At the risk of sounding unpatriotic or worse, I have to say that my reaction to escalating gas prices is: good! We have been underpaying for our energy for decades. The result is that, like all things that are free, or at least cheap, we are profligate spenders thereof. Now that the price of gas has begun to get our attention we may, just may, begin to think about ways to reduce our pain.

Such as by teleworking more, planning car trips more carefully, dumping the gas guzzler for a vehicle that is more fuel efficient, encouraging R&D on alternative fuels and propulsion systems.

But is that what’s happening? Not in Congress. Most of the activity by both parties seems to be directed toward bringing gas prices down again. Excess profits taxes. Stopping deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Tracking down and punishing alleged price gougers. Apparently anything but face the central issues:

  • we’re near the peak of global oil production;
  • demand for oil is rising, particularly in China, India, and the rest of the developing countries;
  • Economics 101 is still valid: as supply decreases and demand rises so, too, does the price increase.

Get used to it. Better still, don’t get used to it, do something about it by cutting your own demand for non-renewable energy.

Jack Nilles

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