Thursday, February 28, 2008

Presidential Candidates Need Gas.....Plan That Is

Political season is in full swing. Promises are being made. Babies are being kissed. Politicians are up on stages telling all of us how bad we've got it and how they hold the coveted secret to fixing all that ales us.

Rather than grandstanding about what our current administration has or hasn't done, I would like to hear just one presidential candidate talk about an issue that burns me every week or so....gas prices.

This is not a political BLOG and for the most part I try and stay agnostic when it comes to such things as politics and religion. However with this particular issue, I am deeply concerned with the economic impact that it will continue to have on our country. Yes my friends if we continue to feel it at the pump you can be sure it will affect how quickly our economy truly does dive headlong into the dark recesses of the recession-esq pool.

When the Iraq war began and prices shot up over $ 2.00 here in Texas people were outraged. Every other day I would get an email from some protesting friend asking me to boycott this gas company or that gas company. We could, as with most customer satisfaction issues, likely get the attention of these often greedy gas companies by deciding how and where to vote with our dollar. Some people did it but most didn't and today we quietly continue to pay the ridiculous increase while secretly cursing the companies at the pump.

I remember telling my wife at the time that once the country was groomed to pay higher prices the prices would never go down. I truly believed that once they had us over a particular price point and there was no national revolt, there would be nothing to stop them from putting forth increase after increase. Six years later there's talk of the national average for gas hovering around $ 4.00 this summer and how these gas prices are continuing to drive up everything from the groceries on the table to how much more we will pay for our jeas. Like I said, there's nothing stopping them and oddly enough, there's no one presidential candidate really talking about it.

Don't get me wrong I understand what drives the gas prices. But when our country fights so hard to protect many oil producing countries, you think we would be entitled to some good buddy discount or something. Or at minimum, quit shoving it in my face that this gas company CEO or that gas company CEO gets a multi-million dollar bonus or golden parachute when he or she retires. But alas that doesn't happen in the real world and those of us who depend on our cars for our living just have to suck it up and find the extra coin to continue driving. I wonder if McDonald's is still hiring for third shift?

It just seems to me that if these presidential candidates were really concerned with mapping out the direction the country is going to go they might just consider how many of us can afford to pay our own way to meet them there. Otherwise, I hope there's some extra room on their fancy buses to give me an my family a ride. A week with my crew might just make lowering gas prices agenda item number one for our newly minted Commander in Chief.

But like Dennis Miller always says, "Hey that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

Ripple On!!!


Artie Gold said...


Without attempting to attribute the reasons for it, much -- if not very much most -- of the recent increase in gas prices has been due to the fact that the dollar has basically been in the dumps. (The dollar has decreased in value by about 40% over the last couple of years.)

There's also the fact that the remarkably low gas prices of the mid-90's caused a shift in both driving habits and vehicle choice -- more and more people moved to low-milage off-road-type vehicles (even when the only time they went off road was to pull into the mall parking lot).

Oh -- and did I mention the rise of the exurbs?

At least in the medium term, we're likely to see some level of relief, as these things tend to be at least somewhat self-correcting. But only over time.

jag said...

Hi Steve:
Here's another perspective, for consideration: gas is not expensive enough.

I remember reading this in an opinion piece somewhere and it really stuck with me. I tend to agree with it.

There is currently little incentive to seriously look towards alternatives to non-renewable resources like oil. Thankfully, it's being talked about more, but decision-makers in both industry and governement aren't there yet. There's not enough pressure coming from the voters/customers. We haven't been inconvenienced enough yet.

The oil will run out. Not in our lifetime, but it will run out. We should be paying more for a resource that is on the decline.

All that being said, I have no clue how the price of gas is set... I just see it go up and down for no apparent reason. And the big gas companies rake in zillions of dollars.

My husband & I moved in from the suburbs because we refused to become a 2-car family. In our neighbourhood, we can walk to get pretty much everything we need. Hubby needs a car to get to work, and we settled on a small car with good mileage. He'll also work from home once or twice a week if he can. I take the bus. It's not the perfect solution, but it's a start!

Pace e bene,

p.s. Kinda refreshing to hear you rant a bit... confirms that you're "normal" like the rest of us. :-)

Steve Harper said...


Great points. Again, I would still like to see some of the candidates talking about it.

How goes it in your world? Drop me an email sometime!


Steve Harper said...


Good point on perhaps not being expensive enough. Perhaps it was we would all be forced to seek out alternative fuel-powered vehicles and not be so dependent on the oil companies. I truly believe that technology is going to amaze us in the coming years and that our dependency on foreign oil will sharply diminish. Hey a boy can dream right?

Thanks as always for commenting.

Ripple On My Friend!


Anonymous said...

Steve, my dear friend, I'm sure you knew I wouldn't be able to resist commenting on this one. First, can you name one oil company CEO who is a "she?" You're just being silly. Or I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you are being "optimistic." =)

Secondly, why hasn't this administration asked anyone to make sacrifices like military members and their friends and family are? Because that's bad for support of the war. We're there fighting over oil. If this country were less dependent on it, there would be less incentive for us to be there. So maybe people who drive huge trucks and SUVs could consider different vehicles, or at the very least, driving less. Just a thought or two from the "left" of the Ripple community! =)


Tom Magness said...


What is missing here, in a word, is -- leadership!

We need leaders with the vision to break through the NIMBY-ites (Not In My Back Yard) who are preventing any meaningful pursuit of relief. We can't drill more oil in any of the major reserves such as Alaska or off the coasts. We can't pursue nuclear energy because we can't figure how to store it in Nevada. We can't put wind turbines off the coast in New England. We are unable to hold meaningful discussions about energy policy. NIMBY. Oh...and don't forget that a big chunk of the price we pay at the taxes!

We need the sorts of technologies you envision as helping solve this problem. We need that local opinions are balanced against national priorities....policies that are based on science, not emotion.

And we need leadership, my friend. Bold, visionary, courageous, experienced leadership!

There are solutions! Until then...I take the bus to work! Hooah!