George Will on Gasoline Prices
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    George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Posturing at the Pumps
    by George Will
    Thursday, May 17, 2007; Page A17


    Democrats, seething at the injustice of gasoline prices, have sprung to the aid of embattled motorists. So resolute are Democrats about defending the downtrodden, they are undeterred by the fact that motorists, not acting like people trodden upon, are driving more than ever. Gasoline consumption has increased 2.14 percent during the past year. . . .

    washingtonpost.com - nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Better link:

    washingtonpost.com



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    the really funny thing is if democrats decide to "fix" the price of gasoline, the oil companies may just stop selling at the pump. then we'd all be SOL b/c we wouldn't be going anywhere...


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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Yeah, the oil companies are just picking and choosing when they want to rape our wallets. It's quite sad, really.



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by jdoggivjc View Post
    the really funny thing is if democrats decide to "fix" the price of gasoline, the oil companies may just stop selling at the pump. then we'd all be SOL b/c we wouldn't be going anywhere...
    Give me a break. The only reason prices are so high is that the refineries (owned by the oil companies?) are unwilling or unable to expand. My guess is unwilling. Why build more refineries when you can just use it as a bottleneck and raise prices.



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    The best way is if we nationalize Vernzuela and Chavez with his 1.2-1.8 trillion barrels of tar sands which could last one hundred years. That might put the oil companies on notice (really Nigeria. Iran, Iraq, refineries such as Conoco, Phillip[s, Anadarkop, etc). Just cut out the middleman. We will pay $2 fixed price per US gallon. Fair deal.


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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by clone52 View Post
    Give me a break. The only reason prices are so high is that the refineries (owned by the oil companies?) are unwilling or unable to expand. My guess is unwilling. Why build more refineries when you can just use it as a bottleneck and raise prices.
    You cannot build new refineries in the US anymore, too many gov restrictions, we should just move all refining to mexico so we don't have to deal the the bass ackwards US government.

    If dems really want to do anything to help (they don't), they should allow the oil companies to drill in alaska, I mean my god, it is a frozen desert up there.


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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    You cannot build new refineries in the US anymore, too many gov restrictions, we should just move all refining to mexico so we don't have to deal the the bass ackwards US government.

    If dems really want to do anything to help (they don't), they should allow the oil companies to drill in alaska, I mean my god, it is a frozen desert up there.

    I'll give you the restrictions, very tough to pull through.

    However, as far as you second point goes, these guys have been trying to get into Alaska for decades. I think that it is pretty safe to say that this is yet another attempt to do that. Cut off the supply, watch prices rise, and then push the Alaska and off-shore drilling. I just don't think that there is a lot of sympathy out there for these "people."

    Plus everyone knows that with Memorial Day coming up, gas was going to spike. It will be interesting to see what happens after the holiday. I think that the biggest losers in this whole deal are going to end up being the summer vacation destinations. Now that is good for a place like Adventureland (zzzzzzzzzzzzzz), because the two week trips become two day trips, but a lot of tourist cities are going to be hurting when they don't get their normal expected summer windfall.

    In the end people really do vote by their wallets, all of the mudslinging used by W to confuse the issues, and get him elected twice may not be enough to save the next lamb stepping to alter. I will have a hard time voting for any of the puppets that are out there now on either side (I do like John Edwards though, and I am having a hard time reconciling that fact), but I would say that it will be very hard for a Republican to win in '08.


    Jeffrey A Crawford

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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by darts180 View Post
    I'll give you the restrictions, very tough to pull through.

    However, as far as you second point goes, these guys have been trying to get into Alaska for decades. I think that it is pretty safe to say that this is yet another attempt to do that. Cut off the supply, watch prices rise, and then push the Alaska and off-shore drilling. I just don't think that there is a lot of sympathy out there for these "people."
    Out of one side of the governments mouth they are complaining about high energy prices, and out of the other side they are saying no new drilling or exploration. We cannot have it both ways, if we at least try to explore those routes and energy prices stay this high, that is fine, but I don't want to hear anyone complain about high prices and also how we should not drill alaska or offshore. It is kind of two faced, but I don't expect much more out of the used car salesmen we call politicians.


