    We need more jobs, after-tax income, retirement & medical benefits and private home ownership. We need less dependence on petroleum, less enabling of Middle Eastern despots, and less damage to the environment.

    Therefore we need -- not tax increases -- a tax shift, toward things we need to reduce, away from things we need to encourage.

    "One does not discover new lands without consenting to leave sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

    by pat208 on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:28:44 AM PDT

  •  European gas prices (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChicagoDem, Idaho Guy

    Here in Spain, which is in Europe, a liter of gas costs about 1 euro; a liter is about 1 quart, a euro is about 1 dollar 30, so a gallon of gas costs about 5 dollars, which is not twice 4 dollars.

    It will be impossible for consumers in the US to end their dependency on gasoline if they are not able to live in a manner which does not obligate them to use their cars. It is impossible to live in the Atlanta suburbs without a car; mostly there aren't even sidewalks or buses. Until a substantial investment is made in building infrastructure which supports a non-car-dependent lifestyle, it will be difficult for many Americans to make the choice to pursue such a lifestyle; right now such a choice is available only to those with certain resources already in hand - for example able to pay to live in the center of a city with adequate public transportation, and with the requisites to find a job also in the center of that city. One can life in Midtown Atlanta without a car, but first one has to be able to pay the rent.

    •  Chicken-egg (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Idaho Guy

      People won't automatically choose that lifestyle. What is needed is for prices to go up, motivating people to demand alternate arrangements, stimulating new infrastructure. Price comes first, creating demand.

      Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

      by taonow on Tue May 08, 2007 at 05:42:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But demand's already there... (0+ / 0-)

        Check housing prices in central cities close to transit.  Check utilization in those very few urban areas already being served by transit.  The big issue is not trains operating under capacity, but transit systems being unable to handle the huge demand on their budgets.  People want to be around train and bus stations already, but it's WAY too expensive for most of America.

        Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

        by ChicagoDem on Tue May 08, 2007 at 09:14:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  how can you be wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about gas prices?

      Here in Spain, which is in Europe, a liter of gas costs about 1 euro; a liter is about 1 quart, a euro is about 1 dollar 30, so a gallon of gas costs about 5 dollars, which is not twice 4 dollars.

      What gas costs 1euro/liter?

      You must be talking diesel, right? Because, unleaded 95/98 octane gas is hard to find at less than 1.30 euros in any country.

      "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." Voltaire

      by Euroliberal on Tue May 08, 2007 at 06:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the graph of gas price in 28 OECD nations (0+ / 0-)

        posted in my last diary, Spain has the 7th lowest price overall, and the lowest European price. So it's not exactly representative of Europe.

        Choose tags for your diaries easily with the Tagfinder.

        by retrograde on Tue May 08, 2007 at 10:04:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

          Spain is probably also one of the European nations in which cars are most used. I don't know why gas prices would be lower here, except perhaps for Repsol. Also, Spain is poorer than countries like Germany and England - prices should be lower.    

          I am with you on the idea that one needs not to drive a car. I have never owned a car; I have lived in cities (e.g. Atlanta) in the US without owning a car; I have made the choices necessary to do so - and I have done this at least in part out of a political sense that car use is a problem. However, I think that realistically not everyone is in a circumstance to make such choices, and I do not think that merely elevating prices will facilitate change. A lot of folks I know have thought I was nuts for refusing to buy a car though having the money to do so; the cultural barrier is enormous.

          The thing is that there needs to be cultural and infrastructural change in order to facilitate the utilization of alternative modes of transport (e.g. feet, bikes, buses, trains). Simply driving prices up will only cause anger - and sometimes this anger will be directed at the alternative transport movement. The only solution I see is massive (I mean enormous) public investment in building public transport networks - buses, light rail, etc... I do not think that private sector projects can solve this problem, and I do not think that switching to ethanol or something like that will make much difference - I think the government has to be the one responsible, at all levels. But one cannot ask a family with two children living in the suburbs of Dallas to give up its car - right now there's no other way to live there - and that's how a huge chunk of the US lives. In that context, driving up gas prices mostly impacts negatively those least able to absorb the change, and perhaps creates an incentive for a few wealthy folks to move intown and ride a bike to work.

        •  Compare vs real income (0+ / 0-)

          It is also silly to compare absolute prices. It only makes sense to compare prices relative to what people earn. Spain is poorer than England.

      •  Diesel (0+ / 0-)

        Lots of vehicles run on diesel here.

    •  UK prices ARE double (0+ / 0-)

      The average price today for premium unleaded petroleum (the comparison equivalent I believe) is £1.011 per litre with a high of £1.099 and low of £0.949. The average price (1 US gallon = 3.785 litres) is therefore roughly $7.60

      The tax is partly intended to reduce consumption. In fact for several years there was an "escalator" where the tax rose automatically by inflation plus a percentage. The upside is that there is a cushion as the cost of crude goes up, the percentage increase in the finished product is not so great.

