7 April 2004
Your basic viable energy policy
Bruce grasps something that a lot of our politicians don't:
People are asking what the president is going to do about gas prices. I say, "why should he do anything?" Are we willing to admit that we WANT the U.S. government to create artificial prices in the market. By doing so you only risk prolonging the use of oil for industries that would be better served, long term, by moving to alternatives. Not to mention the consumption of inefficient vehicles based on an unrealistic expectation of fuel prices.
All else being equal, we tend to buy whatever's cheapest, which guarantees that nothing will speed the transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles quite as effectively as high prices for fuel. Your standard statist, claiming to be sympathetic to the plight of the poor or some similar smarm, will pursue policies that, were there one gallon of gas left on planet earth, would require that it be sold for a buck and a half, preferably to someone other than Donald Trump. We don't know for sure how long we will be awash in cheap fuel; the least we can do is enjoy it while we have it, and be prepared to move on when we don't.
Incidentally, prices are off about four cents a gallon in my neck of the woods; the going rate at the name-brand stations is generally $1.599, plus or minus a cent or two. I'm anticipating $1.85 a gallon for the slightly-shorter-than-usual World Tour '04 this summer, which will hurt, but it won't hurt as much as staying home.