April 24, 2006

Gas gripes

Tia Nelson
Didn't expect to find myself agreeing with Tia Nelson, daughter of Earth Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, when she said gas prices are not too high, that we've still got the cheapest gas in the world. I wouldn't expect us to agree on much else though.

The Chris Wallace show on Fox discussed gas prices last night. Juan Williams, the panel's black liberal Democrat perpetually on loan from NPR, was outraged that we're sitting on huge oil reserves and that the prices are being driven up by speculation, causing undue hardship on way too many people. Juan annoys me to no end but he seems like an honorable person, and he always manages to come up with an argument I hadn't considered before.

I'm going to take him at his word on the huge oil reserves. As for his objection to investors speculating on oil futures and driving up prices, it's about what you would expect to hear from a Democrat these days. Of course people are trying to make money on oil, Juan. That's what gets it out of the ground and into your gas tank. For every Lee Raymond who walked away with $400m for his efforts there are probably 1000's of others who lost their shirts.

I think it's great that we have large oil reserves, but the speculation won't last forever. At some point the high rollers are going to start losing money and prices will come back down and there will still be gas available for us to buy. I suspect Juan's solution runs along the line of price controls. We're fortunate that gas is as cheap as it is IN THIS COUNTRY, but artificially cheap gas will encourage people to drive anywhere and everywhere until the supply is exhausted and we have long waiting lines at the pumps. People like Juan never seem to look that far down the road.

I admit I know practically nothing about political strategy, ruthless oil companies, and the stock and futures markets. If there's gas available and I got the money then I'll go ahead and drive. If I can't get it or can't afford it then I damn well better be figuring something else out real quick.

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