$4 gas

Hey, remember when we were so traumatized when gasoline hit $2 per gallon? (I can remember being traumatized when it hit $1. I still am! When I was in college, a gallon of gasoline cost 21.9 pennies.) There wasn’t much outcry when it passed the $3 mark. But what about $4?

Economists are rather mystified as to why it costs so much. See Oil Price Defies Easy Calculation. The supply is plentiful, and there seems to be no artificial interruptions in the marketplace. One culprit seems to be that big investors, such as pension funds, are moving out of those shaky financial credit funds into commodities, bidding the price up. Also, the price has to be whatever the market can get, and few people seem to be inhibited by these high prices to reduce the demand.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    With the high price of petroleum, exploration is booming, so there will be even more of an excess of oil. Many in the oil & gas industry predict that within 1-2 years the price will come back down. That, of course, is difficult to predict, and global instability (Middle East, Venezuela, Nigeria…) could have an impact.

    I’m happy to be buying the cheapest gasoline in Europe. It costs a little under $5 per gallon here in Romania, which is a bargain compared to the $7-8 per gallon people pay in some places in Europe.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    With the high price of petroleum, exploration is booming, so there will be even more of an excess of oil. Many in the oil & gas industry predict that within 1-2 years the price will come back down. That, of course, is difficult to predict, and global instability (Middle East, Venezuela, Nigeria…) could have an impact.

    I’m happy to be buying the cheapest gasoline in Europe. It costs a little under $5 per gallon here in Romania, which is a bargain compared to the $7-8 per gallon people pay in some places in Europe.

  • Bror Erickson

    I think people are still so traumatized they don’t even notice. I don’t know what the market could get for gasoline, but if they are paying around $7 in Europe, I don’t doubt they could probably squeexe that out of us too. Thing is it does hurt the economy over all, Truckers are stopping. And I think people are cutting back on how much they buy. But out west here the car came early before organic comunities could grow up in the cities, and around areas close to work. It’s like one big suburb. And people commute from suburb to suburb for work. And there isn’t much choice, they bought a house for $150,000 and up, an hour away from where they worked. Now the housing market has slumped and they are upside down in the house, or don’t have the prospects of anything else closer to work. And the Gas prices are up, but they have to drive to get to work, and round and round it goes. But what are you going to do? Well my wife and I bought a Prius. Thing gets better gas mileage than some motorcycles.

  • Bror Erickson

    I think people are still so traumatized they don’t even notice. I don’t know what the market could get for gasoline, but if they are paying around $7 in Europe, I don’t doubt they could probably squeexe that out of us too. Thing is it does hurt the economy over all, Truckers are stopping. And I think people are cutting back on how much they buy. But out west here the car came early before organic comunities could grow up in the cities, and around areas close to work. It’s like one big suburb. And people commute from suburb to suburb for work. And there isn’t much choice, they bought a house for $150,000 and up, an hour away from where they worked. Now the housing market has slumped and they are upside down in the house, or don’t have the prospects of anything else closer to work. And the Gas prices are up, but they have to drive to get to work, and round and round it goes. But what are you going to do? Well my wife and I bought a Prius. Thing gets better gas mileage than some motorcycles.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    No artificial interruptions in the marketplace? Say what? Then all that I’ve been hearing about OPEC, the EPA all but shutting off construction of new refineries, prohibition of drilling in ANWR (and off the California and Florida coasts), and so on is just a mirage?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    No artificial interruptions in the marketplace? Say what? Then all that I’ve been hearing about OPEC, the EPA all but shutting off construction of new refineries, prohibition of drilling in ANWR (and off the California and Florida coasts), and so on is just a mirage?

  • http://wdjd-whatdidjesusdo.blogspot.com Ryan

    As far as American prices go, it is not necessarily that Gas is getting more expensive than it is that the dollar is becoming weaker.

    An $80 barrel of oil may be worth just as much as a $100 barrel of oil if the value of a dollar is doing more changing than the value of oil.

  • http://wdjd-whatdidjesusdo.blogspot.com Ryan

    As far as American prices go, it is not necessarily that Gas is getting more expensive than it is that the dollar is becoming weaker.

    An $80 barrel of oil may be worth just as much as a $100 barrel of oil if the value of a dollar is doing more changing than the value of oil.

  • Don S

    Part of it is the weaker dollar, part of it is booming demand in China and India, part of it is Middle East unrest, part of it is tinpot dictators like Hugo Chavez. However, much of the problem is right here in the good old U.S.A. We won’t build refineries, we won’t drill for oil, we won’t relax the 28 or some such different gasoline formulations which are required in the various states because of a multitude of environmental regulations, making for inflexible regional supplies.

    What is our democratic congress’ response? Time to drag the oil company executives into chambers for another round of show trials and rail on them for the high price of oil and gasoline. Nice political trick. They do it every year.

    Privately, democrats and elite environmentalists love the rising prices. It is exactly what they want in order to reduce consumption of fuel, and consequent CO2. Publicly, they’ll keep putting on these show trials because they know it would be political suicide to do otherwise. I am waiting for our voting population to finallyfigure out that prices won’t come down until the supply goes up, and that it would be better to produce more of our own gas and oil than to get it from guys like Hugo Chavez. Do the public schools teach economics anymore? Will anyone in the media run a real story on this issue?

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • Don S

    Part of it is the weaker dollar, part of it is booming demand in China and India, part of it is Middle East unrest, part of it is tinpot dictators like Hugo Chavez. However, much of the problem is right here in the good old U.S.A. We won’t build refineries, we won’t drill for oil, we won’t relax the 28 or some such different gasoline formulations which are required in the various states because of a multitude of environmental regulations, making for inflexible regional supplies.

    What is our democratic congress’ response? Time to drag the oil company executives into chambers for another round of show trials and rail on them for the high price of oil and gasoline. Nice political trick. They do it every year.

    Privately, democrats and elite environmentalists love the rising prices. It is exactly what they want in order to reduce consumption of fuel, and consequent CO2. Publicly, they’ll keep putting on these show trials because they know it would be political suicide to do otherwise. I am waiting for our voting population to finallyfigure out that prices won’t come down until the supply goes up, and that it would be better to produce more of our own gas and oil than to get it from guys like Hugo Chavez. Do the public schools teach economics anymore? Will anyone in the media run a real story on this issue?

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding the article, it’s not that real economists are perplexed about why it costs so much (almost as much as bottled water!). Rather, it’s that you’ve got so many variables involved, changing daily with little predictability, that it denies standard (or even specialized) econometric models.

    For those watching the Fed, the same case applies to the economy as a whole. See Neil Cavuto’s column on Fox today for reference.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding the article, it’s not that real economists are perplexed about why it costs so much (almost as much as bottled water!). Rather, it’s that you’ve got so many variables involved, changing daily with little predictability, that it denies standard (or even specialized) econometric models.

