Monday, April 04, 2005

As Pump Prices Skyrocket...

Why in the hell is the Bush administration still buying oil and dumping it into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?? Former Energy Secretary (and current New Mexico governor) Bill Richardson and Senator Jeff Bingaman feel (correctly) that not a single drop of oil should be going into the SPR at today's ridiculous prices. The SPR current contains nearly half a billion barrels. It's time to start drawing down on the SPR to force OPEC's hand rather than taking oil off of the market by filling it.

While the entire topic of peak oil is complex discussion, all anyone really needs to know is that Liz at Blondesense reports that gas prices spiked on Long Island 20 cents this weekend, and that in New Jersey (cheapest gas in the nation), prices are now over an average of $2 / gallon. Another 25 cents or so is forecast in the very near future. Analysts are already talking about three dollar gasoline.

Gentle readers, this situation simply has got to impact the economy. While George Bush was flying back from Crawford in the middle of the night to sign the Corpse Reanimation and Tent Revival Healing Act of 2005, we're perched on the edge of an economic precipice. I wonder if he would be motivated enough to offer a fix to this immediate problem when the lifeblood of the entire economy (and fiscal health of the country) is in jeopardy. I want to see him sign an executive order allowing drawdown on SPR - and I want to see him sign it at 3AM in his jammies.

Oh, and lest you feel that neat little Prius is the answer to your commuting gasoline consumption woes? Thing again. There's some serious work afoot to totally retool the way Americans are taxed for traveling. You gotta read this. Big Brother is truly on the move:

...For decades, state and federal gas tax revenue has fueled the nation's transportation infrastructure, paying to build and maintain highways, bridges and intersections. It has been a logical arrangement - everyone who uses the roads uses gas (or diesel). The more you drive, the more gas you use and the more tax you pay.

...Whitty and others propose taxing you on how far you drive, not how much gas you use. There are other approaches being considered to supplement the gas tax in years to come, but the so-called mileage tax is gaining attention as the replacement that many say will eventually be needed.

Whitty believes that most cars eventually could be outfitted with a global positioning device and computer to determine miles traveled in a given state - information that would be used to determine the tax bill.

While there are concerns about the technology and questions about its implementation, the concept has advanced enough that it will be tested in Oregon later this year by about 250 drivers...