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September 05, 2005

The Rising Price of Gas: Having Our Cake and Eating It Too

As we all know, gas prices have literally jumped within the past week due to Katrina. In my town, the cheapest price for regular unleaded is currently at $3.29, up about 30 cents from last week.

A few days ago, I was forwarded a petition to President Bush to lower gas and diesel prices in the U.S. I won't sign it, and here are the reasons I passed on to the person who sent it to me:

-As they industrialize, China and India are using more gasoline, therefore putting more of a strain on the existing supply--the old supply and demand thing. OPEC isn't going to look a
gift horse in the mouth!

-More recently, the damage to oil rigs and refineries after the hurricane means reduced immediate supply in the U.S., again affecting supply and demand. I believe there is some gouging going on, but it's not pandemic. The more "reasonable" increases were inevitable in the aftermat of Katrina.

-We could be drilling up in ANWR country, but as you know, certain folks won't have any of it. Because we continue to depend so much on Middle Eastern oil while ignoring our own supplies, how can we complain about the prices? (Let's leave the "alternate fuel supply" argument aside for now.)

-Finally, many people continue to insist on driving gas-hogging SUVs, trucks and minivans. And I haven't seen much of a drop in the traffic in my area this past week. Yeah they're nice cars, but they are really hard on the wallet. It's a free country, drive what you want--but don't complain to me when you can't afford to fill up. As it is, my little Geo Prizm (10 years old and over 113,00 miles on it) is now costing me over $30 to fill, up about $10 from last week!

Frankly, all of the petitions in the world aren't going to stop gas prices from rising. I'm not an economist, and don't pretend to have all of the answers. If you want an expert opinion, I suggest you read this and this by economist Thomas Sowell.

In the meantime, I do have a few suggestions. Cut down on your drive time if at all possible by combining errands, carpooling with friends for your kids' activities, etc. How about purchasing a car that gets better gas milage? How much offroading do you do with your SUV anyway? Walk or ride your bike as much as you can--the exercise will do you good too. If you can't or don't want to do any of these things, then I suggest you make your budget cuts elsewhere and suck it up.

I don't usually like to compare us with Europe, but they've been dealing for high gas prices for a lot longer than we have, and they still seem to enjoy life. For once, we might consider following their example.

*Cross-posted on Lifelike Pundits*

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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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