Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I've Got a Gas Problem...

No, not the one my kids talk about...

Having been fortunate enough to drive a company vehicle for 10 years in an earlier "profession" I fell out of the habit of checking gas prices as I passed various stations throughout the day. In the years that have ensued since leaving that job I never really paid much attention to temporary price hikes - but lately it has gotten out of control. In St. Paul we are approaching $3 a gallon for regular unleaded. I am starting to get angry about it. Someone has to answer for this!

Looking at the usual subjects it doesn't take long to figure out that it is special interests groups once again exerting undue influence in DC. Why those rat-bastard oil companies... Oh wait, not them? Then those devious, price gouging OPEC nations again... Um, not them either? Surely, it's the President's friends at Enron... No, out-of-business, you say. Then who?

Well, we can thank the US Congress for the extremely flawed energy bill they passed last year. By throwing a bone to the ethanol industry (read: farmers) without building in an orderly transition away from a potentially dangerous chemical called MTBE used as an oxygenate in many regions of the country, Congress has literally caused the price spikes we are seeing today. When adding this stupidity on top of the left's vitriolic road blocks to adding domestic capacity in drilling and refining there is plenty of blame to go around.

The President can also take the heat for signing this turd just so he can say he passed an energy bill. If anyone really wonders why President Bush is polling so low then one doesn't see the inverse relationship between his poll numbers and the cost of a gallon of gas. The Repulicans can crow about this wonderful expanding economy but Bush will only get credit when gas is back down below $1.99 a gallon. Then there's that disingenuous jack-ass party called the Democrats who act like the energy situation in this country is by no means their fault. Ha!

There is no question that the oil business is governed by the global markets and what the President and Congress and even the big, bad oil companies do individually do not by themselves cause these painful price hikes but they have certainly not helped. President Bush has halted shipments to the strategic reserves in order to keep more oil on the market, this should help some.

Unless China and India suddenly stop expanding their economies then the only thing that will really help in the short term is more production. That means more drilling and refining while we wait for the great technological breakthrough that will spell the beginning of the end for the oil age. The sooner the better - for both.