    For those watching the Fed, the same case applies to the economy as a whole. See Neil Cavuto’s column on Fox today for reference.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    First of all, it’s useful to note (Ryan @4 and Don S @5) that in inflation-adjusted terms, we have recently topped the previous relative cost high of the early 80s, several years after the OPEC embargo — which caused only a small bump (but notably around the time of the shah’s overthrow and the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war — during which time the price spiked enormously). For what it’s worth, the all-time high until recently went back to the 1920s. The recent upward trend correlates quite well with the current war in Iraq.

    Second, it seems like gasoline price talk is a political Rorshach test. Bike Bubba notes (@3) some external influences on the market, but fails to mention, say, our Iraq war. Or any war in the Middle East, which tends to have an effect on oil production. I can’t find the latest numbers, but from what I can tell, Iraq’s oil production still hasn’t recovered from since we invaded. And those looking forward to an Iran war might consider its impact on fuel prices.

    Don S (@5) largely blames a lack of supply on the part of the U.S. while citing economics ignorance in our country, but leaves the issue of demand largely unexplored (except for China and India). He fails to mention our own oil demand, which is currently more than three times that of China, and of course any other country! While exhortations for economics education are welcome, I would hope that any class would teach about both the supply and the demand curve. Another question would be how ANWR (et al.) potential realistically measures up against current supply and demand.

    Steps like buying fuel efficient cars certainly will help (especially after so much ridiculous SUV inefficiency), but I fear it’s too much like switching to Snackwells cookies but eating the same amount in order to lose weight. The amount of fuel saved with a hybrid car is great, but I think we’re going to have to change the way we live (or, to put it another way, change the way we live back to how we used to live, before we changed it in the 50s and 60s). We can have suburbs and sprawl, or we can drive less. Probably not both.

    Ultimately, the price will be what we’ll pay. And Americans seem to feel entitled to both driving as much as they want (or “have to”) and to complaining about the price while failing to doing anything much about it. So why should the price go down? We’ll keep paying.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    First of all, it’s useful to note (Ryan @4 and Don S @5) that in inflation-adjusted terms, we have recently topped the previous relative cost high of the early 80s, several years after the OPEC embargo — which caused only a small bump (but notably around the time of the shah’s overthrow and the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war — during which time the price spiked enormously). For what it’s worth, the all-time high until recently went back to the 1920s. The recent upward trend correlates quite well with the current war in Iraq.

    Second, it seems like gasoline price talk is a political Rorshach test. Bike Bubba notes (@3) some external influences on the market, but fails to mention, say, our Iraq war. Or any war in the Middle East, which tends to have an effect on oil production. I can’t find the latest numbers, but from what I can tell, Iraq’s oil production still hasn’t recovered from since we invaded. And those looking forward to an Iran war might consider its impact on fuel prices.

    Don S (@5) largely blames a lack of supply on the part of the U.S. while citing economics ignorance in our country, but leaves the issue of demand largely unexplored (except for China and India). He fails to mention our own oil demand, which is currently more than three times that of China, and of course any other country! While exhortations for economics education are welcome, I would hope that any class would teach about both the supply and the demand curve. Another question would be how ANWR (et al.) potential realistically measures up against current supply and demand.

    Steps like buying fuel efficient cars certainly will help (especially after so much ridiculous SUV inefficiency), but I fear it’s too much like switching to Snackwells cookies but eating the same amount in order to lose weight. The amount of fuel saved with a hybrid car is great, but I think we’re going to have to change the way we live (or, to put it another way, change the way we live back to how we used to live, before we changed it in the 50s and 60s). We can have suburbs and sprawl, or we can drive less. Probably not both.

    Ultimately, the price will be what we’ll pay. And Americans seem to feel entitled to both driving as much as they want (or “have to”) and to complaining about the price while failing to doing anything much about it. So why should the price go down? We’ll keep paying.

  • Anon

    The poor and middle class are suffering, and this is now hitting the rest of the economy.

    Bror is right. Just in shock. Can’t afford to visit my parents, barely can afford to drive to church and back. Prii (is that the correct plural?) are rather expensive. NOT an option for those who are hurt by the gas prices, and are only economical in urban areas. You save more money by driving your current vehicle than getting one of those.

    The chief cause is speculation, gambling with the stock market. Is there anything in the Bible or the BoC that requires that sort of gambling?

    The next cause is what OPEC is charging, which is many many times the cost of production. — $5/barrel in Saudi Arabia and roughly $10/barrel in the rest of OPEC.

    Next are the heavy taxes on gas. The Goretax – those 28 formulations someone else mentioned, State and other taxes add about 75 cents per gallon (why don’t keyboards have the cents symbol anymore?) This state just increased the tax rate per gallon by 13 cents.

    Then there are the kickbacks that the first two Clinton administrations gave to the Chicom-backed Indonesian oil tycoon – in repayment for campaign contributions, ANWAR and Grand Staircase/Escalante were established, and off-shore drilling severely restricted (Presently Chicom firms are drilling in our economic zone near Florida). And of course the restrictions on building new refineries.

    The crashing value of the dollar no doubt has a lot to do with it, as well. Say, using the price of Gold as the evaluation factor.

    Most Americans are already driving as little as they possibly can. The well-to-do may not be aware of that. But transportation is a need, not a mere want, and one has to max the credit card, hoping for a better future (and maxing the cards and using equity on houses to get by, has added to the housing crash).

  • Anon

    The poor and middle class are suffering, and this is now hitting the rest of the economy.

    Bror is right. Just in shock. Can’t afford to visit my parents, barely can afford to drive to church and back. Prii (is that the correct plural?) are rather expensive. NOT an option for those who are hurt by the gas prices, and are only economical in urban areas. You save more money by driving your current vehicle than getting one of those.

    The chief cause is speculation, gambling with the stock market. Is there anything in the Bible or the BoC that requires that sort of gambling?

    The next cause is what OPEC is charging, which is many many times the cost of production. — $5/barrel in Saudi Arabia and roughly $10/barrel in the rest of OPEC.

    Next are the heavy taxes on gas. The Goretax – those 28 formulations someone else mentioned, State and other taxes add about 75 cents per gallon (why don’t keyboards have the cents symbol anymore?) This state just increased the tax rate per gallon by 13 cents.

    Then there are the kickbacks that the first two Clinton administrations gave to the Chicom-backed Indonesian oil tycoon – in repayment for campaign contributions, ANWAR and Grand Staircase/Escalante were established, and off-shore drilling severely restricted (Presently Chicom firms are drilling in our economic zone near Florida). And of course the restrictions on building new refineries.

