Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oil Price Solutions

"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." ~ Laurence J. Peter

As some one who drives for a living, these gas prices are particularly worrisome for me. Gas at nearly $3.00 a gallon is becoming a major investment for me.

But the solution to this problem, I think, is much easier and more practical than the majority of Americans believe.

I was standing on line at the bank the other day, and watching the television provided there for those who are waiting to talk to a banker for various issues. It was, as all seem to be, tuned to CNN.

Now, I personally, wouldn't watch CNN voluntarily unless my children were being held hostage and watching CNN was a condition of their release, but on this day, I saw an interesting graphic posted on the screen. As usual, the volume was so low I couldn't hear what the commentators were saying, (which is a blessing, really, when it's CNN) but the graphic spoke volumes to me.

It was a list of the prices of gas in other parts of the world.

Most of us have seen such lists, and we are often told that we should be thankful we don't live in Australia or Europe etc, as the prices in some of those other countries are so much higher.

But the higher prices weren't the ones that made my jaw drop. It was the lower ones.

The graphic didn't linger on the screen long enough for me to memorize the entire list, but 2 of the country's prices were unbelievable. At least compared with what we have to pay here.

I am seriously considering a move to Caracas.

In Caracas, Venezuela, The average price of a gallon of gas is $.12.

12 cents.

Twelve cents.

In Kuwait, it's $.95. As in ninety-five cents.

Why the disparity in oil prices between them and us? They have their own supply. They do not have to import oil. They do not have to buy from other countries and pay the tariffs, fees, and taxes that we do when we import from The UAE, for instance.

From the information I am hearing around the internet and the radio and television news, It isn't the oil companies that are gouging us, so much as our very own government.

The average profit the oil companies make on one gallon of gas is, I've heard, is between 8 and 9 cents a gallon, while the tax on one gallon of gas, both state and Federal, is as much as 40 cents. Drop that tax off, and the price of a gallon of gas drops to approximately $2. 49 cents a gallon at some stations around here. That's still too high, but it's a start.

It seems to me, after seeing such startling figures on CNN, that the solution to this problem lies within our borders.

There have not been any new refineries built in the United States in 30 years.

The United States Government bows to pressure from the environmentalists lobby, by refusing to allow oil companies to drill anywhere within our borders. Or even offshore. There are unlimited supplies of oil all around us. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico have vast areas beneath them that are full of oil. Just offshore.

And, of course, the biggest flap is over ANWR, a tiny parcel of land on the extreme northeast tip of Alaska. So far north, in fact, that one could throw an ice ball and hit Santa's workshop from there. Estimates of the amount of oil that could be found there vary according to who you get your estimates from, but I believe, all agree that it has enormous potential to help us wean ourselves off the teat of unstable middle eastern oil brokers.

But the environmentalists complain that drilling for oil there would endanger some caribou. Well, it might. But the again, I doubt it sincerely. Even the most substantial of oil rigs and refineries wouldn't take up so much room that it would run any animal from any breeding grounds. The room they take up is minimal compared the to vastness of the land unspoiled.

I say to Hell with the caribou and to Hell with the environmentalists whackos. I don't think either of these entities are more important then the economic survival of America.

Drop the taxes on gasoline to a more reasonable level. Or drop them completely.

Let's start drilling for oil offshore and in ANWR.

Build some new refineries.

We need to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Completely. Let's go domestic.

Get serious about finding viable alternative sources of fuel. Debate only causes more delays. Let's settle on a plan of action and then implement it.

And as long as I brought up alternative fuels, we need to examine ethanol a little more closely. Not because I believe it's a viable alternative. Because so far, it's not. Did you know that the process of refining the grains from which we get ethanol is vastly more expensive that the process of refining oil?

Yes, ethanol would likely be more expensive than gasoline. That is no solution. Not yet.

And most importantly, let's get Government out of the oil business and give it back to the oil companies. They make better managers than Senators, Congressmen and the President.

