Sunday, May 18, 2008

A conversation with my evil Republican side

It’s all the Democrats fault. They messed up everything when they took over Congress in 2006, which is exactly when the price of oil started going up. They put these provisions in the last energy bill, which prohibited the import of Canadian oil made from the oil sands, and prevented western states from developing oil shale. That caused the price of oil to go up. It shot up even higher when Reid and Pelosi issued statements saying they still weren’t to let Canadian oil made from oil sands to come into the US. We need to import that oil and drill in the Arctic and off the coasts of Canada and Texas. Then the price of gas will come down, and we will be able to get back to the things we like to do.

Well, if the Democrats we doing something, why didn’t Bush say anything, why didn’t he veto the energy bill? Also, I doubt the increased drilling in Alaska and off the coasts would bring in that much crude, and anyway, currently refineries are operating at only 80%, apparently the keep the price of gas higher. Also, aren’t we robbing our children’s future if we drill for very drop of oil and use it all up? How long can these new sources of oil last, and even if we could flood the market with crude, wouldn’t that just keep people from developing new sources of energy and fuel, because the gas would be so cheap?

The Democrats probably buried the restrictions deep in the energy bill. As for how long the new sources of oil can last, I’m sure it’ll be twenty or thirty years, long enough for those hippie eggheads at Berkeley to finally get off their butts and develop something useful, besides the electric golf cart Ed Begley Jr tools around in. That’s when our kids will need the jet packs to replace our SUV’s. Once the Arab countries know we are developing hydrogen powered jet packs, they will fall all over themselves to drop the price of crude.


I just came back from a three day trip, driving down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for a birthday party for two cousins and my dad. The drive was grueling, ten hours each way, made longer because I tried to drive 60 the whole way, instead of 65 or 70 (or 80 or 90). I had borrowed my mom’s car (I was kind of pressured to take it) because my mechanic has more or less pronounced my car to be on its last legs. Something about how the pistons get the air to mix with the gas fails once the car warms up. So I need to get a car, and I can do that, but I am in the in between stage right now (and didn’t want to drive a limping car ten hours down).

So I drove 60, partially to save gas for my own benefit, but also to make a statement. I have heard both 55 and 60 as the optimal fuel economy for cars, probably because fuel economy is tested in a couple of different ways (sometimes in a lab, sometimes in real world tests). Around here, when I drive 60 on Route 28, I pass as many cars as pass me. But on the interstates, I passed few cars, and many passed me. I don’t know if other cars were driving 60 (I wouldn’t, since I wouldn’t pass them if we were both driving the same speed), but I suspect I was something of an oddity on the road. That’s what inspired me to write the above fictional exchange.

I think the people advocating drilling much more are being incredibly selfish, willing to throw away their grandchildren’s future so they can be more comfortable in the present. Of course, I suspect they would think I was being selfish. I would advocate taxing gas to double the price. I think that would encourage conservation and the use of bicycles and public transportation. I’m sure people would say I was trying to tax the rich (true) and that I don’t care about poor people and I would be bankrupting governments. Actually, I would advocate not taxing gas sold to transit companies and city governments for the use of cops and fire trucks and the like. I think a tax credit could be given to rural volunteer fire fighters and EMS. And I think the Earned Income Credit could be increased for the working poor (maybe out of the gas tax funds) and state employment agencies could give cash to poor people actively looking for work.

I was thinking about all this as I watched cars in West Virginia drive at maybe 80 or 85. There were SUV’s and Prius’ right behind them; ten, fifteen or more miles over the speed limit. The ironic thing is that because of taxes, the gas is West Virginia is twenty cents more per gallon than in Pennsylvania, even though it seems to me that we drive a bit slower on average around here than they do there. The people who want to drill, who want to vote the Democrats out of Congress, could also chose to just slow down. It doesn’t even matter what kind of car (or SUV or pickup) they have, as long as they slow down, they will save gas. Sure, when these people went to buy or lease, they could have chosen a smaller car. But that is water under the bridge. But the eight dollar a gallon gas (with the new gas tax I favor) would like influence their next car purchase.

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