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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    Out of one side of the governments mouth they are complaining about high energy prices, and out of the other side they are saying no new drilling or exploration. We cannot have it both ways, if we at least try to explore those routes and energy prices stay this high, that is fine, but I don't want to hear anyone complain about high prices and also how we should not drill alaska or offshore. It is kind of two faced, but I don't expect much more out of the used car salesmen we call politicians.
    Having the insight, and ideas to solve many of these problems will never get anyone elected. There is too much money in the industries that would be affected to ever let anyone make a real difference.

    What is happening is that people are accepting the fact that they can't do anything about the oil companies, and still living pretty much a normal life.

    The problem will come in when the prices, and quality, of goods raises to offset the increased costs of transporting it to your local Hy Vee (or wherever you shop). When that head of lettuce costs $3.00 instead of $1.19, that is when the pinch is going to be felt. Then you raise the minimum wage, and diminish what buying power the people making 10.00/hr have, and everything grinds to a halt. I think that is when the people will stop driving. They can still make it work now, I can still drive from Waterloo to San Antonio for less than what it would cost to fly. But six months from now, I am not sure about.

    In the end, I really believe that oil companies are going to be responsible for what they have fought so hard against all of these years. I think that they are going to make people much more conscious of their fuel consumption, and end up having them turn into conservationists out of necessity. Alternative fuels, and public transportation are going to be the winners in this grab for every available penny that is going on at this time in the oil industry.


    Jeffrey A Crawford

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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    There's no question that Americans are fighting mad over the recent
    escalation in the price of gasoline.

    No where does that hit closer to home than here in Alaska where our
    legislature wrangles with the serious matter of enacting legislation
    that will determine the oil production tax for the producers and the
    construction of the single largest construction effort in the history
    of North America: the fabled natural gas pipeline.

    Now before you accuse me of being a industry hack, I assure you that
    is not the case. The idea that the oil industry is responsible for
    the increase in the price of gasoline is not in alignment with
    reality. Unfortunately that doesn't cause many people from opposing
    the oil industry, even to their own detriment.

    Study after study has failed to produce any proof of this alleged
    conspiracy so deeply ingrained in some people's minds - that big oil
    is out to get us.

    The high level of trading seen with oil clearly makes it impossible,
    for the oil industry to inflate the market because the commodity of
    oil is so liquid meaning a buyer will have no problem finding a seller
    and vice versa.

    People say they don't want big oil to make big bucks but big bucks are
    demanded to explore for more oil or to develop alternative energy
    sources. We should not be duplicitous. When compared to most other
    industries, oils profits are right in line. I hear from people that
    they applaud capitalism, but only to a point. Then they want
    government to step in. This is both dangerous and foolish.

    After all, financial giant Citigroup reported a first-quarter profit
    of $5.6 billion. Where is the outcry? GE posted a $4.3 billion
    profit in the same quarter. Where is the outrage? There is none, nor
    should there be. Good business practices produce good profits,
    anything less would be dereliction.

    In the meantime, those wanting to look for some of the culprits
    helping drive up the demand and price of gasoline may want to start
    looking in the mirror of their gas-guzzling SUVs as they pull up to
    the pump. I'll be pedaling my bicycling to get home this evening.



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Of all the long-term challenges facing this country, I consider the most difficult and important challenge to be our dependence on a variety of unstable oil-exporting nations. It impacts our global competitiveness, our environmental policy, and our foreign policy.

    Politicians are contributing to the problem when they complain that the price of energy is too high and that oil companies are making "windfall profits." This is despite the fact that history shows us that the price mechanism is not the problem. Though there have been downsides, particularly in the short run, it beats the alternatives. And in the long run the price mechanism is a major part of the solution to our energy problem.

    History demonstrates that the most rapid gains in energy efficiency and the environment have taken place when prices were very high. The recent run-up in oil prices has encouraged a search for new break throughs.