      There are also incentives to use lower polluting or higher efficiency fuels like diesel and liquid petroleum gas.

      Kneejerk reactions do not come from knees.

      by londonbear on Tue May 08, 2007 at 10:20:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What the hell does the housing bubble have to do (0+ / 0-)

    with oil? I realize the oil oligarchy has their paid advertisers on TV, now they are hawking the screens of blogs. I don't buy your diary's sentiments for one second. The oil cartels, especially those fat cats in the US who control the entire world, determine everything, including the egregious world business records of earnings and profits. This diary is so blantant it defies all logic. The upside of the oil age is that we are greedily destroying the very planet that sustains life. Greenhouse gas emissions from industry, transportation and agriculture from oil are very likely the main cause of recently observed global warming. As a grandparent who is more concerned with the preservation of life on the planet so my descendents can breathe and live on the planet for a few more generations, I would rather go back to the horse and buggy for all the bullshit luxuries you think are so important.

  •  I tend to agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Idaho Guy

    IMHO, cheap oil got us to where we are today.  people need to choose a lifestyle less dependant on oil.  I know that isnt easy but there are some simple choices that can be made. Dont commute 30 plus miles to work.  dont buy vehicles that get 14 miles per gallon, etc, etc.  obviously this may not be a popular opinion but there it is.  

    •  It's not that you opinion isn't "popular" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rick, ratador
      it's undoable for a huge majority of people. With jobs disappearing, you can't just "choose" not to work far away, especially if you are poor and living in the inner city and the jobs are all going to the outer ring suburbs and public transportation is a. slashed and b. outrageously expensive. (At this point, I figured that gas prices would have to more than double from what they are now before it would cost me less to take public transportation -- as vestigial and inconvenient as it is here in sprawling Cleveland, Ohio -- than to drive to work).

      I guess my problem is that there is another assumption of despair here: that the 90% of people not in the top income bracket have to pay the price with a downward spiraling of their lifestyle and comfort while the top 10%, who run things, will continue to be comfort, spend their money purchasing politicans and hence nothing will change because the bottom 90% really have no voice. And there is nothing we can do about it except watch out economy and standard of living collapse.

      Choices were made long ago that dictate how we HAVE to live, and yes, those choices have to change. The main point I disagree with in the diary is that it's hunky-dory for oil companies to make the obscene and unprecedented profits they've been making while the rest of us just have to tighten our belts and accept what bad people we've been as if we had a choice. What should we have done? Blown up the interstates and housing sub-divisions? No, I think the oil companies need to be part of the solution and revoking their sweetheart lease deals and imposing taxes on excess profits, to be directed into developing alternative energy sources and/or mass transit HAS to be part of the picture. In fact, a while back one of the oil companies reps opposed this saying the tax would PREVENT oil companies from exploring alternative energy sources. But they have precisely not done that! And they won't unless compelled. I'm offended by this attitude that it has to be those of us struggling to make ends meet and ONLY those of us struggling to make ends meet who must pay the price for decades of bad decisions we had no input in and that those who benefited from those decisions pay NO price.

      A new beginning for Ohio: The adults have taken over!

      by anastasia p on Tue May 08, 2007 at 07:54:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No argument here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox

        I agree with the most of the original diary and most of your comment.  As far as I am concerned you can nationalize the oil industry and conscript the oil honchos and all their family members into the truck driving business in Baghdad.  in the mean time we have to encourage alternatives to oil.  the gov can do that thru incentives on alternatives and taxes on oil.  it could be done regressively so it hit the richens driving their yukon 60 miles to work more than the working poor.  realistically we ALL need to pay the price.  currently we pay the economic and environmental price and the human price of dead soldiers in Iraq.  I for one would prefer a higher economic price and a lower environmental and dead soldier price.  the status quo is not acceptable.

  •  I wonder if ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChicagoDem, Roger Fox

    ...  the diarist has been noting the staedy rise in the prices of commodoties, specifically food vis a vis the rising price of fuel, both gas and diesel. as a former O/O - owner operator of a tractor trailer hauling dairy and produce, trust me on this - when fuel prices increase, EVERYTHING  INCREASES.
    i have seen fuel increase every week for the last 14 weeks. i am not much of a "consumer", but i do buy food because i eat! as such, i have seen an almost proportinate increase in food prices during this period.

    there is a saying in the trucking industry, "If You Got It - A Truck Brought It". now i don't want to get into a debate about the state of affairs concerning mass transit and commodity haulage; i, for one have always been a critic of the status quo regarding our transportation system in the U.S., but until there is a MAJOR shift in priorites in this country regarding the rail system, we sadly are forced for now to accept the reality of the maxim i quoted above regarding the indispensible, dependant state of affairs regarding our transportation system in this country - for people - and goods.