    The crashing value of the dollar no doubt has a lot to do with it, as well. Say, using the price of Gold as the evaluation factor.

    Most Americans are already driving as little as they possibly can. The well-to-do may not be aware of that. But transportation is a need, not a mere want, and one has to max the credit card, hoping for a better future (and maxing the cards and using equity on houses to get by, has added to the housing crash).

  • Don S

    tODD @ #7 — I started my whole comment out by stating that demand is a big part of the picture. So what? That’s a given. Demand is down about 0.5 -1% in the U.S. this year, but up about 2-4% worldwide. That is not going to change. Until the magical alternative fuel appears on the market, we will be consuming about 90 million barrels of oil worldwide for the foreseeable future, at a slowly increasing rate.

    The only way to tackle high prices when demand is firm is to increase supply. Economics 101. You can harangue the oil companies in political show trials all you want, it’s not going to change anything. They resort to it every year. It is political subterfuge. You are honest enough in your comment to say that you are unwilling to attempt to increase supply, so Americans are going to have to severely sacrifice with a lower standard of living. Fine, at least you are honest. My complaint above is that democrat politicians are not being honest with the American people. They refuse to drill for new oil anywhere, they refuse to work to streamline environmental legislation so that we don’t have to have so many “boutique” gasoline blends throughout the country, causing regional shortages and price spikes when there are refinery problems in a local area, and they refuse to streamline permitting for new or expanded refineries to ease the supply of gasoline. They continue to refuse to permit new nuclear power plants. California dems just rejected legislation to overturn the new nuclear plant ban in California again this year, even though it is the only realistic way to tackle the so-called “global warming” crisis. That makes no sense at all.

    You appear to imply that new supplies like “ANWR et al.” are insufficient to change the equation and cause a substantial fall in prices. I strongly disagree. At present, it is very realistic, if we start exploiting new fields like ANWR, and begin careful offshore drilling on the Pacific continental shelf and eastern Gulf of Mexico, among a few other promising fields, liken the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana, to increase domestic production by 1-2 million bbl per day within 3-5 years. Right now the demand/supply curve for oil, worldwide, is on a razor’s edge, with between about a 500,000 bbl per day deficit and a 500,000 bbl per day surplus, depending upon season and economic strength. This is why prices are so volatile. An extra 1-2 million bbl per day would sharply drive down prices, because speculators would exit the market in a hurry.

    I’m not saying that we should not promote intelligent conservation to try to knock another 1 or so mill. bbl per day off of demand worldwide. That’s probably about the most we can expect without a sharp gasoline price increase (which would increase conservation by forcing the poor and middle class to reduce their standard of living). But to focus solely on conservation and heavily subsidized renewable energy approaches (which will never account for more than a few percent of our consumption) while ignoring (and, yes, forbidding) supply increases of oil and gasoline is crazy. Those most hurt by the resultant high prices and future potential shortages will be the economically downtrodden and the middle class, the very folks the dems claim to care about.

  • Don S

    tODD @ #7 — I started my whole comment out by stating that demand is a big part of the picture. So what? That’s a given. Demand is down about 0.5 -1% in the U.S. this year, but up about 2-4% worldwide. That is not going to change. Until the magical alternative fuel appears on the market, we will be consuming about 90 million barrels of oil worldwide for the foreseeable future, at a slowly increasing rate.

    The only way to tackle high prices when demand is firm is to increase supply. Economics 101. You can harangue the oil companies in political show trials all you want, it’s not going to change anything. They resort to it every year. It is political subterfuge. You are honest enough in your comment to say that you are unwilling to attempt to increase supply, so Americans are going to have to severely sacrifice with a lower standard of living. Fine, at least you are honest. My complaint above is that democrat politicians are not being honest with the American people. They refuse to drill for new oil anywhere, they refuse to work to streamline environmental legislation so that we don’t have to have so many “boutique” gasoline blends throughout the country, causing regional shortages and price spikes when there are refinery problems in a local area, and they refuse to streamline permitting for new or expanded refineries to ease the supply of gasoline. They continue to refuse to permit new nuclear power plants. California dems just rejected legislation to overturn the new nuclear plant ban in California again this year, even though it is the only realistic way to tackle the so-called “global warming” crisis. That makes no sense at all.

    You appear to imply that new supplies like “ANWR et al.” are insufficient to change the equation and cause a substantial fall in prices. I strongly disagree. At present, it is very realistic, if we start exploiting new fields like ANWR, and begin careful offshore drilling on the Pacific continental shelf and eastern Gulf of Mexico, among a few other promising fields, liken the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana, to increase domestic production by 1-2 million bbl per day within 3-5 years. Right now the demand/supply curve for oil, worldwide, is on a razor’s edge, with between about a 500,000 bbl per day deficit and a 500,000 bbl per day surplus, depending upon season and economic strength. This is why prices are so volatile. An extra 1-2 million bbl per day would sharply drive down prices, because speculators would exit the market in a hurry.

    I’m not saying that we should not promote intelligent conservation to try to knock another 1 or so mill. bbl per day off of demand worldwide. That’s probably about the most we can expect without a sharp gasoline price increase (which would increase conservation by forcing the poor and middle class to reduce their standard of living). But to focus solely on conservation and heavily subsidized renewable energy approaches (which will never account for more than a few percent of our consumption) while ignoring (and, yes, forbidding) supply increases of oil and gasoline is crazy. Those most hurt by the resultant high prices and future potential shortages will be the economically downtrodden and the middle class, the very folks the dems claim to care about.

  • Kyralessa

    Kevin, why are you buying gas at all? Bucuresti has great public transportation, especially compared to most cities in the U.S.

  • Kyralessa

    Kevin, why are you buying gas at all? Bucuresti has great public transportation, especially compared to most cities in the U.S.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Kyralessa,

    It is true: I don’t have to buy all that much gasoline here in Romania, so it doesn’t hurt that much to pay more. Swedes may be paying $8 per gallon for their gasoline, but I suspect their overall gasoline bill is quite a bit lower than that of most Americans. I’ve driven 35,000 km (22,000 miles) in the past five years. I live within walking distance of work, and sometimes go an entire week without driving. The subways/trams/buses go everywhere in the city, and are often my first choice. I couldn’t live like this in suburbia in the U.S., so I know that $4/gallon really does hurt, even though it sounds cheap to me.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com Kevin N

    Kyralessa,

    It is true: I don’t have to buy all that much gasoline here in Romania, so it doesn’t hurt that much to pay more. Swedes may be paying $8 per gallon for their gasoline, but I suspect their overall gasoline bill is quite a bit lower than that of most Americans. I’ve driven 35,000 km (22,000 miles) in the past five years. I live within walking distance of work, and sometimes go an entire week without driving. The subways/trams/buses go everywhere in the city, and are often my first choice. I couldn’t live like this in suburbia in the U.S., so I know that $4/gallon really does hurt, even though it sounds cheap to me.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I understand that there is a supply side to this issue, and I don’t doubt that emerging economies are putting even more strain on the demand side, but I am flummoxed by the apparent resistance among some here to the idea that we also contribute — significantly — to the demand side, and have a choice in that matter.