    Capital flows into new technologies and domestic production would be stronger if investors had more certainty about their potential returns. Memories still persist of the collapse of oil prices in 1998 to just $10 per barrel. Domestic oil producers, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs don't know whether the price of oil in the next decade will justify investing in new technologies and production techniques.

    Ironically, the best way to cap the upside for oil prices is to encourage new energy production technologies by limiting the potential downside in prices. If we could somehow guarantee that the price of oil would never be low again, more technologies would be developed over time so that the price would fall from today's levels. In fact, this is probably OPEC's worst fear and is the reason that it becomes cooperative effort to lower prices when they rise to quickly.

    The U.S. government could institute a floor price by taxing oil imports dollar for dollar when the world oil price falls below some threshold like $35 a barrel.

    The tax would be neutral on how we move towards energy independence - every option would have an equal chance to succeed. Politically, the tax would be spread more evenly than the gas tax, since petro products like home heating oil would be impacted.

    Politicians might say that this is another windfall for the oil companies. But domestic producers import a large share of their production and these imports would be subject to the tax. Moreover the policy would increase the number of competitors the oil companies face. Others would argue that this is government interference with the market. True, but oil consumption comes with many externalities, from pollution to military expenditures needed to protect supplies. Incorporating the externalities into the pricing can increase the efficiency of the market. Others would say that this is another tax increase. However, Congress could attempt to minimize the impact of the tax by reducing other federal taxes.

    Other countries might consider this an illegal tariff. But they would benefit substantially from lower U.S. oil consumption when world oil prices fall and from lower global pollution. At a minimum, there is strategic value in making the proposal to show that we are serious about reducing our oil consumption. Of course, some of our allies are foreign oil producers and they would not be happy. But all things considered Americans would be much better off if we could be freed from our dependence on unstable sources of oil.

    --



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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by brianhos View Post
    You cannot build new refineries in the US anymore, too many gov restrictions
    That is absolutely false. There are several new refineries being built right now. This has all been hashed to death in the other two "Gas price" threads. Oil companies owe it to their shareholders to maximize profit. Profits are being maximized now with the refinery output levels similar to what they are now. Read the oil industry article that was quoted in one of the other threads.

    If gas prices get too low, oil company profits go down. If gas prices get to high, people might actually cut back on consumption and oil company profits will go down. That's the way capitalism works. I think $3-$4/gal gas is pretty close to the "sweet spot" for oil company profits, and refineries are being built to meet new demand such that the price will stay around the present levels.

    Every industrialized country has to implement environmental regulations at some point. Just ask China. Governments and companies eventually realize that when people are sick with ailments that result from pollution, their productivity goes down and other social ills appear (like paying to take care of all the sick people). Low productivty is bad for the economy, and bad for profits. Unfortunately, not all companies realize this, so environmental regulations go into effect to police the idiots, and keep the smarter ones on the right path.

    Don't feel sorry for the oil companies because of environmental regulations. But don't hate them either for their record profits...they are are just fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.

    I hate rehashing this stuff 20 times over, but some statements just rub me wrong, I guess...


    Last edited by jbhtexas; 05-19-2007 at 02:10 PM.
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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by Clone83 View Post
    Posturing at the Pumps
    by George Will
    Thursday, May 17, 2007; Page A17


    Democrats, seething at the injustice of gasoline prices, have sprung to the aid of embattled motorists. So resolute are Democrats about defending the downtrodden, they are undeterred by the fact that motorists, not acting like people trodden upon, are driving more than ever. Gasoline consumption has increased 2.14 percent during the past year. . . .
    I guess GW is trying to implying that each American is using more fuel. But, is that 2.14% increase due to individuals consuming more, or more indiviuals consuming (i.e. immigrants, illegals adding to the number of drivers)?


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    Re: George Will on Gasoline Prices

    One of the oil companies bought a refinery about a year ago in California.....and promptly shut it down. Which brings us to the question......WHY would you BUY a refinery and then promptly close it down? Obviously you weren't purchasing it to operate it.

    Oil companies will do what they need to do to maximize profits. That is pure capitalism. Best way to combat the oil companies is to not drive gas guzzlers.



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