    i always bristle at these half baked assertions about how other countries pay more for fuel, ride a bicycle, walk to work and such drivel. this is just not a reality for the bulk of americans at this time - and in the meantime, this arrogant philosophy, while well intended,  usually spouted by people living IN CITIES WITH MASS TRANSIT, spells increased prices for the rest of us, and definate financial hardship, if not ruin for those who can least afford it - the working {and not working poor.}

    one of the major issues here, IMHO, is a direct correlation to this administration refusing to classify F%$#@*& "SUV"S as TRUCKS - which is what they really are, and exempting them from proper classification in industry CAFE ratings {corporate average fuel economy} for vehicles. it is based on a now antiquated law giving exception for for commercial/agricultural vehicles from cafe ratings. had this been done, with a hefty "gas guzzler" penalty at purchase, these four wheel monstrosites never would have been dominating the landscape as they are now doing, depleting fuel at an insane rate. sadly, one of my most {otherwise} admired politicians, john dingell, is complicit in this subsdidy of these gas guzzling behemoths - yet he has no issue with maintaing the gas guzzler purchase tax on ultra high performance/luxury cars - which are primarily built in europe! {guess what industry is one of his major constituancies}

    in summary, advocating high gas prices as a means of conservation is a very dangerous and damaging philosophy - until there are viable, affordable alternatives in place, hurting all of us - and especially the suburban/rural poor disproptionately - even if it does have the desired affect of reducing conservation. i have plenty more to say on this subject - but i'll refrain for now; hope i wasn't going on too long here ...

  •  When they start using the earnings (0+ / 0-)

    for the "maintenance and upkeep" of the refining plants instead of lining the coffers of the CEOs hello, bonuses), then you'll have a justification for higher prices.

    The spikes now (at least what I've read) are based on refining and pipeline problems - which was the numbers one reason they cited over the last two years for higher prices. This goes to show they couldn't give two shits about upkeep or preventative maintenance.

    Simply, the prices will stay high as long as Shrub is in office. Dick(head) and his crew will make damn sure the oil CEOs stay fat (really fat) and happy.

    The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought. - Emma Goldman

    by emmissar on Tue May 08, 2007 at 06:07:46 AM PDT

  •  this is true.. we should be paying 5 to 7 / gal (0+ / 0-)

    depending on our taxes..

    Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

    by hypersphere01 on Tue May 08, 2007 at 07:12:32 AM PDT

    •  Taxes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...that's the point.  
      I think we should be paying more for gas in the US, but the prices should be higher due to taxes which go to support alternative energy research or public transportation.  As long as the high prices are simply adding to corporate profits for the oil industry, we see little national benefit.  Higher prices will drive individuals to consider ways to reduce fuel consumption...but how do you stop owning a car if you live in a place with no realistic transportation alternatives.  Individual actions help -but the problem is bigger than that.

      •  however, we are still underpaying for our juice (0+ / 0-)

        our empire keeps the costs down..  without that empire, we lose our bargaining chips.  hence, the reason the oil men don't want us to move to renewables, until they have cornered that market as well.

        Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

        by hypersphere01 on Tue May 08, 2007 at 07:58:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe Europe is overpaying (0+ / 0-)

    That argument is just as valid as yours.

    •  What do they get for their money? (0+ / 0-)

      Lessee, if Europeans get single-payer
      medical insurance that gives coverage
      to all its citizens and better health results,
      if they get trams and metros in their small
      cities and high-speed trains connecting
      their towns and cities, vibrant and walkable
      city centers, if they get cleaner air and
      water and beautiful open space, enjoy
      longer vacations, and avoid bloody
      Middle Eastern wars -- aw, hell, nothing
      to learn from them, just move along.

      What we get for our cheap gas? Urban
      sprawl where the wide open spaces
      have been subdivided into ranchettes
      and light pollution has dimmed the
      once-starry skies, streets and highways
      crowded with SUVs hauling one fat
      prediabetic carcass per vehicle, armies
      of our young people occupying or simply
      based in places where they are not wanted,
      and more than our share of resonsibility
      for global heating and climate change.

      What a f------- deal.

      •  Eevrything is cooler (0+ / 0-)

        when it happens in a foreign country.

        The US is a big place.  Out geographically large urban areas are the result of available space, not cheap gas.

        I'm crumbelievable.

        by clonecone on Tue May 08, 2007 at 08:07:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uncool (0+ / 0-)

          America has 45 million or more people
          without health insurance -- and that's
          cool to you? Or dare we suggest using
          taxes, yes, god, even gas taxes, to help
          pay for medical care for ALL Americans?

          In the U.S., big auto and big gas companies
          conspired to rid our cities of street cars
          almost 80 years ago, or don't you know?
          But after World War II, the European cities
          rebuilt most of their mass transit systems.