    Where is the famous conservative belief in market forces now, with all the clamoring for our government (or some other foreign government(s)) to solve this problem? If you don’t like the gas prices — just the same as if you think a restaurant is charging too much on its menu — you don’t have to buy gas. You have options. They may not be pretty. They may involve sacrifice. But you have options. There is no right to cheap gasoline, regardless of whether you have built your life around the assumption of such.

    Anon (@8), you said “Most Americans are already driving as little as they possibly can.” I’m sorry, but unless you’re living in some crazy eco-enclave that’s way more environmentally minded than Portland (which, you know, has a green reputation), it’s just not so. As I stand at my bus stop in the morning waiting for the bus, I can’t count the number of single-occupant cars that drive by, most of them not highly fuel efficient. And there is no recent mass crush for public transport, though it is popular in Portland. Similarly, I still hear more gas-powered lawn mowers than I see people using push mowers. And these are some of the easier changes Americans could make to reduce gas consumption. In short: they’re not really doing it.

    Kevin N (@11) — your lifestyle sounds remarkably similar to ours here in Portland, Oregon. I tend to take the bus to work more (since it rains a lot here), but on nice days, I’ll walk the 4 miles or so to work. When we took our car in for a check-up (after 3 years, since we still haven’t reached the 30,000 mile point) and asked the mechanic if anything was wrong with our car, he said, “It’s dying. Of boredom!” :)

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I understand that there is a supply side to this issue, and I don’t doubt that emerging economies are putting even more strain on the demand side, but I am flummoxed by the apparent resistance among some here to the idea that we also contribute — significantly — to the demand side, and have a choice in that matter.

    Where is the famous conservative belief in market forces now, with all the clamoring for our government (or some other foreign government(s)) to solve this problem? If you don’t like the gas prices — just the same as if you think a restaurant is charging too much on its menu — you don’t have to buy gas. You have options. They may not be pretty. They may involve sacrifice. But you have options. There is no right to cheap gasoline, regardless of whether you have built your life around the assumption of such.

    Anon (@8), you said “Most Americans are already driving as little as they possibly can.” I’m sorry, but unless you’re living in some crazy eco-enclave that’s way more environmentally minded than Portland (which, you know, has a green reputation), it’s just not so. As I stand at my bus stop in the morning waiting for the bus, I can’t count the number of single-occupant cars that drive by, most of them not highly fuel efficient. And there is no recent mass crush for public transport, though it is popular in Portland. Similarly, I still hear more gas-powered lawn mowers than I see people using push mowers. And these are some of the easier changes Americans could make to reduce gas consumption. In short: they’re not really doing it.

    Kevin N (@11) — your lifestyle sounds remarkably similar to ours here in Portland, Oregon. I tend to take the bus to work more (since it rains a lot here), but on nice days, I’ll walk the 4 miles or so to work. When we took our car in for a check-up (after 3 years, since we still haven’t reached the 30,000 mile point) and asked the mechanic if anything was wrong with our car, he said, “It’s dying. Of boredom!” :)

  • Don S

    tODD, the clamoring is for the government to get out of the way and let new drilling and exploration occur. It is very true that there is no right to cheap gas. But that’s not how democratic politicians posture. They hold hearings and rail on oil company executives for gouging the public with high gas prices, then go to the back rooms and make deals with environmentalists to strangle the supply of oil and gasoline, thus ensuring that those high prices continue.

    I’d just like to see more honesty. If they think conservation and high prices are good policy, then they should explain to the public why they think it’s good that their policies have caused prices to rise so much, and that it’s really for the betterment of all. Where’s their courage?

  • Don S

    tODD, the clamoring is for the government to get out of the way and let new drilling and exploration occur. It is very true that there is no right to cheap gas. But that’s not how democratic politicians posture. They hold hearings and rail on oil company executives for gouging the public with high gas prices, then go to the back rooms and make deals with environmentalists to strangle the supply of oil and gasoline, thus ensuring that those high prices continue.

    I’d just like to see more honesty. If they think conservation and high prices are good policy, then they should explain to the public why they think it’s good that their policies have caused prices to rise so much, and that it’s really for the betterment of all. Where’s their courage?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@13), in order for the goverment to truly “get out of the way”, it’d have to stop subsidizing the oil industry (which, ridiculously, it does, though they seem to be doing okay financially, you know), and also stop fighting wars to protect our access to oil.

    And I don’t doubt that having oil executives go before Congress is mostly about show, since Congress never follows up with actual action. But I don’t understand your insistence that these “show trials” (I believe there have only been three — one in late 2005, one in early 2006, and one recently) only come from Democrats. The first one was before Republicans and Democrats, and both sides took positions that criticized and favored the oil companies. The second one was called by Arlen Spector (who does have an R after his name).

    As for your “back rooms” theory, it’s hard to take seriously. Democrats have been fairly vocal about protecting the environment, and they believe that there is more to consider than merely “is there oil in there?” when dealing with policy. As someone who grew up in Texas and knows what it’s like to go to the beach and come back with tar all over his feet, I think oil-through-whatever-means-possible is a bad idea. It has an impact. We may only be talking about oil production and pricing here right now, but that certainly isn’t all there is to consider in our country.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@13), in order for the goverment to truly “get out of the way”, it’d have to stop subsidizing the oil industry (which, ridiculously, it does, though they seem to be doing okay financially, you know), and also stop fighting wars to protect our access to oil.

    And I don’t doubt that having oil executives go before Congress is mostly about show, since Congress never follows up with actual action. But I don’t understand your insistence that these “show trials” (I believe there have only been three — one in late 2005, one in early 2006, and one recently) only come from Democrats. The first one was before Republicans and Democrats, and both sides took positions that criticized and favored the oil companies. The second one was called by Arlen Spector (who does have an R after his name).

    As for your “back rooms” theory, it’s hard to take seriously. Democrats have been fairly vocal about protecting the environment, and they believe that there is more to consider than merely “is there oil in there?” when dealing with policy. As someone who grew up in Texas and knows what it’s like to go to the beach and come back with tar all over his feet, I think oil-through-whatever-means-possible is a bad idea. It has an impact. We may only be talking about oil production and pricing here right now, but that certainly isn’t all there is to consider in our country.

