Friday, August 19, 2005

High gas prices

It cost me nearly $50 to fill up my truck (Ford F-150) this morning on the way to work. I paid $2.43 a gallon at the cheapest place I know to find gas (Sam’s Club with my 5 cent per gallon discount).
This is beyond ridiculous. It is outrageous!

And as if things weren’t bad enough already, it looks like they are only going to get worse.

Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel on Friday, bouncing back from a dip this week as markets reacted to a fire at a massive refining complex in Venezuela and developments in Ecuador, where protesters had forced a halt to production.

One analyst quoted in the story says she expects the price of oil - currently at $64 per barrel - to reach $70 a barrel very soon.

So why are gas prices so high? The experts say it’s because global demand is so high. But shouldn’t we have seen this coming a long time ago and taken steps to deal with it before now? What about the new energy bill?

Bush officials are whining that it is not their fault. They say that no one can turn around gas prices instantly, and that Bush fought for years to enact his new energy bill that will take years to produce results.

''This is a problem that took decades to develop; it's not going to be solved overnight,'' Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said.

But Fadel Gheit, an energy analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, says our current government policy is not focused on encouraging consumer behavior that reduces the nation's dependence on petroleum, especially imported oil. He notes that the energy bill signed into law by President Bush doesn't do enough to define the nation's energy strategy.

"The only effective strategy is based on encouraging conservation because that's the only thing you can control," said Gheit. "You need incentives to encourage conservation."

This is not new. Average gasoline prices are nearly 40 percent higher today than when Bush was sworn into his second term seven months ago and they are 75 percent higher than when he first took office in January 2001. And now all we have in response is an energy bill that gives huge tax breaks to oil companies that already are enjoying record profits.
But what do you expect when you elevate a pair of oil men to the White House. Bush and Cheney are popping champagne bottles as gas prices rise ever higher knowing that their bank accounts just keep getting fatter and fatter as a result.

But at least we are making sure that the good people of Iraq have cheap gas prices:

What do you mean high oil prices? Gasoline in Iraq costs 5 cents a gallon

Drivers in Iraq pay as little as 5 cents a gallon for gasoline, according to the International Monetary Fund's first assessment of the Iraqi economy in 25 years.
Thanks to generous government subsidies on petroleum products - which the IMF criticized as a threat to the country's fragile economy - Iraq has some of the cheapest gas in the world.

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