And so what if oil company executives get rich? Who cares? If I am paying less than a dollar for a gallon of gas, I say they earn the right to a $400,000.00 retirement package.


Trader Rick said...

Now, wait a minute, let's not get to hasty with these deers--Remember when Bill Cody shot all the Buffalos to extinction and the chain reaction turned the great plains into a desert and eventually the earth hurled itself into the Sun? Oh, wait, that didn't happen. Nevermind.

But it did cause the stone age peoples that were attacking and burning our wagon trains some well deserved grief.

We need to think this over VERY carefully...unexpected consequences, you know

old soldier said...

Now you’re cooking! I can only agree with your comments. We have resources that have been held captive by a bunch of hate-humans-first environmentalists for long enough. They’ve had their 15 minutes of fame; now it’s time to move on and get serious about improving our energy situation. We need new refineries yesterday and in diverse locations so they aren’t all affected by the same storm. We need much more exploration and we need to tap known internal sources like ANWR (yesterday as well).

Great post, Mark.

Trixie said...

I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that you want to limit how much doctors can make, but it's OK for oil companies to make as much money as they want.

Mark said...

Well, for one thing, Trixie, I never said I want to limit how much drs can make. At least, not totally. They are free to invest in any way that they want to make themselves rich. I only think there should be a ceiling on what they can charge. As in almost every other industry, including the oil industry.

Look. it might be a bad idea. But it's an idea. I don't see the Libs attempting to solve anything.

I can't get my mind wrapped around the idea that a Liberal like you would be opposed to more government regulation, in any industry. Isn't that what Libs want? Total governmental control of everything? Maybe you are just worried the Doctors won't pay enough taxes to hand over to the welfare cheats. Or that the ACLU won't be able to get their grubby little hands on some of that beaurocratic money to further expung God from our culture. Geeeez, you Lib's hypocrisy overwhelms me sometimes.

Trixie said...

Mark, I don't know why you have to attack with such bizarre statements. Maybe you don't understand that life doesn't come marked down the middle with a big ol' yellow line. Not everything is a liberal vs. conservative issue.

Sometimes people actually think without being labeled. Try it sometime. It would be refreshing to see you look at the world from a new perspective.

Francis Lynn said...

We need more nuclear plants. No - not radioactive hybernias & roses - power plants. But people unduly freaked with 3 mile island. Windmills ain't gonna cut it, nor are synthetic fuels, nor reprocessed cow chips & grass. Lot more research needed in fusion energy - an unlimited source of energy. Open up the ver boten areas the environmentalists have designated. Hmm - idea - recyle environmentalists - the hot air alone would power 1/2 the country.

Poison Pero said...

"F" the caribou.

According to the Global Warmers we are on the verge of a cataclysmic collapse as a species, so we may as well take all the world's animals down with us in order to pay a buck for a gallon of gas.

There's no excuse lack of drilling and refining in this country, and this is a perfect example of my long held motto:

The U.S. has the wealth and power to do anything it wants......If it chooses to be stupid enough to give its people hardship it will get what it asks for. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WILL DESERVE!
Also, Francis is absolutely correct about nuclear energy....But it all boils down to what we want. So far we've chosen to be stupid.

Goat said...

Those countries you mentioned with super low prices are communist ones with the state holding the cost down, it is artificially manipulated. In real terms our three bucks goes as far as their 25 cents. I have shopped in Jamaica and Mexico, it is true. If Hugo and Fidel etal can drill we should too, in earnest.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Great post! I will add this to my list of links!!

Dan Trabue said...

You said:
"I say to Hell with the caribou and to Hell with the environmentalists whackos. I don't think either of these entities are more important then the economic survival of America."

You are aware that a majority of Americans are opposed to drilling in ANWR? One bipartisan national survey has found that by a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent.


So when you say, "to hell with the environmentalists..." I suppose you are saying "To hell with a majority of US citizenry, let's do things MY way!"?

Or do you think our oil problems are a greater threat to the US than the notion of Congress going against the will of the people?

