Thursday, September 01, 2005


I was at three-quarters of a tank the other day, and filled up anyway because gas was selling for $2.55 a gallon and I didn't know when I would see it that low again.

I've seen it ranging from $2.61 to $3.19, all on the same day, at stations no more than five miles from another. It's bad, and it's getting worse. Between Bush's war in Iraq, the disruption in supply lines caused by the hurricane, and the world getting close to peak output just as China and India are coming online to consume gas in record quantities, the piper's fee is coming due. We're well past the point that we should be using alternative fuels for cars, but no one wanted to hear that for years. It may be my imagination, but I think I've been seeing fewer cars on the road the last few days.

I'm planning to take my bike to get places by myself that I would have taken the car for other days, and I'm trying to convince Natasha that we can walk to church instead of driving. (We already dropped the church that was 20 minutes away, but we were going to do that anyway.)

Honestly, I've no idea how this is going to pan out for us as far as travel goes. Natasha walks to work, which helps tremendously. We use natural gas for heat in the winter, which I'm extremely grateful for.

I've read of some gas stations that are selling gas at a loss just to stay competitive with the other stations -- the price depends on when you got your last shipment, see -- only to still be accused of price gouging.

It's a wake-up call to responsibility. Gas-electric hybrids, biodiesel, hydrogen-powered and natural gas engines are long past due not just to be available but to be in widespread use. But for years we've been deluding ourselves that oil is the second most abundant liquid in the world, and shortages are all manufactured by OPEC in order to enrich the Arab world. Yeah, there's undoubtedly some manufactured element to shortages, but it should have been obvious years ago that our levels of consumption were past ridiculous.

I'm wondering if Bush is going to enact rationing like Carter did, or if he's going to stand by his policy of letting the market deal with it. (Gas prices are supposed to correct themselves somewhat and drop back down 50 cents in another month or so, to the mid-$2 range, once the supply routes get straightened out, supposedly, but we're talking major disruption of the transportation setup in the meantime, with prices for EVERYTHING going through the roof. I see massive cutbacks in retail spending, leading to job layoffs and a shrinking economy. If this goes on long enough, we're looking at a recession or another depression, with more mortgage foreclosures. And it's not like people have oodles of savings they can tap. ...)

Not all of this is Bush's fault, but he's lucky he's not running for re-election this year. Even Doug Forrester could beat him in a run-off.

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