  • Don S

    tODD, by “back rooms”, I mean that they won’t come right out and tell the public that they LIKE $4 gasoline, and they’ll like it even more when it is $5 or $6. This is the environmentalists’ dream — to force public transit through supply restriction and resultant price spikes. They TALK about protecting the environment, but they certainly don’t explain what that really means — what it means, for example to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2050. It’s not a painless process, and it is the standard of living of the American poor and middle class which will be changed in the most startling manner. Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, and their ilk will still have their huge homes, private jets, and the like, because price isn’t an issue for them. Expensive energy will just clear up the freeways and airports for them. Liberal elitism at its finest.

    By the way, that is why I admire Ed Begley, Jr., despite the fact that I agree with him about almost nothing. He is the ONLY elitist liberal in public view who actually walks what he talks.

    There is a middle ground between “is there oil in there” and “we don’t care if there is oil anywhere, no new drilling no matter what”. We need to have sensible policies on both the supply and demand sides and I don’t see that now.

  • Don S

    tODD, by “back rooms”, I mean that they won’t come right out and tell the public that they LIKE $4 gasoline, and they’ll like it even more when it is $5 or $6. This is the environmentalists’ dream — to force public transit through supply restriction and resultant price spikes. They TALK about protecting the environment, but they certainly don’t explain what that really means — what it means, for example to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2050. It’s not a painless process, and it is the standard of living of the American poor and middle class which will be changed in the most startling manner. Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, and their ilk will still have their huge homes, private jets, and the like, because price isn’t an issue for them. Expensive energy will just clear up the freeways and airports for them. Liberal elitism at its finest.

    By the way, that is why I admire Ed Begley, Jr., despite the fact that I agree with him about almost nothing. He is the ONLY elitist liberal in public view who actually walks what he talks.

    There is a middle ground between “is there oil in there” and “we don’t care if there is oil anywhere, no new drilling no matter what”. We need to have sensible policies on both the supply and demand sides and I don’t see that now.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@15), so according to your theory, “they” (environmentalists? Democrats? is there a difference to you?) like expensive gasoline because it leads to public transit which leads to clear freeways for Barbra Streisand? Are you sure you’re really thinking this through?

    And as I said before, I agree it’s not a painless process. But I disagree that driving less leads to a drastic reduction in living standards — and I’m pretty certain that I’m middle class. My driving less has resulted in better health (I’m walking more) and more money for me (I’m spending less on gas). You don’t have to have those things for yourself, but that’s your choice.

    By the way, you really should stop paying attention to celebrities so much. There are environmentalists who don’t appear on TV (and are repackaged as Republican bogeymen in conservative media) — you know that, right? Barbra Streisand is about as important to listen to as Britney Spears. But if you choose to listen to her, I can’t stop you.

    So what is your argument that we’re not supplying enough based on?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@15), so according to your theory, “they” (environmentalists? Democrats? is there a difference to you?) like expensive gasoline because it leads to public transit which leads to clear freeways for Barbra Streisand? Are you sure you’re really thinking this through?

    And as I said before, I agree it’s not a painless process. But I disagree that driving less leads to a drastic reduction in living standards — and I’m pretty certain that I’m middle class. My driving less has resulted in better health (I’m walking more) and more money for me (I’m spending less on gas). You don’t have to have those things for yourself, but that’s your choice.

    By the way, you really should stop paying attention to celebrities so much. There are environmentalists who don’t appear on TV (and are repackaged as Republican bogeymen in conservative media) — you know that, right? Barbra Streisand is about as important to listen to as Britney Spears. But if you choose to listen to her, I can’t stop you.

    So what is your argument that we’re not supplying enough based on?

  • Don S

    tODD @ 16:

    1. I think it’s fair to say that more folks who consider themselves “environmentalists” vote democrat than republican. As for the rest of your paragraph 1, are you saying that liberal elites such as Gore, Edwards, Streisand, etc. who live hugely extravagant lifestyles while preaching that we all should cut back for the good of the earth are not hypocrites? Seriously? I’m thinking it through, but I question whether you are.

    2. It’s great for you that you have been able to cut back your driving. However, you did it voluntarily, and it is not possible for everyone to do that. What I object to is the government having a policy to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes. This particularly impacts the poor and working class, especially those who are forced to live in outlying cheaper areas so that they have a substantial drive to their workplace. Gasoline is a necessity for them.

    3. Your third paragraph makes no sense to me. However, it appears to be a distraction intended to permit you to ignore the issue of whether the democratic congress has been honest with the American people about its true energy agenda.

    4. Are you serious? We are importing nearly 2/3 of our daily supply of oil, with about 20% coming from unstable third world regimes or the Middle East. We could relatively easily increase domestic supplies some 1-2 mill bbl per day, taking a lot of pressure off of the market and reducing imports from volatile regions. Our refineries run at an average of 93% of capacity, when they should ideally run at about 80% to permit sufficient capacity for maintenance or unscheduled outages. We have built no new domestic oil refineries in America in 30 years. Because of intensive environmental regulations and political opposition, we have not built a new nuclear energy plant in over 20 years, even though nuclear power is the only realistic option to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions without a drastic reduction in lifestyle. Our electrical energy generation capacity is not even close to keeping pace with consumption levels — we are relying ever more heavily on peaker plants, which are inefficient and environmentally unsound compared to baseline generation plants. However, it takes almost 10 years to permit a baseline electrical generation plant, even those powered by natural gas, today.

    Need I go on?

  • Don S

    tODD @ 16:

    1. I think it’s fair to say that more folks who consider themselves “environmentalists” vote democrat than republican. As for the rest of your paragraph 1, are you saying that liberal elites such as Gore, Edwards, Streisand, etc. who live hugely extravagant lifestyles while preaching that we all should cut back for the good of the earth are not hypocrites? Seriously? I’m thinking it through, but I question whether you are.

    2. It’s great for you that you have been able to cut back your driving. However, you did it voluntarily, and it is not possible for everyone to do that. What I object to is the government having a policy to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes. This particularly impacts the poor and working class, especially those who are forced to live in outlying cheaper areas so that they have a substantial drive to their workplace. Gasoline is a necessity for them.

    3. Your third paragraph makes no sense to me. However, it appears to be a distraction intended to permit you to ignore the issue of whether the democratic congress has been honest with the American people about its true energy agenda.

    4. Are you serious? We are importing nearly 2/3 of our daily supply of oil, with about 20% coming from unstable third world regimes or the Middle East. We could relatively easily increase domestic supplies some 1-2 mill bbl per day, taking a lot of pressure off of the market and reducing imports from volatile regions. Our refineries run at an average of 93% of capacity, when they should ideally run at about 80% to permit sufficient capacity for maintenance or unscheduled outages. We have built no new domestic oil refineries in America in 30 years. Because of intensive environmental regulations and political opposition, we have not built a new nuclear energy plant in over 20 years, even though nuclear power is the only realistic option to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions without a drastic reduction in lifestyle. Our electrical energy generation capacity is not even close to keeping pace with consumption levels — we are relying ever more heavily on peaker plants, which are inefficient and environmentally unsound compared to baseline generation plants. However, it takes almost 10 years to permit a baseline electrical generation plant, even those powered by natural gas, today.

