Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The recent rapid increase in the price of gasoline has everyone who monitors the political scene running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Congressional investigations over price gouging are offered as solutions, the President declares that he will crack down on price gougers (but it is unlikely that he will find anyone actually price gouging), and 15 more people rode the bus this week in NYC.

The Wall Street Journal, a conservative rag if ever there was one, posted some comments about the problem

WASHINGTON -- With rising gasoline prices spurring calls for action among worried congressional Republicans, President Bush will respond with a series of measures today aimed at curbing possible market manipulations.

In a speech to a renewable-fuels group, Mr. Bush is expected to instruct the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Energy Department to vigorously enforce laws relating to price gouging. And the attorney general and FTC chairman will send a joint letter to all 50 state attorneys general calling on them to use their broader investigative powers to pursue illegal gouging, according to a senior administration official...

To be sure, calling for investigations doesn't promise much in the way of enforcement action, according to industry officials...

For all the political talk, Congress isn't likely to do much, if anything, on energy this year, and there is little lawmakers can do to offer relief before voters go to the polls in November.

But I think it is that last statement I quoted that really gets to me. Not much they can do? Bullshit! How about economic incentives - perhaps even direct funding - for ethanol plants or for the production of biodiesel fuels? How about laws demanding that 10% of all cars manufactured in the U.S. next year be able to run on either gasoline or on ethanol mixtures of 50%? How about legislation demanding more fuel efficient automobile engines? How about increased spending for research on hydrogen fuel cells?
Not much that can be done? What do they think we are - stupid?
It does not take a genius to find alternatives that we should begin addressing now, it only takes someone whose interests are not controlled by the oil industry. We are being raped and told to shut up and enjoy it by our industries and our government.

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