Gas prices are over $3.00 a gallon in the US. But of course everyone in the blogosphere (or anyone with a car) already knows that. (Although before I get into some discussion here, I would like to point out that the gas station near my house up here in Vancouver, BC is at $4.09USD per gallon [that is after converting from litres and from the, fairly strong, Canadian dollar], yes, that’s right, over $4.00!) There are two things I would like to discuss here. First is an article from washingtonpost.com called Going a Short Way to Make a Point. Second is an interesting suggestion for lowering gas prices.
Hypercubed linked to a washingtonpost.com article that discusses some of the hypocrisy happening in Washington (DC that is) in both parties.
“Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled!” charged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), standing at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill where regular unleaded hit $3.10. “They are too cozy with the oil industry.”
She then hopped in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg) — even though her Senate office was only a block away.
My impression is that gas prices have very little to do with how “cozy” the government is with oil companies and more to do with the large oil companies greed. Yes, they could be taxed more, that could help, but the fact that the oil companies want more money and the fact that people in the US love their cars equate to high gas prices.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) used a Hyundai Elantra to take the one-block journey to and from the gas-station news conference. He posed in front of the fuel prices and gave them a thumbs-down. “Get tough on big oil!” he demanded of the Bush administration.
Yeah, thanks. How are we supposed to take our law-makers seriously when they are all talk (not only that, but the talk seems to be of the ad hominem “Bush’s fault” sort)? Here are just a few of the cars driven by our representatives:
Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) hopped in a GMC Yukon (14 mpg). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) climbed aboard a Nissan Pathfinder (15). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stepped into an eight-cylinder Ford Explorer (14). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) disappeared into a Lincoln Town Car (17). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) met up with an idling Chrysler minivan (18).
Such fuel efficient cars they have! And one of the most blatant hypocrytical statements comes from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) who has a Ford Explorer XLT and complained that Bush:
remains opposed to higher fuel-efficiency standards.
Ok… so, even if that is true, how are we to believe that he isn’t opposed to higher fuel-efficiency standards?
I personally think the hypocrisy extends much farther than our politicans. In this case it seems that our representatives actually represent much of the sentiment and lifestyle of many Americans. We love to complain about gas prices and yet still continue to drive giant vehicles that are horrible gas guzzlers. I have been driving a lot lately so I really shouldn’t be complaining because it is my choice to do that driving (although, thankfully my car gets over 30mpg) – but of course I am being hypocrytical here because I do still complain, believe me, I know I am no better than anyone else I am talking about here.
My point is this: in order for things to change two things need to happen: 1) we need to be able to beleive that our law-makers are serious about making change and actually walking the walk and 2) US citizens need to stop complaining, stop blaming the scapegoat, and actually do something to initiate change. This leads to my second discussion point. I hope you are still reading.
Sally forwarded an email offering a suggestion to help lower gas prices. It looked fairly interesting. I have no idea if it can actually work, but it is something anyway. It is important to understand that the one day “don’t buy gas on a certain day” does not work at all. It is like putting a band-aid on … I don’t know… something really bloody… and large… We need to look at the systemic issue and not just the surface. Possible solutions are to simply drive less, use more fuel efficient vehicles, or just don’t drive at all. If enough people do that, things would have to change. The other means of attack would be aimed at the oil companies. Of course, anything effective could not be anything like the one day protest. Apparently the email/idea was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola executive and came from one of his engineer buddies who retired from Halliburton (this, of course, cannot be confirmed). Snopes reports that this does not work, but I think it is worth a try.
Here is the idea (from the email):
For the rest of this year, DON’T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.
Simple, eh? Note: in Canada, don’t use Esso gas as that is an Exxon company.
Now what? Well this doesn’t really work if just a few people do it. Pass this around. Copy what I said, trackback, whatever, just do it. If you want the email that is being passed around, I will send it to you. Snopes suggests that the only way to lower prices is to reduce how much we buy. I think this is completely valid: buy better vehicles, buy less gas – this is always good advice. That being said, when we do buy gas, buying it from non-Exxon companies seems to make sense. What do you folks think about this?
Gasbuddy: current gas prices all around the country.
Washingtonpost.com – Going a Short Way to Make a Point
Wikipedia – ExxonMobil: info on the company (largest publicly traded company in the world, 6th largest overall (in 2000))
Snopes – Urban Legends Reference Pages – Gas Out