    Need I go on?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    It’a always dangerous to use oneself as an example for the population at large.
    Walking and thus restoring health are not options for many; probably for most.
    But that’s beside the point.
    Lifestyle changes by government fiat are neither innocent nor harmless, nor are they basically American.
    I doubt that they’re actually well-intentioned, and suspect there’s a hidden good for some party–some ‘special interest’–underlying much of what Congress deems ‘good for me.’
    Before Congress begins to mandate how much I should consume–of anything–and how much I should pay for it, Congress should adhere to its duty to freedom, and that includes free markets.
    Congress tampering with markets, in the name of the public good, is its worst application of its call.
    The government is not my nanny, and not the grantor and proscriber of my rights.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    It’a always dangerous to use oneself as an example for the population at large.
    Walking and thus restoring health are not options for many; probably for most.
    But that’s beside the point.
    Lifestyle changes by government fiat are neither innocent nor harmless, nor are they basically American.
    I doubt that they’re actually well-intentioned, and suspect there’s a hidden good for some party–some ‘special interest’–underlying much of what Congress deems ‘good for me.’
    Before Congress begins to mandate how much I should consume–of anything–and how much I should pay for it, Congress should adhere to its duty to freedom, and that includes free markets.
    Congress tampering with markets, in the name of the public good, is its worst application of its call.
    The government is not my nanny, and not the grantor and proscriber of my rights.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@17), I don’t think that what I wrote was that confusing, but I’ll try again. But, you know, diminishing returns and all that.

    You really made it sound (@15) like you thought “they” wanted higher gas taxes so that we would take public transit so that “they” could use airports and roads more easily. That’s goofy. I said so (@16). I didn’t address their hypocricy at all. Frankly, I can’t, since I don’t know how much, if at all, they’ve cut back on energy usage. Just because someone uses a lot of energy or lives a more lavish life than you doesn’t mean that they haven’t cut back. Are you really advocating for some Harrison Bergeronesque world where we are all allowed to use the same amount of energy?

    My third paragraph (@16) wasn’t about Congress at all. It’s about the fact that you listen more to Al Gore and Barbra Streisand than I do. Why is that? Why do you pay attention to them? I’ll grant that Al Gore has gained some fame with his film and Nobel prize, but you know far more about what he says than green-leaning, left-leaning me. And I don’t know a single Democrat that knows or cares about what Streisand is saying. So why do you?

    You said (@17) that it’s “not possible for everyone” to “cut back [their] driving”. But that’s not true. It’s not possible for them to cut it back and maintain their current lifestyle, true. But unless someone literally consumes no energy, then it’s always possible to cut back. Unfortunately, many people have built their lives around a world where energy — especially oil — is cheap and freely available. These lifestyles may become unsustainable.

    You say you object to “the government having a policy to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes,” but this is your own construction. As we have discussed, most of these restrictions on drilling are environmental in nature and, I would add, reasonable — that they are made by evil Democrats wanting to force you to live a certain way is your own idea.

    You also say that higher gas prices impact the poorer folks who live where land is cheap, but one must drive in order to obtain goods and services. It’s true. But this is a good example, sadly, of people who built their lives around cheap gas. Cheap gas is not guaranteed, especially these days. There are also many poor people who live in the city, and they probably get by because they do not have to pay for gas (or even own a car), walking or bussing to get their goods and services. I imagine there will be more people like this in the future. Cheap land that’s not near anything is not as good a gamble as it once was.

    Furthermore, if you’re going to object to the government wielding influence over our lives, be complete about it. Why not also object to the government building roads, thereby subsidizing car travel? Or the subsidies the government pays to the oil industry? Or the biggest subsidy of all — that of using America’s military power to ensure that our access to (petroleum) energy is secure? Why not object to those things as well? Or is it only when the government’s policy negatively impacts gas prices that you object?

    Finally, the point I tried (poorly) to make in my last paragraph (@16) was: what is the basis you use to say that, today, we have arrived at the point where the US needs to increase the petroleum supply side (this discussion isn’t about nuclear power, and I agree with you on that, anyhow)? We have discussed the demand side, which you don’t seem to consider a serious avenue for action. We have discussed the environment, which you say is important. But it isn’t important enough for you to say that it should figure into the discussion on increasing supply at this time. Yes, I understand that things are far from ideal now with regards to supply. But we’re chasing after a diminishing commodity. At some point — either now or in the future — we are going to have to make hard choices. Either we will have to be serious about decreasing demand. Or start investing in alternative energy research in a serious manner. Or we’ll have to say we don’t really care about the environment so much as we do continued access to cheap fuel. But even if we take the last approach and open up ANWR and all those other options, we’ll still be having this discussion several decades into the future. What will that have gained us? And will the potential for environmental negatives have been worth it?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@17), I don’t think that what I wrote was that confusing, but I’ll try again. But, you know, diminishing returns and all that.

    You really made it sound (@15) like you thought “they” wanted higher gas taxes so that we would take public transit so that “they” could use airports and roads more easily. That’s goofy. I said so (@16). I didn’t address their hypocricy at all. Frankly, I can’t, since I don’t know how much, if at all, they’ve cut back on energy usage. Just because someone uses a lot of energy or lives a more lavish life than you doesn’t mean that they haven’t cut back. Are you really advocating for some Harrison Bergeronesque world where we are all allowed to use the same amount of energy?

    My third paragraph (@16) wasn’t about Congress at all. It’s about the fact that you listen more to Al Gore and Barbra Streisand than I do. Why is that? Why do you pay attention to them? I’ll grant that Al Gore has gained some fame with his film and Nobel prize, but you know far more about what he says than green-leaning, left-leaning me. And I don’t know a single Democrat that knows or cares about what Streisand is saying. So why do you?

    You said (@17) that it’s “not possible for everyone” to “cut back [their] driving”. But that’s not true. It’s not possible for them to cut it back and maintain their current lifestyle, true. But unless someone literally consumes no energy, then it’s always possible to cut back. Unfortunately, many people have built their lives around a world where energy — especially oil — is cheap and freely available. These lifestyles may become unsustainable.

    You say you object to “the government having a policy to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes,” but this is your own construction. As we have discussed, most of these restrictions on drilling are environmental in nature and, I would add, reasonable — that they are made by evil Democrats wanting to force you to live a certain way is your own idea.

