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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Politics as Usual

Gas Pump Rubes

I was reading the papers and online news tonight, and find at least 4 articles on new folks calling for tougher laws on price gouging for gas. Many of these are the same folks who were calling for, and never passed, tougher laws on price gouging last year.

What this shows is the attention span of the US consumer. Last year 'we' were all up in arms about prices of gas, Congress bitched, held a few hearings, and shut the hell up. This year we'll get the same treatment from them.

Sure, the President asked for a probe into prices today, but what will it really show? Refining capacity is still down about 5% due to post hurricane repairs, and futures on oil are over $73, that makes for expensive gas. The relaxing of some EPA gas rules won't mean much, since most states made the switch to summer gas already, or will next week. That means refineries have already switched production.

Another thing that was brought up was more tax subsidies for those who buy hybrid vehicles. Great, if I buy a Chevy 1500 hybrid pickup, which get about 18 mpg I get a tax break. I traded in my 2500HD for a car that gets 35mpg (a 120% increase in milage) and get squat, other than my gas bill is down to 30 a week.

I don't mind a hybrid tax credit for vehicles that get decent milage, but the Lexus and Chevy models out there right now are still gas guzzlers, they just guzzle 10% (about 2mpg) less, which isn't much. If we want to reward folks for saving gas, give the credit to anyone who buys a car with a 35mpg or more CAFE rating for the highway, hybrid or not.

Now, when the mullahs in Iran and their wack job President finally calm down, or get whacked, or when the futures market on oil falls out and prices go down again, then what. Congress, and the Prez, will forget about us until the next time gas hit $3.00 a gallon, then they'll roll out the rhetoric again, and still do nothing.

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Blogger ablur said...

until the fix the supply side, namely refineries, we have nothing. Empty words with no real results.
I would suggest building a refinery in Coos Bay Oregon. It offers a deep water port, no significant weather variables(hurricanes, tornado's)and plenty of buildable land. Oregon is an extreme environmental wack job state but I think the right federal incentives and pressure would net America something it needs so much. The east coast is pretty much locked up and the Gulf is fraught with peril. The west coast has been tied to enviro nuts and its time to break the strangle hold.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

The only thing I know is that all they give us is talk. Talk about alternatives, investigations, promises and ideas. Seems to me we should be taking a page out of Brazil's book and DO IT!!!

I heard they already have an alternative fuel, cheaper to produce than the corn we are fixated on and they are now making the cars. If the Brazilians can do it.. What they heck are WE (figuratively speaking) doing?
Well, after reading your post, I know .. and it is really embarassing!

Some pumps in Calfornia are already charging $4.04 per gallon. You know that's going to spread. What a nightmare!

9:36 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I agree with ablur, that we need to build refineries. We have a moth-balled one in Alma, Michigan, about an hour north of me ( http://www.ci.alma.mi.us/ ), that I would love to see refurbished and restarted. (Most people don't realize that around Alma, Mt. Pleasant - towns in the middle of Michigan - are considerable and largely untapped oil reserves.)

6:35 PM  

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