          In recent years, they have developed trams
          with floors just inches off the pavement, so
          they can be boarded from curbside by little
          old ladies and baby strollers and other
          encumbered users who struggle to climb
          into a high bus -- or somebody's SUV --
          to get anywhere here. And new tram lines
          are being built in cities all over the Continent.
          (Note to NYC: Building a street car line takes
          less than half the time and one tenth the
          money it takes to bild a subway.)

          As a result, we have ADA rules and regulations,
          while in Europe the aged and those with
          disabilities have real mobility where they
          can ride a street car or take a Metro.

          The French have a gift for publicity, but
          many other countries -- Spain, Switzerland,
          Germany, Italy -- are putting billions into
          trains that speed citizens and visitors across
          the open landscape into the heart of their
          lively cities. We keep Amtrak, and keep it
          the way it is -- run down, underfunded,
          technologically obsolete, dependent on
          the decisions of private freight railroads
          and state commuter agencies for its success
          or lack thereof -- so that the Repubs can
          point to Amtrak as a prime example of
          the failure of government. Thats cool, too.

          And having grown up in Texas -- where
          the deer and the antelope used to play --
          I have relatives who moved from the
          cities and towns where they worked onto
          some land they bought "out in the country."
          No problem, they just hopped in the
          pick-up to drive to work, gas was cheap.

          Past tense on that. Was cheap. Still some
          land available, but no cheap gas. Probably
          never again.

          Uh, can I interest you in some lots near
          Sierra Blanca? It's a cool place, if you like
          the desert and you don't mind driving
          an hour or so to work in El Paso.

          As for how cool the Europeans were to
          stay out of Iraq -- some say it really is
          about the oil, you know -- I'll just let
          you keep on eating your Freedom fries.
          They're still cool, oui?

  •  2 things (0+ / 0-)

    1 - I've argued that a tax on gas makes a lot of sense.  Specifically, you could use it to drive provide better transportation (although I would say people need to get over the idea of lots of public transportation - we've tied ourselves to the idea of a car permanantly)Read it here, if your curious

    2 - The second part of dealing with peak oil is embracing a space economy ASAP.  the idea of sustainablity is a myth, bu that doesn't mean we need to cosign ourselves to history, or live in a destroyed world.  The solution is to get more planets

  •  Oh geez (0+ / 0-)

    $4 a gallon is NOTHING--they pay twice as much for that in Europe.





    It's not a big deal to make gas a luxury good unless it's the ONLY WAY TO MOVE AROUND.  Before we start getting high and mighty about how, like, it's not big deal because hey, Europe(!), we should kind of make sure that we're comparing apples and oranges.  They have options we don't.  And of course, this price hike (like any price hike) hurts the poorest the most.  You can't pay for gas, so you can't get to work, so you get fired, so now you're on welfare (which, thanks to the 90s, now only covers you for about 15 minutes).  But hey you totally deserve it because seriously Europeans pay more...

    As it stands, even those rare American cities that have transit systems are seeing them collapse.  It takes almost as long to get from O'Hare to the Loop now as it does to FLY from Chicago to Washington, D.C.  There are fare hikes and service cuts all over the country, and there haven't been any new serious projects to improve transit capacity for years.

    So yeah, I do think it's a good idea to investigate price gougers and make damn sure that Americans paying for gas aren't being screwed.  It would be one thing if gas was just more expensive because of a tax to pay for transit, but if it's just to squeeze a few extra billion dollars into a CEO's paycheck then I'd say it's WELL WORTH investigating.

    Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

    by ChicagoDem on Tue May 08, 2007 at 09:08:59 AM PDT

    •  I addressed arguments like this one (0+ / 0-)

      (similar to your "Europeans also have FUCKING TRAINS" point) in my last diary. Short version: there are developed nations that (much like the USA) have high proportions of their city population commuting by car, large-area sprawling cities with poor (by European standards) mass transit, cities with geographical layouts that make travel inefficient, high oil dependence for transportation support of industry and agriculture relatively large intercity distances that are frequently travelled for business, yet still have only 50-60% the per capita oil use of the United States.

      The main difference, other than the 30% higher gas price? Smaller engine sizes. My (Republican, sadly) American dad-in-law's F150 has a 5 liter engine. I've never owned an engine over 1.8L, and the closest equivalents to an F150 in most other developed nations have engines under 3 liters.

      Choose tags for your diaries easily with the Tagfinder.

      by retrograde on Tue May 08, 2007 at 10:15:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to do something, and quickly (0+ / 0-)

    We have to increase fuel economy of our cars, bigtime.  You can't ban bigger cars because soemtimes they are needed... and we can't have government buerocracy trying to decide who needs it and who doesn't.  If you put huge taxes on it, then you can do serious damage to businesses and such that DO need it.  But we have to do something to get people out of SUVs and into reasonable cars.

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