EVEN when we all know that oil is a finite supply of which we've already gone through somewhere approaching half of the world supply in 100 years (and most of that in the last few decades)? Even when we know we're going to need to wean ourselves off of it at some point in the next few decades (maybe much much sooner), you think it wise to go ahead and take unsupported actions to scrape the bottom of the barrel a bit more? Even if putting off weaning ourselves off will increase dramatically the likelihood of a financial meltdown?

Suppose, Mark and others, that we did scrape ANWR and other places for a bit more oil and that oil lasts us another ten years. Then what? Back to dependence upon foreign oil?

Did you know that geologists believe there's about 4.25 to 11.8 billion barrels of oil in Alaska, according to the U.S. Geological Survey?

Did you know that we use up that much in 6 - 20 months? You think this is a solution?

Help me out here, friends.

Goat said...

Dan failed to leave out the 800 Bil barreles in Colorado and Utah, quite a few billion more in the Texas fields, and the many billions off each coast and the gulf of mexico. Between nuclear developement and exploring existing oil fields we could push oil prices back to less than bottled water. It is funny how the Dems love the massive pumpmg of important aquifers for bottled springwater but won't allow oil drilling, I believe there is a word for that.

Goat said...

Dan also fails to mention that his mantra of finite oil and only a few years left has been going on since its founding. Oil is produced by the geologic movements of the earth, not dead dinosaurs. Don't buy into the lefty hogwash, as that is all it is. Their is plenty of oil and other resources, like us ants are going to eat the world,right. The Green River formation according to a Rand survey smokes Saudi Arabia in extractable oil, untapped on US soil. So Dan do you support Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico drilling in the gulf while blocking us? Oh, please make this an election issue. I am ready to rip some holes on this one.

Dan Trabue said...

That's right, Goat. Oil will last forever because it comes from magic springs in a mystical land...

Thanks for your scientific opinion.

Dan Trabue said...

And I'm supposing the 800 billion barrels of "oil" that Goat is saying exists in Colorado and Utah is oil shale, right?

According to Rand:

Oil shale from the Western United States could become the source of millions of barrels of competitively priced oil each day in 20 to 30 years if technological, environmental and governance issues are resolved, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.


So, it MAY indeed be a source of fuel eventually, but even then, it will be a finite source. 100 years is a blip in the grand timeline of humanity, if we can manage to stretch it out another 100 years or so, it still is a temporary solution.

We need sustainable solutions that are personally, societally and fiscally responsible. There are all manner of problems associated with fossil fuel and personal auto solutions that go unfactored in discussions about their usage. I'm just calling for responsible solutions taking all factors in to consideration.

What a nutty notion, huh?

Goat said...

So if we setthe ball in motion now we will seeingthebenefitsin a deacde orso, why whywait a decade to begin, the same goes for Alaska and offshore.We could already be enjoying those resourses if not for liberal blocking. We could have ultra-clean efficient nuclear power if not for liberal blocking.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm not suggesting waiting a decade to begin looking in to shale oil - in fact, it's being looked in to now. I just don't know that we need to governmentally subsidize another temporary fossil fuel solution. It's the libertarian in me.

And, as I said, it would only be a temporary solution anyway AND it would still have most of the same problems associated with fossil fuels - toxicity, death, costly to society in many hidden/unpaid ways.

I'm for paying as you go - again, a rather conservative/fiscally responsible notion - and, if fossil fuels cause $X billion/trillion of damage to society, then those costs should be factored in to the equation. At which point, all of it becomes fiscally undesirable and we're left with a need for a sustainable and responsible solution. THAT is what we should be pushing for. Or so it seems to me.

Jeff du Bert said...

Hi there from the UK!

You Americans should count yourselves extremely lucky for your $3.00 a gallon fuel. We here in the UK pay £1 a litre (3.7L to Gl), therefore in real-dollar terms we pay nearly $7.00 a gallon.

Something to consider when you're starting up your 5 litre SUV's.