I read an article by CNN Money.com concerning the recent lowering gas prices. Normally I don't read anything on the Communist News Network, but this was a generic article that contained some national pricing information.
I have noticed that the gas has been steadily decreasing over the last few weeks. I can remember a peak on my way to work of $4.55 a gallon for the cheap stuff. Diesel was closing in on $6 a gallon. So now everyone is jumping up and down because prices have dropped almost 40 cents- I say BFD. My truck holds 21 gallons of petrol and a few weeks ago it almost cost me $100 to fill it up. I almost crapped my pants. With the current gas prices, my out of pocket cost to fill up is "only" $86.15, a savings of about $8.00 or two grande cinnamon dolce latte's from Starbucks. Using this comparison I get an extra 2 cups of coffee a week which doesn't seem like a bad deal. the bigger picture seems to elude a lot of people- I am paying $86 for a tank of gas!
I have 2 different opinions for the cost of gasoline: one is based on my selfish (but cost effective) desire to pay the least amount of money for gas so that I have more money in my pocket to, oh, I don't know, feed my family. Gas should be no more than $2.00 a gallon- to Hell with oil company CEO's getting a $30M severance package.
"But, it is the price of crude oil that drives up the cost of gas", you say. This is true, however the oil companies have done nothing to build new refineries or anything else to curtail the high costs of crude. Then again, why would they? It is the classic principle of supply and demand (dammit, Capitalism. You got us again!) and if the supply is low, prices increase. I find it ironic that the Big Oil bubbas always seem to find a "shortage" around the time everyone is on their Spring Break, Summer break, or Christmas vacation. More refineries, or repairing the ones that are in disrepair, would help a little.
George Bush said that "Americans are addicted to oil" in his State of the Union address earlier this year. No shit, Sherlock, and behind every addict is a pusher. Oil companies and investors have enjoyed the highest profits in the history of pumping our asses for gas prices. Until there is some pressure from D.C. to put a cap on this horse shit it will never change. Although the oil companies tax the gas at 10%, it is the states and other greedy hands that tax it far more. CA has a 17% gas tax. WTF, over? Is this some hippie, tree hugging plot to get us off fossil fuels or to just line someone else s pocket?
Which leads me to my antithesis point of view: Tax the shit out of gasoline. Why? To wean us off of it. It would be a brutal transition, but if we get enough kooks like Al Gore on the team it just might be realized in our lifetime. The high taxes would be comparable to an intervention of a crack head- throw him in a room and wait for him to detox akin to watching Americans finally getting fed up with fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy sources. It is a win-win situation except for the oil companies, their lobbyists, the people in Washington making money off of fossil fuels, and the oil exporters in the Middle East who use our gas money to fund terrorists. Did I miss anyone?
Switching to alternative energies is great for the environment and cheaper in the long run. It would take a while for us to switch over but can you imagine the cost of electricity if 10,000 people in that area used solar power and fed their excess power to the grid? The costs of utility grid maintenance would go down which would mean cheaper electric bills. Gas stations replaced with battery chargers or other fuels would help the production of alternative fuel vehicles by eventually driving the prices down.
The best part is that the oil companies would be crying like a fat kid staring at his ice cream on the side walk, unless of course they hop on the bandwagon and get into the alternative fuel industry. It will come, eventually. Solar energy is already being traded on the EU stock market. Most of the countries in Europe realize the impact of solar power and put the United States to shame when it comes to taking advantage of the free energy from the Sun. Germany, for example, only receives half the amount of sunlight per year as the U.S. but they produce twice as much solar power. Brandis, Germany has a 42 mega watt solar station. Unreal.
But solar isn't very cheap to utilize mainly because the solar panels cost so much. You will pay about $10 per watt for a solar system with the inverter itself only taking up about 10% of the budget. But there are some places that are helping home owners out with that cost and even giving investors a break when they become partners in a solar energy plant. California has an incentive for solar buyers to help offset the costs of the system, but it will be coming to an end in December unless the incentive is renewed. If Washington could step in and make a national incentive that is worthwhile to owners, investors, and utility companies then more people could buy solar which would be cheaper for everyone in the long run. Yes, I am harping on solar because I work for a solar company but it all makes sense anyway.
Getting back to my truck, I will probably sell it to someone who doesn't mind the sub par gas mileage and wants to haul stuff around. Right now I get about 55 mpg with my motorcycle, something that every vehicle should be getting. In fact, Congress should pass a law stating that every vehicle should get at least 50 mpg. We have the technology to do so but it just isn't in the profit margin for those companies involved in that industry.
Whatever. In 2029, Earth will probably be annihilated by an asteroid anyway. Asteroid 2004 NM4 will come closer to earth than some of our communication satellites. If it gets within ~300 miles or so of Earth, it will collide with us 7 years later.