Category Archives: gasoline

What to do about gas prices?


Americans United for Change has launched a campaign to Free Our Oil! While an interesting response to the Republican focus on lying to support drilling, I challenged this campaign, stating that this effort supports a quite dangerous framing of the problems and solutions.

If we make this just about gas prices, we are caught into a very dangerous framing. “Lowering” gas prices gets people thinking back to cheaper energy unit costs days. We need people, the nation thinking about enery as a system, as a “cost to own” rather than “cost to buy”. We (the nation) should foster upfront investment (help it) that will lower total “cost to own” by reducing wasteful use of polluting energy. While difficult in a robocall, every single message (I would argue) should avoid getting captured in messaging that fosters thinking that we can go back to days of cheaper gasoline. Over the long term (and likely short term), it isn’t going to happen.

In response, I was asked the following question:

Say, for example, you were on TV today as a representative of the Democratic Party. The interviewer asks, “A, what is the Democratic Party doing in Congress to help lower oil/gas costs for Americans who are hurting?” What’s your answer?

The GOP has an answer – gas tax holiday and drilling offshore. You and I know that these are two options that won’t do anything significant in the short-term, and we they do nothing to change the culture of oil that we live in. However, they are ideas and Americans want to hear ideas, be them good or bad.

What can the Dems do right now to bring down costs, without sacrificing their long-term message of changing the way we think about oil. OR, given our foreign policy and the world as it is today. is $4/5/6/gallon just the new reality and we need to suck it up?

For my off-the-top of the head (basically unedited) response, follow me after the fold.
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Updated: What Fraction Of America’s $4+/Gallon Gasoline Is Due To The War In Iraq?

383359478_3dd94a0fdf_m.jpgJust how much of the pump price of gasoline is attributable to the war in Iraq? A dollar? Three dollars? None. That conversation recently swirled around me and, one one point, someone commented that well over half (or more than $2) of America’s $4.10 gallon of gas is due to the war. Another person asked “Is that right?” And, after pulling out some hair from my head, my response was both short and then long.

The short:

Two dollars a gallon is, perhaps, as good a swag as anyone’s. … I think.

And, the long after the fold.


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CtB vs CtO and greening taxi fleets

A brief discussion about the economic imperatives for greening the nation’s taxi fleets. But, first, acronym definition:

  • CtB:  Cost to Buy: acquisition price, how much to purchase something
  • CtO: Cost to Own: total ownership costs, from purchase through operating to disposal

Quite simply, moving our collective mindset from CtB to CtO is a societal imperative.

But, to question of greening taxi fleets:  When it comes to these issues, while the CtB is slightly higher, the CtO figures are overwhelming for moving taxi fleets (rapidly) toward hybrids or other high-fuel efficiency vehicles.  This is something that should be happening nearly everywhere in the country. Now!!!!

Yet, obstacles exist …

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Follow the money …

Recall Deep Throat (All the President’s Men), that basic piece of advice: “Follow the Money.” As we listen to the George W. Bush’s, John McCain’s, the Republican Party’s, and the RWSM’s response to what George W. Bush described as America’s “addiction to oil”, remember those words.

In face of addiction, is the Republican Party fighting to get us (the US) to a treatment center? Struggling to help us (the US) get off the addiction? Preparing us (the US) for going cold turkey? No, they are struggling for ways to feed the addiction and keep us hooked. Hooked, that is, as the problem worsens even more such that the inevitable crash truly will be a crash and burn of our nation.

John McCain went to Houston Oilers’ territory for his first major energy speech. Totally apropos, because the best he could come up with was to argue for putting drills everywhere one can imagine. Never mind that those wells would have, at best, a marginal impact (perhaps less than 5 cents per gallon) on gasoline prices years (if not decades) into the future (opening ANWR would have less than a 2 cents/gallon impact in 2025). Never mind that the resources are, generously speaking, limited. Never mind that there are efficiency measures that could lead to the equivalent of shaving 50 cents or more gallon. Efficiency measures that all of us (all of the US) could put into action immediately. Never mind because helping us (the US) really doesn’t seem to be behind this mindless, truthiness laden, and often simply false rhetoric.

No, why not follow the money?

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Representatives rejecting Clinton Challenge

Joining Mark Udall, some 28 members of the House of Representatives responded to Hillary Clinton’s challenge on a gas tax holiday … and rejected her Energy Dumb concept for a gas tax holiday.

While it is important that these 28 have spoken up, some of their words and the implications of their statement are concerning.
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