Much is being said (much of it not printable) concerning gasoline and diesel prices. In today’s world the cost of fueling vehicles affects the price of everything. If it costs more to get it to the marketplace, the price goes up.
One of my pet peeves is when people try to look for simple solutions to complex problems. In most cases there aren’t any. Fuel prices are just one example.
Here’s what I mean. In an effort to show us how hard they work for us our astute congressmen have hauled the top executives of the major oil companies before them 47 times to ask the execs to defend fuel prices and their “record profits.” Government has looked for a conspiracy of price fixing and has found none. Record profits? Not as a percentage of profit. The only reason the oil companies are having “record profits” is because oil is selling at record prices. And, the oil companies who have to buy oil on the world market don’t set the price they have to pay. They live about an 8% profit margin (still good) and 8% of $132/barrel is much higher than 8% of $88/barrel. There’s your record profit. See? No simple solution.
We have environmentalists screaming for hydrogen power, solar power, wind power, etc., to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I agree we need to develop any and all, but how soon can they replace what we’re using now? And, what do we do with the millions of cars and trucks currently on the road? See? No simple solution.
Some have called for suspension of gas taxes. That would offer some temporary relief, but we can’t get our roads fixed (or in the case of IL-255 and the US-67 corridor) or built without the monies generated from the gas taxes. So, we suspend the gas tax for short term relief, but prolong the long-term pain. See? No simple solution.
Industry experts say we our refining oil at maximum capacity. We haven’t built a new refinery in the United States since Jimmy Carter was president (remember the high gas price and waiting in line for the privilege to pay it). Plus, as we see right here in the River Bend, every time a refinery is willing to invest in expansion to increase capacity, our national environmental groups mobilize to stop the expansion cold. And, they do the same when anyone mentions increasing oil supply by drilling in new places like 10 miles offshore or in a small segment of the Yukon. See? No simple solution.
And – my favorite right now- presidential candidates claiming they feel our pain and will solve the gas crisis if only we elect them in November. Really? What’s their plan? What will Hillary or Barack or John do in 2009 to ease or gas prices? I mean, what will they do specifically to reduce the gas prices? The answer is nothing. It’s not within the power of the presidency to control gas prices or any other free market commodity. See? No simple solution.
So it boils down to this: we’re all suffering from the effects of high fuel prices. It’s going to take a reduction in usage, research and development of alternative energy sources, and an increase in refining capacity to deal with the problem. And, its all going to take time.
See? No simple solution.