    You also say that higher gas prices impact the poorer folks who live where land is cheap, but one must drive in order to obtain goods and services. It’s true. But this is a good example, sadly, of people who built their lives around cheap gas. Cheap gas is not guaranteed, especially these days. There are also many poor people who live in the city, and they probably get by because they do not have to pay for gas (or even own a car), walking or bussing to get their goods and services. I imagine there will be more people like this in the future. Cheap land that’s not near anything is not as good a gamble as it once was.

    Furthermore, if you’re going to object to the government wielding influence over our lives, be complete about it. Why not also object to the government building roads, thereby subsidizing car travel? Or the subsidies the government pays to the oil industry? Or the biggest subsidy of all — that of using America’s military power to ensure that our access to (petroleum) energy is secure? Why not object to those things as well? Or is it only when the government’s policy negatively impacts gas prices that you object?

    Finally, the point I tried (poorly) to make in my last paragraph (@16) was: what is the basis you use to say that, today, we have arrived at the point where the US needs to increase the petroleum supply side (this discussion isn’t about nuclear power, and I agree with you on that, anyhow)? We have discussed the demand side, which you don’t seem to consider a serious avenue for action. We have discussed the environment, which you say is important. But it isn’t important enough for you to say that it should figure into the discussion on increasing supply at this time. Yes, I understand that things are far from ideal now with regards to supply. But we’re chasing after a diminishing commodity. At some point — either now or in the future — we are going to have to make hard choices. Either we will have to be serious about decreasing demand. Or start investing in alternative energy research in a serious manner. Or we’ll have to say we don’t really care about the environment so much as we do continued access to cheap fuel. But even if we take the last approach and open up ANWR and all those other options, we’ll still be having this discussion several decades into the future. What will that have gained us? And will the potential for environmental negatives have been worth it?

  • Don S

    tODD @ #19

    OK, I’ll take one more crack at it as well, despite the so-called “diminishing returns”:

    1. As for my comment at 15, I was not saying they wanted higher gas taxes at all (though I did mention overtaxing supply in comment #17). It is certainly true that many environmentalists do want them. What I was saying, however, was that they want to constrict supply in order to reduce consumption. But not their consumption. At least not that I can observe. Holding a worldwide global warming conference in Bali doesn’t strike me as a particularly energy efficient pursuit. When I see the alarmists such as Gore start to really put the screws on their own energy consumption, and lead by example, I will start to take their alarmism a little more seriously. In the meantime, it looks more like hucksterism to me.

    2. Of course, I am not advocating a world where everyone is allowed to use the same amount of energy. But, as I said above, if someone is going to loudly insist on sharp worldwide cutbacks in energy usage because of an alleged global warming crisis, and then he jets off to Bali for a conference, and burns 14,000 kwh in one month in his TN mansion, I’m going to start thinking maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Maybe there’s something else going on here, like his $110 million income on global warming related activities.

    3. I don’t listen to Gore, or Streisand, or David, or any of the other global warming nuts out there. But the media sure does. And they are in the process of screwing up our whole country over this nonsense. That’s why I care.

    4. People can cut energy usage at the margins, but many can’t possibly cut more than a few percent w/o selling their houses or changing jobs. If they want to do so, fine. But their “limited government” shouldn’t force them to because of an artificially created crisis generated by a few elites with pet theories and their own ideas about how the world should run. If their lifestyles become unsustainable because of events beyond our control, so be it, but we have no right to force these events upon them, as we are doing.

    5. So, why is it my “own construction” that the government has a policy “to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes,” but not your “own construction” that such policies are “reasonable”. I don’t think, for the most part, they are reasonable at all. They are knee jerk blanket refusals to do any kind of new drilling, exploration, building, development, etc. If the environmental groups said, look, this tract is really important to the eco-system, but we don’t mind if you responsibly drill over here in this tract, that would be reasonable. They don’t do that. They say don’t drill anywhere, ever, no matter what techniques you have developed to ensure that the drilling operation will be environmentally responsible. That’s not “my own idea”, that’s fact. Unless you’ve got an example in the past 10 years of any energy project the environmentalists have supported, other than so-called renewables. I don’t think you can come up with one. And even renewables fall out of favor. You can’t put too much water through the hydroelectric dam because you might damage the snail darter population. Yes, we made you build those 2000 windmills to meet a wind renewable mandate, but you can’t actually use them because too many birds are being killed.

    It’s maddening.

    6. So I guess you are going to make all the middle class people who just wanted to have a home of their own move back to the city? Would you please run the democrat’s general election campaign this fall? I’m sure that will be a very popular platform plank.

    7. Roads are supported by gas taxes, the excess of which are typically diverted into other modes of transportation which are nowhere near self-supporting, such as buses, commuter rail, subways. Many mass transit options don’t even pay 20% of their own way through fares. The government doesn’t actually subsidize oil companies. It permits them to deduct an “oil depletion allowance” from their corporate income taxes. I favor the elimination of all corporate taxes, so this would eliminate any subsidy issues. I don’t accept your premise about the military. That is “your own construction”. :)

    8. While oil may be a diminishing commodity, there is much oil left in the world. Present proven reserves (which are substantially greater than in the 1970′s) are enough to fuel the world for at least another 40-50 years. There is no question in my mind that God gave us oil for our use. It is nearly a perfect fuel, and it was supplied in incredible abundance. He gave us the know-how to find it, refine it, and build machines which would efficiently burn it. While I agree that we need to begin to transition to alternative fuels, it is not a panic situation, and it is clear that we are going to be an oil-based economy for decades to come. It is important to reduce demand, by improving technology so that we can do more with less, so to speak. That is happening. But it is also important to acknowledge that we need to continue developing and maintaining our mechanisms of supply. Environmental concerns definitely should figure into the equation related to increasing supply, but they shouldn’t trump or eliminate all avenues for doing so. There should be a balance, which there is not at present. We have given ourselves over entirely to the environmental lobby.

    I’m sure that we will ultimately agree to disagree, but it would sure be nice if people on both sides were willing to take a more balanced look at all of these issues.

  • Don S

    tODD @ #19

    OK, I’ll take one more crack at it as well, despite the so-called “diminishing returns”:

    1. As for my comment at 15, I was not saying they wanted higher gas taxes at all (though I did mention overtaxing supply in comment #17). It is certainly true that many environmentalists do want them. What I was saying, however, was that they want to constrict supply in order to reduce consumption. But not their consumption. At least not that I can observe. Holding a worldwide global warming conference in Bali doesn’t strike me as a particularly energy efficient pursuit. When I see the alarmists such as Gore start to really put the screws on their own energy consumption, and lead by example, I will start to take their alarmism a little more seriously. In the meantime, it looks more like hucksterism to me.

