Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gas Price Blues

As gas has topped $4 per gallon around the country, it seems that we have reached a tipping point - a point where the price is really starting to be be meaningful to normal people. The Times has an article about how the effect is being felt disproportionately by rural working class people.

The article talks a lot about how the high price of gas has caused lots of pain for people who are in the situation of being far from work and driving older larger vehicles. The article implies that the best thing for those folks would be if gas were to drop in price.

I couldn't disagree more. The best thing for all of us, including the rural folks mentioned in the article is for them to have both the incentive and the means to use less gas. It's not that they are paying too much for gas, but rather that they are paying too much to get to work, to church and to do all of the things that they want and need to do.

Some will decide to work longer hours over fewer days. Some may move. Some will decide to car pool. Some will decide to ride bicycles, motorcycles or even to work from home. Some will use their resourcefulness to come up with ideas that I haven't thought of. Some of those folks will find ways to make this economic change become a money maker. That's the American way. And it's good.

The problem for those with few resources is that they don't have the ready means to make the necessary changes. So, let's fix that. Send out more stimulus checks. Change the way social security taxes are collected so that working people keep more of their income. Do anything EXCEPT artificially reduce the price of gas at the pump.

We are at an inflection point in our economy. We understand that we are addicted to oil and we need to fix it. Making oil (gasoline) cheaper will not fix the problem. It will prolong the addiction and make the recovery harder.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your sentiment that Americans need to adapt to better ways of living-to conserve on gas usage and make better decisions on daily work/life balances in the midst of this 'gas crisis'. Yet, I believe that something or some group must regulate the speculators/investors-in regards to affecting the price of oil. I can change my work/life habits to temporarily accommodate the gas price increases, but for how long? Just like the creation of Social Security,the Sarbane Oxley Act, and many other regulatory laws, our government has the power to step in (exact some common sense)to regulate the oil giants and keep them from destroying their most valuable resource-the American People!