    2. Of course, I am not advocating a world where everyone is allowed to use the same amount of energy. But, as I said above, if someone is going to loudly insist on sharp worldwide cutbacks in energy usage because of an alleged global warming crisis, and then he jets off to Bali for a conference, and burns 14,000 kwh in one month in his TN mansion, I’m going to start thinking maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Maybe there’s something else going on here, like his $110 million income on global warming related activities.

    3. I don’t listen to Gore, or Streisand, or David, or any of the other global warming nuts out there. But the media sure does. And they are in the process of screwing up our whole country over this nonsense. That’s why I care.

    4. People can cut energy usage at the margins, but many can’t possibly cut more than a few percent w/o selling their houses or changing jobs. If they want to do so, fine. But their “limited government” shouldn’t force them to because of an artificially created crisis generated by a few elites with pet theories and their own ideas about how the world should run. If their lifestyles become unsustainable because of events beyond our control, so be it, but we have no right to force these events upon them, as we are doing.

    5. So, why is it my “own construction” that the government has a policy “to artificially drive up the cost of energy by constricting or overtaxing supply in order to force lifestyle changes,” but not your “own construction” that such policies are “reasonable”. I don’t think, for the most part, they are reasonable at all. They are knee jerk blanket refusals to do any kind of new drilling, exploration, building, development, etc. If the environmental groups said, look, this tract is really important to the eco-system, but we don’t mind if you responsibly drill over here in this tract, that would be reasonable. They don’t do that. They say don’t drill anywhere, ever, no matter what techniques you have developed to ensure that the drilling operation will be environmentally responsible. That’s not “my own idea”, that’s fact. Unless you’ve got an example in the past 10 years of any energy project the environmentalists have supported, other than so-called renewables. I don’t think you can come up with one. And even renewables fall out of favor. You can’t put too much water through the hydroelectric dam because you might damage the snail darter population. Yes, we made you build those 2000 windmills to meet a wind renewable mandate, but you can’t actually use them because too many birds are being killed.

    It’s maddening.

    6. So I guess you are going to make all the middle class people who just wanted to have a home of their own move back to the city? Would you please run the democrat’s general election campaign this fall? I’m sure that will be a very popular platform plank.

    7. Roads are supported by gas taxes, the excess of which are typically diverted into other modes of transportation which are nowhere near self-supporting, such as buses, commuter rail, subways. Many mass transit options don’t even pay 20% of their own way through fares. The government doesn’t actually subsidize oil companies. It permits them to deduct an “oil depletion allowance” from their corporate income taxes. I favor the elimination of all corporate taxes, so this would eliminate any subsidy issues. I don’t accept your premise about the military. That is “your own construction”. :)

    8. While oil may be a diminishing commodity, there is much oil left in the world. Present proven reserves (which are substantially greater than in the 1970′s) are enough to fuel the world for at least another 40-50 years. There is no question in my mind that God gave us oil for our use. It is nearly a perfect fuel, and it was supplied in incredible abundance. He gave us the know-how to find it, refine it, and build machines which would efficiently burn it. While I agree that we need to begin to transition to alternative fuels, it is not a panic situation, and it is clear that we are going to be an oil-based economy for decades to come. It is important to reduce demand, by improving technology so that we can do more with less, so to speak. That is happening. But it is also important to acknowledge that we need to continue developing and maintaining our mechanisms of supply. Environmental concerns definitely should figure into the equation related to increasing supply, but they shouldn’t trump or eliminate all avenues for doing so. There should be a balance, which there is not at present. We have given ourselves over entirely to the environmental lobby.

    I’m sure that we will ultimately agree to disagree, but it would sure be nice if people on both sides were willing to take a more balanced look at all of these issues.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@20), I’ll use your numbering …

    1 & 2: Okay, of the celebrity environmentalists you’ve mentioned, how much have they cut their energy consumption? Pointing to a specific amount of energy a celebrity used doesn’t tell me how much he has responded to the need for cutting back. I’ve cut back on energy usage myself in the past several years, but I’m sure there are many who would point to my energy consumption as excessive. So what percentage have these people reduced consumption by?

    3: I guess you consume more media than I do, but I personally can’t remember any media stories online or in the paper about Streisand that weren’t commentary in a conservative outlet.

    4: You say “artificially created”, I say “environmentally minded”. I can’t see how your line of reasoning won’t lead to us justifying extracting every last drop of oil out of our country’s environment, whatever the negative consequences, though.

    5: It is my own construction that “such policies are ‘reasonable’”. I never said that was objective fact. And I believe you’re conflating all environmental groups into one unit. Many environmental groups support hydro power (the fish-focused ones, not as much). Many support wind power (the bird-focused ones, not so much). Energy production always has trade-offs, and someone will always complain. That doesn’t mean you get to take the argument of one group and complain that it’s the voice of the monolithic environmental establishment.

    6: I am not arguing here from the point of political expediency, nor do I think that is a good idea — in fact, political pandering of the type to which you allude is why our country is in such a state. Hard choices will have to be made. Anyone who claims otherwise may well be lying to get elected.

    7: Yes, mass transit is subsidized. Just like driving. The rest, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    8: Yes, God gave us oil. And sunshine and fission and waves and passenger pigeons and bison and dodos. Just because he blesses us with something doesn’t guarantee we’ll use it wisely.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@20), I’ll use your numbering …

    1 & 2: Okay, of the celebrity environmentalists you’ve mentioned, how much have they cut their energy consumption? Pointing to a specific amount of energy a celebrity used doesn’t tell me how much he has responded to the need for cutting back. I’ve cut back on energy usage myself in the past several years, but I’m sure there are many who would point to my energy consumption as excessive. So what percentage have these people reduced consumption by?

    3: I guess you consume more media than I do, but I personally can’t remember any media stories online or in the paper about Streisand that weren’t commentary in a conservative outlet.

    4: You say “artificially created”, I say “environmentally minded”. I can’t see how your line of reasoning won’t lead to us justifying extracting every last drop of oil out of our country’s environment, whatever the negative consequences, though.

    5: It is my own construction that “such policies are ‘reasonable’”. I never said that was objective fact. And I believe you’re conflating all environmental groups into one unit. Many environmental groups support hydro power (the fish-focused ones, not as much). Many support wind power (the bird-focused ones, not so much). Energy production always has trade-offs, and someone will always complain. That doesn’t mean you get to take the argument of one group and complain that it’s the voice of the monolithic environmental establishment.

    6: I am not arguing here from the point of political expediency, nor do I think that is a good idea — in fact, political pandering of the type to which you allude is why our country is in such a state. Hard choices will have to be made. Anyone who claims otherwise may well be lying to get elected.

    7: Yes, mass transit is subsidized. Just like driving. The rest, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    8: Yes, God gave us oil. And sunshine and fission and waves and passenger pigeons and bison and dodos. Just because he blesses us with something doesn’t guarantee we’ll use it wisely.


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